Franchise Weekend – Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)

Director: Jan de Bont

Writer: Dean Georgaris (Screenplay) Steven E de Souza, James V Hart (Story)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Gerald Butler, Ciaran Hinds, Chris Barrie, Noah Taylor, Djimon Hounsou, Til Schweiger

 

Plot: Adventurer Lara Croft goes on a quest to save the mythical Pandora’s Box, before an evil scientist finds it, and recruits a former Marine turned mercenary to assist her.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Enough Sequel

 

Story: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life starts when Lara Croft’s (Jolie) latest treasure hunt ends up with her team killed and her treasure stolen by Chen Lo (Yam) who is willing to sell the orb to arms dealer Jonathan Reiss (Hinds) a former MI6 agent turned evil, that wants to use the orb to locate Pandora’s Box which could bring about the next viral apocalypse on the world.

Lara working with MI6 is joined by disgraced former agent Terry Sheridan (Butler) as per her request as they race around the world to unlock the truth about Pandora’s Box before it ends up in the wrong hands.

 

Thoughts on Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

 

Characters – Lara Croft the treasure hunting heroine that travels the world to locate the treasure of the world before they fall into the wrong hands. She is still the kick ass resourceful heroine we know, we see how her connections around the world can help and hinder her quest. Terry Sheridan is the disgraced former MI6 agent, he is granted freedom for information and his former connection with Lara puts him in the middle of the two sides. Jonathan Reiss is the arms dealer that wants Pandora’s Box to be able to sell to the highest bidders to create chaos in the world. he knows how to get results and is happy to kill anyone that crosses his paths. Bryce and Hillary return in the same roles getting the laughs and doing the background work Lara. Kosa is one of the many connections that Lara has around the world, they are good friends after the previous work and respect between the cultures.

PerformancesAngelina Jolie continues to be great in the role of Lara Croft, she had the perfect look for the character and handled the swagger about the character perfectly well. Gerald Butler is good as the shady partner to Lara through the film, giving us rough around the edges figure. Ciaran Hinds is good in the villainous role even if the character is everything you would expect them to be. Barrie and Taylor continue to give the humour when needed. The rest of the cast are fine as they just fill the role required.

StoryThe story here follows Lara Croft on her next treasure hunt where she faces a new shady society lead by weapons dealer who wants to unlock the power of Pandora’s Box. We get to see her globe trot as she is aided by MI6 to locate the mysterious and deadly item. This does continue keep us in the peril filled situations, the idea that Lara has connections around the world to make treasure hunting possible, the shady organisation and treasure that could cause major destruction to the world. This doesn’t test us to the same levels as the first film because as it ends up just following the same formula.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is big as we have bigger stunts going on through the film including a motorbike sequence along the Great Wall China, flying through the streets of Hong Kong and giant monsters in Africa. The adventure does take us around the world once again which is what we want, but we don’t get enough in tomb locations.

SettingsThe film does take us around the world as we see different locations some iconic, some secret tombs with historic stories.

Special EffectsThe effects are weaker than last time without taking us too far out of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The Great Wall motorbike scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough Tomb location.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough sequel that the fans of the original should enjoy, but if you didn’t like the first one you won’t be enjoying as much.

 

Overall: Solid enough for a sequel.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Lara Croft Tomb Raider (2001) Revisited

This is a revisited review, I first did this as one of my very first reviews in 2012.

 

Director: Simon West

Writer: Patrick Massett, John Zinman (Screenplay) Sara B Cooper, Mike Werb, Michael Colleary (Story)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Iain Glen, Noah Taylor, Daniel Craig, Chris Barrie, Leslie Phillips

 

Plot: Video game adventurer Lara Croft comes to life in a movie where she races against time and villains to recover powerful ancient artefacts.


Tagline – Who Is Lara Croft?

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Fun

 

Story: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider starts on the anniversary of Lara Croft’s (Jolie) father death, with a once in a lifetime planetary alinement happening, Lara just so happens to discover the all seeing eye in her mansion and now she is involved in an adventure she is interested in. Lara’s connection lead her to Manfred Powell (Glen) a man assigned to locate the eye for secret society that want to use its powers for their own desires.

Once Manfred takes the artefact, Lara must go on adventure showing her tomb raiding skills hoping to stop them powerful device causing havoc on the world.

 

Thoughts on Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

 

Characters – Lara Croft lifted straight from the video game, the Lady of Croft Manor, she has found treasures all over the world becoming slightly bored of the popular location, getting a hidden message from her later father Lara’s interest spikes and soon she will be battle a secret society that are using her latest discovery to hopefully control time. We know she is the kick ass action heroine from the video games, calm through each situation, competitive rivalry with Alex West and the best in her field. Lord Richard Croft had died before the story starts, he appears in dreams guiding Lara as he was the one that trained her, he started learning about this event long before it started. Manfred Powell is hired by an underground society that want control of time, he will do anything to get what he wants to prove his value to the society and doesn’t lift a finger when it comes to searching for treasure. Alex West is the American rival to Lara, he works for money over desire to find treasure even if the two do just have an honest rivalry. Bryce and Hillary are the two most trusted people in Lara’s life, one works on her tech while the other looks after the manor.

