Franchise Weekend – From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter (1999)

Director: P.J. Pesce

Writer: Alvaro Rodriguez (Screenplay)

Starring: Marco Leonardi, Michael Parks, Temuera Morrison, Rebecca Gayheart, Ara Celi, Lennie Loftin, Sonia Braga

 

Plot: Set 100 years ago in Mexico, this horror/western is the story of the birth of the vampire princess Santanico Pandemonium.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Western Re-Hash of Original

 

Story: From Dusk till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter starts when an outlaw Johnny Madrid (Leonardi) escapes his hanging, taking the Hangman’s (Morrison) daughter Esmeralda (Celi) with him, to reunite with his gang, with a new rescuer who offers them a new job which will see them trying to rob Ambrose Bierce (Parks) the gang gear up.

It isn’t long before the outlaws end up in a mysterious saloon which will offer the men anything they want, which will soon put them in the false sense of security as it turns out the saloon is run by vampires.

 

Thoughts on From Dusk till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter

 

Characters – Johnny Madrid is one of the most feared outlaws in the west, about to be executed, he is rescued and returns to his gang to continue his life of crime, he will kill some people, while protecting others, making him a morally confusing figure. Ambrose Bierce has come from America where he has survived a shooting, he wants peaceful life only to find himself in the middle of the battle. The Hangman is trying to eliminate the threats in the gang world including Johnny, mostly to protect his daughter, only it isn’t for him to choose. Esmeralda is his daughter that has been getting controlled for too long and is in love with Johnny, she goes on the run with him only to be left questioning his choices.

PerformancesThe performances here are poor once again, Marco Leonardi overplays is role in the film, while Michael Parks does the best he can with his role. We do end up meeting too many random characters that just seems to make everything struggle to get going in the performance side of the film.

StoryThe story does return to the original format only in the western era, we have the outlaws, the victims and the authorities all ending up in the bar which is crawling with vampires and must put their difference aside to survive. This style did work first time, it doesn’t fail this time, but it is hard to become invested in the characters. the build up before the bar is a lot of filler because we do have a lot of people to learn their place and mentality which makes it hard to figure out who is the good and bad guys for the piece. We try to have a connection to the original movie with the creation of one of the vampires which better than the last time out too.

Horror/WesternThe horror involved in the film is returning to the vampire outlet which again doesn’t feel scary as it could have been. The western side of the film just uses the criminal side of the last one only making it a prequel to the original.

SettingsThe film is set in the western area, we do eventually hit the saloon made famous from the first film and this time we get to dive into the larger scale of the building.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are not at the best, we do get a couple of good moments only nothing that reaches the levels of the first film.


Scene of the Movie –
Escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me To many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough prequel, at least it does feel connected to the previous film which helps build on the legacy of the bar.

 

Overall: Simple prequel.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999)

Director: Scott Spiegel

Writer: Scott Spiegel, Duane Whitaker (Screenplay) Scott Spiegel, Boaz Yakin (Story)

Starring: Robert Patrick, Bo Hopkins, Duane Whitaker, Muse Watson, Brett Harrelson, Raymond Cruz, Danny Trejo

 

Plot: More people are turned into vampires as they go around spreading their evil satanic hate.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sucks the life out of you

 

Story: From Dusk till Dawn 2 Blood Money starts when criminal Buck (Patrick) is offered a new job from his partner Luther (Whitaker), he puts a teams together including C.W. (Watson), Ray Bob (Harrelson) and Jesus (Cruz) and sets off to allude Sheriff Otis Lawson (Hopkins) who believes he is about to get involved in a new job.

It isn’t long the crew finds themselves at the Titty Twister bar and being hunted down by the vampires that are trying to rebuild their numbers and the five thieves seem to be their choice.

 

Thoughts on From Dusk till Dawn 2 Blood Money

 

Characters – Buck is a thieve that has claimed to have gone clean after his recent stint in prison, the cops do still watch him, only now he gets a chance at a new job which will see him put his crew together, he has a way to work with his men, well that is about it, his character doesn’t have much more to him, Sheriff Otis Lawson has been waiting for Buck to make a mistake for years now, using the latest former member of his crew as hope that he could catch him in the act once again. Luther is the one that brings the job to Buck, only on his way back to the crew, he ends up at the Titty Twister grabbing the attention of the vampires, looking for spread the curse to a new selection of victims. C.W. is another member of the crew and just like the rest they don’t get much to make them stand out.

PerformancesRobert Patrick does try to make the most of his character only he doesn’t get anything to work with here. This is the big problem for the rest of the cast, nobody gets a chance to make anything from their characters who all end up being painful bland.

StoryThe story follows a group of criminals that are looking to head to Mexico for their latest job, only to attract the attention of the vampires using the Titty Twister becoming the latest target, can they survive the night? The story here is very weak, we get five criminals with little to no character development, not making us care about what is happening. We get thrown into another direction with the story which doesn’t help because we know what is happening, while certain members of the crew don’t, this does against what we learnt about the vampires in the first film. this story just feels like a forced sequel nobody really asked for.

