Franchise Weekend – Seed of Chucky (2004)

seedDirector: Don Mancini

Writer: Don Mancini (Screenplay)

Starring: Brad Dourif, Jennifer Tilly, Billy Boyd, Redman, Hannah Spearritt, John Waters, Jason Flemyng

 

Plot: Chucky and Tiffany are resurrected by their innocent son, Glen, and hit Hollywood, where a movie depicting the killer dolls’ murder spree is underway.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Addition

 

Story: Seed of Chucky starts as we meet Glen (Voiced by Boyd) the son of Chucky and Tiffany who has been having nightmares about killing people but he knows nothing about his parent’s past as he is just used in a ventriloquist competition.

Elsewhere in the world, there is a new Chucky movie being made following Chucky and Tiffany with Jennifer Tilly returning to the franchise. When Glen sees a feature about the making of the film he sets out to find what he believes to be his parents all the way in Hollywood.

When Glen brings Chucky and Tiffany back to life the killing spree begins once again but this time in Hollywood. With the dolls looking for new bodies Chucky and Tiffany battle with what sex Glen or Glenda is as he learns how his parents are killers and they need to teach him their ways.

 

Thoughts on Seed of Chucky

 

StoryWhen you look at the Chucky film franchise it went in a new direction with Bride of Chucky and this story continues that idea with the family dynamic, this story as well before it’s time by tackling the transgender character in Glen/Glenda as well as having the parental reaction one supporting the other against. Putting the film within the settings of the real world of making a film does borrows heavily from New Nightmare and the Scream franchise which works adding a new dimension to the comedy but in the end this became the of the franchise direction.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy in this film comes from the references being used within the film to other films as we see how the dolls try to cover up their kills from their child. The horror is a slasher and comes off very effective for the genre with all blood, gore and unique kills.

Characters/PerformanceThe returning characters are al fun throughout the additions all work well with Glen/Glenda adding to the laughs and Jennifer Tilly not being afraid to poke fun at herself. The performances all fit the film well without being one of the most iconic of the franchise.

SettingsBring the action to Hollywood makes this film have a lot more fun with itself where it gets to bring the characters into the real world of being the stars of the films they are being made for.

Special EffectsWhen you look at the special effects, you can see how it has started to date over time which does take away from some of the kills.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun addition to the franchise not being the best or the worst just another addition to it.

 

Overall: Enjoy the crazy adventures of Chucky and his family.

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Soul Surfer (2011)

soulDirector: Sean McNamara

Writer: Sean McNamara, Deborah Schwartz, Douglas Schwartz, Michael Berk, Matt Allen, Caleb Wilson, Brad Gann (Screenplay) Bethany Hamilton, Sheryl Berk, Rick Bundschuh (Book)

Starring: AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid, Carrie Underwood, Keven Sorbo, Ross Thomas, Chris Brochu

 

Plot: Teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton overcomes the odds and her own fears of returning to the water after losing her left arm in a shark attack.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Inspiring Film

 

Story: Soul Surfer starts as Bethany Hamilton (Robb) born in Hawaii to surfer parents Cheri (Hunt) and Tom (Quaid) to grown into a teenage surfer wanting to make herself a true professional along with her older brothers Noah (Thomas) and Timmy (Brochu). When Bethany gets her first sponsorship deal on the verge of national championships even against the religious beliefs under Sarah Hill (Underwood). When Bethany stays to continue her training, disaster strikes when she has her arm torn off by a shark.

With her life changed forever the island makes Bethany a celebrity because of the story of how brave she was during the attack. Her own life is what is going to be difficult though as she must learn to live with just one arm, but her biggest desire is to get back in the water and do the thing she loves the most, surf. This is the incredible story of how Bethany never gave up on her dreams despite what happened to her.

Soul Surfer is the amazing true story of the bravery of teenager Bethany Hamilton as she has to show all the courage to not only survive the shark attack with such calm but never wanting to give up on her own dreams and desires to be a professional surfer. Myself knowing nothing about surfing other than it is done in the water, I found myself on edge through every single surfing scene wanting to see just what could be pulled off through one of these waves.

AnnaSophia is brilliant in this leading role showing us all that Freddy Highmore wasn’t the only star out of the children in Charlie and Chocolate Factory. Quaid and Hunt are great as the parents feeling natural throughout the whole film with their concern to their support of Bethany’s decisions. Using Hawaii as a back drop for this film also isn’t disappointing because it is always a stunning vision to witness. This film would inspire all the underachievers out there who know they are capable of anything with the hard work needed to achieve it.

 

Overall: Easily one of the top inspirational sports and human stories out there.

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Split (2016)

splitDirector: M Night Shyamalan

Writer: M Night Shyamalan (Screenplay)

Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Betty Buckley

 

Plot: Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, and must try and escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: M Night is Back

 

Story: Split starts as we see outsider Casey (Taylor-Joy) being offered a lift home by her class mates Claire (Richardson) and Marcia (Sula) only to find Dennis (McAvoy) kidnapping them. Waking up they find themselves locked in a room only to find Dennis is just one of the personalities keeping them there.

The film follows how the darker personalities a waiting a beast figure to arrives keep the girls locked up while Barry is still seeing his therapist who has been helping his personality disorder for years. We are left to see just which personality we are going to meet each scene as we learn more about his past as well as learning Casey isn’t as helpless as she looks.