PerformancesAngelina Jolie was the perfect choice in the year 2001 for this role, she was the best action heroine for the time, had the look of Lara Croft down to perfection as well as the swagger filled attitude. Jon Voight while only in a couple of scenes is good as the father figure needed for Lara. Iain Glen is good as the calculated villain who can kill just as quickly as Lara, he shows the calmness through the film to stay a threat in the film. Daniel Craig as the rival tomb raider is fine, his accent is his weakness though. Noah Taylor and Chris Barrie get most of the laughs which keeps the story on a lighter note.

StoryThe story gives us one of Lara Croft adventures as a Tomb Raider against the Illuminati. The story shows us an established Lara, accepting her place in the high society with connections in the antique world, we see she is trained in combat and this helps us get right into the story. the story shows us how Lara is almost bored of the generic treasure hunts and this knew one sparks her interest once again. When it comes to the story it unfolds as you would imagine, going from one location to the next location for the next chapter of the adventure as we get the different parts to complete the quest.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is set pieces set up on the different adventures Lara is on, be it in the tombs or in the manor which get bigger as the film goes on.

SettingsThe settings take us from the manor, to the tombs in the jungle and Siberia as well as Venice. Each place would be where you could imagine Lara going on her adventures.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mix of good and bad, for the time however they would have been excellent to watch, with the stone figures in the tomb sequence.


Scene of the Movie –
First Tomb sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain effects have dated.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action adventure bring to life one of the most iconic video game characters in Lara Croft.

 

Overall: Action adventure worth watching.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – T – Tag (2018)

Director: Jeff Tomsic

Writer: Rob McKittrick, Mark Steilen (Screenplay) Russell Adams (Article)

Starring: Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb, Hannibal Burgess

 

Plot: A small group of former classmates organize an elaborate, annual game of tag that requires some to travel all over the country.


Tagline – Based on a True Story. We’re Not Kidding.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Funny

 

Story: Tag starts in the month of May, the same month five friends Hoagie (Helms), Bob (Hamm), Chilli (Johnson), Sable (Buress) and Jerry (Renner) always play a game of ‘Tag’ the problem is they have normal lives and for the 30 years of playing they have never managed to tag Jerry. This year he wants to retire from the game, which brings the other four out to bring their best game.

The four are joined by Hoagie’s wife Anna (Fisher) who takes things too seriously and reporter Rebecca Crosby (Wallis) who believes this could be a major story as they all head home for the wedding.

 

Thoughts on Tag

 

Characters – Hoagie is one of the gang, the one that still takes the game of tag the most serious willing to take fake jobs to get his friends, he joins his wife who keeps him determined to get Jerry this year. Bob now in a successful businessman who is being interviewed at the time of the beginning of the game this year and now his story will help bring the game to the life of the public. Chilli is the stoner of the group, his life hasn’t gone well with his marriage, business and career not going well. Sable seems to be the guy trying to put his life back together, we don’t learn too much about his life away from the gang, but he does get plenty of laughs. Jerry is the one from the group that has never been caught, he has turned the whole game into a mission to prove he can escape and plan ahead of anybody who comes for him. Rebecca Crosby is the reporter that is writing a story on Bob, only to get learn of the game of tag that makes for a much bigger story. Anna is Hoagie’s competitive wife who would be the be the best player in the game if she was allowed to play.

PerformancesEd Helms, Jake Johnson, Jon Hamm and Hannibal Buress have great chemistry which shows in their performances, we get laughs from all of them without one getting more than the others. Isla Fisher is the strongest actress in the film because the characters are not used to the full amounts in the film. Jeremy Renner is the highlight in the film because he goes against the typecast we know and hits the comedy moments throughout.

StoryThe story here follows the story of five friends that have been spent 30-years playing tag once a year for a month and this time the four are determined to get the one that has never been caught. This is clearly and early message about brotherhood and remaining friends for a lifetime, it gave the guys an excuse to just go and see their friends. We do get moments that I feel do go too far when it comes to getting involved in the game, but the idea of the game is just as crazy as it sounds. I did like the fact this story showed us how life can get in the way of friendship the older we get and this gives us a reason to keep in contact with them, brining a moment of happiness to a life that could be going in a bad direction.

ComedyThe comedy in the film is great, though it easily has moments that will upset people because certain jokes could be slightly too offensive, the chases will get the most laughs.

SettingsThe film takes the friends in their home town which shows the important message behind the game which gives us a nice feeling.


Scene of the Movie –
The concept of friendship.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain moments are too dark.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great comedy that people will enjoy the most part of the message of friendship, it has great performances from everyone involved too.

 

Overall: Must watch comedy.

