Alien: Resurrection (1997)

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Writer: Joss Whedon (Screenplay) Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett (Characters)

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon, Ron Perlman, Gary Dourdan, Michael Wincott, Kim Flowers, Dan Hedaya

 

Plot: Two centuries after her death, Ellen Ripley is revived as a powerful human/alien hybrid clone who must continue her war against the aliens.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mindless Action Aliens

 

Story: Alien: Resurrection starts as we arrive on a US space research facility where General Perez (Hedaya) is working on bringing back the aliens with clones of Ripley (Weaver), the latest number 8 shows incredible strength and development. Waiting for a delivery from Captain Elgyn (Wincott) and his crew Call (Ryder), Vriess (Pinon), Johner (Perlman) Hillard (Flowers) and Christie (Dourdan) a deal is agreed they can spend a couple of days’ rest on the research ship.

After Elgyn’s crew get involved in an altercation with the scientists they must escape but the xenomorphs have escaped onto the ship, joining up with Ripley the crew look for a way off the ship while staying alive.

 

Thoughts on Alien: Resurrection

 

Characters/PerformanceRipley is now a clone and the mother of the xenomorphs being created on the ship, she is stronger than before but becomes the best weapon against the xenomorphs. Call is the newest crew member of the pirates but she is harbouring a secret from the rest of the crew. The rest of the characters are your generic group of fighters, the tough one, the gunslinger, the smart one and the captain nothing original comes from these characters.

Performance wise, this isn’t the best Weaver alien performance but she is also brave enough to take it on with a different approach. Ryder is solid enough through the film. the rest of the cast are also solid with Ron Perlman giving his aggressive dick like performance on the good guys team.

StoryThe story might not be the greatest, but it does capture what is needed for an alien movie, we have the military wanting to study the aliens for their own good, this happens every single film, we also have the group of soldiers needing to fight them off, but this film does offer a chance to build the relationship between the xenomorphs and Ripley. The problem for a lot of this story telling it that it isn’t original and isn’t on the same levels as the earlier films.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is all mindless like you would expect from big budget style sequel too far down the line, the horror is now nearly all gone from the franchise but the sci-fi angle continues on strongly as we see how the aliens are now finding new ways to breed.

SettingsThe whole film is set upon the space facility craft which is good because it keeps everything within the one location which is all we want in these films.

Special EffectsThe special effects are good in this film and are one of the extra highlights within the film.

Final ThoughtsThe weakest part of the Weaver alien films but still a good enjoyable enough watch.

 

Overall: Enjoyable enough.

Rating

 

 

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Boogie Nights (1997)

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, Don Cheadle, John C Reilly, William H Macy, Heather Graham

 

Plot: The story of a young man’s adventures in the Californian pornography industry of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Drama About Success

 

Story: Boogie Nights starts as we meet high school dropout Eddie Adams (Wahlberg) working in a club for Maurice TT Rodriguez (Guzman) in his disco club. The club brings in porn director Jack Horner (Reynolds) with his number one star Amber Waves (Moore). When Jack sees, and hears the rumours about the size of Eddie’s penis he wants him to be the new star of his movies.

Leaving his home Eddie move in with Jack and it isn’t long before he becomes the hottest property in the porn industry as Dirk Diggler, as he learns that along with the fellow pornstars Rollergirl (Graham), Reed Rothchild (Reilly) and Becky Barnett (Parker) the production company dominates the industry through the late 70’s and early 80’s, but with the success come the darker side of the industry the drinks, drugs and knowing age could be an expire date in the industry.

 

Thoughts on Boogie Nights

 

Characters/PerformanceEddie Adams is the typical high school dropout that lands on his feet entering into the porn industry. The characters sum up how a young star can rise too quickly and become blinded in the overly famous. Jack Horner is the director of the films but also the man preparing the latest talent even if not everything is strictly legal. Amber Weeks is the experienced star guiding Eddie as well moving onto new thing. We do get a couple of well-developed characters in the supporting roles too who we can all learn about as we are invested in their supporting roles.

Performance wise, Mark Wahlberg burst onto the main stream with this impressive performance, Burt Reynolds in the star of the show here dominating the screen whenever he appears. Julianne Moore, Heather Graham, Don Cheadle, William H Macy, Nicole Ari Parker all are great in the supporting roles in this film.

StoryThe story shows the rise and fall inside of the porn industry, we see how some people get out and start a life outside the industry, others get consumed by the lifestyle, others never move forward with the times and others can struggle in the post industry life. I do think this brings us brilliant character development even if the story is slightly long at times but the afterlife outside the industry becomes fantastic viewing.

SettingsThe settings show us the time the film is set, the struggles the people are going through, I think each setting comes off perfect as we get to see the world we are entering.

Final ThoughtsThis is a long film but it is also a rewarding film too, it does a brilliant look into how lives can be ruined by a career choices.

 

Overall: Brilliant, haunting look at the porn industry.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Anaconda (1997)

Director: Luis Llosa

Writer: Hans Bauer, Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr (Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz, Jonathan Hyde, Owen Wilson, Kari Wuhrer

 

Plot: A “National Geographic” film crew is taken hostage by an insane hunter, who takes them along on his quest to capture the world’s largest – and deadliest – snake.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Creature Feature

 

Story: Anaconda starts as the National Geography team set off down the Amazon River deeper than anyone has filmed before, we have director Terri (Lopez), cameraman Danny (Cube), Host Warren (Hyde), production manager Denise (Wuhrer), Dr Cale (Stoltz) and Gary (Wilson). Travelling down the river the crew find a standard hunter Paul Serone (Voight) offering him a ride to the next village.

This is where they first clash, Dr Cale believes he knows how to find what they are looking for while Paul believes he knows best when searching for the tribe they are looking to film. when Serone’s motives become clear, he is hunting down the world’s largest Anaconda he makes the team help him which leaves them in a battle to survive against the deadly predator.

