John Leguizamo Weekend – Moulin Rouge! (2002)

moulinDirector: Baz Luhrmann

Writer: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, Garry McDonald

 

Plot: A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Flamboyant Musical Stunner

 

Story: Moulin Rouge starts as a young English writer Christian (McGregor) moving to Paris for dreams where he finds himself having to work on a play Spectacular Spectacular, but he needs to be passed off as a famous writer to impress Satine (Kidman).

When Christian gets mixed up with The Duke (Roxburgh) the two fall in love but when the Duke discovers them they must arrange a new play to prove they are just rehearsing for the latest play throwing Christian into the biggest show in town.

As The Duke becomes jealous he forces the director Harold Zidler (Broadbent) to sign a contract where he has exclusive rights to Satine and the Moulin Rouge, this throws the love between Satine and Christian up in the air because her chance to become the next big actress could be ruined.

Moulin Rouge is a flamboyant romantic musical that opens with all singing and dancing and never holds back from the over the topness of the songs being used. Going in completely blind I was left shocked with the choice of songs which include versions of Nirvana, The Sound of Music and David Bowie which all work apart from the creepy version of ‘Like a Virgin’. The setting is beautifully re-created with each performance embracing the location perfectly. The love story starts with the tragic ending which is against the normal as we are leading to find out what happened.

Kidman and McGregor are both brilliant in the leading roles but it is the supporting character which in places get left behind as The Duke comes off strange with the rest all coming off letting the main to shine in this performance. This is big, bold and breath-taking in places with anybody with the love for these songs finding a way to enjoy.

 

Overall: This is one of the most over the top style films with glorious use of music throughout.

Ratingcard

 

 

Memento (2000)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Christopher Nolan (Screenplay) Jonathan Nolan (Short Story)

Starring: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Junior, Russ Fega, Jorja Fox

 

Plot: A man juggles searching for his wife’s murderer and keeping his short-term memory loss from being an obstacle.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Masterpiece Thriller

 

Story: Memento starts as Leonard (Pearce) a man with no short-term memory, but has come up with a way to cope with the situation where he leaves notes on his body which will give him answers to his wife murder. Assisting him on this investigation is Natalie’s (Moss) and Teddy (Pantoliano) but with Leonard’s handicap are people taking advantage of him?

We are left to wonder just who did kill Leonard’s wife because each scene points him in a different direction to who was behind it all.

 

Thoughts on Memento

 

Characters – Leonard is a man who is investigating his own wife’s death but with his own short-term memory problem Leonard is finding it hard to figure out who to trust, with only the answers tattooed on his body. Natalie is a woman that Leonard meets who has also lost somebody and she does help him. Teddy is the other main person that is helping Leonard through the situation.

PerformanceGuy Pearce does give the performance of his career showing the full emotion his character is going through. Carrie-Anne Moss is good with her limited screen time. Joe Pantoliano is brilliant in the supporting role as we never know the truth about his character.

StoryAt the core of this story we have a mystery that needs to be sold, but the story is told in a different order than we would expect, even though this film is told in reverse the twists are still coming through thick and fast leaving us wondering about the characters involved from start to finish.

Mystery/ThrillerThe mystery comes into play early as we are giving the idea that someone has killed Leonard’s wife and now we want to know where things are going even though things are in reverse the clues keep popping up.

SettingsThe settings show us just where the characters are getting through with no big set pieces but just the crime world the characters find themselves in.

Special EffectsWe have a few effects but we don’t need too many for the story to unfold.

Scene of the Movie – So, I am chasing this guy’

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment I am picking the slightly under written character of Natalie as the picky point.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the great thrillers ever made, it truly will keep you wondering even if the beginning is the end of the story.

