New Jack City (1991)

Director: Mario Van Peebles

Writer: Thomas Lee Wright, Barry Michael Cooper (Screenplay)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Allen Payne, Chris Rock, Mario Van Peebles, Michael Michele, Bill Nunn, Judd Nelson

 

Plot: A crime lord ascends to power and becomes megalomaniacal while a maverick police detective vows to stop him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Addition to Gangster Genre

 

Story: New Jack City starts in New York City as the drug war is sky high with drug maverick Nino Brown (Snipes) has a plan to dominate the cities drug trafficking process. When Nino gets complete control over an apartment building where he produces the product holding the resident’s prisoners.

Two years have passed and now Detective Stone (Peebles) wants Appleton (Ice-T) and Nick Peretti (Nelson) to lead an investigation to take down Nino. Hiring former dealer Pookie (Rock) to go undercover due to his tight connection with Nino we are left to see how they plan on taking down Nino.

 

Thoughts on New Jack City

 

Characters/PerformanceNino is what you would call a brilliant drug kingpin that fully controls the operation and a threat to the city, he will kill anyone that gets in his way. Scotty is the cop that pushes the limits too often making this battle against drugs personal. Nick is the disgraced cop from another town but doesn’t fit into the neighbourhood but is also just as committed to bringing down Nino.

Performance wise, Snipes does shine in this leading role getting to have a lot of fun with his performance, Ice-T is good but not as convincing to this world, with Judd Nelson giving us as good supporting role. Chris Rock should get praise for his performance which I believe was one of his first roles.

StoryThe story bottles down to the rise and fall of Nino Brown or any other generic crime boss, this is because we have him start his operation and facing enemies from police and other drug bosses. This isn’t the most original story but is a good watch for anyone who is a fan of the genre.

Action/CrimeThe action when needed is mostly wild gun battles that show the chaos the drug wars can cause. The crime side of the story comes from the idea that we are dealing with drugs circulating around the big city.

SettingsNew York City is a great choice for the setting because it shows the different sides of the tracks the people can all come from in this war.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to the drug related films I am not the biggest fan but this one is an easy watch for the fans of the genre.

 

Overall: This is a good addition to the genre that has its place in the gangster history.

Rating

 

 

Neruda (2016)

NERUDA is available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital from 10th July.

Director: Pablo Larrain

Writer: Guillermo Calderon (Screenplay)

Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Luis Gnecco, Mercedes Moran, Emilio Gutierrez Caba, Diego Munoz

 

Plot: An inspector hunts down Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, who becomes a fugitive in his home country in the late 1940s for joining the Communist Party.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Edge of your Seat Historical Thriller

 

Story: Neruda starts in the years following World War II, Senator Pablo Neruda (Gnecco) and Nobel Prize-Winning poet going against the President of Chile, he gets called a communist and must face jail or life on the run. Pablo choices to go on the run while still fighting for his beliefs with Inspector Oscar Peluchonneau (Bernal) assigned to ruin him.

We see how Neruda used his abilities as a poet to stay one step ahead of the police with people happy to open their door to a man they considered a great man, with this Inspector Oscar learns how Neruda can be staying in hiding and learning to follow the clues about this man wondering if he is as much of a criminal as the President makes him out to be.

 

Thoughts on Neruda

 

Characters/PerformancePablo Neruda is a brilliant poet, famous throughout Chile, he was a senator but must give up his limelight life once he is accused of being a communist but he remains on the run with the connection that still respect him for his work. Oscar Peluchonneau is the man that is tracking Neruda, handpicked by the President as he stays calm during his pursuit as he learns more about the man he is tracking.

Performance wise, Gael Garcia Bernal is good through the film as the inspector tracking down Neruda. Luis Gnecco is the star of this film effortless stepping into the shoes of the poet.

StoryThe story of the cat and mouse between Neruda and Oscar is an interesting watch, because we do learn about the man hunt for an accused communist who was respected by too many people to be turned on by them all. We see both sides of the hunt too, if you hadn’t heard of this poet and his battle to stay free, then you will get to see how he achieved this now.

Biography/CrimeLooking into the life of Pablo Neruda is an interesting view point because now we can see how this man was considered a criminal having to live a life on the run when he didn’t commit any crimes.

SettingsThe settings show us how Neruda could stay hidden for so long and how he kept his reputation through this time.

Final ThoughtsFor all the history fans out there, this is a film you will be enjoying learning about a nationwide man hunt that is well known through Chile.

 

Overall: This is an interesting historical drama learning about a great poet that escaped the country.

Rating

 

 

The Number 23 (2007)

numberDirector: Joel Schumacher

Writer: Fernley Phillips (Screenplay)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, Logan Lerman, Danny Huston, Lynn Collins

 

Plot: Walter Sparrow becomes obsessed with a novel that he believes was written about him. As his obsession increases, more and more similarities seem to arise.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Interesting Thriller

 

Story: The Number 23 starts as we follow mild mannered animal controller Walter Sparrow (Carrey) who had just celebrated his birthday which has made things change, he has a wife Agatha (Madsen) and son Robin (Lerman) in what looks like an ordinary life.

