Legends of the Fall (1994)

Director: Edward Zwick

Writer: Susan Shilliday, William D Wittliff (Screenplay) Jim Harrison (Novel)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond, Henry Thomas, Karine Lombard, Tantoo Cardinal

 

Plot: In the 1900s, three brothers and their father living in the remote wilderness of Montana are affected by betrayal, history, love, nature, and war.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Life Story

 

Story: Legends of the Fall starts in the wilderness of Montana, Col William Ludlow (Hopkins) moves his family away from the wars which cover America to raise his three sons in the early 1900s. His sons no grown up Tristian (Pitt) the gentle and kind one, Alfred (Quinn) the intelligent one and Samuel (Thomas) the one who has just returned with his wife to be Susannah (Ormond).

With the First World War raging over in Europe the three brothers volunteer to fight which leads to tragedy when Samuel getting killed in action, Alfred returns to his family but Tristian goes in search for answers. As the years pass by Alfred becomes a success in his field while Tristian finds his own success but the family will never be the same as they deal with the effects of the war.

 

Thoughts on Legends of the Fall

 

Characters/PerformanceTristian is the wild child, he keeps things to himself, prefer the quiet life that only he could enjoy. He travels to discover himself but knows his heart is back in Montana on the ranch. Col William is the father of the house, he was tired of the battle between the natives and modern Americans, he wants the best for his three children as long as they keep to the right morale paths. Alfred is the smartest of all the brothers, he uses his intelligence to become a political success, the opposite to Tristian. Susannah enters the life as the youngest brother’s wife to be but soon after he passes has feelings for them all.

Performance wise, Brad Pitt shows us here just how good of an actor he was going to be, he goes toe to toe with the always incredible Anthony Hopkins. Aidan Quinn, Julian Ormond and Henry Thomas all give fantastic performance too.

StoryWatching a film about this one family becomes very interesting, we have the brothers that go in different directions as the father is left waiting hoping they return the successes they plan. This is something that is a good watch that can be enjoyed by all the people, it does have slight issues when it comes to understand the full timeline but otherwise flows nicely.

Romance/WarThe romance side of this film is brilliant because we get to see how love can be broken when you must wait for it but you will always have the feelings for that person in your heart. The war side id brief but is the reason why everything goes in the direction it does for the two remaining brothers.

SettingsThe remote location is great to see which is why our characters are away from the world and the settings continue this trend as we see how the brothers go in directions which bring them into different worlds.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film with heavyweight performances, the powerful story and a look at one of the most difficult times that America faced.

 

Overall: Brilliant coming of age tale.

Rating

 

 

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Lazarus Effect (2015)

Director: David Gelb

Writer: Luke Dawson, Jeremy Slater (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Bolger, Evan Peters, Donald Glover, Ray Wise

 

Plot: A group of medical researchers discover a way to bring dead patients back to life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Didn’t Click

 

Story: The Lazarus Effect starts as we meet our team Frank (Duplass), Zoe (Wilde), Eva (Bolger), Clay (Peters) and Niko (Glover) who have been working on bring animals back from the dead with the Lazarus serum with the latest attempt bringing Rocky the dog back to life.

When the research project is sudden closed down, all the data is taken by Mr Wallace (Wise) who works for a pharmaceutical company, the team break into the lab to perform the experiment one last time so they can take the credit the last few years of their lives have work towards.

When disaster strikes Zoe is killed in an accident but Frank not accepting losing her decides to perform the experiment on her, to bring her back from the grave. It starts by looking like a success but it soon turns strange when Zoe has gifts she didn’t used to possess including telepathic and foresight.

 

Thoughts on The Lazarus Effect

 

Characters/PerformanceFrank is the lead scientist leading the research team, he is engaged to Zoe and once she dies he goes uses his research to bring her back to life. Zoe is the partner of Frank and leading member of the research team, once she is killed in an accident she is bought back to life but this time he is different. Eva is the newest member of the team will Niko and Clay are the generic playful rest of the team.