 

Overall: Must watch for the Nolan fans.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Moth Diaries (2011)

mothDirector: Mary Harron

Writer: Mary Harron (Screenplay) Rachel Klein (Novel)

Starring: Sarah Bolger, Sarah Gadon, Lily Cole, Scott Speedman

 

Plot: Rebecca is suspicious of Ernessa, the new arrival at her boarding school. But is Rebecca just jealous of Ernessa’s bond with Lucie, or does the new girl truly possess a dark secret?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull

 

Story: The Moth Diaries starts as we see best friends Rebecca (Bolger) and Lucy (Gadon) returning to boarding school catching up with all their friends after a summer back together. When Ernessa (Cole) arrives at the school she instantly strikes up a friendship with Lucy as we see early on the tension rising between the Ernessa and Rebecca.

When Rebecca starts to think Ernessa is up to something she finds herself becoming distant from her friends but soon she starts to learn they may have more in common. Rebecca becomes obsessed with proving that Ernessa is evil when strange things start happening to her class mates but how does she go about this when she believes she is a ghost.

The Moth Diaries gives us what comes off as the ghost investigation mixed with St Trinian’s. we follow how friendships get pushed and girls get up to things they shouldn’t including drugs and sneaking off for sex. The girls are all unlikable and the serious side of the tory seems to get forgotten. The whole story does come off very average and boring as you never believe any of the fear Rebecca is meant to be feeling.

 

Actor Review

 

Sarah Bolger: Rebecca has been best friends with Lucy for years at boarding school but when Ernessa arrives she starts to find tension between her friends and dealing with the suicide of her father she finds herself wondering if she will act the same in the future. Sarah is solid but doesn’t really pull you into the story enough.

Sarah Gadon: Lucy is the best friend of Rebecca who starts to become distant from Rebecca as soon Ernessa starts school. Sarah does seem to get forgotten through the film sadly and never comes off strong enough.

Lily Cole: Ernessa is the mysterious new girl in the school who seems to have the ability to control other people decisions. She seems to be targeting Rebecca and her friends making Rebecca come off as a loner but does she have an alternative motive. Lily is solid but you can see her struggle with the serious scenes.

Scott Speedman: Mr Davies is the first male teacher the school has had, he is also a big admirer of Rebecca’s father. Scott really is just a small supporting part in this film.

Support Cast: The Moth Diaries has very generic supporting cast which are all very forgettable.

Director Review: Mary HarronMary gives us what comes off like a slightly dull ghost story.

 

Horror: The Moth Diaries doesn’t have any moments of real horror happening at all.

Mystery: The Moth Diaries has a thin mystery about who Ernessa really is but otherwise you don’t really care about what is happening.

Settings: The Moth Diaries keeps nearly the whole film in and around the boarding school which works for the film.
Special Effects
: The Moth Diaries has a few but easily forgettable effects.

Suggestion: The Moth Diaries is easily one you could miss really. (Skip It)

 

Best Part: UMMM.

Worst Part: Story is very thin.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

Tagline: Every girl has her secrets.

 

Overall: Basic and boring ghost mystery film.

Ratingcard

 

 

Morgan (2016)

morganDirector: Luke Scott

Writer: Seth W Owen (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rose Leslie, Michael Yare, Toby Jones, Chris Sullivan, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle Yeoh, Brian Cox, Paul Giamatti, Jennifer Jason Leigh

 

Plot: A corporate risk-management consultant must decide whether or not to terminate an artificially created humanoid being.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Start, Bad Finish

 

Story: Morgan starts as a secret project has a murderous side leading to Lee Weather (Mara) being set to investigate what happened on the project known as Morgan (Taylor-Joy), her investigation isn’t just into the subject but the staff involved to see if everything is still going on their plans.

The humanoid known as Morgan has been with the doctors her whole life with the doctors including Amy Menser (Leslie), Simon Ziegler (Jones), Darren Finch (Sullivan), Brenda Finch (Robinson) Lui Cheng (Yeoh) and Kathy Grieff (Leigh) each member of the team has worked on different parts of Morgan to make her understand each environment needed for training.

When Dr Alan Shapiro (Giamatti) arrives on the base the two must start their investigation and assessment into whether Morgan should be destroyed or to keep the project alive.

