The Fan (1996)

Director: Tony Scott

Writer: Phoef Sutton (Screenplay) Peter Abrahams (Book)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Wesley Snipes, Ellen Barkin, John Leguizamo, Benicio Del Toro, Patti D’Arbanville

 

Plot: An all star baseball player becomes the unhealthy focus of a down on his luck salesman.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Thriller

 

Story: The Fan starts as baseball MVP Bobby Rayburn (Snipes) joins to San Francisco Giants on a lucrative contract to be the highest paid player in the league. We also meet diehard baseball fan Gil Renard (De Niro) who is over the moon with the latest signing believing his team could go all the way this year but is on his last legs in his job as a salesman.

When Gil’s life starts crashing around him, he loses his job, gets a restraining order from his kid and even his beloved team isn’t performing he starts to reach into dark places. On the field, Bobby isn’t reaching to levels of expectation with Primo (Del Toro) outshining him in the games, with this we see how both men are not having the best time in their lives.

When Gil becomes obsessed with trying to help Bobby find his form, things take a dark turn with potentially deadly consequences.

 

Thoughts on The Fan

 

Characters/PerformanceGil is a true extreme diehard sports fan, he makes sport, in this case baseball the most important part of his life. He has been struggling with his job and family life which has pushed him over the edge. Bobby is the typical arrogant overpaid sports star who believes he can walk into any team and become the star attraction, when things don’t go his way, he struggles with the fan backlash when he hits a slump.

Performance wise, Robert De Niro is fantastic in this role with the final third of the film showing all of his skills on the psychotic levels. Wesley Snipes also brings the cocky sports persona from White Men Can’t Jump to the next level with his performance. The rest of the cast are all great, with always reliable performances from John Leguizamo and Benicio Del Toro.

StoryWe all know how certain fans can go to the extremes when it comes to supporting their team, we all know how the star player can sometimes find themselves getting the fans turn on them. So what happens when a fan goes too far, what happens when a star breaks his slump for his own change rather than because of the fan? Well this shows us just what could happen and in a very stylish way.

Action/SportsThe action is mostly based on the suspense of the film with the sports drama side coming from how the extreme fans can act.

SettingsSan Francisco is the most part for the setting which shows us how difficult it could be to get by, the difference between sports players and fans as well as the amount of people an average person could blend into.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most interesting twists on sports drama, seeing the extremes we could see a fan go to for a player and a team. This does start slightly slow but I do feel that helps build the characters for the final third of the film.

 

Overall: Great sports drama that has the intensity needed for the story.

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Harvey Keitel Weekend – From Dusk till Dawn (1996)

fromDirector: Robert Rodriguez

Writer: Quentin Tarantino (Screenplay) Robert Kurtzman (Story)

Starring: George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin

 

Plot: Two criminals and their hostages unknowingly seek temporary refuge in an establishment populated by vampires, with chaotic results.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Vampire Movies Ever

 

Story: From Dusk till Dawn starts as we meet the Gecko Brothers Set (Clooney) and Richard (Tarantino) who are on the run after a bank robbery on the run to Mexico and safe haven. Also on the road is a priest Jacob (Keitel) who has lost his faith travelling with his children Kate (Lewis) and Scott (Liu) who are on the road after their mother and wife’s death.

When the Gecko’s lose their latest hostage, they find themselves take Jacob and his family hostage as they make it over the border into Mexico to the biker bar known as the Titty Twister where the Gecko’s have arrange to have their meet but they group have to spend the night in this bar with seductive dances and dangerous bikers.

The night takes a twist for the worse when they learn the club is filled with bloodthirsty vampires and all the customers are just their latest victims.

 

Thoughts on From Dusk till Dawn

 

StoryWhen you go into a vampire movie the story doesn’t always need to be all gothic sometimes it can be wildly over the top. This story keeps everything simple by having thieves on the run and a religious man who has lost faith ending up in a shady bar having to spend one night fighting vampires. There isn’t much more to this and that is why it is all so enjoyable.

Action/HorrorWe have plenty of over the top action in the second half of this movie as the survivors take on the new image from horror in the vampires. We can enjoy the action horror throughout this film.

Characters/PerformanceThe Gecko Brothers are strong anti-hero characters and having Jacob as the faithless priest suits the vampire genre. We do get a scene stealing moment from a sexy dancer who becomes one of the vampires.

When you look at the performances Clooney does shine and is one of the most different he ever took on in his career. Keitel is also a good in this role but with the weak point as often is Tarantino’s acting which doesn’t reach the levels of the rest of the cast.

SettingsThe settings are used very well with the travelling sequences in the first half but the Titty Twister bar has become one of the most iconic bar in film history and having the characters trapped there also helps them must work together against the vampires.

