Weird Science (1985)

Director: John Hughes

Writer: John Hughes (Screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Michael Hall, Kelly LeBrock, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Bill Paxton Suzanne Snyder, Judie Aronson, Robert Downey Jr

 

Plot: Two high school nerds attempt to create the perfect woman, but she turns out to be more than that.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: 80’s Teen Comedy Fun

 

Story: Weird Science starts as we meet our two social outcasts high school students Gary Wallace (Hall) and Wyatt Donnelly (Mitchell-Smith) who tired of being shunned by the girls at school, decide to build their perfect woman on a computer. This creates their perfect woman, Lisa (LeBrock) who they gave intelligence to go with her sexiness.

Lisa shows the boys a good time as well as teaching them to stand up for themselves be it Wyatt over his military school brother Chet (Paxton) or Gary when it comes to talking to woman. The two boys learn so much from Lisa so they will be ready for the real world.

 

Thoughts on Weird Science

 

Characters/PerformanceGary is the slightly more confident of the two boys, he stays positive through all the bad things that have happened to the two, but he can get them in trouble too. Wyatt is the constantly worrying of the two, he is the computer whiz that does the technical side of creating Lisa. Lisa is the created woman that finds a way to bring out the best in the boys as she is a free spirit that will let the boys see the new vision on life.

Performance wise, Hall was one of the go to teen stars of the time and this shows why he was great in these geek like roles, Mitchel-Smith was also good through the film too showing he could handle the teen comedy genre. Kelly LeBrock fits the role perfectly looking the part needed for the sexy woman the boys couldn’t understand.

StoryThe story does follow two nerds that don’t fit in getting shown the way to fit in by just being themselves rather than trying to impress others. This story fits into the 80 style of storytelling with an over the top idea into a fantasy film.

Comedy/Romance/Sci-FiThe comedy clicks for the time even if some moments do come off dated in places with the romance being teen romance which is all fine and the sci-fi comes from being able to create your own woman.

SettingsThe settings show us the different environment Gary and Wyatt must go into to fit in as well as keeping the home comfortable for them.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to 80s film this will must go down as one of the best, parts have dated now but this still does what teen comedies should do throughout.

 

Overall: Classic 80s teen comedy.

Rating

 

 

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Windmill Massacre (2016)

Director: Nick Jongerius

Writer: Nick Jongerius, Chris W Mitchell, Suzy Quid (Screenplay)

Starring: Patrick Baladi, Ben Batt, Charlotte Beaumont, Fiona Hampton, Tanroh Ishida

 

Plot: Jennifer is an Australian girl on the run from her past who washes up in Amsterdam. In a desperate attempt to stay one step ahead of the authorities, she joins a coach-load of tourists embarking on a tour of Holland’s world famous windmills. When the bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere, she and the other tourists are forced to seek shelter in a disused shed beside a sinister windmill where, legend has it, a Devil-worshiping miller once ground the bones of locals instead of grain. As members of the group start to disappear, Jennifer learns that they all have something in common – a shared secret that seems to mark them all for doom.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre Horror

 

Story: The Windmill Massacre starts as we meet our string of characters, Australian runaway Jennifer (Beaumont), the father son Douglas (Baladi) and Curt (Wright), ambitious photographer Ruby (Hampton), British soldier Jackson (Batt), Japanese tourist Takashi (Ishida) and artist Nicholas Cooper (Taylor) as they take a bus trip around Holland with Abe (Klever).

When the bus breaks down by a mysterious unmarked windmill the group find themselves being hunted down by a killer that seems to be making them pay for their sins. With tensions running high who will make it out alive?

 

Thoughts on The Windmill Massacre

 

Characters/PerformanceJennifer is an Australian on the run from her past through Holland, she suffers nightmares about her father which make her come off crazy, she must face her own demons to survive this night. Douglas West is an overworking businessman who has taken his son on holiday, he will do anything to protect his son, but finds himself easily distracted by work. Dr Nicolas Cooper has been studying the arts of Holland looking to create his own memorable piece of art, the rest of the cast all come off like out would expect for any horror too.

Performance wise, Noah Taylor is the big name in this film and easily becomes the one you want to learn most about and this is good even though he is only a supporting character. Charlotte Beaumont is fine in the leading role but you feel we could have had more from her, the rest of the cast are all fine but nothing that memorable.

StoryThe story behind this horror is similar to many horrors out there, characters needing to face their sins for their past, while facing the sins they learn about human emotion and we have blood and gore thrown in here now. This does create way too many attempts of having sinners responsible for people’s death in one journey for my liking. We also don’t get enough focus on the emotional effect of what these people did apart from Jennifer’s character.

HorrorWe have plenty of blood and gore going on here but this could have suspense, it doesn’t it just looks to go for the blood and gore kills we didn’t need to see for the idea in the movie.

SettingsWe are set in the middle of nowhere, this works for the horror and using the well-known Dutch windmills does help explain the main location.

Special EffectsThe effects for the kills do all look good, but it is the CGI effects which do look cheap through the film.