Crime/Horror The crime side of this horror comes from seeing just how the crew is operating, how they plan to get the job done, the horror comes from the vampire side of the film, it does have darker moments, only it still doesn’t feel like a scarier film.

SettingsThe film is set between Mexico and Texas, no location involved does make us feel like we are in iconic location the first one did.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are not at the same standard either, with most of the attacks being from bats which seem to be extreme close ups that just feel too difficult to watch.


Scene of the Movie –
A helping hand?

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of interest around the characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappoint sequel that pulls the quality level right down to just a basic sequel that just so happens to visit the same bar, having no connection to the previous film.

 

Overall: Bland sequel.

Rating

 

Boys Don’t Cry (1999)

Director: Kimberly Peirce

Writer: Kimberly Peirce, Andy Bienen (Screenplay)

Starring: Hilary Swank, Chloe Sevigny, Peter Sarsgaard, Brendan Sexton III, Alicia Goranson, Alison Folland

 

Plot: Female-born Teena Brandon adopts his male identity of Brandon Teena and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska.


Tagline – A true story about finding the courage to be yourself.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shockingly Powerful Drama

 

Story: Boys Don’t Cry starts with Teena (Swank) a young woman that wants to become a man, she uses the name Brandon to go around small American towns looking to pick up women, which has got her in trouble in the past.

On his latest trip she finds a new group of people, with Lana (Sevigny) taking her eye, with her friends and family including John (Sarsgaard), Tom (Sexton III), Candace (Goranson) all welcoming her into the group as Brandon, when her true identity is revealed there will be shocking consequence.

 

Thoughts on Boys Don’t Cry

 

Characters – Teena is a young woman that is preparing for her sex change, before that she is going around as a young man Brandon, trying to meet women. She meets a young lady in Lana, makes new friends, but she is on the run which will soon catch up with her. This is a based on a real person that is going through the difficult process of wanting to have a sex change. Lana is the young lady that Brandon takes a shine to, she lives the dead end life that she isn’t enjoying and Brandon brings a new feeling about it, though she is left in a difficult position when the truth comes out. John and Tom are two of the group of friends that happily welcome Brandon into their group, when they learn the truth, they will go to extreme measures to get revenge.

PerformancesHilary Swank went on to win an Oscar for her role in the film, you can see why because she is fantastic in the difficult role. Chloe Sevigny shows us jus how her supporting role she can make a huge impact in the film. Peter Sarsgaard and Brendon Sexton III both are disturbing in their roles in the film which shows just how they could make to truly disgusting human beings come to life.

StoryThe story here follows a young lady preparing for a sex change, that would go around looking for women, only for her secret to come back when the prejudice locals can’t deal with people somebody they can’t explain in their lives. This is a film way before it own time, even though it is only 20 years old, it is based on the real crime which would easily have been given a bigger spotlight in todays world. we do step into the world of transgenders, which is always difficult to word correctly because it is a sensitive subject. What occurs in the film is surprising and shocking that you couldn’t see happening.

Biopic/Crime/RomanceThe film uses the biopic side of the film to show the romance and crime against Brandon Teena a young transgender that is still wanting to figure out how to get through the sex change.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the locations which shows how the smaller towns can operate and have mindsets that don’t accept people that are different.


Scene of the Movie –
The first night together.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The actions of the men.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most difficult movies you will see, it has a sensitive subject on the table which will show the way people can act towards people.

 

Overall: Must watch movie.

Rating

 

 

Bowfinger (1999)

Director: Frank Oz

Writer: Steve Martin (Screenplay)

Starring: Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Heather Graham, Christine Baranski, Jamie Kennedy, Barry Newman, Terence Stamp, Robert Downey Jr

 

Plot: When a desperate movie producer fails to get a major star for his bargain basement film, he decides to shoot the film secretly around him.


Tagline – A desperate plan for a desperate man

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Movie About Making a Movie

 

Story: Bowfinger starts when desperate movie producer Bowfinger (Martin) wants to get a brand-new film off the ground, he tells his crew that hot shot producer Jerry Renfro (Downey Jr) and massive action star Kit Ramsey (Murphy). The reality he hasn’t got them and starts to film the movie without Kit’s knowledge.

Hiring new to the city ambitious want to be actress Daisy (Graham) with his most trusted star Carol (Baranski) the film shot is underway. Can Bowfinger pull this off without anything going wrong.

 

Thoughts on Bowfinger

 

Characters – Bowfinger is the movie producer that has been searching for a hit for years. He will lie to his crew and film around the celebrity star of the film, he always has an answer for anything that gets thrown in his way. Kit Ramsey is the mega star, he is searching for his big memorable hit, part of the Mindheads (blatant piss take of Scientology) where he is also paranoid about people talking to him, he spends the whole film trying to escape the actors from Bowfinger’s movie not knowing he is being filmed. Jiff is a look alike that comes into help the film fill in parts where Kit is needed. Daisy is the ambitious actress fresh to the Hollywood, she takes the role in the film and works her way through the crew to get a larger part through the movie. The rest of the cast shows the members of the crew that each give us the part of the film making process.

