Franchise Weekend – Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)

Director: Colin Strause, Greg Strause

Writer: Shane Salerno (Screenplay) Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett, Jim Thomas, John Thomas (Characters)

Starring: Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz, Johnny Lewis, Ariel Gage, Kristen Hager, Sam Trammell, Robert Joy

 

Plot: Warring alien and predator races descend on a rural US town, where unsuspecting residents must band together for any chance of survival.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Some Positives

 

Story: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem starts by picking up where the last film ended with the alien causing havoc on the predator ship, forcing it into crashing into small town America. With the alien causing havoc killing everybody or anything that gets in its way, we get to meet the town’s people who we must care about, bad boy just returned to town Dallas (Pasquale), returning solider Kelly (Aylesworth), her family Tim (Trammell) daughter Molly (Gade) sheriff Morales (Ortiz), troubled teenager Ricky (Lewis) and his crush Jesse (Hager).

As the people of the town go about their daily lives, the predators are preparing to clean up the mess left in this small town but will they make it before the aliens cause too much damage or can they face a new threat in a predator-alien hybrid.

 

Thoughts on Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem

 

Characters/PerformanceDallas is the bad boy rebel who just happens to return to town the same day the crash happens. Kelly is the returning solider who is dealing with the idea that her young daughter has lost her connection with her while she was away but now must use her skills to save her daughter. Morales is the sheriff and old running buddy of Dallas who has put his bad boy ways behind him. Ricky gives us the high school dynamics with his crush on the beautiful Jesse who has an arsehole boyfriend.

Performance wise, well this is one of the negatives, Pasquale does struggle in the leading role, while it is partly down to writing and performance because Reiko doesn’t reach the levels of an alien trend setting strong leading ladies. The rest of the performances are largely forgettable with Hager clearly hired for her look.

StoryThe pure story is in parts very interesting, we know how deadly the aliens are and after last time we know the predators place in the battle. We know aliens will kill anybody which this film isn’t afraid to play on and we also see the swarm mentality which is caused with the aliens spreading. With these parts all in place this film does still end up coming off messy in places though because the humans are written so badly with the final pay off feeling flat.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is mindless and a lot is in too darker location so you can’t see what is happening with the horror side working in places but not in all scenes it needs to, with the sci-fi elements coming from building for the next part of the franchise which never happened.

SettingsMoving the action to a small town ups the stakes in the film, which also gives us a chance to see how deadly the aliens can be spreading through a population. This gives us a chance to get a large body count but also characters we don’t know anything about.

Special EffectsMost of the effects are good it is the lighting which hinders this film in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great idea for a sequel but it has problems all over it, mostly coming from badly executed action sequences that have large jump cuts, no lighting for those scenes and horribly written human character.

 

Overall: A true mixed bag of a sequel.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – AVP Alien vs. Predator (2004)

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay) Jim Thomas, John Thomas, Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett (Characters)

Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner, Colin Salmon, Tommy Flanagan

 

Plot: During an archaeological expedition on Bouvetøya Island in Antarctica, a team of archaeologists and other scientists find themselves caught up in a battle between the two legends. Soon, the team realize that only one species can win.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not That Great

 

Story: AVP: Alien vs. Predator starts by taking us around the world fron Antarctica to space to Nebraska to Nepal where we meet the mountain climbing expert Alexa Woods (Lathan) onto Mexico where we meet the archaeologist Sebastian (Bova) who both get a visit from Maxwell Stafford (Salmon) who represents Charles Bishop Weyland (Henriksen).

Weyland has discovered an ancient pyramid buried under the ice of Bouvetoya Island in Antarctica and has built a team including Alexa, Sebastian, Miller (Bremner), Mark (Flanagan), Joe (Rye) and Adele (Boulaye) to mention a few. To travel to the island to enter into the pyramid for what could well be a massive discovery for whoever finds it.

What starts out as a simple exhibition turns into a nightmare when above ground the men get attacked by Predators but inside the pyramid they must battle aliens in a battle for survival stuck in the middle of these iconic villains.

 

Thoughts on AVP: Alien vs. Predator

 

Characters/PerformanceAlexa Woods is the expert climber hired to lead the team into the pyramid using her experience on climb ice surfaces, she reluctantly agrees knowing she is the only available person to do the job safely. Sebastian is the archaeologist that is an expert on many ancient cultures. Weyland is the man funding and seeking technology inside the pyramid. The rest of the characters get a proper introduction only to be killed off in about a ten-minute sequence.

Performance was Lathan is good and the highlight of the human characters with everyone else just coming off fine not getting the time to make an impact.

StoryWhen you look at this story you are left thinking this is Alien on Earth, just without any suspense, horror or interesting stuff going on. This sounds harsh because this is an easy watch and people are going to be happy to watch aliens and predators fight, the problem I have was the introducing us to countless humans only to be disposable for these villains. Certain elements of the story telling do work though, looking at the idea of ancient civilizations worshiping the predators in exchange for the pyramids I did like.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is all what you would come to expect, large body counts and alien or predator kills we have seen before. The horror is almost gone which disappoints with the sci-fi edge working on the level it needs to only.