Rating

 

 

Triassic World (2018)

Director: Dylan Vox

Writer: Marc Gottlieb (Screenplay)

Starring: Shellie Sterling, Hayley J Williams, Joseph Michael Harris, Jennifer Levinson, Thomas Steven Varga, Joel Berti

 

Plot: Dinosaurs are being used to grow human organs for transplants. But the scientists that created them have to fight back when the creatures escape.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Late Night Movie

 

Story: Triassic World starts when investor Steven Hagen (Berti) is visiting a research facility that is using dinosaurs to grow human transplant organs to help save thousands of lives, Dr Martinelli (Williams) is giving the tour showing the progress while Diana (Sterling) isn’t playing along like she should be.

When one of the dinosaurs gets out of its cage, the facility is put on lock down with Thomas Adkins (Harris) tracking the dinosaur down before it gets its teeth into too many employees.

 

Thoughts on Triassic World

 

Characters – Diana is the scientist who knows she is searching for the right outcome, she doesn’t want to let her research get released early in case it hasn’t been complete. She doesn’t want to kill the escaped dinosaur knowing it could lose the research and remains calm through the situation the group find themselves in. Dr Marisa Martinelli is the public relations doctor that will say anything to get the money her team needs. Thomas Adkins is the one running the capture attempt, he is the best at tracking the dinosaurs and knowing the weak spots. Think this is meant to be the Owen character from the bigger budget sister. Bridget is the assistant to Steven, he isn’t interested in anything going on until it becomes life and death which shows her as the screaming character for the most part.

PerformancesThis is an Asylum movie, we know that the performances are not going to be fantastic, but unlike many of the company’s films, these performances feel stronger than normal, we get generic characters that are just disposable like others giving the actors time to perform.

StoryThe story here follows the idea a test facility becomes overrun by dinosaurs looking for dinner. We follow the survivors look for a way out, while containing the situation before it gets out of hand. This does feel like something we have seen before, though it is a nice formula that works well, we have seen infected people or creatures and then turning to dinosaurs makes this a bigger threat for the people to go against. When we look at the research side of the film, we get to see a lot of the Deep Blue Sea ideas borrowed here, using an animal to get results in human health problems, again nothing new, but nothing that needs fixing.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action in the film follows the survivors battling the dinosaurs which isn’t the best action, but works for the horror side of the film because we see how the violence can be seen from the attacks. The sci-fi side of the film shows us just what humans would do with animals to save their own lives.

SettingsThe film is set inside the research facility that is put in lock down once one of the dinosaurs escapes, we have our characters trapped with no escape because of a quarantine against the blood thirsty dinosaurs. This usage of settings does help the movie feel contained and improves the tension in places.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are lower budget, they do work for the film through, we get the less is more technique, with glimpses of the CGI dinosaurs looking weaker, but when it comes to the attacks the action improves a lot.


Scene of the Movie –
The drill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain CGI clips do feel like repeats of previous ones.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun dinosaur movie, it keeps everything simple and you can see plenty of bloody splatter unlike the blockbuster dinosaur movies.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

Tales of Halloween (2015)

Directors: Darren Lynn Dousman, Axelle Caroyln, Ada Gierasch, Andrew Kasch, Neil Marshall, Lucky McKee, Mike Mendez, Dave Parker, Ryan Schifrin, John Skipp, Paul Solet

 

Plot: Ten stories are woven together by their shared theme of Halloween night in an American suburb, where ghouls, imps, aliens and axe murderers appear for one night only to terrorize unsuspecting residents.


Tagline – One night. One town. Ten chilling stories.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Horror Anthology

 

 

Thoughts on Tales of Halloween

 

3 I enjoyed the Most

 

·        The Night Billy Raised Hellthis story follows a young boy tricked into pranking the town crazy only to find himself going on a night out with the town crazy raising havoc all over town. This has a great twist in it and having Barry Bostwick in only makes it better.

·        Friday the 31stThis follows a lone girl being hunted down by serial killer similar to a Jason, only for things to take a very different twist half way through, this has comedy and horror down perfectly.

·        The Ransom of Rusty RexWhen two criminal kidnap a boy on Halloween hoping to claim a ransom for him, but things take a turn when the discover what they have taken this is moments of humour that work very well and can be enjoyed too.


3 I didn’t enjoy

 

·        The Weak and the WickedThis story follows a young man being chased down by a group of psychotic thugs, but he has a reason, this is a good story, but generic in how things unfold.

·        Grim Grinning Ghost – This follows a trip home by a woman that soon becomes haunted by ghosts and then it seems to end.

·        This Means War We have rival neighbours trying to compete over the best Halloween displays, which feels like an extension of All America Rejects Give You Hell.


Final Thoughts
This is one for the anthology fans out there, the stories are short and sweet which is what the fans of the horror stories will enjoy and this ticks the boxes well, it does have a few misses, but what anthology doesn’t.

 

Overall: Nice simple anthology that can be enjoyed by horror fans.

Rating