Horror Franchise – Scream (1996) Revisited

 

 

Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Kevin Williamson (Screenplay)

Starring: David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, Drew Barrymore

 

Plot: A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.


Tagline – I’ll Be Right Back.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Perfect Modern Slasher

 

Story: Scream starts when Casey Becker (Barrymore) who is getting ready to settle down to watch a scary movie, when she gets a phone call which soon turns nasty when a psychopath starts trying to test her horror movie knowledge and we get the first look at the killer for the film, Ghostface who claims his first victims.

The next day the talk of the school is the murder, Sidney (Campbell) is still holding Billy (Ulrich) from sex, Tatum (McGowan), Stuart (Lillard) and Randy (Kennedy) go through the reactions of losing a classmate, which is the worst crime in the town since the murder of Sidney’s mother.

It isn’t long before Ghostface starts staking the friends targeting Sidney, Deputy Dewey (Arquette) tries to help stop the killer, while ambitious reporter Gail Weathers (Cox) is trying to put her name on the map by getting the big break reporting the story. the question is who is Ghostface and what are their motives?

 

Thoughts on Scream

 

Characters – Sidney Prescott is our strong teenage lead, she is still recovering emotionally from her mother’s rape and murder one year ago. She has close friends, a boyfriend in Billy and knows how to handle herself in a tight corner. Sidney does fill the final girl traits while being the main target for the killer. Tatum is the best friend, she is the one that is more sexually active of the two girls not being afraid to drink and show affection in public. Billy is the boyfriend of Sidney, he is becoming frustrated being with her and not getting sex, he soon becomes a suspect because of his strange behaviour around the group of friends. Stuart is the loose cannon practical joker of the group he always goes too far with his jokes and plays on that. Deputy Dewey is the rookie cop and brother of Tatum, he seems to be the only one keeping an eye of the girls during the time the killer is on the loose. Gail Weathers is the ambitious reporter looking for her next big story after reporting on the murder the year before, she doesn’t give us any reason to like her as the film unfolds and treats her cameraman even worse.

PerformancesNeve Campbell taking the lead role is great, she fits the final girl perfectly with her innocence while showing the strength required. David Arquette in the cop role works very well because he gets to play on the idea that he might not be ready to deal with a killer. Courteney Cox breaks her nice character in Friends to be one of the characters you simply don’t like through the film. with Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard working as the boyfriends on edge who shine in the important moments in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a group high school students who have become the target of a deranged killer in a Ghostface mask. The slasher genre has been reborn with this idea because we get to see the rules of horror explained and of course we get references from horror films left right and centre. The story manages to almost parody the horror genre while remaining serious with how everything is told, it gets to poke fun at genre as only the audience could. We are kept guessing to who the killer is which is everything we want in the film with the big plus coming from the fact we are not dealing with supernatural forces.

Horror/MysteryThe horror side of the film focuses on the idea of the slasher genre with a killer picking people off when they break the horror rules. The mystery is the highlight of the film because we are left guessing to who the killer is going to be.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the small-town setting with most of the horror taking place in a home or around a school. It brings everything back home for the victims giving it a personal feeling.

Special EffectsThe effects are good showing real body injuries through film over going full CGI like most do.


Scene of the Movie –
Referencing the horror movies so smoothly.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact the school kids are celebrating after a death of a classmate.

Final ThoughtsThis is the stand out horror of the 90’s it brings the slasher into the modern world accepting the idea that horror films exist, one that must be watched.

 

Overall: Must Watch Horror.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Director: Robert Rodriguez

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

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

 

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


Tagline – How far can Too Far go?

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Blood Splattered Blast

 

Story: From Dusk till Dawn starts after Seth Gecko (Clooney) is broken out of prison by his brother Richard (Tarantino) before they commit a daring daylight robbery as they race towards the Mexican border. They have a hostage which Richard soon kills, meaning they must find another one. The brothers pick a family the Fuller family, whose loss of faith priest father Jacob (Keitel) and his children Kate (Lewis) and Scott (Liu) are just travelling.