 

Thoughts on Anaconda

 

Characters/PerformanceTerri is the ambitious director about to get her big break, she is loyal to her cameraman and crew, she will never give up on her team even against Serone. Serone is a hunter who has spent his life hunting this anaconda, he doesn’t care how many people for him to get his prize. The rest of the characters a generic 101, the street smart black guy in Danny, the stuck up English presenter in Warren and the American know it all in Dr Cale.

Performance wise, Lopez is good enough in the leading role as we know most horror need a good strong leading lady. Jon Voight isn’t the best as we know this is an Oscar winning actor who is filled with funny looks throughout the film. The rest of the cast all do a solid job without being the scene stealers they could be.

StoryStories in this genre are always easy to put together, put a group of people in an unusual location and find an oversized creature to kill them one by one. This is easy to follow and never leaves much to the imagination and can be enjoyed by all the creature feature fans out there.

Action/Adventure/HorrorThe action is mostly down to them trying to escape or kill the anaconda nothing too fancy, the adventure does come going into the unknown down the Amazon river with the horror in the creature feature side of the film watching how the giant snake is trying to kill them.

SettingsI like the setting because it shows how dangerous the Amazon river and rain forest can be for anyone who dares goes deep enough into it.

Special EffectsSadly here is another one of the weak points, the CGI looks bad, I do know this film is 20 years old now but it just doesn’t ever look like it could be that good even back then.

Final ThoughtsIf you want a fun barmy creature feature, then look no further you have something big, bad and fun here.

 

Overall: Enjoyable but bad creature feature fun.

Rating

 

 

Liar Liar (1997)

liarDirector: Tom Shadyac

Writer: Paul Guay, Stephen Mazur (Screenplay)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Maura Tierney, Justin Cooper, Cary Elwes, Anne Haney, Jennifer Tilly, Amanda Donohoe

 

Plot: A fast-track lawyer can’t lie for 24 hours due to his son’s birthday wish after he turns his son down for the last time.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh a Minute Comedy

 

Story: Liar, Liar starts as we meet Fletcher Reede (Carrey) a high-flying lawyer who has gone through a smooth divorce with Audrey (Tierney) to keep life happy for their son Max (Cooper). With Audrey moving on with her life with new boyfriend Jerry (Elwes), Fletcher is focusing on his career where he has an ever-growing reputation of being able to lie his way through any case.

When Fletcher’s lying effects his relationship with his son and Fletcher misses Max’s birthday, Max makes the wish that his dad can’t lie for one whole day. We follow how Fletcher must get through the day without being able to tell a lie in what could be the biggest case of his career.

 

Thoughts on Liar, Liar

 

StoryThe story here shows us many different problems when it comes to overworking parents, lawyers lying and being a good parent. We get to see how the fantasy element of this film comes through to show how the new vision to life Fletcher must go through, I will say the film has a similar message to Mrs Doubtfire about a father finally need to become responsible about the parenting. I think this is a very good story that allows Carrey to perform his comedy to the strongest levels he can.

Comedy/FantasyJim Carrey single handily carries all the comedy within this film, with his joke a minute routine going on that will find a joke that works for anyone at some point in the film. The fantasy side of the story comes from the change that Fletcher must go through when the wish comes true.

Characters/PerformancesFletcher away from the comedy is your typical overworking lying father and lawyer who has put his career before his personal life. The rest of the characters are the always struggling wife which can make her look like the bad guy, the son that is always getting disappointed, the new love that wants to impress the son and the lawyer community. When you look at the performance Jim Carrey carries this film on every single level not giving enough time for the rest of the characters to truly develop in the end.

SettingsThe settings are never designed to be the most important for the story but are important for the lawyer side of the office which shows that the true opinion of the characters can be seen through the eyes of the truth.

Final ThoughtsCarrey shines, the story shines the rest will soon become something people would forget.

 

Overall: This is a hugely enjoyable comedy that shows Carrey at the top of his game.

Ratingcard

 

 

Insomnia (1997)

insomniaDirector: Erik Skjoldbjaerg

Writer: Erik Skjoldbjaerg, Nikolaj Frobenius (Screenplay)

Starring: Maria Mathiesen, Stellan Skarsgard, Sverre Anker Ousdal, Giskenn Armand, Kristian Figenschow, Thor Michael Aamodt

 

Plot: In a Norwegian city with a 24-hour daylight cycle a Swedish murder investigator has been brought in on a special case. Sleep deprived, he makes a horrible mistake which is discovered by the killer he has been hunting.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Thriller

 

Story: Insomnia starts with the brutal murder of the young woman Tanja (Mathiesen) before we see the Swedish investigator Jonas Engstrom (Skarsgard) arrive in Norway to help solve this crime with his partner Erik Vik (Ousdal). With the first piece of evidence discovered Jonas uses it as bait to hopefully draw the killer out, but with mist covering the area the killer is lost in the mist and Jonas finds himself in a foot race firing his gun randomly at what he thinks is the killer only to discover he has shot his own partner.

Covering up his own crime Jonas returns to look for the killer with the clues leading him to author Jon Holt (Floberg).

Insomnia is the original before Christopher Nolan cast Al Pacino and Robin Williams in the American remake, so going into this one I knew the basic story. I was surprised to see this film being much darker character made out of Jonas who just didn’t seem to want to play by any of the police rules when in the remake we get a cop that breaks the rules to get a conviction only. The killer just doesn’t feel very intense with the interactions just not hitting the true potential.

I can see why this helped inspire the remake and I can see just how it can stand out as one of the better dark thrillers out there.

 

Overall: Dark tense thriller that shows just how to cope with a mistake that can change your life.

Rating

 75