Final ThoughtsThis film had promise but does miss on the levels it could have reach and on the levels other films with similar ideas reach.

 

Overall: Solid Late Night Horror.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – When a Stranger Calls (2006)

Director: Simon West

Writer: Jake Wade Wall (Screenplay) Steve Feke, Fred Walton (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Camilla Belle, Tommy Flanagan, Katie Cassidy, Tessa Thmpson, Brian Geraghty, Cark Gregg

 

Plot: During a babysitting gig, a high-school student is harassed by an increasingly threatening prank caller.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Remake Failure

 

Story: When a Stranger Calls starts when High School student Jill (Belle) is being punished for going over her minutes on her phone bill must take a babysitting job in a house in the middle of nowhere. Jill is currently going through a break up with her boyfriend Bobby (Geraghty) and questioning her own friends Tiffany (Cassidy) and Scarlett (Thompson) on their part in it.

After a strange phone call, noises around the home and the alarm going off Jill starts to believe something is going on in the house, is she alone with the kids anymore?

 

Thoughts on When a Stranger Calls

 

Characters/PerformanceJill is the naughty high school student that has gone over her cell phone calls limit and must pay for it by babysitting, while also dealing with her boyfriend and best friend cheating on her. She doesn’t know how to make a good decision when a stranger starts calling her during the night of babysitting. The Stranger calling is interesting because we know he is capable of murder from the opening sequences, but now we learn to how calculated he is when picking his prey. Most of his damage is only explained and shown through facial expressions of the police investigating his crimes. Tiffany and Scarlett are just plain friends on the generic scale that we are used too.

Performance wise, Camille Belle has to do most of the work in this film and she does struggle in a role that has created countless amazing female leads, the rest of the cast are fine but don’t get enough time to shine.

StoryThis is a remake so we know the basics of how this film goes because it follows a babysitter needing to figure out who a mystery call is only to learn the truth and need to fight to survive. We have a couple of addition to the idea here because we need to explain the cell phone situation through the film but otherwise the film is filled with too many false scares that don’t lead to much.

HorrorThe horror is just false jump scare after false jump scare which never comes to much, we have one sequence but otherwise it is mostly about how things could happen.

SettingsThe house is isolated which is the highlight of the film because we know how this character isn’t going to be able to have much help and the stranger can take his time stalking his victim.

Special EffectsThe effects are limited and are mostly used for use of lighting and a few stunts, which I think does work because we don’t need anything flashy.

Final ThoughtsThis is a remake that doesn’t use the potential and has already become outdated because of the technology that is used as the stumbling blocks.

 

Overall: Not all remakes work.

Rating

 

 

Wonder (2017)

Director: Stephen Chbosky

Writer: Stephen Chbosky, Steve Conrad, Jack Thorne (Screenplay) R.J. Palacio (Novel)

Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Owen Wilson, Julia Roberts, Izabela Vidovic, Noah Jupe, Mancy Patinkin, Danielle Rose Russell

 

Plot: Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.


Tagline – Auggie Pullman will change your world

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Emotionally Moving

 

Story: Wonder starts as we meet the 10-year-old Auggie (Tremblay), he has had 21 surgeries to both save his life and rebuild his face after being born with a birth defect, he has been home schooled by his mother Isabel (Roberts) his whole life, with his father Nate (Wilson) and older sister Via (Vidovic) always there to support him, at home he is like no other 10-year-old.

Auggie is going to be starting middle school for the first time, this is a huge step for the young boy who is used to people staring at him, but now he enters school, where it is kids, who are less likely to accept him at first. Auggie hates school, he gets picked on because of his looks, but over time he learns to accept this and tries to let people in. This is where the story gets smart, we move away from seeing everything from Auggie’s perspective and follow of Via’s life has been affected by Auggie need the attention more, she is starting High School and is feeling just as alone in need of a friend. We follow fellow middle school student Jack Will (Jupe) one of the kids selected to try and help Auggie through school and how he feels about being pushed into being the friend. We finally follow Miranda (Russell) who was Via’s best friend and almost like a sister to Auggie too, she has become distant from Via and we learn her growth through the year.

We follow a school year for these people, the highs, the lows and the moments that will shape their futures.

 

Thoughts on Wonder

 

Characters – Auggie the 10-year-old born with a birth defect, that still has the scares from the surgeries to save his life, he learns about starting school, meeting new people who instantly question his looks, he learns a lot in this year, but most of all people learn a lot from his bravery. He dreams of space and loves Star Wars and uses it to help him through the difficult moments of his days. Nate is the father of the household, he loves his children and wants them to have the best future they can, he puts everything into a positive spin for Auggie. Isabel has home schooled Auggie for his whole life, she gave up her Masters to do this, with him starting school she can continue the work always worried about his well-being. Via the big sister, she does love her brother deeply, but we learn that she needs some attention too, she struggles inside with her problem, ones that aren’t shown, alone in her new high school, she does try to fit in and learns to break free. We do meet the fellow middle school students, we have the main bully who is a by the books character and we get the ones that want to accept Auggie, the ones that are brave enough to do this first, showing they accept the person other the look. Miranda was Via’s best friend, but this year she is different, we learn the reason for her actions through the film, but I do wish we spent more time with this character because of the moments we learn about.

