Legends of the Fall (1994)

Director: Edward Zwick

Writer: Susan Shilliday, William D Wittliff (Screenplay) Jim Harrison (Novel)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond, Henry Thomas, Karine Lombard, Tantoo Cardinal

 

Plot: In the 1900s, three brothers and their father living in the remote wilderness of Montana are affected by betrayal, history, love, nature, and war.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Life Story

 

Story: Legends of the Fall starts in the wilderness of Montana, Col William Ludlow (Hopkins) moves his family away from the wars which cover America to raise his three sons in the early 1900s. His sons no grown up Tristian (Pitt) the gentle and kind one, Alfred (Quinn) the intelligent one and Samuel (Thomas) the one who has just returned with his wife to be Susannah (Ormond).

With the First World War raging over in Europe the three brothers volunteer to fight which leads to tragedy when Samuel getting killed in action, Alfred returns to his family but Tristian goes in search for answers. As the years pass by Alfred becomes a success in his field while Tristian finds his own success but the family will never be the same as they deal with the effects of the war.

 

Thoughts on Legends of the Fall

 

Characters/PerformanceTristian is the wild child, he keeps things to himself, prefer the quiet life that only he could enjoy. He travels to discover himself but knows his heart is back in Montana on the ranch. Col William is the father of the house, he was tired of the battle between the natives and modern Americans, he wants the best for his three children as long as they keep to the right morale paths. Alfred is the smartest of all the brothers, he uses his intelligence to become a political success, the opposite to Tristian. Susannah enters the life as the youngest brother’s wife to be but soon after he passes has feelings for them all.

Performance wise, Brad Pitt shows us here just how good of an actor he was going to be, he goes toe to toe with the always incredible Anthony Hopkins. Aidan Quinn, Julian Ormond and Henry Thomas all give fantastic performance too.

StoryWatching a film about this one family becomes very interesting, we have the brothers that go in different directions as the father is left waiting hoping they return the successes they plan. This is something that is a good watch that can be enjoyed by all the people, it does have slight issues when it comes to understand the full timeline but otherwise flows nicely.

Romance/WarThe romance side of this film is brilliant because we get to see how love can be broken when you must wait for it but you will always have the feelings for that person in your heart. The war side id brief but is the reason why everything goes in the direction it does for the two remaining brothers.

SettingsThe remote location is great to see which is why our characters are away from the world and the settings continue this trend as we see how the brothers go in directions which bring them into different worlds.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film with heavyweight performances, the powerful story and a look at one of the most difficult times that America faced.

 

Overall: Brilliant coming of age tale.

Rating

 

 

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Vintage Franchise – Star Trek VII: Generations (1994)

Director: David Carson

Writer: Rick Berman, Ronald D Moore, Brannon Braga (Screenplay) Gene Roddenberry (Characters)

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Malcol McDowell, William Shatner, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton

 

Plot: Captain Picard, with the help of long presumed dead Captain Kirk, must stop a madman willing to murder on a planetary scale in order to enter an energy ribbon.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining But Confusing

 

Story: Star Trek Generations starts when the Enterprise is having its first outing without Kirk (Shatner) as the captain, he is there as a guest for the grand launch along with the press who take the ship on a small galaxy tour only to find themselves needing to respond to an emergency call, do the best he can Kirk saves the day but is believed to have been killed in the incident.

78 years later, Picard (Stewart) is now captain of the Enterprise with his new crew including Riker or Number One (Frakes), Data (Spiner), Geordi (Burton) Worf (Dorn) and Beverly (McFadden) who answer another distress call from Soran (McDowell) a survivor from the opening incident. Soran has a plan to destroy a star to head back to Nexus a place where his people were taken from and only Picard must stop him from cause a devastating effect on the galaxy.

 

Thoughts on Star Trek Generations

 

Characters – Picard is now the captain of the enterprise, he is less flamboyant that Kirk but equally as strong in a leader role, but the problem with everything involved Picard and his crew is that unless you have seen the series most elements just seem to be continuing life aspects we learnt from them. Kirk only gets involved in the opening and final moments of the film, this gives us a chance to see the big leaders a chance to be on screen together. Soran does seem to become the most intense villain since Khan, he is a broken man wanting his peace in life but it will cost millions of lives to get.

PerformanceThe performances from Stewart and the rest of the crew are good even if Brent Spiner is trying too hard for comedy. Malcolm McDowell makes for a good villain with a constant look of menace in his eyes through the film.

StoryThe story does feel like an extension of the Voyager television show, we have the new established crew taking on a villain who wants to put his personal gain over the lives of the many. The idea works fine if you are a fan of the television show but if you have never seen the show you will be left wondering why Data acts the way he does, why suddenly Picard has a family he is caring about and a few other dynamics between the crew.