 

Thoughts on Split

 

StoryThe story here comes along to tackle the mental illness and the multiply personality disorder people can suffer from. We do have the kidnapping angle which we have seen many times before but somewhere along the line this film accepts that horror movies exist because the character decisions are based on seeing them. Where this story stands out is in the pure storytelling aspects because we get clues along the way and each scene builds the suspense for the final outcome of the film, which does have a killing twist.

Horror/ThrillerWe have the kidnapping side of the story which is the horror of the unknown purpose but this film really shines on the psychologic thriller side as we are left guessing through every single scene.

Characters/PerformanceI will look at the doctor who I do feel is professional questionable throughout this film and the girls are two basic kidnap victims while the third is the ever popular prepared for this scenario. Now the performances are all good here with Anya Taylor-Joy once against shining in the horror genre.

Now discussion James McAvoy is always going to be a mix of character and performance because he portrays each character with everything the personality requires, be it the intense level of Dennis, the childish mannerisms of Hedwig or the Barry character that seems to be in control. McAvoy gives a performance that could get people talking about why horror never gets considered for awards because this performance could well be in the top by any actor this year and he deserves all the praise he is getting.

SettingsThe film does seem to be set within just a few locations with the kidnapped arena if you like, the doctor’s office and Casey’s memories. This does help us understand the direction of the film and what leads to everything that goes on through the film.

Special EffectsWe only have a few moments of special effects but they all work for how the film unfolds and not turning to them for the important final act.

Final ThoughtsThe Visit bought M Night back in the right direction but this proves that this guy can give us a fantastic horror thriller that makes every single scene mean something once you know all the pieces.

 

Overall: This is a fantastic thriller that people are going to love and hate but I feel this is one we should be seeing if you are a fan of M Night more popular work.

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Rogue One (2016)

rogueDirector: Gareth Edwards

Writer: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy (Screenplay) John Knoll, Gary Whitta (Story)

Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen

 

Plot: The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Franchise Filling

 

Story: Rogue One starts Galen Erso (Mikkelsen) and his family hiding on a planet from the Empire with Orson Krennic (Mendelsohn) hunting them down. Jyn (Jones) rescued by Saw Gerrera (Whitaker) grows up to be captured by the imperial guards.

With Jyn broken out of an Imperial labour prison by the rebels who want to use her to find her father who could be working on the Deathstar. Cassian Andor (Luna) is leading an attempt to stop the final preparation of the Deathstar with the connection with Saw Gerrera being important to finding her father.

What follows is the adventure before the saga begins, as the unlikely rebels must steal the plans for the Deathstar to stop the empire from rising to complete power in the universe.

 

Thoughts on Rogue One

 

StoryThis is the prequel to the loved trilogy that is actually a sequel to the disliked trilogy. We only get a snippet into the world of Star Wars with mentions of the force but nothing much going on around the force which is a good plus. This is does feel like a darker story to anything we have seen before with it feeling like a gritter side to the battle rather than the lightsabre action we are used too. Now I don’t want to be a negative person but if this was the first story in the saga I feel it wouldn’t be up to scratch with where the franchise goes, but if this was just a standalone space film it would feel empty of the final impact needed.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is all grand and what you would expect from the Star Wars universe with the adventure being something we are also used to seeing. The sci-fi world is all fine even though the film tries hard to stay serious and down to Earth throughout.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters do all feel like they are from the middle of a rebel fight all coming from different worlds to fight which is all good, the lead character Jyn well she is strong but she is no Rey so don’t go in there expecting a character that strong. The most annoying character to me was voiced brilliantly so nothing against Alan Tudyk but the robot character felt like it had been stolen from Interstellar’s Tars.  When it comes to the performances everyone does a good job throughout so I can’t complain or criticise them in anyway.

SettingsThe settings do all feel gritter making us feel like we are in the war without the force powers going on later in the saga but we do have too many planets to keep on top of which are relevant to later chapters in the story.

Special EffectsYou can’t fault any of the special effects because it is all brilliant like you would expect from a film of this reputation.

Final ThoughtsStretching the universe once more filling in the gaps that didn’t need filling to cover up the wait until the next chapter in the main saga. This is an easy watch but in the end, will struggle to make the top 3 of any Star Wars fans list.

 

Overall: Franchise filler that didn’t need to be made that doesn’t capture the spirit of this franchise.

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School of Rock (2003)

schoolDirector: Richard Linklater

Writer: Mike White (Screenplay)

Starring: Jack Black, Adam Pascal, Lucas Papaelias, Chris Stack, Sarah Silverman, Mike White, Lucas Babin, Joan Cusack, Jordan-Claire Green

 

Plot: After being kicked out of a rock band, Dewey Finn becomes a substitute teacher of a strict elementary private school, only to try and turn it into a rock band.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun Comedy

 

Story: School of Rock starts as we meet Dewey Finn (Black) a down on his luck musician who is kicked out of his band and about to become homeless unless he kind find the money to pay rent to his long-time roommate Theo (Pascal).

Dewey takes a job as a substitute teacher that is meant to be for Theo and sees his class as a new band that he can enter into the battle of the bands. His class turns into band practise and this gives him a chance to learn to grow up himself and teach the children to be ready for the big world.

School of Rock is a film that shows elements of coming of age tale where we see one man who has never accomplished much who finds his passion for life in helping the next generation stand out from the crowd. This is an entertaining comedy that just spices something new into the teacher student relationship which is always one of the most important in developing the next generation and you can see that this is one role Jack Black was perfect to play, so much so you couldn’t see anyone else doing this role.

 

Overall: This is a perfectly cast fun comedy that can be enjoyed by all.

Rating75