ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – U – Uncle Buck (1989)

Director: John Hughes

Writer: John Hughes (Screenplay)

Starring: John Candy, Jean Louisa Kelly, Gaby Hoffman, Macaulay Culkin, Amy Madigan, Elaine Bromka, Garrrett M Brown

 

Plot: Bachelor and all round slob, Buck, babysits his brother’s rebellious teenage daughter and her cute younger brother and sister.


Tagline – He’s crude. He’s crass. He’s family.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Comedy

 

Story: Uncle Buck starts when Cindy (Bromka) and Bob Russell (Brown) must rush out of town, the only option is to turn to Bob’s brother Buck (Candy) to look after their three kids, eldest Tia (Kelly), Maizy (Hoffman) and Miles (Culkin), they know it is a risk, but it is their only option.

We follow how Buck always keep a happy face on the situation regardless of how people are treating him, with the laughs coming from the misfortunes.

 

Thoughts on Uncle Buck

 

Characters – Buck Russell is the unreliable brother to Bob, he struggles to keep a job, stay in a relationship, but in his time of need Buck comes to babysit his nieces and nephew, his methods do offer more love than the kids are normal even if the eldest doesn’t like the attention. Tia is the teenage daughter that believes she could have looked after her young siblings, she doesn’t like having Buck around and would rather be off partying with her boyfriend. Miles is the son that takes a shine to Buck because he is willing to play along with his games. Maizy is the younger daughter who needs the attention, she misses her mother and Buck does the best to comfort her.

PerformancesJohn Candy is brilliant in this leading role, he gets moments where he gets to show his comedy style, while also handling the serious side to his character. Jean Louisa Kelly is good in her role because you instantly don’t like her even though she is playing the typical moody teenager. The two youngster Culkin and Hoffman both give us good performances for their age, Culkin does get a lot of the better funny scenes of the two.

StoryThe story here follows the unwanted uncle forced to look after his nieces and nephews as a last resort. We see how he gives everything to make sure they are kept safe even if not everything is going well with household chores. This story does get to focus on certain family relationship that could be strained through time, even if the person means well with their actions. It does play into the unlikely person being the most important person in a child’s life when they need them most.

Comedy The comedy in the film lets John Candy handle his style, show how Culkin was going to be a mega star with how cute kid routine which steals nearly every scene.

SettingsThe film takes us to a suburban neighbourhood where the family lives to keep the story flowing with the heart and soul is needs.


Scene of the Movie –
Quick questions between Miles and Buck.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Miles and Maizy do take the back burner for the second half of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun comedy that lets the star show his skills and gets laughs every time it goes for.

 

Overall: Laugh out loud moment.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005)

Director: Mary Lambert

Writer: Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Mara, Robert Vito, Tina Lifford, Ed Marinaro, Michael Coe, Lillith Fields

 

Plot: On a prom-night dare, a trio of high school friends chant an incantation, unleashing an evil spirit from the past with deadly consequences.


Tagline – Mary’s Evil is Beyond Legend

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Better Than I Remembered

 

Story: Urban Legends: Bloody Mary starts as we follow three high school students including Samantha Owens (Mara) who are playing with the ideas of urban legends and the Bloody Mary myth, which sees them disappear for a couple of days.

When they return Samantha’s brother David (Vito) believes it had something to do with the football team that she exposed, but soon the Mary ghost starts putting the students through their own nightmares.

 

Thoughts on Urban Legends: Bloody Mary

 

Characters – Samantha Owens is on of the high school reporters, her latest story exposes the football team which leads to her being exiled from the school dance, victim of a prank she is put through the same ordeal that three student years before went through, which unleashes a vengeful spirit. She must figure out what is going on before too many people start dying. David is the brother of Samantha, he always watches over his sister and will stand by her to stop anything happening to her. Grace Taylor was one of the survivors that was involved in the first kidnapping that took place, she doesn’t remember who was involved and has spent her life avoiding the truth. Bill is the step father of Sam and David, thy have never been fond of him and we learn early on that he was around during the first incident.

PerformancesKata Mara is the lead in this film, this is one of her first leading roles and you can see she does have the little bit extra about her that will make her standout in the future. The rest of the cast is solid enough, certain smaller supporting roles do have weak performances, but once they are killed off it isn’t a problem.

StoryThe story here follows high school students that unleashes an urban Legend on the world only for them to get picked off, they need to solve the mystery of the whereabouts of the murdered teenager to bring about the end of the curse. This does use connection to the first two films, mostly by pointing out who the killer in the second one was, showing that people will use Urban Legends to kill. By using the students names we learn who the killer is too early which is a shame because it could have been a good twist, when it comes to the kills the idea they are based on Urban Legends once again ends up mixed because some are just crimes which take advantage of the situation over being a legend. This will also fail by the fact that it decided to go supernatural on us for no reason what so ever.