Once across the border the five head to a bar known as the Titty Twister for bikers and truckers alike, but soon they must put their differences aside when it turns out to be a vampire hideout, where they must fight to daylight.

 

Thoughts on From Dusk till Dawn

 

Characters – Seth Gecko has just been sprung from prison by his brother, he wants to get across the border to complete a deal which would see them both have freedom, he is the one that remains in control wanting to keep everything calm, which would mean not leaving a pile of bodies behind them. He does deliver the threats which would see them as a danger, though he does just want things to be simple. Richard or Ritchie is must more of a loose cannon, he is paranoid and this makes him more dangerous, as he will kill people putting their safety at risk. He is protected by his brother, as he doesn’t seem like he is capable of putting a plan together himself. Jacob was a priest that has lost his faith after his wife’s death, he I taking his family on a vacation and gets forced into helping the brothers, he wants to keep them safe, willing to risk his own life to make this happen. Kate and Scott are his children, they are dealing with their own loss the best way they know how to and being supportive to their father. Santanico is the beautiful dancer that will stop a bar with her dance, she is one of the leaders of the vampires who has been waiting for the food in human form.

PerformancesGeorge Clooney is great to see in this role, after this we only usually see him in smooth talking roles, rather than a rough criminal, showing he could become any role offered to him. Tarantino in this film is creepy and putting himself in the supporting role does hide any restrictions he might have as an actor. Harvey Keitel is great showing a character that is meant to be hating his life choice, but remaining strong for his children. Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu are both solid enough in the supporting roles without getting too much more to work with, while Salma Hayek turns heads with her performance.

StoryThe story here follows two criminals trying to get to Mexico, the family they force to help them across the border and the bar they find, filled with vampires that they must fight to survive the night. Where this story stands up on its own, is by making it a criminal tory to start with, having no hints of horror or vampires involved, as we just watch the two loose cannons trying to get to safety, by pulling the rug out from under us to thrown us into the horror idea is genius switch of pace for the story. we do have themes going on especially with the Jacob character needing to find his lost faith which finding it will become the big part in fight the vampires. The story also exists in a world where vampire stories do exist, which gives them ideas on how to fight back, which was the main attraction to the 90’s horror stories.

Action/HorrorThe action in the film involves the fighting with the vampires, we get to take everything to a new level for this side of the genre, with the blood splatter in the action, which the horror gives us because we vampires which are a staple of horror, but we do focus on the action over the scares.

SettingsThe film uses the getting to the location setting of the camper van which does show us the road trip feel to the film, but it is the bar that will be one that is always going to be hard to forget, being a run down biker and trucker bar.

Special EffectsThe special effects are some of the best you will see in the vampire genre, it shows that you can get plenty done with practical effects, with the only weakness come from the human to vampire transformations, which look CGI and have dated.


Scene of the Movie –
The battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The transformations have dated badly.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most fun vampire movies you will ever see, it has plenty of blood flying around the screen and will keep you entertained from start to finish.

 

Overall: Purely entertaining vampire movie.

Rating

 

 

Maximum Risk (1996)

Director: Ringo Lam

Writer: Larry Ferguson (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Natasha Henstridge, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Zach Grenier, Paul Ben-Victor, Frank Senger

 

Plot: A cop/flic discovers that he had a twin who just got murdered in Nice, France. In order to find out who did it, he takes his place including the cute girlfriend in Little Odessa, NYC.


Tagline – The other side of safe.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Van Damme

 

Story: Maximum Risk starts when a French police detective Alain Moreau (Van Damme) sees a man killed, the man looks identical to him and Alain learns that he did in fact have a twin brother. Alain must now look to investigate the murder of his twin brother with his partner Sebastien (Anglade).

