Classic Franchise – Planet of the Apes (1968)

Director: Franklin J Schaffner

Writer: Michael Wilson, Rod Serling (Screenplay) Pierre Boulle (Novel)

Starring: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly, Linda Harrison

 

Plot: An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Classic

 

Story: Planet of the Apes starts as we follow four astronauts who have been travelling for over 2000 years when the land on a new planet, George Taylor (Heston) take charge of the mission which does suffer a loss on the landing. Along with Landon (Gunner) and Dodge (Burton) the three explore the planet for a way to make sure they can survive.

When the men discover life on the planet, they believe it is only early evolution human, but things take a turn when apes treat the humans like cattle, hunting them down for slaves with Dr Zaius (Evans) learning about the humans with Dr Zira (Hunter) willing to give them a chance. Zira’s partner Cornelius (McDowall) questions he decision to help George but the apes live in a world where they are the almighty. Can George get off the planet before becoming another victim to this world.

 

Thoughts on Planet of the Apes

 

Characters/PerformanceGeorge Taylor is an astronaut on a long space mission with his crew, he is the commander and must lead his crew through the unknown planet, deal with an unknown threat and convince his own case of equality in a world of apes. Cornelius is the ambitious ape that goes against the idea of a biblical existence searching for answer in evolution. Zira also believes in more than the bible of apes and wants to study George to understand where he fits in the evolution stages. Dr Zaius wants to protect the apes, he experiments on the humans and see George as the biggest threat to his kinds type.

Performance wise, Charlton Heston is fantastic in this leading role showing his balance between hero and victim. Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans also all do great jobs through the whole film.

StoryThe story sees what happens when a human space traveller finds themselves arriving in a new world with new rulers, that is the core of the story. What is brilliant to see here is the fact we get a social commentary going including equality, rights for species outside our own as well as the hunting scene including the photo shoot after and finally religion verses evolution. The mix is brilliant blended in a perfectly paced film.

Adventure/Sci-FiThe adventure comes from a new world being explored by George with the sci-fi aspects shows us the new world we could be living in.

SettingsThe settings all work for a future where apes rule a planet, showing how not everything has evolved yet.

Special EffectsThe special effects all work for the time showing us just how the world truly is created.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the classic film that still maintains the look, the style and storytelling to outsmart most modern movie.

 

Overall: One of the best ever made.

Rating

 

 

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Julia Roberts Weekend – Pretty Woman (1990)

Director: Garry Marshall

Writer: J.F. Lawton (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Ralph Bellamy, Jason Alexander, Laura San Giacomo, Hector Elizondo

 

Plot: A man in a legal but hurtful business needs an escort for some social events, and hires a beautiful prostitute he meets… only to fall in love.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Romantic Classic

 

Story: Pretty Woman starts as we see the worlds both businessman Edward (Gere) and prostitute Vivian (Robert) comes from before they meet when as Edward is looking for company. As the time spent together continues Edward wants to keep Vivian around, so much that she would be his date for a business meeting.

While Edward works, he leaves Vivian to shop in the high end of Beverly Hills where she gets treated differently to start with but open with arms wide open once they learn that she has money to spend. The more time they spend together the more they start to fall in love but could anything between these two work out.

 

Thoughts on Pretty Woman

 

Characters/PerformanceEdward is the ruthless businessman, divorced and dumped looking for some company. He hires Vivian to keep him company through the business dealings to keep the love out of the relationship while completing to deal. Vivian is a prostitute that finds herself in a world she is too smart to be part off but it is her only option. She accepts the offer from Edward getting to live a life she never imagined for a week and her shock at each situation comes off genuine throughout.

Performance wise, Richard Gere and Julia Roberts are fantastic here, with Roberts edging the pure quality coming from her performance through the film. the rest of the cast are only in a couple of scenes and are great throughout too.

StoryThe story is mostly about two people from different worlds coming together and falling in love. Yes, this story does show how both the characters could face a change in their lives, Vivian a life off the streets, Edward that not everything is about being ruthless. While most people focus on the love side of the story I liked the change Edward goes through.

Romantic/ComedyThe romantic side of the film is something everyone knows and looks at as one of the iconic moments in the history of film. we have moments of comedy that come from Vivian’s reactions to the high life.

SettingsThe settings are important because it shows how different the two characters come from, the look that Vivian goes through thanks to the settings show how she never imagined this life being.

Final ThoughtsThis will always go down in history as one of the iconic romantic films in film history.

 

Overall: Romantic film for the ages.

Rating

 

 

Pet (2016)

Director: Carles Torrens

Writer: Jeremy Slater (Screenplay)

Starring: Dominic Monaghan, Ksenia Solo, Jennette McCurdy, Da’Vone McDonald, Nathan Parsons, Janet Song, Gary J Tunnucliffe

 

Plot: A psychological thriller about a man who bumps into an old crush and subsequently becomes obsessed with her, leading him to hold her captive underneath the animal shelter where he works. But what will the victim have in store for her captor?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Horror Film with a Twist

 

Story: Pet starts as we meet social awkward animal control warden Seth (Monaghan), he works at the local animal shelter where he connects with the animals more than the people. When Seth sees an old crush Holly (Solo) on the bus he enters her life in a harmless at first stalker way, turning up at her work, her ex-boyfriends bar before her home.