Performance Wise, it would be fair to say the performance don’t use the talent available to their full abilities, Olivia Wilde isn’t up to her normal levels, but it is the underused Evan Peters and Donald Glover which disappoints most.

StoryScientists look to bring the dead back to life, I have heard this one before and sure we get a modernised tale on this that does feel more scientific but in the end it just falls into ‘what is in the afterlife’ style and you must be evil if you come back from the dead. It is generic, plain and we have seen it all before.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiShe comes back from the dead, well that is the horror cover nothing scary going on here we have lazy jump scares mostly. There are elements of a mystery we try to figure out what is happening but we don’t focus on that enough and the sci-fi side well we all know how bringing people back from the dead works.

SettingsOne of the few highlights in this film is keeping most of the action inside the lab because by doing this we see how they must use their intelligence to get around the problem they are facing.

Special EffectsEasy effects are used here with most being in the vision sequences.

Final ThoughtsThis does feel like a lazy horror that doesn’t click to the levels it should do even with a cast of well-respected stars.

 

Overall: Horror that doesn’t work to the levels needed.

Rating

 

 

The Limehouse Golem (2017)

Director: Juan Carlos Medina

Writer: Jane Goldman (Screenplay) Peter Ackroyd (Novel)

Starring: Olivia Cooke, Bill Nighy, Eddie Marsan, Douglas Booth, Maria Valverde, Sam Reid, Daniel Mays

 

Plot: A series of murders has shaken the community to the point where people believe that only a legendary creature from dark times – the mythical so-called Golem – must be responsible.


Tagline –  Before the Ripper, fear had another name.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Horror Thriller

 

Story: The Limehouse Golem starts when John Cree (Reid) is found dead in his bed chambers by his wife Lizzie (Cooke), she is accused of murdering him but when detective John Kildare (Nighy) is investigating the mysterious murder known as the Limehouse Golem the clues point to the potential killer being John Cree.

Kildare attends the trial of Lizzie where she gives the story of how she meant John Cree which let her follow her dreams of working with performer Dan Leno (Booth) who takes her under his wing. As the story unfolds we learn about the relationship Lizzie started with John all while Kildare searches for the real Limehouse Golem.

 

Thoughts on The Limehouse Golem

 

Characters – Lizzie Cree is accused of killing her husband during the attacks of The Limehouse Golem, while awaiting trial and during it she tells the tale of the poor girl that grew up to become part of the entertaining field in 1800’s England and her relationship with one of the suspects. John Kildare is the newly appointed detective to the Limehouse Golem case which brings him to look at a large selection of suspects that all seem to have a connection to Lizzie, including her late husband. Dan Leno is the lead performer at the theatre, he brings Lizzie in to the show and mentors her, he is also a suspect in the murder cases going in Limehouse. The suspects are all interesting throughout the film as we see the darker side of the people of Limehouse.

PerformancesBill Nighy is good as the detective keeping calm through the case, Douglas Booth is also good as the performer that gets to shown extra eccentricity through the film. Olivia Cooke is an actress I believe has a bright future and for the most part she is good here but then in moment she aims to try a cockney accent which doesn’t hit.

StoryThe story is told in two parts but together, the main part is the trial against Lizzie while the other part looks at what could have led to the decision in the trial for Lizzie as people search for the Limehouse Golem. This is fine as a story but when you go into a horror thriller film we are left feeling empty as this turns into a crime thriller, the murders seem to be off camera and it turns into a who was the killer.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror in this film disappoints greatly because we seem to skip over most of the moments revolving around the killer’s actions, the thrilling side of the film works in places as we are left with a race against time to see if Lizzie is guilty of not.

SettingsThe film is set in the 1800 hundreds London which is famous for the killings of Jack the Ripper which this film feels like it could easily be in the same time as that.

Special EffectsThe effects are used rarely and not ruining any moment of the film as we only have them where needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Moments of the accent are annoying.

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that builds up slowly to its final act, using the words to make sure we are left to follow clues to who the killer is and is saved by the final act from being just an average film.