Morgan is a sci-fi horror thriller that builds on similar style films of creating life that could be smarter than the current humans, so think Splice but with higher intelligence. Well I say that because the first half of the film is very interesting because we start at the moment where the incident happens and the decision needs to be made, all this is fine and comes off fine. Where this film starts to fall apart is in final act of the film where it just becomes some form of lazy hack and slash story of an experiment gone wrong. This movie would have been a lot more interesting if it had stayed focusing on morale questions involved if the experiment had gone wrong.

Morgan has a very impressive cast with highly respected names including Giamatti, Yeoh, Cox, Leigh and Jones with years of great work under their belts and you can expect the performance from them on any film. We add in Mara trying to get to the levels of her sister Rooney giving one of her best performances as the cold hearted consultant and rising stars Boyd Holbrook, Rose Leslie both give good supporting performances. Anya Taylor-Joy has had a great year with her performance in The Witch and this shows her ability in the roles in question.

 

Overall: Such an interesting start before becoming a generic messy ending.

Ratingcard

 

 

The Mummy (2017)

Director: Alex Kurtzman

Writer: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, Dylan Kussman (Screenplay) Jon Spaihts, Alex Kurtzman, Jenny Lumet (Screen Story)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B Vance, Marwan Kenzari

 

Plot: An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: American Mummy in London

 

Story: The Mummy starts as we get the traditional history lesson about what Princess Ahmanet (Boutella) did to become the cursed woman from Ancient Egypt. Roll forward to present day Iraq where treasure hunting soldier Nick Morton (Cruise) and his partner in crime Chris Vail (Johnson) move in on an insurgent controlled town. In this town they make a discovery which bring archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Wallis) to work with the army to bring the discovery back.

When the discovery of Princess Ahmanet selects Nick as her latest choice to raise Set the God of Death to life to reign terror on Earth, Jenny brings Nick to Dr Henry Jekyll (Crowe) to find a way to stop this ancient terror from rising once more.

 

Thoughts on The Mummy

 

Characters/PerformanceNick is a solider that enjoys treasure hunting for his own profit, he is a selfish man but once he works with Jenny we see a different side to him as he also gets to cheat death. Dr Jekyll is a character we know from history but this time he seems to be a leader of an organisation that fights evil. Jenny is the archaeologist that has searched for Princess Ahmanet for her whole life and now she gets to fight something she never thought. Princess Ahmanet is our ancient Egyptian that has been raised from the dead to bring her terror back to Earth, this character is the highlight of the film but you still want more from her. Chris Vail is basically the friend from American Werewolf in Paris.

Performance wise, Cruise disappoints here, he is miss-casted because he doesn’t pull of the confused out of his depth to the level we are used too in these films. Russell Crower, well as a supporting character he does struggle to make an impact. Annabelle Wallis is fine but you just don’t believe must of her characters decisions. Sofia Boutella once again shows she is very capable of these roles which need unique body movement. Jake Johnson tries the comic relief but it doesn’t click every time.

StoryYou know the Brendan Fraser Mummy, well this is incredible similar story just in modern times, we have one very well-designed moment and that is showing how the extremists are destroying monuments which can cover Nick’s tracks. Otherwise this is one of the most painful origin attempted stories of recent years, we have a villain which should be one of the most interesting of the year but almost becomes second fiddle to the bigger universe that the film wants to create. Nothing here is overly memorable, original or worth seeing again.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action sequences are a mixed bag, we have the plane crash which we all saw in the trailer but otherwise it is Tom Cruise 101 with running, sand storms and losing fist fights. The adventure side get sucked out of the film once we hit London and the fantasy side of things just doesn’t come off believable.

SettingsThe Iraq setting was fine for me, but we don’t focus on that area long enough which most of the film taking place in England and mostly London and seriously how many times can we destroy London on film?

Special EffectsThis is yet another mixed bag for me, certain moments look great but other moments come off painfully CGI.

Final ThoughtsThis is a failed attempt of a Universe builder, it is miss-cast with Cruise, this should have gone to a younger name that could work in the universe for years to come and a character in Nick that is remotely interesting. I will accept that this was needed to bring the modern era for this bigger picture which does clash the ancient world with the technology world but we don’t focus on that enough.

 

Overall: Disappointing action film that focuses on Easter Eggs over producing us a story.

Rating