SettingsAfter taking us around the world in the opening sequences we do settle down nicely for the setting inside the pyramid under the ice with little escape.

Special EffectsWe have good effects when we keep things small scale but bad effects when things get to the large scale.

Final ThoughtsThis is just fine nothing more, it is an easy watch and brings together icons of film, but this just isn’t as fun as Freddy v Jason.

 

Overall: Easy to watch all actioner horrorless movie.

Rating

 

 

Justice League (2017)

Director: Zack Snyder

Writer: Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon (Screenplay) Bob Kane, Bill Finger, William Moulton Marston, Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel (Characters)

Starring: Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Connie Nielsen, Henry Cavill, Amber Heard, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Ray Fisher

 

Plot: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.


Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Action Blast

 

Story: Justice League starts as a new unknown threat is attacking the world, with criminals committing acts of terror in the aftermath of Superman’s death. Bruce Wayne (Affleck) teams up with Diana Prince (Gadot) to stop this new threat Steppenwolf, who wants to destroy the world, yeah the usual villain stuff.

The team they recruit includes Barry Allen (Miller), Arthur Curry (Momoa) and Victor Stone (Fisher) as these three new recruits get a better introduction than we saw in the Batman v Superman movie. Using their skills they are left with an ultimate decision which could swing the battle in their favour or risk seeing the world destroyed by this ancient evil.

 

Thoughts on Justice League

 

Characters – Bruce Wayne, knows his weakness, uses his money to recruit the team, his technology to spy on the team and his human touch to connect to the characters. Diana Prince lives a quiet life after the event of Wonder Woman over 100 years ago, she still believes in the good in human and beings from different backgrounds. Barry Allen is a young man living off the grid trying to find a way to get his father out of prison, he gets excited to be able to work with a team and gets most of the laughs. Arthur Curry is a man of mystery, one with the ocean, he has left his past behind him which leads him down the Logan road. Victor Stone is a science experiment gone wrong, part human, part robot needing to learn to control his newly found abilities. Lois Lane is here, she doesn’t do much to be honest. Clark Kent is the heart of the characters drives to fight, he selfless actions last time out give hope to them all.

As for the alter-egos Batman looks so out of place in this film, we have Gods, experiments gone wrong and this random rich guy who is past his best, trying to pull the team together, he is ineffective in the combat scenes too. Wonder Woman gets the best moments in the fights, jumping on the beliefs of just how inspirational the character is. The Flash gets moments that will make you laugh, but you would rather be watching Quicksilver moments. Aquaman gets the awkward underwater scenes, which must be hard to shoot, he enjoys a good fight though. Cyborg is the brains of the team, solving the problems before they happen.

As for the villain, Steppenwolf he is a threat there is no doubt about that, he is ruthless too, but his desire for destruction does feel like it got ripped out of a Transformers movie.

PerformancesBen Affleck is a good Bruce Wayne but not a good Batman, you can believe his arrogance when trying to build the team. Gal Gadot is the star of the hero’s side of the story showing in the world of DC she is their trump card. Erza Miller does add the much-needed comedy to the serious film and hits more than he misses. Jason Momoa is good throughout too, his character feels like what Wonder Woman was in Batman v Superman, we just what more. Ray Fisher is strong too, he gives the character the darkness needed to make us want more from his backstory. The none Justice League performances are fine, but no one gets much time to do anything. Having a CGI villain means we only get the voice work which works for the film.

StoryThe origin of the Justice League, well Marvel did it with the Avengers so, why not. To be fair we got the first seeds of this in Batman v Superman and this continued the ideas to show how they could come together to fight an evil presence. My problems with the story come from the trailers, which show the team working together, much like Stephen King’s IT we follow the individual stories for a large amount of time trying to play the will they won’t they game about joining the team, but the trailer gave this away. If you want to see the story continue you strongly I will say DC’s storytelling for the bigger picture is going in the right direction and this is easy to follow and enjoy is this is your style of film.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is big, like you would expect for the superhero movie, sadly Batman doesn’t fit in the action sequences in my opinion. The ci-fi comes from Gods, aliens and experiments working together in battle be it with each other or against.

SettingsThe settings are all over the place, not in a bad way, we get the references to previous films and teases of locations for our new addition.

Special EffectsThe effects are complete mixed bag, we get certain moments which look great but then we get the weak moments that disappoint.


Scene of the Movie –
Rebirth

That Moment That Annoyed Me Batman feels very out of place in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun addition to the superhero collection, in a year of impressive films this doesn’t crack my top 3 in the genre but doesn’t take the spot of the worst, I could happily enjoy watching this again and I hope you do too.