Adventure/Mystery/Sci-FiThe adventure the crew goes on does take the crew to a new species of aliens in the galaxy to save but otherwise it is more of the same, the mystery comes from what Soran wants from the Enterprise crew and his great plan in the mission.

SettingsThe settings once again offer us nothing new, spaceship and dusty planet, been here seen this.

Special EffectsThe effects have improved since the last outing and actually look like part of a sci-fi film now.

Scene of the Movie – The Nexus vision for Picard.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understanding the characters personal backstory.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good addition to the franchise that is mostly for the hardcore fans of the show and films though.

 

Overall: Clash of captains worth watching.

Rating

 

 

Maverick (1994)

maverDirector: Richard Donner

Writer: William Goldman (Screenplay) Roy Huggins (TV Show)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner, Graham Greene, Alfred Molina, James Coburn, Dub Taylor

 

Plot: Bret Maverick, needing money for a poker tournament, faces various comic mishaps and challenges, including a charming woman thief.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tiresome Comedy

 

Story: Maverick starts as Bret Maverick (Gibson) finds himself at the end of noose recounting what left him in this awkward predicament. Maverick looking to enter a poker tournament and goes on a string of miss-adventures as he finds himself constantly in trouble to make this happen.

Maverick is joined by thief Annabelle Bransford (Foster) and Marshal Zane Cooper (Garner) but also finds himself having a bounty on is head. Will Maverick make it to the game on time along with finding the money to enter the poker tournament

 

Thoughts on Maverick

 

StoryThis story just seems to be a repeating formula of Maverick finding himself in trouble only to be coning everyone involved. The film actually feel like a series of short episodes after all it is based off a television show but in the end just doesn’t strike all the points it needs to.

Action/Comedy/WesternThe action is based from the comedy going on in the film which is a rinse repeat formula all set to the western backdrop.

Characters/PerformanceMaverick feels like a true con-artists like character that always just escapes from what he finds himself in. Annabelle is made to be a clumsy woman which gets boring after a while with the rest of the characters just seemingly being involved in the wild adventures Maverick finds himself in. when you look at the performances they are all fine but they all get tiresome after a while.

SettingsEach setting throws us back to the old west in a bright colourful way for once as we see all the different locations that Maverick finds himself in. They all help push the film into the direction it is needed for the final game.

Final ThoughtsWe have seen this in other genres and in this one we seem to get the same gag over and over while there is a twist in nearly every scene too.

 

Overall: Not the best and could easily be better.

Ratingcard

 

 

Shallow Grave (1994)

shallowDirector: Danny Boyle

Writer: John Hodge (Screenplay)

Starring: Kerry Fox, Christopher Eccleston, Ewan McGregor, Ken Scott, Keith Allen, Colin McCredie, Victoria Mairn

 

Plot: Three friends discover their new flatmate dead but loaded with cash.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Forgotten Classic

 

Story: Shallow Grave starts when Juliet (Fox), David (Eccleston) and Alex (McGregor) are searching for a new flat mate in the centre of London, the friends have fun while interviewing potential candidates until Hugo (Allen) walks into their lives.

When the friends don’t see Hugo after he moves in they enter his room to find him dead but they also find a large suitcase of money. The friends decide to dispose of the body and keep the money for themselves but this only leads them to learn the true characters coming forward as they also find themselves being hunted down by the people the money actually belong too.

Shallow Grave is a character driven thriller that shows how all friendships could be pushed to the limits when it comes to money. This films shows us just how things can go even if it was just slightly too far to the extremes. I think the tension building through the film shows how the story continues to grow and you simple just don’t know where things will end up going. The negatives would be that we just don’t get enough time to learn where the money really came from or what happened to Hugo.

 

Actor Review

 

Kerry Fox: Juliet is the doctor of the friends who welcomes Hugo into the house and using her skills when it comes to how they can dispose of the body. She is a free spirit not involved with either of the two guys. Kerry is good in this leading role playing both sides of the situation well.

Christopher Eccleston: David comes off as the slightly stuck up while working in a tax office we get to see how his life is run by routine. When he wants to say no to the money he gets pulled around only to find himself having to do the dirty work which makes him more dangerous than the other two thought. Christopher shines as the guy you just don’t know about throughout the film.

Ewan McGregor: Alex seems to be the loud mouth flaky character of the three who always seem to just get by. He will also get the others in trouble but will stand with them to clean up the mess. Ewan is good and shows how he can play the both sides of the story well.

Support Cast: Shallow Grave has a supporting cast which all help with the final story but in the end we are only really follow the main three characters.