Walter’s life is turned upside when one of his gifts if a book called The Number 23 which just so happens to tell the same story of a character called Fingerling who has the same childhood Walter remembers. The further Walter looks into the character we see how he becomes obsessed with the number 23 in everyday life but is this a message or a former life he once lived?

Th Number 23 is a mystery thriller that puts us on a rollercoaster of conspiracy or truth about Walter’s life. Everything really does keep us guessing from start to finish. Each answer is spoon-fed to us which does take away the shock in the final act but this still does enough to keep us on edge.

The cast all do a good job with Jim Carrey really shining in the none comedic role yet again, but the supporting performances from Virginia Madsen, Danny Huston and Logan Lerman all keep up with the star of the show.

 

Overall: One of Jim Carrey’s most underrated films of his career.

Ratingcard

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Necromentia (2009)

necDirector: Pearry Teo

Writer: Stephanie Joyce (Screenplay) Pearry Teo (Story)

Starring: Layton Matthews, Chad Grimes, Santiago Craig, Zelieann Rivera, Cole Braxton, Zach Cumer

 

Plot: Explores the use of a tattooed Ouija Board through the lives and perspectives of 4 people.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Messy Horror

 

Story: Necromentia starts as we meet Hagen (Craig) who enjoys his pleasure through the corpse of his dead wife. When Travis (Grimes) walks into Hagen’s life exposing his twisted fantasies he offers to bring back Elizabeth (Rivera) by carving the tattoo key onto Hagen’s back forcing him to go into hell.

With Hagen going through a hell he could never imagine we flashback to learn about Travis’ motivation for trying to get into hell to find his brother Thomas (Cumer). I lost what the hell was going on and I am also not sure I have the characters in the right places either.

 

Thoughts on Necromentia

 

StoryI wish I could explain how I felt about the story but in the end I really don’t know what happened because the story telling process is so poor throughout this one.

HorrorThis is very gore filled horror trying to push our sense as to what we could take, but otherwise nothing stands out.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters do all feel strange and out of place to what is going on with none of the characters standing out. The performances are also sub-par at best leaving us feeling very disappointed.

SettingsThe settings are mostly chambers for the torture scenes all feeling dark and dingy throughout.

Special EffectsThe special effects all work for the bloody and gore going on through the film but otherwise it is all good for this only.

Final ThoughtsMessy horror that just doesn’t hit the points it is trying to hit leaving us feeling left behind.

 

Overall: Poorly executed horror film.

Rating15

 

 

DJ Qualls Weekend – The New Guy (2002)

Director: Ed Decter

Writer: David Kendall (Screenplay)

Starring: DJ Qualls, Eliza Dushku, Zooey Deschanel, Jerod Mixon, Parry Shen, Lyle Lovett, Eddie Griffin, Sunny Mabrey

 

Plot: A high school senior branded uncool in the ninth grade gets himself expelled so he changes his image to cool kid at the town’s other high school.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: The New Guy starts on the first day of senior for Dizzy (Qualls) and his band mates Nora (Deschanel), Kirk (Mixon) and Glen (Shen), they are blips in the social group but in the end he gets fully embarrassed in front of the whole school. Continuing his spiral out of control Dizzy ends up in prison where he meets Luther (Griffin) who teaches him how to be tough and al Dizzy needs to do is get expelled.

Starting his new school, with a new look, he makes an instant impact taking out the big dog of the school yard. Dizzy uses this new image to help change the school, grabbing the attention of head cheerleader Danielle (Dushku) along the way but how long can he keep this up.

 

Thoughts on The New Guy

 

Characters/PerformanceDizzy is the typical outsider in high school, he dreams of fitting in but the truth is he never will, he does all he can to make himself stand out and he does make an impact but he also faces the idea of leaving him friends behind to be popular. Danielle is your standard cheerleader dating the high school asshole but also designed not to have her own mind and just date the popular kid. Nora, Kirk and Glen are the old friends that are there to support Dizzy but also be part of the band. We have the full group of typical high school students which all make for the laugh for the story.

Performance wise, DJ Qualls followed up his scene stealing performance in Road Trip with this lead performance where he once again builds on the idea of an outsider changing a mentality. Dushku fits the role very well but isn’t the most developed character. We also get an early from Zooey Deschanel who brings her quirky style to this film and shows off her singing abilities.

StoryThe story follows the idea of one boy wanting to fit into high school, he changes to fit in only to turn on his friends. He learns from his mistake to make a difference at the high school showing everyone that they need to treat each other with respect to achieve everything you could in the early time of life. This is a good look at high school life but is one people could learn from.

ComedyWe have plenty of comedy in this film which is all enjoyable for the audience watching even if most of the humour is based on teen comedy.

SettingsThe high school settings are great because of the morale in the story as the characters learn their lessons about how to treat each other.

Final ThoughtsI grew up watching this film, I loved the story so much that I made the film my username on most things I used, it works on every level it aims for.

 

Overall: This is a worthy addition to the teen comedy genre.

Rating