Tim Burton Weekend – Ed Wood (1994)

Director: Tim Burton

Writer: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski (Screenplay) Rudolph Grey (Book)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Jeffrey Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio, Bill Murray

 

Plot: Ambitious but troubled movie director Edward D. Wood Jr. tries his best to fulfill his dreams, despite his lack of support.


Tagline – Movies were his passion. Women were his inspiration. Angora sweaters were his weakness.

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful

 

Story: Ed Wood starts as we meet Edward D Wood Jr (Depp) an aspiring director in Hollywood, with his work making the stage for now, when he learns of a story of a transvestite, he jumps at the chance to get his big break in Hollywood. Once Ed Wood makes friends with aging Hollywood icon Bela Lugosi (Landau) he gets given the chance to direct.

When his film gets completely panned, Ed Wood becomes an outcast in Hollywood and sets out to makes his own movies with Bela Lugosi in tow, become the cult favourite in the industry.

 

Thoughts on Ed Wood

 

Characters – Ed Wood was the aspiring director that has crazy ideas in his head, after his first studio produced film is panned, he must set up to make his own movies for limited budget with his new friend Bela Lugosi, Ed Wood also enjoys dressing up in women’s clothes which puts him out on the different in a time when that wasn’t considered acceptable. Bela Lugosi was once one of the most famous men in Hollywood after his role in Dracula, now he is older and mostly forgotten by the fans that once loved him. He befriends Ed Wood and starts to return to acting and hopefully see him kick his drug habits. Dolores is the long-suffering girlfriend of Ed Wood who stars in his pictures, even though she doesn’t like his lifestyle. Kathy O’Hara is a woman that Ed Wood meets that brings new meaning to his life. We meet other characters who are involved in the life and Ed Wood and the films he makes.

PerformancesJohnny Depp is fantastic in this leading role, he showed how he was carving out his career by taking chances against his typecast of a pretty boy. Martin Landau went on to win an Oscar for his supporting performance, this is easily one of the greatest portrays of an actor you will ever see. We do have a host of talents in the supporting roles with Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette and Bill Murray who are good through the film.

StoryThe story follows the career of Ed Wood as he was trying to make his name in Hollywood and is only known for bad films which have their own cult following now. Seeing how he went about making this happen is very interesting and the friendship he struck up with Bela Lugosi is what we know with fellow directors and actors in modern film making. Any film that tells a story about Hollywood and the movie making process is one to be checking out.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of the film comes from where we find Ed Wood and Bela Lugosi friendship and the eventually production of Plan 9. The comedy comes from just how the movie was made with the reactions of the people involved.

SettingsThe film is set in the 50s Hollywood and from start to finish you will feel like you are part of this era in time.


Scene of the Movie –
When Ed Wood snaps on set.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Orson Wells scene because the dubbing was bad.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful look the movie making process behind one of the most infamously bad movies in the history of the business, we have two performances that are simply brilliant and is easily one of the best moving making movies ever made.

 

Overall: Wonderful movie making movie.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Dumb and Dumber (1994)

Director: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly

Writer: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Bennett Yellin (Screenplay)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly, Mike Star, Karen Duffy, Charles Rocket, Victoria Rowell

 

Plot: The cross-country adventures of two good-hearted but incredibly stupid friends.


Tagline –  If they each had half a brain, together they would still only have half a brain.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funny, Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Dumb and Dumber starts as we meet Lloyd (Carrey) and Harry (Daniels) two best friends that work in hopes of having their own pet shop, the two have a good heart, but they do lack certain levels of intelligence. When Lloyd witnesses his passenger Mary (Holly) leave a briefcase in the airport, the two find themselves needing to go cross-country to return it. The problem they face is that they find themselves being tracked by the criminals for who the briefcase was for.