Horror/MysteryThe kills continue to use the Urban Legends which is fine, we have learnt about these in previous films, but the supernatural side of everything only lets things down, the mystery behind the film is easier to solve once we look at the people in the opening sequence.

SettingsHaving a high school setting does make this feel too big, it also leaves us to wide spread for the kills mostly taking place in homes.

Special EffectsThe effects the biggest weakness of the film, anything practical works fine, but those CGI moments mostly the spider scene look terrible.


Scene of the Movie –
The fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Those spiders.

Final ThoughtsFor the third in a franchise this is fine, it works and will make for a good late night movie we can enjoy as horror fans.

 

Overall: Late night viewing.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)

Director: John Ottman

Writer: Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson (Screenplay) Silvio Horta (Characters)

Starring: Jennifer Morrison, Matthew Davis, Hart Bochner, Loretta Devine, Joey Lawrence, Anson Mount, Eva Mendes

 

Plot: A film school is the center of a fresh spate of killings based on urban legends.


Tagline – It was an urban legend that started it all. Now it continues on the Alpine University campus… 

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Late Night Movie

 

Story: Urban Legends: Final Cut starts as we head to a new university where the students are film students making a horror movie, Amy Mayfield (Morrison) comes from a line of famous film makers adding the pressure to excel, meeting Reese (Devine) the returning security guard that wouldn’t accept the silence after the events of the first movie, she give Amy the idea for her project, a serial killer using Urban Legends.

With Amy’s movie started it doesn’t take long before the cast start getting picked off, Amy must work with twin brother of highly regarded student Trevor Stark (Davis) and feisty security guard Reese to solve the murders and get her film done on time.

 

Thoughts on Urban Legends: Final Cut

 

Characters – Amy is the young filmmaker studying at university looking to find an idea for her project, she gets that idea from Reese, a horror film where the killer uses Urban Legends to kill the victims, she must deal with jealous students who feel she is stepping on their genre, young artists who want to make a name for themselves and soon a serial killer that wants to use the Urban Legends for their own killing spree. Sadly, she is the only character we truly get to know much about, we have the Stark twins, with the student one killing himself which draws his brother to learn why, the returning Reese who is the connection between the two movies, still the most entertaining character and many other students and professor who either work on or help plan the film Amy is making. This biggest problem with most of the supporting characters is that they don’t seem to understand horror movies, even though they are making one.

PerformancesJennifer Morrison takes her first leading role here, she is good for horror, as this role is the only one that seems to understand horror films. Matthew Davis in twin roles is solid enough as they are both in different mood settings through the film. Lorette Devine is the best character to watch once again. We have an early role from Eva Mendes here to which is a highlight.

StoryThe story here follows the events of the first film which have been swept under the carpet, now a film student learns of the idea and decides to make a movie based on an Urban Legend killer. This is understandable and should work because we like the idea of meta in movies, the problems arise when this film students that are making a horror movie don’t seem to understand the rules of horror movies, add in the fact that we only have certain kills in the film being based on urban legends while others are crimes of opportunity. When it comes to the slasher side of the film we don’t get as many suspects this time which does disappoints, but everything works well enough for the film if you want a late-night movie.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film does follow most of the same trends, we have the urban legends being the designs for most of the deaths, though the mystery in this film falls short because we don’t believe that any of the suspects could be guilty.

SettingsWe keep the university setting, with a lot of the sequences taking place in the created sets and giving us behind the look locations for horror movie production.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed because we do get to see a lot of cheats behind how effects can be made with a couple of characters, when it comes to the real kills things are good without being anything special.


Scene of the Movie –
Reese is excellent to watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the characters don’t understand how horror movies work.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough sequel, it gives us plenty to enjoy when it comes to late night horror which can always be enjoyed by the right audience.

 

Overall: Solid sequel.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Urban Legend (1998)

Director: Jamie Blanks

Writer: Silvio Horta (Screenplay)

Starring: Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, Michael Rosenbaum, Loretta Devine, Joshua Jackson, Tara Reid, Robert Englund

 

Plot: A college student suspects a series of bizarre deaths are connected to certain urban legends.


Tagline – Never Talk To Strangers, Never Answer The Phone, Never Flash Your Lights, Never Leave The Car, And Always Believe, What You’re Told

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun Slasher

 

Story: Urban Legend starts as we meet our college students Natalie (Witt) Paul (Leto), Brenda (Gayheart), Parker (Rosenbaum), Damon (Jackson) and Sasha (Reid) who are all studying in a class where Professor William Wexler (Englund) teaches them about the origins of urban legends.