 

Overall: Fun enjoyable superhero movie for everyone to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Frankenstein Theory (2013)

Director: Andrew Weiner

Writer: Vlady Pildysh, Andrew Weiner (Screenplay) Mary Shelley (Characters)

Starring: Kris Lemche, Roger W Morriessey, Timothy V Murphy, Heather Stephens, Christine Lakin, Luke Geissbuhler

 

Plot: What if the most chilling novel of all time was actually based on a true account of a horrific experiment gone awry? When he is suspended from his university job for his outlandish ideas, Professor John Venkenheim leads a documentary film crew to the rim of the Arctic Circle in a desperate effort to vindicate his academic reputation. His theory: Mary Shelley’s ghastly story, “Frankenstein,” is, in fact, a work of non-fiction disguised as fantasy. In the vast, frozen wilderness, Venkenheim and his team search for the legendary monster, a creature mired in mystery and drenched in blood. What they find is an unspeakable truth more terrifying than any fiction…a nightmare from which there is no waking.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Smart Idea, Generically Told

 

Story: The Frankenstein Theory starts as Jonathan Venkenhein (Lemche) is looking to lead a documentary film crew including Vicky Stephens (Stephens), Brian (Henderson), Eric (Zuckerman) and Luke Hill (Geissbuhler) to the Arctic in search for his grandfather research that claims that the story of Frankenstein is in fact real.

Joined by local guide Karl McCallion (Murphy) the team head in from Canada to the Arctic circle. As the group spend time together we learn more about the case they are investigating which could be just a bear that has been attacking people or could the creature be real and are these film makers ready for what they find?

 

Thoughts on The Frankenstein Theory

 

Characters/PerformanceJonathan Venkenhein believes his ancestor was the real-life creature of the Frankenstein’s creature and now he wants to head off with a team to learn the truth, he is fully committed to believing his story putting his professional and personal life on the line. Vicky is the one hosting the documentary hoping it will be her big break. Karl is the guide that is filled with the warning about being in the wilderness alone. The rest of the team is who would expect, the cameraman, sound man and co-producer.

Performance wise, The cast are all good in their roles without any being brilliant but nobody being bad.

StoryI must say this story comes off like a smart idea because we always can have somebody look into a work of fiction and dive into the truth behind the story. This time we look at the idea that Frankenstein’s story is real and the creature is still lurking in the Arctic. With the idea in place and being something that is interesting, we do end up going down the Blair Witch route of just having ideas borrowed from other found footage films and the Creature acting just like Bigfoot.

Fantasy/Horror/Sci-Fi The fantasy idea of this film comes from bring the fictional story into reality, the horror side comes from all the found footage material we have seen before, the sci-fi side comes from the idea that this once again isn’t just a fictional story.

SettingsBeing set in the Arctic is fine because our characters have nowhere to run with all the terror going on and it shows the environment the creature could be living in.

Special EffectsMost of the violence happens off came so we do get good use of effects on the remains but the film doesn’t need them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid addition to the found footage genre as the film does feel like it flows nicely.

 

Overall: Found Footage 101.

Rating

 

 

The Maid’s Room (2013)

Director: Michael Walker

Writer: Michael Walker (Screenplay)

Starring: Paula Garces, Annabella Sciorra, Bill Camp, Philip Ettinger

 

Plot: THE MAID’S ROOM is a psychological thriller that explores the complex relationships between truth and justice, hubris and power, wealth and fear.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lifetime Movie 101

 

Story: The Maid’s Room starts as the Crawford family Mrs (Sciorra), Mr (Camp) and their son Brandon (Ettinger) hire a maid Drina (Garces) to keep their weekend residents clean, offering money, room and board for Drina.

When Drina is left alone with Brandon, he is involved in an accident resulting in a death, the family tries their hardest to pay Drina off to stay quiet but hold her prisoner as the family look to cover up their own crimes.

 

Thoughts on The Maid’s Room

 

Characters/PerformanceDrina is an immigrant from Columbia working as a maid for a rich family, she wants the best for her family but finds herself in the m idle of a moral question about what to do when asked to cover up a murder. Mr and Mrs Crawford will do anything to cover up their son’s crime while Brandon is the typical rash rich kid that thinks he can get away with anything.

Performance wise, this doesn’t have anything great in it, we have solid enough performance without being scene stealers from everyone involved.

StoryIf I am being honest, this film feels like it is a special in a soap opera, it tries to play itself of as a thriller and does have a fresh twist in its own way but that twist sucks all the life out of the film make you not really care what is going on.

ThrillerTries to keep us guessing but in the end, is nothing we haven’t seen before.

Settings – Nearly the whole film is set in and around the rich resident house which works but also adds to the soap opera feel.

Final ThoughtsIf I wanted to watch a long version of a soap opera I would watch one but in the end this doesn’t offer too much of a mystery and whichever direction is goes you are left think ‘so what, do I care’

 

Overall: TV movie that sky seems to be showing.

Rating