 

Thoughts on Dumb and Dumber

 

Characters – Lloyd works as a limo driver, he witnesses his passenger leave a briefcase and rescues it, he isn’t the smartest guy, but will always try to do the right thing and trust people. Harry is the best friend of Lloyd’s he has a dog car and helps his best friend go across town to return the briefcase. The characters here work wonderfully together, it is the chemistry they have which makes the characters likable through the film. when we dive into the rest of the characters they do take a back seat to these two.

PerformancesJim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are the driving force of this movie, they must work well together to get the laughs required in this movie and they do this wonderfully. Once again though the supporting cast while good are easily replaceable.

StoryThe story follows two friends that must travel across the country to return a briefcase only to find themselves in the middle of a secret criminal situation. The story is easy to follow and doesn’t require twists, it does what comedy needs, it keeps everything simple and lets the leads do the comic material that needs to take centre stage.

ComedyCarrey and Daniels are the main reason why this movie works, because they handle all the comedy and while most hits we do have moments of poop humour which ruins the fun.

SettingsThe film takes our characters across country for Aspin to be the iconic location we end up getting too.


Scene of the Movie –
Day in Aspin.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Poop humour.

Final ThoughtsThis is an iconic comedy that hits for the most part, we have great leading performance from the two leads and this is one of the comedies that people can turn too.

 

Overall: Fun comedy for all to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Never-Ending Story III: Return to Fantasia (1994)

Director: Peter MacDonald

Writer: Jeff Lieberman (Screenplay) Michael Ende (Characters)

Starring: Jason James Richter, Melody Kay, Jack Black, Carole Finn, Ryan Bollman, Freddie Jones

 

Plot: A young boy must restore order when a group of bullies steal the magical book that acts as a portal between Earth and the imaginary world of Fantasia.


Tagline –  It’s a brand new beginning in the adventure that never end
Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: What the Hell Happened?

 

Story: Never-Ending Story III: Return to Fantasia starts as Bastian (Richter) is moving in with his new step mum and sister Nicole (Kay), with a new school which also has new bullies known as the Nasties lead by Slip (Black). While escaping from the bullies Bastian jumps to Fantasia only to leave the book in the hands of Slip who starts causing havoc in the world.

Bastian must return to the human world to get the book back and save Fantasia once again and tackle the bullies in the real world.

 

Thoughts on Never-Ending Story III: Return to Fantasia

 

Characters – Bastian is older, but seemingly less wise, he must learn to adapt to a new school where he must once again save Fantasia from the human world this time. Nicole is the new step-sister of Bastian who doesn’t want him in her life ruining her social circles at school, she doesn’t believe him along the way of helping the residents of Fantasia. Slip is the leader of the Nasties, the school bullies that target Bastian and use the book to try and bring down Fantasia.

PerformancesThe performances from the kids are acceptable for the film, Jack Black is wildly over the top for a bully character, but this is largely terrible for performances when it comes to the voice over characters.

StoryThe story shows Bastian in a new home, new school facing a new problem with Fantasia when the creatures come into the real-world. This does make for an interesting twist, but is completely doesn’t work, first of all the attempted humour thrown into the movie misses so often. When Nicole gets the necklace she just uses it to go shopping, come on really is this the best writing we could come up with. The real world references don’t work either.

Adventure/Family/FantasyThe adventure throws us to the real world which doesn’t seem to work for where the film has gone before, the family might get more of the jokes, but won’t enjoy the adventure side because the fantasy world just doesn’t work for the film.

SettingsHaving the film set in the real world takes away the beauty in the landscapes that were created.

Special EffectsThe effects take a huge step back here because they all look terrible now.


Scene of the Movie –
There really isn’t one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The awful attempt to make this a comedy.

Final ThoughtsThis was awful, what happened is the only question I have left for this movie because it takes so many steps back to become beyond awful viewing.

 

Overall: Terrible throughout.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – P – Pom Poko (1994)

Director: Isao Takahata

Writer: Isao Takahata (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Shincho Kokontei, Makoto Nonomura, Yuriko Ishida, Norihei Miki, Nijiko Kiyokawa

 

Plot: A community of magical shape-shifting raccoon dogs struggle to prevent their forest home from being destroyed by urban development.


Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Animation

 

Story: Pom Poko starts as we meet the racoons that have lived on farm land for years, but lose their home to the humans whose development has destroyed large amounts of their forest homes. Now the racoons must put their difference behind them to fight back against the humans to keep their homes.

This involved learning how to transform into humans to enter the human world to bring it down from the inside even though this is against their lazy nature.

 

Thoughts on Pom Poko

 

Characters – The characters we meet are different racoons, the have the elders who come up with plans to keep their lands, the young ones that are developing their skills to play the pranks on the humans. We also have the transformation master that are entering the battle in the real world as humans.

StoryThe story follows the racoons that want to keep their land from being taken over by human development. We get a bigger message about taking the land of wildlife for our own development. This works for the story because it has fun at the struggles the racoons must go through and balance this against the serious elements of the film. we do have similarities to The Watership Down too in this one.

Comedy/Family/FantasyThe comedy is typical animated comedy, we get moments of slapstick as we tell of the training in the most part. The family could enjoy this one and learn important lessons too and the fantasy comes from the idea racoons can transform into humans and other creatures.

SettingsThe settings show us the countryside the racoons live in that is being destroyed by the humans and the human world the racoons enter. This keeps the settings simple but effective.

AnimationThe animation fits the typical Ghibli style which works to tell the story well.


Scene of the Movie –
Transformation training.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is slightly too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sweet little Ghibli movie, it does send important messages about how wildlife and humans must learn to live together.

 

Overall: Sweet little animation movie.

Rating

 

 

Natalie Portman Weekend – Leon (1994)

Director: Luc Besson

Writer: Luc Besson (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello, Peter Appel

 

Plot: Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin’s trade.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Assassin Film

 

Story: Leon starts as we see just how deadly of an assassin Leon (Reno) is, you know the usual easy job to show he can pull tricks to confuse the enemy. Leon lives in a small apartment in New York where he has neighbours with middle child Mathilda (Portman) feeling out of place with her abusive father and sister. When we see how her father has gotten them in trouble with Stansfield (Oldman) he murders the whole family.

Leon reluctantly welcomes Mathilda into his home but they soon make an agreement that Leon will train Mathilda to be a ‘cleaner’ just like him so she get kill Stansfield and the men that killed her family.

 

Thoughts on Leon

 

Characters – Leon is the loner assassin that is brilliant at getting the job done and spends his free time keeping his planet in the sun and watching old movies in the cinema. He has a code, no women or children which is why he takes Mathilda in so he can teach her the ways and help her get revenge on the man who killed her family. Mathilda is the 12-year-old girl that has never fitted in her family and is being abused by her family, she sees her family murdered and her only hope is Leon, she wants to be trained to be like him so she can get revenge. We get a lot of different characteristics from this character that acts a lot older than she should but it makes sense because of her childhood being ripped from her. Stansfield is the cop that killed Mathilda’s family, he is a dirty cop with a love for classical music that doesn’t care who he kills to keep his business alive.

PerformanceJean Reno is fantastic in this role, he plays a character perfectly to make us see his kindness to go against his heartless nature as a killer. Gary Oldman makes for a brilliant villain as we see just how emotionless he can be. Natalie Portman gave us her first performance here and it is one of the best child actor performances you will see which makes you understand why she has had such a long career.

StoryThe story follows the idea that a lone assassin teaming up with a young girl who has become a victim of a dirty cop as their friendship blossoms the revenge becomes personal. This is easily one of the best relationship between two people from different worlds coming together for a common goal without anything needing to get complicated.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side of the film shows the world of assassins, dirty cops and innocent victims as we are left on edge waiting to see what will be happening to our characters.

SettingsNew York always makes for a wonderful setting as we get to see how the overcrowding can let hitmen get away easily.

Scene of the Movie – Mathilda’s Gift for Stansfield.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing, really.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best movies of all times, it shows how to make a lone assassin movie can be one of the best of all time.

 

Overall: Brilliant, masterpiece movie.

Rating