 

Overall: Saved by the final act.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Land of the Dead (2005)

landDirector: George A Romero

Writer: George A Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, Robert Joy, Eugene Clark, Joanne Boland, Tony Nappo, Jennifer Baxter

 

Plot: The living dead have taken over the world, and the last humans live in a walled city to protect themselves as they come to grips with the situation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Addition to Franchise

 

Story: Land of the Dead starts us to a world where the zombies now control as we meet Riley (Baker), Charlie (Joy) and Cholo (Leguizamo) who go out at night to find supplies for the rich in the safely guarded city. On their nights out collecting supplies the humans uses Sky Flowers (fireworks) to distract zombies but one Big Daddy (Clark) has stopped being distracted and has started to lead the zombies in a new life with fragments of their previous one.

Riley has kept his nose to the ground to get his freedom from the runs while Cholo is always looking for a way to buy his freedom which means putting others at risk. The man they are both looking to for attention is Kaufman (Hopper) leader of the rich in the highest tower in the island.

When Cholo go goes rogue the city is torn apart by the smarter zombies who don’t get distracted that easily and it is Riley’s chance to be free of the city after making a deal with Kaufman to bring back Cholo and the weapons he has taken.

Land of the Dead is yet another great addition to the series, while it isn’t going to break any boundaries like the original trilogy did but solid action related zombie film. While it does follow the same formula, group of survivors are safe but soon their safe heaven is overrun by zombies leaving few alive we get to see it in a different light when it comes to number involved. The special effects have become a lot more realistic which I find takes away from the horror because the original was terrifying to see. The idea the zombies have continued to evolve is a huge plus because this seems to be the only franchise that accepts the idea that this could happen. On the negative we see the first film without the strong leading lady which has to be consider a step back for a franchise which has always had very strong leading characters both male and female.

 

Overall: Fun action horror film that is easy to watch

Rating70

 

 

Original v Remake Weekend – Let Me In (2010)

Director: Matt Reeves

Writer: Matt Reeves (Screenplay) John Ajvide Lindqvist (Novel)

Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Cara Buono, Elias Koteas, Sasha Barrese

 

Plot: A bullied young boy befriends a young female vampire who lives in secrecy with her guardian.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Remake

 

Story: Let Me In Starts with a man being rushed to hospital with a police escort, before we learn that his daughter was asking about him, before he commits suicide. We move back two weeks to meet the lonely Owen (Smit-McPhee) who has become the latest victim of the school bully, but with no one to turn to he looks to find his own way to defend himself.

Moving in next door to Owen is the mysterious family with Abby (Moretz) being the same age as Owen, but it is her father (Jenkins) which comes off very strange. It isn’t long before Owen and Abby become friends being drawn to each other by their loneliness, but can this friendship last with the two from very different worlds.

After Abby’s father dies, she turns to the only friend she knows of, Owen to help her with her feeding, living situation while she helps Owen out with his own problems with the bullies at school.

 

Thoughts on Let Me In

 

Characters/PerformanceOwen is portrayed as the loner bully victim who doesn’t have any friends, no support from his mother or teachers. He is looking for a way to fight back, be it through his PE coach or with his own choice of weapon, his knife. Abby is the estranged neighbour that offers him friendship but also has her own dark secret which will make friendship all the more difficult. I do feel these characters don’t quite reach the levels that the original manages to achieve.

Performance wise I also think both Kodi and Chloe do a great job but I also feel the original has a more realistic feel to the performances. I don’t feel the rest of the cast get enough time to make the impact as this story is about the two children.

StoryThe story does follow the same path as the original only going for the impact moment to start the film, the story also pays a lot more references to Romeo and Juliet because you can see the same ideas for the story of two young lovers coming from different worlds.

Horror/MysteryThe horror side of the story comes from the graphic attacks but they do feel at times forced for extra impact. The mystery side of the story comes in as we wonder just where things will go if you have never seen the original.

SettingsIn this version we are in small town America which again shows it being a good location for a vampire to hide out and for a young boy to feel lonely in.

Special EffectsWe have limited special effects with them being used well when needed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good remake that does enough to keep the story similar but bringing enough of an America twist to the story.

 

Overall: This is a remake that works showing if it is done correctly.

Rating