Director Review: Danny BoyleDanny shows us just how capable of a director in this is debut in a feature film where he balances the three characters throughout the film.

 

Crime: Shallow Grave gives us the cover up of a crime which only leads to more as the battle between the friends continues.

Thriller: Shallow Grave does keep us on edge through the whole film as we wonder just what will be happening next.

Settings: Shallow Grave has most of the pivotal scenes within the flat showing just how all the characters will be tested through the film.
Special Effects
: Shallow Grave has simple effects when needed but doesn’t turn to them for the sake of it.

Suggestion: Shallow Grave is one I do think people should be watching just to see where Boyle and the stars have come from. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The performances.

Worst Part: We don’t learn enough about where the money really came from.

 

Believability: The breakdown of the friendship could be real.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $2.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

Tagline: The award winning thriller that’ll bury you with laughs.

Trivia: Danny Boyle has stated that of the films he has directed, this is his father’s favorite, and that whenever a new film directed by Boyle junior is released (including Slumdog Millionaire (2008), which won the academy award both for best film and best director) and he asks Boyle senior’s opinion, his father’s review is always the same – “It was good, but not as good as ‘Shallow Grave’.”

 

Overall: A true classic with all the tension you could desire from Danny Boyle.

Ratingcard

 

 

John Carpenter Weekend – In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

mouthDirector: John Carpenter

Writer: Michael De Luca (Screenplay)

Starring: Sam Neill, Julie Carmen, Jurgen Prochnow, David Warner, John Glover, Bernie Casey, Peter Jason, Charlton Heston

 

Plot: An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer’s books have on his fans is more than inspirational.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mind Bending Horror

 

Story: In the Mouth of Madness starts as we meet John Trent (Neill) being taken into a mental asylum where he gets approached to tell his story. Rewind to see Trent at work as an insurance claims investigator, he can spot s fraud better than anyone else in the game. When he gets asked to investigate the disappearance of Sutter Cane (Prochnow) he has to team up with Linda Styles (Carmen) from the publicist as he start to figure out what has happened to the world renowned author.

The two travel looking for a place that is on no map and find themselves entering into a nightmare world of Sutter Cane’s very own creation.  

In the Mouth of Madness really does keep you wondering just what the hell is happening from start to finish. The concept of bending the reality of what is real, written or other dimensional all works because you don’t know what to believe which is something I always like to see in a horror film. It is hard to go into complete details of what happens because a lot is very twisted filled and one that you can decide what you want to believe about what happens.

 

Actor Review

 

Sam Neill: John Trent is an insurance claims investigator and one that could sniff out any cons going on. He gets called up by publicist of world famous author Sutter Cane to find out where he as gone. He starts to think it is just a cover up but his nightmare is only just beginning as we know from the start he is telling the story from a mental asylum. Sam gives us a good performance in this role where he is convincing from start to finish because if you see if going crazy something has to be up.trent

Julie Carmen: Linda Styles goes with Trent is the search for Sutter Cane, she is a massive fan of his work which leads to her understand the place they find themselves in, inside one of his books. Julie gives a good performance in this supporting role.

Jurgen Prochnow: Sutter Cane is the mysterious author who has disappeared just before his latest work is about to be released. When Trent discovers where he is we learn that he believes has these powers over the world with his books. Jurgen gives a good performance as this mysterious author.

David Warner: Dr Wrenn is the doctor being told the story by Trent, that is all his involvement is even though he is the first one to actually listen to him. David does all he needs to in this role.

Support Cast: In the Mouth of Madness has a supporting cast that all work to help push the story be it outside the fictional world or within it.

Director Review: John CarpenterJohn shows that he knows how to change and work with a concept that comes off original.

 

Horror: In the Mouth of Madness really goes into a world of nightmares for our character to find himself in.

Settings: In the Mouth of Madness puts us into a world created by a horror author which works for the concept of the film.
Special Effects
: In the Mouth of Madness uses great effects for all the horror going on in the film.

Suggestion: In the Mouth of Madness is one for the horror fans to watch and enjoy because it is very twisted. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Concept.

Worst Part: Giving away slightly too much early on.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $9 Million

Budget: $8 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Tagline: Lived Any Good Books Lately?

Trivia: The Sutter Cane character is clearly based on John Carpenter‘s friend Stephen King, even referencing King’s New England roots, with Hobb’s Corner filling in for King’s Castle Rock. Carpenter directed a film version of King’s Christine (1983). Additionally Michael De Luca had previously written the screenplay for the King adaptation The Lawnmower Man (1987). However, the characters say that Sutter Cane is even more popular than Stephen King.

 

Overall: Minding horror that is twist filled from start to finish that will leave you shocked.

Ratingcard