Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Director: Ang Lee

Writer: Emma Thompson (Screenplay) Jane Austin (Novel)

Starring: Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Tom Wilkinson, James Fleet, Harriet Walter, Gemma Jones

 

Plot: Rich Mr. Dashwood dies, leaving his second wife and her three daughters poor by the rules of inheritance. The two eldest daughters are the titular opposites.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Perfect Period Piece

 

Story: Sense and Sensibility starts when Mr Dashwood (Wilkinson) dies leaving his inheritance to his son John (Fleet) by law, his wife Fanny (Walter) wants his second wife Mrs Dashwood (Jones) and the daughters Elinor (Thompson), Marianna (Winslet) and Margaret (Francois) to move out as soon as possible living off just the £500 a year.

As the family moves to a small cottage Elinor must leave the early feelings she has for Fanny’s brother Edward Ferrars (Grant). While in the cottage Elinor watches as Marianne gets courted by a couple of men Colonel Brandon (Rickman) and John Willoughby (Wise) who both could bring the family back to the high life.

 

Thoughts on Sense and Sensibility

 

Characters/PerformanceElinor Dashwood is the eldest sister of the family she falls for Edward but knows she can’t be with him because of her new social status, she also looks after the younger sisters. Marianne is the middle sister and the one easily led astray by her heart never being able to hide her feelings when it comes to love. Edward Ferrars is the kind quiet brother of Fanny who wants nothing more than a life away from the high society. Colonel Brandon is a middle-aged bachelor that has lived with a broken heart but does take a shine to Marianne, he does what he can to support her through her own heart break even if he has his own desire to marry her.

Performance wise, Emma Thompson is brilliant in the leading role as well as her work on the screenplay which won her an Oscar. Kate Winslet burst onto the scene with this role which has firmly put her into the minds of any film fan now. Hugh Grant is great through his supporting role and Alan Rickman shows he had the class to perform in any film role. We do have a good supporting cast of well-known British actors too that all perform well.

StoryThis is a Jane Austin novel, so let’s face it, I will never have read the novel in the first place, I am not the biggest fan of this era movies because I find the high society annoying to see how people used to act for money rather than love. Saying this I did enjoy watching the story unfold I found it showed just how frustrating the era in British history was and is one that can be respected by all film fans. We do have love, heartbreak and money but it also spends plenty of time watching over how things could be considered farfetched.

RomanceWe get to see the swings and roundabouts of love through the romance side of the story here but mostly focusing on potential heartbreak and lost love.

SettingsEach setting brings us into the time era perfectly making everything come off flawless throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t a film I would be re-visiting but it is one I can say is wonderfully made, written and performed throughout.

 

Overall: Brilliant period drama of a classic novel.

Rating

 

 

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Crime Thriller Weekend – Seven (1995)

Director: David Fincher

Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker (Screenplay)

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, John Cassini

 

Plot: Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.


Tagline –  Earnest Hemingway once wrote, “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.” I believe the second part.

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Dark Crime Thrillers

 

Story: Seven starts as Detective Mills (Pitt) a cocky young detective joins seasoned veteran Detective Somerset (Freeman) who is on the verge of retirement to teach Mills the ropes in the new city. While the two don’t hit it off because of the clash of backgrounds Somerset doesn’t want anything to do with the latest murder but when Mills take over the case upon the second body, Somerset agrees to assist Mills in the cracking the case.

When the case turns into a hunt for a serial killer who is picking his victims to represent the seven deadly sins, the pair know there are going to have more victims but must race to stop this killer before the victim count gets too high.

 

Thoughts on Seven

 

Characters – Somerset is the veteran detective one week from retirement, who must take short tempered detective under his wing for the final week. Somerset has an old school style along with a gentle tone though the crimes. Mills is the short-tempered detective that moves into the new city and must learn the way of the police there, he is happy to break a few laws to get the correct answer when investigating a crime which goes against everything Somerset stands for. Tracy is the wife of Mills, who is also new to the town, she hasn’t found a job and is finding herself lonely with Mills on the job. John Doe is the man behind the crimes, he is calculated in his every move who is almost mocking the detectives with his actions.