PerformancesJacob Tremblay, you know the kid from Room, he is fantastic in this leading role again, showing us that was not a one off, this kid has talent. Julia Roberts is strong through the film, while I wouldn’t say the character is overly challenging to play I do think Roberts brings it to life in ways only she could. Owen Wilson, where has he been for the last couple of years? This shows that we missed him, he is a great father figure, he has a smile on his face hiding his own fears in every scene and the one scene he is broken, you join him in his tears. Izabela Vidovic mostly likely what get as many people talking about her performances, but don’t take anything away from her, she is great and at times you want to spend more time with her characters story. The rest of the cast do a wonderful job too as we understand every decision the characters are making.

StoryThe story does focus mostly on Auggie and his first day at school, leading into his first year at school, which on its own, is something we have seen before. It is a good go to story because it will teach about understanding people’s differences both physical and mental, this check all those boxes. Where this story is stronger than just that is following the lives of the people around Auggie, be it his sister who doesn’t get an equal amount of attention while having her own problems. A best friend that’s world has come crashing down and has pushed people away or the young boy that already has the pressure thrown on him, now needing to learn to accept an outsider, while he was once that outsider. I think showing how the lives of others have change is just as important for this story to show, the year these characters must go through.

FamilyI do think the family could enjoy this, I think it has enough to make you smile and laugh together and the moments that will make you cry too.

SettingsNew York is the setting, one of the busiest cities in the world and it shows how Auggie will need to get used to the crowds that are out of his control, where people will judge him unfairly, the school is the first steps for him.


Scene of the Movie –
Graduation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While diving into Miranda’s year, we miss that one scene where the two make-ups.

Final ThoughtsThis film will make laugh, smile and cry all the way through, it has so much about accepting people for being different both for their flaws and strengths.

 

Overall: Fantastic, moving, emotional and beautiful movie.

Rating

 

 

The Warriors’ Gate (2017)

Director: Matthias Hoene

Writer: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Chao, Ni Ni, Dave Bautista, Sienna Guillory, Uriah Shelton, Francis Ng

 

Plot: A teenager is magically transported to China and learns to convert his video game skills into those of a Kung Fu warrior

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Blast

 

Story: The Warriors’ Gate starts as we follow gamer teenager Jack (Shelton) whose single mother Annie (Guillory) is struggling to make ends meet, he is bullied at school but has a Chinese antique shop owner friend that gives him a gift which has passed down through generations of his family.

That gift is a pot which brings out an ancient princess Su Lin (Ni) and Zhoo (Chao), when Su Lin is captured by ancient warriors, Jack is transported to ancient China in search for Su Lin in an adventure with Zhoo to save the princess from Arun (Bautista) and his massive army.

 

Thoughts on The Warriors’ Gate

 

Characters – Jack is the gamer kid, bullied and struggling home life, he is taken to Ancient China where he must learn to fight for himself, stand up for what is right, all to save the princess, while this isn’t the most original character design, it is all that is needed for the leading role. Zhoo is the great warrior that must guide Jack through Ancient China to save Su Lin, his life has been training to be the warrior and this will be his greatest moment. Su Lin in the princess who will become the Empress of China, she loves the new world she enters in America but once captured and returned to Ancient China she is able to be forced to marrying Arun. Arun is the evil ruler that wants to marry Su Lin so he can become Emperor of China. He doesn’t bluff but can be misunderstood by his soldiers. Annie the mother of Jack just trying to give him the best chances in life.

PerformancesUriah Shelton taking the leading role does a good job throughout the film working very well with both Mark Chao and Ni Ni. Mark Chao fills the mentor warrior role to be entertaining and watching the two together is enjoyable. Ni Ni is the entertaining in her role. The big name draw for this film is Dave Bautista who strangely becomes similar to the Chris Pratt role form Guardians of the Galaxy to him needing to explain codes, but does get to enjoy the villainous role.

StoryThe story takes our unsung wimpy teenager that needs to grow up and stand up for himself, to do this he ends up in ancient China where he must learn a new culture to save a princess from evil ruler. While this isn’t the most original concept it does check all the entertainment check points, but the one aspect that is original is having our main character learning moments needed from video games which is why the confusion starts in the first place. If you want an easy to follow story, that is light hearted with plenty of action this is great fun.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action through the film is all purely entertaining with the opening bike chase through the town being a big highlight. The adventure side of the film takes Jack in the new world for an adventure of a lifetime. The fantasy world created explains how the different worlds can meet.

SettingsThe two main worlds show the modern world that Jack lives in works well without being new, the ancient China setting follows the generic ideas of what we expect to see.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well through the film, there is one easy to see blue screen moment but otherwise things all click when needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Bike Chase, even though it is early in the film, it shows the level of entertainment we are going to get.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not everything is original.

Chances of Sequel: We could have one.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining film that does check the all the marks needed for a generic action film which entertains from start to finish.

 

Overall: Entertaining action movie.

Rating