Special EffectsThe special effects here are great as you believe each and every one of the kills, fights and attacks the vampires are involved in.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most fun you will have with any vampire movie because when it was released it took the vampire genre in a new direction.

 

Overall: Enjoy the bloody filled vampire classic.

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Trainspotting (1996)

trainDirector: Danny Boyle

Writer: John Hodge (Screenplay) Irvine Welsh (Novel)

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald, Peter Mullan

 

Plot: Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Drugs Mess Up Lives

 

Story: Trainspotting starts as meet Renton (McGregor) a heroin addict living in Scotland that enjoys the fact that whenever he is high nothing in the world matters. Renton has Spud (Bremner) and Sick Boy (Miller) who join him in the drugs but Tommy (McKidd) and Begbie (Carlyle) along with family telling him he is wasting his life.

Deciding he wants to pack in the drugs Renton goes on his own mission to kick the habit joined by the Sick Boy who can kick it whenever he wants. We see how Renton goes back and forth with his decision to quit as we see how his friend’s fall deeper or even look at new options.

 

Thoughts on Trainspotting

 

StoryThe story of one man’s look for the answers to whether he should quit heroin or not is fascinating because it is how he see what happens in his friend’s lives which can help him make the decision which can save his life. We get some truly shocking glimpses into just how far an addict will go for their next score. We do get the full look at how far the journey is for Renton which will always get compared to Requiem for a Dream for subject matter even though this did come first.

Characters/PerformancesThe characters are all played to what could be called the extremes, we have Renton who is the addict trying to get over his own problems struggling along the way, but it is the fellow characters have their own vices be it the drugs, drink or violence which all gets show through the film. When you look at the performances this is a full cast of impressive performance from start to finish.

SettingsWe have most of the film set in Scotland where we get to see the what can only be described as the poor side of the country and just how they would search for an out of their life.

Final ThoughtsAs I am not the biggest fan of drug related movies I have been avoiding this one for years but with the sequel out this year I went with it. I found it to be everything I thought so I did enjoy the storytelling process and the performances but my personal preference will always lay with Requiem for a Dream.

 

Overall: Brilliant look at how drugs can affect life of one person and the people in it.

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Matthew McConaughey Weekend – A Time To Kill (1996)

a  timeDirector: Joel Schumacher

Writer: Akiva Goldsman (Screenplay) John Grisham (Novel)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Oliver Platt, Charles S Dutton, Brenda Fricker, Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland, Ashley Judd

 

Plot: A young lawyer defends a black man accused of murdering two men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the K.K.K.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant

 

Story: A Time to Kill starts a we see 10-year-old Tonya beaten and raped by Billy Ray Cobb (Katt) and James Louis Willard (Hutchison) and with the case taken to court it looks like they will get off the charge, her father Carl Lee Hailey (Jackson) takes matters into his own hands.

Carl Lee facing a double murder charge Jake Tyler Brigance (McConaughey) takes the case having to go up against powerful DA Rufus Buckley (Spacey) in what is a case fuelled with racial tension.

When the case brings the Ku Klux Klan back from grave Jake puts his own family in danger but thanks to young law student Ellen Roark (Bullock) and his mentor Lucien Wilbanks (D.Sutherland) to help him keep his business a float and win this case.

A Time to Kill is a racial driven courtroom crime thriller that touches on everything with the nice amount of time. We get left to question what you would do if you were in any of the position between the case which is a huge plus for the film. The idea that we get the racial tension going on because of how the case could be treated differently depending on the skin colour of a character also helps drive the story. when it comes to courtroom drama this is by fair one of the best out there.

 

Actor Review

 

Matthew McConaughey: Jake Tyler Brigance is a young lawyer who has taken over a small law firm from his mentor who struggles to keep the business afloat. When this case comes his way he wants to do the right thing because he knows how this can be a difficult decision and believe he can win the case against the odds. Matthew shows early on in his career he could handle the serious films in leading role.

Sandra Bullock: Ellen Roark is a young law student who has helped on many murder cases and wants to help Jake with this case to help clear Carl Lee from the charges. She has different political beliefs to him which they do class on but their passion together can drive the case. Sandra shines in this role in her early career showing how she can pull of the serious roles too.

Samuel L Jackson: Carl Lee Hailey is the man that finds his daughter beaten and raped and decides to take justice into his own hands by killing the men involved. He doesn’t care what happens to him just as long as he makes these men pay but not faces a double murder charge. Samuel is great in this role as a man who got pushed to his limits.