PerformancesMorgan Freeman is excellent choice in the leading role because he sums up calm and gentle nature needed for the role, Brad Pitt steps up to the darker movie with ease because he gets to keep his cocky swagger for the role. Gwyneth Paltrow is good but doesn’t get the screen time we could have gotten from her character. Kevin Spacey is the secret star of this film because when he enters the story you are left to sit on the edge of your seat waiting to see what he does or says next.

StoryThe story is a serial killer building up the number of bodies while two unlikely detectives must put aside their differences to stop the killer. The dark tone going on through the story shows how the killer’s motives are perfectly placed out and it is the detectives are the ones that need to think quickly to stop the next step. If you like a crime story that involves solving the case this will give you one of the best, but the lack of suspects might put people off in places.

Crime/Mystery/ThrillerThe murders are graphic in how we see the effects of what has been done to the victim, the mystery comes from leaving us to wonder why the victims have been selected and we are left on the edge of our seats from the start to the finish of the film.

SettingsThe city is never made clear which shows how the crimes could happen in any town, city, country if the believer is willing to follow through with his beliefs.


Scene of the Movie –
Visiting the suspect.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Hard to find one.

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Box Office: $100 Million (USA)

Budget: $33 Million

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the greatest thrillers of all time, it is edge of your seat material from start until the end even on repeat viewings you will find yourself gripped.

 

Overall: Must watch crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Prophecy (1995)

Director: Gregory Widen

Writer: Gregory Widen (Screenplay)

Starring: Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Eric Stoltz, Viggo Mortensen, Amanda Plummer

 

Plot: The angel Gabriel comes to Earth to collect a soul which will end the stalemated war in Heaven, and only a former priest and a little girl can stop him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Religious Battle Film

 

Story: The Prophecy starts as we learn of an ancient war between angels in heaven where Simon (Stoltz) is in search for the only people that can stop the angel Gabriel (Walken) destroying any chance of humans getting to heaven. Former priest turned detective Thomas Dagget (Koteas) leads the investigation into strange amounts of crime striking the city.

Thomas must face his lost faith and the visions that made him leave the priesthood in the first place, as he searches for the one person a little girl Mary (Snyder) that can stop Gabriel’s path of destruction.

 

Thoughts on The Prophecy

 

Characters/PerformanceGabriel is the angel sent from to stop humans rising to heaven, he is cold, calculated and determined to win the war within heaven. Thomas is a former priest turned detective who must now question his lost faith to stop a war he was destined to fight. Katherine is the teacher that must work with Thomas to save Mary and stop Gabriel.

Performance wise, Christopher Walken is an inspired choice for an evil angel because he has the perfect emotionless face for evil. Koteas is good but doesn’t reach the full level of its potential in his performance. Madsen is good in this supporting role in this film.

StoryThe story of waring angels in heaven is always interesting one because we see how the people involved in the battle must question their faith. This one follows Gabriel on his search for the strongest as he goes out to fight his greatest battle and we follow the humans that can stop this happening, simple enough.

Action/CrimeThe action is all very basic because we go through all the things that can’t kill an angel first. The crime side turns into fantasy investigation case.

SettingsThe settings are not made to be anything important apart from the few churches, otherwise it is just random building or deserts.

Special EffectsThe effects are all fine but have dated in places which is sad to see.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting action crime film that enters us into the fantasy world of angels not being the good we think they are.

 

Overall: Easy to watch fantasy action film.

Rating

 

 

Casino (1995)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese (Screenplay) Nicholas Pileggi (Book)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, James Woods, Don Rickles, Alan King, Kevin Pollak

 

Plot: Greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two best friends: a mafia underboss and a casino owner, for a trophy wife over a gambling empire.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long Crime Drama

 

Story: Casino starts as we see the rise of mobsters Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein (De Niro) and Nicky Santoro (Pesci) two friends that get involved in the casino industry, Ace is the calm face of the operation keeping the casino in order with the money going to the people it needs to, Nicky does the dirty work beating down the people who go against the casino.

As Ace runs the casino smoothly along with his new wife Ginger (Stone), he keeps the casino clean making more money than he would with other the books work. Nicky continues to do the dirty work as he wants to make as much money as possible from the casinos but his methods brings in the attention of the authorities, getting himself banned from every casino in Vegas.