PerformancesSteve Martin in the leading role is good in this role, he doesn’t fall into his normal comedy routine but gets the laughs needed. Eddie Murphy is good in his roles, we do believe his paranoid filled character which clearly is a bit of a piss take on Tom Cruise and he never goes over the top. Heather Graham gets to have a lot of fun poking fun at the ‘will do anything for a role’ actresses that have been in Hollywood. The whole cast are good through the film too.

StoryThe story focuses on the idea that a producer will secretly film around a big name actor to get a film made. This does show how a small crew can come together to try and get a movie made, we only need to look at early stories from indie film makers and shortcuts by big name directors in the past to understand this process. Throwing the idea that the big star Kit is part of a cult like religion which only plays into his paranoia in the film helps create everything. if you want to look back in history you could easily be making comparison to Plan 9 for style of working and loyalty to the crew. This might go over the top with certain elements which is fine it adds the comedy and ends up giving us a story which shows how commitment can build a film.

ComedyThe comedy in the film comes from a mix of trying to make the film happen, stereotypes for Hollywood and the paranoia Kit shows.

SettingsThe film is set in Hollywood, it shows us how the operations can be done with limited budgets even if things aren’t done the most legal ways.


Scene of the Movie –
Final sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Mindheads are too much on the noise.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good comedy that will get laughs, it has a good cast and will show how the movie making process works.

 

Overall: Enjoyable throughout.

Rating

 

 

Blue Streak (1999)

Director: Les Mayfield

Writer: Michael Berry, John Blumenthal, Stephen Carpenter (Screenplay)

Starring: Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson, Peter Greene, Dave Chappelle, Nicole Ari Parker, Graham Beckel

 

Plot: A former convict poses as a cop to retrieve a diamond he stole years ago.


Tagline – To cop the loot – he became one!

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Comedy

 

Story: Blue Streak starts when Miles (Lawrence) is committing a robbery when it goes wrong when his crew member Deacon (Greene) turns on the team, Miles stashes the diamond and ends up in prison for a couple of years. Once released he goes to pick up his diamonds only to learn the building has been turned into police station.

Miles decides to go undercover as a police officer and assigned rookie detective Carlson (Wilson) as he tries to blend in retrieve his diamond and get out quickly only to prove himself as a good cop that helps with major crimes.

 

Thoughts on Blue Streak

 

Characters – Miles Logan is a career thief that’s latest job goes wrong, when his crew turned on him, he stashes his loot. Once released Miles thinks he can just walk bac into the building and pick up his diamond, only to learn it is now a police station, he tries to go undercover as a pizza delivery guy before deciding police officer is the way to go. He turns out to be a great police officer helping with many cases which increase in nature including trying to take down a big drug lord. Carlson is the rookie detective struggling with his new role in the department, he gets assigned as the partner to Miles who teaches him how to take more chances when trying to solve crimes. Deacon is the one that turned on Miles and has waited for him to get out of jail to take what he thinks is his, the diamond and isn’t afraid to kill the people behind it anymore. Tulley is the idiot crew member who is used more for driving and has resorted to small time robbery after Miles ended up in jail.

PerformancesMartin Lawrence is good in this leading role, sure his career didn’t go in the same direction Will Smith did, but he still had the ability to lead the right role in the film. Luke Wilson is good, though his character is slightly basic when it comes to having too much to do. Most of the support performances focus on the actors reacting to what Lawrence gets up to.

StoryThe story follows a thief wanting to collect his stash after being released from prison, only to learn the building he put it in is now a police station, forcing him to go undercover to retrieve it. The story works for crime comedy genre because it puts our character in a position like the fish out of water and shows that criminals are better at catching thieves than the police as we see how he accidentally rises up the ranks through his time undercover. If we could have had more about the crew member turned bad during the search it would have added a little something more to the film as we spend nearly the whole film focusing on Miles journey to get his diamond back.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action is mostly saved for the final chase to Mexico which is simple enough action to watch. The comedy comes from how Miles seems to solve the crimes the cops couldn’t and we also get plenty of laughs from Tulley being the dumb criminal partner. The crime side of the film includes the opening robbery and how Miles helps solves different crimes along the way.

SettingsThe film is set in LA, though nothing is used to make it clear it is in that city, the idea of the settings play more into the idea that the diamond was hidden in a police station.


Scene of the Movie –
Working with the FBI.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not using the villainous crew member enough through the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable 90s action crime comedy, you can have a lot of fun watching this one without needing to take it too seriously.

 

Overall: Simple, Fun and Enjoyable.

Rating