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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Daylight (1996)

dayligthDirector: Rob Cohen

Writer: Leslie Bohem (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Amy Brenneman, Viggo Mortensen, Dan Hedaya, Jay O Sanders, Karen Young, Claire Bloom, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Renoly Santiago, Danielle Harris

 

Plot: Disaster in a New York tunnel as explosions collapse both ends of it. One hero tries to help the people inside find their way to safety.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic 90s

 

Story: Daylight starts as we see a busy New York evening filled with rush hour traffic piling into the tunnel which connects Manhattan and New Jersey. The normal night turns into a nightmare when illegal toxic waste is being transported and ends up exploding causing both sides of the bridge to become blocked.

When taxi driver and former emergency response analysist Kit Latura (Stallone) brings all his experience to the situation enters the tunnel to find a way to rescue the survivors before their air runs out or the people making the decisions make the wrong ones.

Daylight gives us what we saw a plenty during the 90s, a good enjoyable disaster film. This time we find our survivors trapped in a tunnel after an explosion blocking both ends. When it comes to disaster films you really don’t need the deepest stories going on and this doesn’t give us too much to think of either. The hero is a fallen hero looking for redemption, the leading lady is struggling with her own life and the string of genetic supporting character could go on for a while. The thing that makes this good that we don’t see many bad decisions being made only panicking ones which work for the character designs so by the end of the film you do root for all of the survivors to make it. This film sums up the 90s action disaster craze nearly perfectly.

 

Actor Review

 

Sylvester Stallone: Kit Latura is now a taxi driver but used to work with the emergency services finding as many possible mistakes or correct decisions when dealing with disaster like situations. When he sees the tunnel get closed he jumps into action as he has studied this tunnel for years. Kit must lead the survivors to safety against all the odds. Sylvester does a good job in this leading role which you would expect from Stallone in the 90s.

Amy Brenneman: Madelyne is a struggling theatre writer who finds herself stuck inside the tunnel when cover a friend’s work shift. She can analysis a problem which comes into great help during the struggle within the tunnel. Amy is good as this leading lady in the action film.

Viggo Mortensen: Roy is a rich businessman about to make a deal of his career and he has never back away from a challenge in his life. Roy is quickly thrust into the human villain in this story but unlike most we don’t have him hanging around long. Viggo is good but doesn’t get enough time for this character’s purpose.

Dan Hedaya: Frank Kraft is the former friend and partner of Kit who has to make the right decisions from the outside but can his former friendship cloud his judgement. Dan is a solid supporting performance in this role.

Support Cast: Daylight has a supporting cast that do all have the genetic stories to make you care for the good characters against the ones who are outside the tunnel who we are not meant to like as much. This all helps when the battle for survival continues.

Director Review: Rob CohenRob gives us an action disaster we saw plenty of during the 90s and this is one that gets everything correct.

 

Action: Daylight has plenty of action with the actual explosion being the highlight of the action side of the film.

Adventure: Daylight puts us into a story where the adventure is survival against the odds after a disaster.

Settings: Daylight has most of the film set inside the tunnel as we see how the survivors will make it through the disaster.
Special Effects
: Daylight has great effects for the time it was made that haven’t really dated with the only negative being able to see the dolls in the cars during the explosions.

Suggestion: Daylight is one for all the action fans out there to enjoy and if you like a disaster film you will also love this one. (Action Disaster Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Explosion.

Worst Part: While I could see it being a good thing but the Roy character isn’t involved enough.

Favourite Quote: Chief Dennis Wilson ‘The person who says it can’t be done is always interrupted by the one who just did it!’

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 1 Oscar

Budget: $80 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

Tagline: On December 6th, Universal Pictures dares you to take on the tunnel

Trivia: One reason Sylvester Stallone agreed to act in this movie was to help him overcome his fear of confined spaces. He’d agreed to appear in Cliffhanger (1993) to help him overcome his fear of heights.

 

Overall: Classic 90s action disaster movie.

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