After constantly getting rejected and treated like a freak Seth decides to take things to a new level, by building a cage under the animal shelter. Seth abducts Holly locking her in the cage where no one can hear her, making her his own pet, so he can have the relationship he believes they have in his head as things take a twist along the way.

 

Thoughts on Pet

 

Characters/PerformanceSeth is the social awkward animal control warden who has never been any good with women but when he meets old school crush Holly, he decides to take her and try and save her so they can be together. Holly is the quiet waitress that Seth has a crush on, she recently broke up with her boyfriend but once she is captured we see a darker side to her character which helps take the film in a new direction. Claire is the best friend of Holly that helps her through decisions even when she is trapped in the cage.

Performance wise, Dominic Monaghan is good in this leading role where it becomes clear he is following Elijah Wood’s decision making by going into horror, even if the accent is slightly off at times. Ksenia Solo is good through the film as the potential victim but does a good job in the twist on the story.

StoryThe story follows what seems to be an awkward young man who abducts a victim to force her to fall in love with him, but the story does take a massive twist that makes it a psychological thriller as the two try to gain control of the situation and we are left wondering just how far this will go.

Horror The horror element is clear, girl get taken locked in cage by man, but it takes a turn as we learn more about the characters involved which shows how far people will go for love.

SettingsThe cage is under an animal shelter which does make for a brilliant setting because no one could hear her scream but the way the story goes leaves us wondering about the location needing to be that important.

Special EffectsThe effects are good when needed but are not overly important to the story.

Scene of the Movie – The moment one of the other employees discovers the cage and Holly.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment – I would say the police are incredible naïve here, they are watching cameras and never search every single possible room in the shelter when looking for the missing employee, this seems like a must do if they don’t believe they ever left.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror that gives us a good surprise with the twist, the lead acting is strong throughout even if the supporting cast don’t get enough screen time, it is one to watch and be left shocked by.

 

Overall: Twist filled horror gem.

Rating

 

 

Past and Present (2016)

Director: Hongjian Li

Starring: Xiang Luo, Meixing Chen, Zak, Liang Wang, Ji Zhao, Zai Zi Mo, Chang Yi ran, Xia Xing Ling, Miao Qing

 

Plot: The film tells a horrific story of a group pf students who decide to hold a Ghost Festival and when performing ‘Damn Ten’ evocation process, each of them could see strange souls of their past.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Many False Jump Scares

 

Story: Past and Present starts as we meet a group of students who are in the middle of making their own horror film but as the film is being made there becomes a battle between what is real and what is part of the film as the legend of Bloody Mary seems to have come to take the student souls.

Past and Present has a lot lost in translation for me so I wasn’t 100% sure what was going on because most of the film is just music, maybe a ghostly figure only to end up being one of the friends. I think we do get a balance between superstition and psychology with different character believing different things but in the end this just comes off with plenty of false jump scares and too much going on between the film being made and anything real within the movie.

 

Overall: This film uses way too many false jump scares for its own good losing any real atmosphere needed.

Rating25

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – The Possession of Michael King (2014)

Director: David Jung

Writer: David Jung (Screenplay) David Jung, Tedi Sarafian (Story)

Starring: Shane Johnson, Ella Anderson, Cara Pifko

 

Plot: After poor advice from a psychic leads to the death of his wife, a man vows to disprove the existence of the paranormal by allowing himself to be possessed by demons.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Possession Film

 

Story: The Possession of Michael King starts as documentary film maker Michael King (Johnson) wants to record as much of his family life with wife Samantha (Pifko) and daughter Elli (Anderson). When Samantha is killed in an accident, Michael blames a fortune teller that told Samantha to not travel because success will be coming her way.

Michael frustrated with the loss of his wife decides to enter a new documentary film, one where he investigation the proof of the demons and the afterlife, setting up cameras around his own home to capture any evidence.

Michael visits different people who claim to be able to communicate with demon, the dead or anything supernatural but then he finds himself losing his mind, believing he has been possessed by a demon of sorts.

 

Thoughts on The Possession of Michael King

 

Characters/PerformanceMichael is the grieving father that dives into the dark worlds in search for answers to why his wife was taken, this puts his daughter’s life in danger as the deeper he gets the darker the demons he discovers. When you look at the rest of the characters you only have the daughter that is there not doing much, the sister which is the same and the clips of the wife that try to guide him to light.

Performance wise, Shane Johnson is good in the leading role but it is hard to rate any of the rest of the cast as we spend nearly all of the film watching Michael’s action.

StoryThe story focuses on one man searching for the answers in the afterlife, this isn’t the most original when it comes to how everything goes down but it doesn’t reach level you wouldn’t expect it to go, I also did find the look at different ideas of summoning a demon as we follow Michael go through different ideas to learn how they can come about. This is one for the possession film fans to enjoy.

HorrorThe possession angles being used in this film are brilliant, but with certain moments of found footage don’t completely add up.

SettingsMost of the horror happens within the house which is all good, we the scenes outside show the different worlds that the demon community believe they can summon something from.

Special EffectsThe effects are good throughout and the found footage works to hide moments too.

Final ThoughtsThis is a possession film that does what you need it to, it goes in new direction in places because it doesn’t focus on an innocent victim becoming possessed rather focusing on someone searching for something to happen.

 

Overall: Enjoyable possession film.

Rating