When Natalie sees Damon killed in the myth of an urban legend she starts to believe there is a serial killer on campus and it is up to campus security officer Reese Wilson (Devine) to keep everyone safe, while Natalie tries to get to the bottom of everything.

 

Thoughts on Urban Legend

 

Characters – Natalie is our leading student, it is her old friend that is the first victim with the next couple of killings are people close to her, she is determined to learn the truth believing there is an Urban Legend serial killer taking advantage of the anniversary of a tragedy on campus. Paul works for the campus newspaper and with the murders starting on campus he gets big stories even if the Dean is trying to spin them into nothing, he helps Natalie investigate the truth even though he knows each murder could have an answer. Brenda is the best friend of Natalie’s who helps her through her time of need being the most frightened about the Urban Legends. Reese is the head of security that idolises Pam Grier and wants to keep the student safe no matter what.

PerformancesThis cast is filled with young actors that only went onto bigger projects, Alicia Witt in the leading role is good throughout, the innocent slasher style final girl figure. Jared Leto shows us that he is mostly likely the best performer of the students, Rebecca Gayheart is good at the typical best friend figure which again helps fill the generic roles the film painfully uses. Loretta Devine is the potential show stealer here with her character getting the best lines while trying to solve the crime. As I was saying most of the characters are generic with each performer getting their parts done very well.

StoryThe story here brings us to a slasher horror movie which makes the killer select different Urban Legends to kill their victims. This does bring an original twist to how the kills are being completed, until things just turn into a slasher generic movie for the later kills, lets all be honest, we know slasher movies don’t need the most intense stories and you generally will follow the traits of the genre. One big plus point for this movie is that we get plenty of suspects, just when you think it is one person, things take a twist a throw another suspect in the prime position, this happens plenty of times which is a huge plus for any movie.

Horror/MysteryFor a horror movie this gives us the generic characters, mistakes that we know too, the kills start being unique with the urban legend style behind them and the mystery comes from just who is behind the murders with plenty of different characters with motivations.

SettingsThe film takes place on a college campus, this give our characters reason to not be able to just run with the Dead believing things are pranks and good reasons behind other deaths. The one negative about this location is that these kids are all stupid enough to believe urban legends are real in the first place.

Special EffectsThe effects are used for the kills which are simple and never needing to be over the top either.


Scene of the Movie –
Urban Legends kills.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Understanding American laws, partial spoiler, but how did the girls not get prison time?

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most enjoyable and original slasher movies, it has a unique idea that makes it standout with a wonderfully talent young cast.

 

Overall: Slasher that stands out.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – U – Unconscious (2014)

Director: Michael Polish

Writer: Amy Kolquist, Mike Le (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Bosworth, Wes Bentley, Olivia Rose Keegan, Shashawnee Hall, Richard Riehle, Patrick Bauchau

 

Plot: The story of a man who wakes up in bed suffering from memory loss after being in an accident, only to begin to suspect that his wife may not be his real wife and that a web of lies and deceit deepen inside the house where he soon finds himself a prisoner.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Thriller

 

Story: Unconscious starts when a man (Bentley) is involved in an accident, when he awakes his wife (Bosworth) looks to care for him through his recover, but he has lost his memory, meaning she must rebuild their relationship. Believing everything he is told the man goes along with everything until he makes the discover that the woman isn’t who she claims to be.

The man must find a way to survive becoming prisoner to this woman who just wants her own family and she will do anything to make this happen.

 

Thoughts on Unconscious

 

Characters/PerformanceThe characters don’t have names they are only just known as man and woman, the woman keeps the man hostage inside her home as she looks to start a family, she is filled with useless information and always comes off distant and emotionless. The man is involved in an accident where he loses him memory, he believes what is being said until he learns the truth where he must do anything to survive.

Performance wise, Bosworth is great in this leading role where we see an emotionless psychotic character come out of what we have usually known as a bubbly actress. Wes Bentley is good but not to the levels we know he can reach.

StoryThe story here is very slow, we get parts borrowed clearly from Misery where a woman abducts a man for her own wishes, sure this does go into different motives but we see how the punishment for trying to escape can become more painfully as the man tries to escape. The pace is solid enough but the truth is I would have liked slightly more pace to this movie.  

Horror/Mystery The punishment the man must go through with the mystery being surrounding why the woman is doing this and what caused the accident in the first place.

SettingsWe have most of the film inside the house which is created to feel like a prison for our main character the man. It is designed so the woman knows and is prepared for anything.

Final ThoughtsThis horror does have a pacing issue which does make us wonder what direction things will be going in, it never reaches a fully intense level which I feel it needs to and falls into the slow burning thriller that needs a twist to save it.

 

Overall: This thriller comes off short.

Rating