Alain learns that his brother was adopted by a Russian family and that he has gone onto to raise up the Russian mob, only he is wanted by them, Alain is joined by Alex (Henstridge) his brother’s girlfriend as they look to bring down Ivan (Grenier) the leader of the Russian Mob.

 

Thoughts on Maximum Risk

 

Characters – Alain is a French police detective that lives a normal life in Nice, his life if turned upside down when he finds a body that looks identical to himself, learning that he does have a twin brother. Alain go in search for answers which leads him to New York city and the Russian mob, here Alain must learn who he can trust and why his brother is killed, while showing all his fighting skills. Alex is the brother’s girlfriend, she knows he danger Alain has walked into and will help him get out of the life of crime that his brother was part of. Sebastien is the partner of Alain back in France, he has worked with him for years, only he stays in France for the investigation. Ivan Dzasokhov is the Russian that has been hunting down Alain, he wants something that he posses and knows it could give up his freedom is the secret it released.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is the man we know for action, when he gets to fight we know we get quality scenes, when it comes to becoming serious he isn’t on the same level. Natasha Henstridge was fresh of the back of Species here and easily fit the role for looks, while never getting her chance to do much more. The rest of the cast fill their roles to help make Van Damme look good in the action sequences.

StoryThe story follows a man that must unlock the mystery behind why his unknown brother was murdered, which sees him enter the world of the Russian mob. Let’s be honest, the story isn’t always the most important part of any Van Damme movie, we just want to watch him kick people’s asses. This story puts him in a place where he just doesn’t know where each step will take him, we get plenty of people that want Alain dead which shows he doesn’t know who to trust, but we always know that he is going to come out on top, it is an easy relaxing action film for the story side of things.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action here involves Van Damme doing his thing, kicking ass regardless of the size of the opponent. We follow a police officer entering the world of the Russian mob which brings us into the crime elements of the story, while the mystery comes from just who could be trusted during this time.

SettingsThe film takes place in two main cities, Nice in France and New York, we do get the fish out of water idea with Alain in New York here.


Scene of the Movie –
The sauna fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is pretty basic.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple easy to follow action movie that we are used to seeing from Van Damme.

 

Overall: Simple Van Damme Action Film.

Rating

 

 

That Thing You Do! (1996)

Director: Tom Hanks

Writer: Tom Hanks (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Steve Zahn, Johnathon Schaech, Ethan Embry, Charlize Theron

 

Plot: A local Pennsylvania band scores a one hit wonder in 1964 and rides the star-making machinery as long as they can, with lots of help from its manager.


Tagline – In every life there comes a time when that dream you dream becomes that thing you do.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict:

 

Story: That Thing You Do! Starts in a small town in Pennsylvania in 1964, where four young men Jimmy (Schaech), Guy (Scott), Lenny (Zahn) and the Bass Player (Embry) are trying to make a nae for themselves and when they win a talent contest, the band known as ‘The One-Ders’ grab the attention of the state.

When Mr White (Hanks) discovers the band, he rebrands them ‘The Wonders’ and soon their hit ‘That Thing You Do!’ rises up the charts becoming an overnight sensation.

 

Thoughts on That Thing You Do!

 

Characters – Mr White is the music manager who takes over control of ‘The Wonders’ he knows how to make them bigger than they are and shows them how to go from small crowds to the main attraction to national success, however he makes sure he keeps them doing the song that made them popular over trying to make them do anything new. Jimmy is the lead singer of the band and along with his girlfriend has always tried to make the band their own style, always trying to find a clever snappy name for them. Guy is bought in last minute to become the drummer and soon becomes the man of mystery in the band, the one that pushes them to up the tempo of the band sound. Faye is Jimmy’s girlfriend that has supported the band from day one, she will follow them on tour.

PerformancesTom Hanks is a busy man on this film taking writing and directing too, he is great as the manager trying to make the band the next big thing, he shows he knows this side of the business with the character too. Johnathon Schaech, Tom Everett Scott, Steve Zahn and Ethan Embry as the band are good they have great chemistry together. Liv Tyler is good with her role slowly turning into the background roll in the film.