Kevin Spacey: D A Rufus Buckley is the cocky DA who thinks this case is a slam dunk as he knows he can get the white man’s vote on the jury and questions Jake ability in a courtroom. Kevin while playing a standard character for the villain of the courtroom hit it ot the park in every scene.

Support Cast: A Time to Kill has a supporting cast which is filled with stars in nearly every scene and each one gives a brilliant performance throughout the film.

Director Review: Joel SchumacherJoel gives us one of his best films that balance the racial tension with the crime case perfectly.

 

Crime: A Time to Kill leaves us in the middle of a court case handle a sensitive subject which poses us questions on where you would stand on such a case.

Thriller: A Time to Kill does keep us one edge wondering where the next twist will come in the story be it in the courtroom or the tension building outside the courts.

Settings: A Time to Kill keeps nearly all the settings within the Louisiana town where racial tension is still strong and you can see the difference in both sides even with the same struggles.

Suggestion: A Time to Kill is one of the most must watch courtroom dramas out there with such a sensitive subject. (Must Watch)

 

Best Part: Closing speech.

Worst Part: Slightly long if you are being picky.

 

Believability: Parts could be.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $40 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 29 Minutes

Tagline: A lawyer and his assistant fighting to save a father on trial for murder. A time to question what they believe. A time to doubt what they trust. And no time for mistakes.

 

Overall: One of the all-time best courtroom drams out there.

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Tremors 2 Aftershock (1996)

castin card

 

Plot: Earl Bassett, now a laid-back living legend, is coaxed by the Mexican government into hunting and exterminating the Graboids that are threatening an important oil-refinery. But no amount of explosives could prepare him for what the worms have in store.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Sequel

 

Story: Tremors 2 Aftershock starts as we meet Earl (Ward) alone now an ostrich farmer, he gets approached by Senor Ortega (Tubert) who has been having problems with the graboids in Mexico, along with huge fan Grady (Gartin) gets offered $50,000 per graboid.

Travelling down to Mexico Earl & Grady team up with geologist Kate Reilly (Shaver) to go graboid hunting and they find themselves picking plenty of graboids. When Earl finds himself having to take on too many graboids he turns to his old friend Burt (Gross) who jumps at the chance to kill some graboids. When the graboids evolve we find our hunters chasing something complete new.cast

Tremors 2 Aftershock is what would need to be considered a solid sequel, it keeps the idea very simple with hunting down the graboids and what it does means it gets straight into the action. Evolving the creature also helps because we get a new enemy which turns out not to be so easy to kill. The only drawback would be that we don’t get enough supporting cast members to be put into peril. This is an easy story to follow though.

 

Actor Review

 

Fred Ward: Earl Bassett has blown his chance at fame now living off the last moments alone on an ostrich farm. He gets a chance to make big money by hunting graboids with a new partner Grady. He uses all his skills to take down the graboids with an old friend and a potential new flame. Fred is still strong in this leading role but doesn’t have the same chemistry with Chris.

Chris Gartin: Grady Hoover a fan of Earl and Val and after failing to get Val to help he turns to Earl where he also wants to be part of the hunting team with his ideas of where to market any extra money out of the graboid situation. Grady goes through plenty of scenes where he makes it clear he is the replacement. Chris is good but not reaching the same levels Kevin Bacon did.

Helen Shaver: Kate ‘White’ Reilly is the geologist in Mexico that helps the guys with their hunting mission. She has learnt how to track them which gives the hunters a big advantage. Helen is solid but seems to just be a supporting member of the cast.

Michael Gross: Burt Gummer is also feeling the effects of the aftermath and sees this as a chance to come after the graboids one more time. He comes armed to a military truck and just as eager as before. Michael evolves his character to become the iconic one from the franchise.

Support Cast: Tremors 2 Aftershock has a very small supporting cast with the man who hires them and a few employees being the only cast members in the film.

Director Review: S.S. WilsonS.S. does a good job directing take the film in a different direction as well as opening it out for any type of franchise idea.

 

Action: Tremors 2 Aftershock has a lot more action as we go straight into the hunting side of the story.

Comedy: Tremors 2 Aftershock doesn’t reach the same levels on a comical sense which is slightly disappointing but has a few laughs.

Horror: Tremors 2 Aftershock doesn’t reach all the levels of the horror from the first outing.

Settings: Tremors 2 Aftershock takes the action to the Mexico which works but leaves us wondering why the change in location.
Special Effects
: Tremors 2 Aftershock has good effects throughout with only one questionable moment.

Suggestion: Tremors 2 Aftershock is one to try, if you like the first one you will enjoy this. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Final act.

Worst Part: That one bad moment of CGI.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $4 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Tagline:  The Worms have turned.

 

Overall: Enjoyable sequel that doesn’t quite reach the levels of the original.

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