Over the time the two clash over business as Nicky style flashes the spotlight on Ace, leading to the two friends becoming strained and broken.

 

Thoughts on Casino

 

Characters/PerformanceAce is sent to Vegas to run the books through a casino for the mob, he keeps the business going well but when his friend Nicky interrupts the business, Ace finds himself needing to defend himself through the trial. Nicky is the hot head that joins the casino industry to keep an eye on Ace’s back but soon he finds himself trying to take over Vegas by force which leads to the problems between the two.

Performance wise, De Niro and Pesci both give great performance in what is easily their strengths the crime world, the rest of the cast do great jobs through the whole film.

StoryThe story does balance both the stories of Ace and Nicky but you can’t help but feel this is very long, the film is nearly 3 hours long and is a giant flashback because we see Ace killed in the opening scene. This is a crime story you feel we have seen before and it was nice to see the balance between the violent and the calm reasons for running the businesses.

CrimeWatching how the crime world is run from the calm front and the violent front does come off interesting in places but is slightly rinse repeat.

SettingsVegas always makes for a wonderful setting for a crime story because we all know the vices within the city through the 70s and 80s.

Final ThoughtsThis is too long for the story being told, yes the performances are good but it in the end the drawn out story feels forced throughout.

 

Overall: Long crime drama.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Rand Ravich, Mark Kruger (Screenplay) Clive Barker (Story)

Starring: Tony Todd, Kelly Rowan, William O’Leary, Bill Nunn, Matt Clark, David Gianopoulos

 

Plot: The Candyman arrives in New Orleans and sets his sights on a young woman whose family was ruined by the immortal killer years before.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good World Building Sequel

 

Story: Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh starts with the backstory of Daniel Robitaille (Todd), you know everything we learnt from the last film and how he will come around to haunt you from his myth. This time we are in New Orleans as Ethan Tarrant (O’Leary) wants Philip Purcell an author who has made a profit in books from the Candyman story to pay for failing to help his father.

When Ethan gets arrested for murder, his school teacher sister Annie (Rowan) comes to learn the truth about what happened with tough as nails Detective Ray Levesque (Gianoploulos) wanting to take Ethan down. This time New Orleans are looking to celebrate the Candyman jumping straight into what he wants, people to believe in him once again.

When Annie calls the Candyman she finds herself being the latest victim and must delve deeper into the back story to learn about the legend of the Candyman hoping to stop him once and for all.

 

Thoughts on Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh

 

Characters/PerformanceThe Candyman now striking fear into his audience is back but this time everyone knows about him almost worshiping in New Orleans. He is still a brilliant screen presence killing anyone he feels like killing. Annie is a teacher who is having to investigate the Candyman story to help free her brother from jail and understand her own father’s mysterious death. she is smart when investigating and loyal to her students too. Ethan is the suspect spending most of the film claiming he didn’t do anything.

Performance wise, Tony Todd is still the star of the show still as scary as ever. Kelly Rowan does a good job taking over the leading role but past these two nobody does that well in the performance levels.

StoryThe story can be looked at two ways, the first one is this is a good franchise building story because we get to see the deeper backstory of the Candyman, the second way could be considered the bad way, this is because the Candyman is now a household name that gets celebrated which doesn’t make sense after the first film. it also has a lot of filling to reminding us what we learn in the first film. the story is easy to follow and as a franchise I do think this is a good addition to what we have come to know of the Candyman.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy elements of the Candyman story are the same as last time with a human backstory now but the horror doesn’t reach the levels of before because the Candyman isn’t as secretive as before.

SettingsMoving the settings to New Orleans is a mixed bag as well for me, the spiritual beliefs around the city do add to the mythology behind the Candyman but it also works the other way because they are celebrating him here, which goes against what we learn in the first film.

Special EffectsMost of the practical effects all come off well here but the couple of uses of the CGI do leave us questioning moments in the film.

Final ThoughtsAs a horror fan I liked the deeper backstory because if offers plenty of sequel potential but I also think this film doesn’t offer enough on the true scare factor the first one did, in fact this film goes out of its way to do the mirror scene while the first I believe only did it once.

 

Overall: I have rated this high because I think the Candyman can strike terror into nearly anybody.

Rating