StoryThe story follows a young band that rise from small-town band to national success with their one hit wonder song that is filled with good feeling. We see how the band can be led down one the path that is best for their quick success over being shown about lasting success in a cut throat 60s music industry, where everyone wanted to become the next Beetles. The story is shown in a pace which shows the band just loving the success that is coming their direction while they have their own issues which must be put aside to keep the band together and we see how they must learn to handle success.

Comedy/MusicThe comedy in the film comes from the supporting cast where Lenny get the laughs with his enthusiasm about the band. The music is mostly the same song being played, but it isn’t one that gets annoying though.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the small humble beginnings the band has to just how big they becomes with each location becoming bigger to mirror their success.


Scene of the Movie –
That Thing You Do! The song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Bass Player not actually having a name.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good example of how bands can have one song which makes them massive only to see them struggle when it comes to trying to make a name for themselves in a new booming industry.

 

Overall: Hanks is just as great behind the camera as he is on front of it.

Rating

 

 

Brassed Off (1996)

Director: Mark Herman

Writer: Mark Herman (Screenplay)

Starring: Pete Postlethwaite, Tara Fitzgerald, Ewan McGregor, Stephen Tompkinson, Jim Carter, Philip Jackson, Peter Martin

 

Plot: The coal mine in a northern English village may be closing, which would also mean the end of the miners’ brass band.


Tagline – Fed up with the system. Ticked off at the establishment. And mad about… each other.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Comedy Drama

 

Story: Brassed Off starts as we head to the small Yorkshire coal mining village, Danny (Postlethwaite) conducts a brass band for the locals which is designed to keep spirits high even with the economic changes in the village. Danny is leading his band into the semi-final, with his son Phil (Tompkinson) and granddaughter of band hero Gloria (Fitzgerald) back in town, the bad is given new life.

With the threat that the mining pit might be closing, the town is filled with tension and the band is pushed to their limits, Danny does everything he can to keep the band together even while battling his own illness, to show that coming together can bring hope to a struggling town.

 

Thoughts on Brassed Off

 

Characters – Danny is the conductor of the band, he has kept the band going for years now and has always used it to keep the community together. He wants to one day play at the Royal Albert Hall, with this potentially being his last chance because of an illness he is battling. Gloria returns to her hometown working for the management that is looking at the closure of the mine, she joins the band because of her grandfather’s legacy and soon finds herself being shafted because of her role in the potential closure of the mine. Andy is the youngest member of the mining team and band, he grow up with Gloria and gets caught in the middle of the two sides. Phil is the son of Danny, he suffered the most during the last strike and now he must do everything he can to keep his family together when his past starts to catch up with him.

PerformancesPete Postlethwaite is fantastic in this leading role, he was always great in these type of roles, where he can be calm while hiding something from everyone. Tara Fitzgerald and Ewan McGregor are both good in their roles, while it is Stephen Tompkinson is the real surprise package with his well-rounded character.

StoryThe story shows us the struggles a mining community in England became the latest victim of the economy change that swept the land, they are held together by a brass band as we see the financial struggles on the outside. This is a good glimpse as the change in culture that went through England and showed that communities can come together for the people suffering most. The environment does however feel similar to the Billy Elliott environment, which I know was later, but is easily more well known. We get the good moments even if a love story does feel thrown in for the sake of it.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy through this film does work and does feel like everyday situational comedy. The romance in the film is the weakest pat of the film as it mostly feels thrown in.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the small mining town in Yorkshire, the heart of mining land that relies on one source of income to keep the community together.


Scene of the Movie –
Hospital performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The romantic story mostly gets boring.

Final ThoughtsThis is a British film that may have been forgotten through the years, it has great performances and a story which would have affected thousands with the economic side of things.

 

Overall: British brilliance.

Rating