Owen Wilson Weekend – Shanghai Noon (2000)

noonDirector: Tom Dey

Writer: Miles Millar, Alfred Gough (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Lucy Liu, Brandon Merrill, Roger Yuan, Xander Berkeley, Jason Connery, Walton Goggins

 

Plot: A Chinese man who travels to the Wild West to rescue a kidnapped princess. After teaming up with a train robber, the unlikely duo takes on a Chinese traitor and his corrupt boss.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Odd Couple Comedy

 

Story: Shanghai Noon starts as we Princess Pei Pei (Liu) not wanting to marrying her father’s choice for her and runs away to America only to become kidnapped, the Emperor sends his selected Imperial Guards to bring her back including Chon Wang (Chan).

On the travels in America Chon Wang finds his Uncle killed by the outlaws led by Roy O’Bannon (Wilson), but when he gets double crossed the two have to form the unlikeliest of partnerships to save Princess Pei Pei and become a hero of the western world.

Shanghai Noon came out at the perfect time when Jackie Chan was first making his impact on the action comedy scene. Changing up the partner from Chris Tucker to Owen Wilson works because we get the wise talker but in a different laid back attitude. The action is what you expect and the historical references work if you understand the western genre. This is a fun watch but does end up coming off slightly longer than it needs to be.

 

Overall: Great odd couple comedy that hits all the marks.

Rating80

 

 

Willem Dafoe Weekend – Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

shadowDirector: E. Elias Merhige

Writer: Steven Katz (Screenplay)

Starring: John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Udo Kier, Cary Elwes, Catherine McCormack, Eddie Izzard, Aden Gillett, Nicholas Elliott

 

Plot: The filming of Nosferatu (1922) is hampered by the fact that its star Max Schreck is taking the role of a vampire far more seriously than seems humanly possible.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Clever Horror Drama

 

Story: Shadow of the Vampire starts as we see director Friedrich Wilhelm Munrau (Malkovich) who is looking to bring his version of Dracula, Nosferatu due to legal reasons. He moves his film from the set to location where Max Schreck (Dafoe) will be joining them with what is considered an extreme method acting style.

Max only appears in character and remains isolated at all times from the rest of the cast giving the terrifying look needed for the role of the vampire. When it appears that Max might be taking things too far the crew start to question whether he is really a vampire or just that good of an actor.

Shadow of the Vampire gives us a look at a behind the scenes theories to one of the greatest horror movies ever made. We know that people believe that certain things have happened on set and that the real Max Schreck was shocking when first witnessed. This film gives us a story to decide what we think of the idea that Max was a vampire being used to make the ultimate film

 

Actor Review

 

John Malkovich: Friedrich Wilhelm Munrau is the brilliant respected German movie director whose latest work is Nosferatu the closest legal story to Dracula. He has the backing of the studio to take chances that other directors couldn’t including shooting on set. We see how far he will go for this film as he knows Max’s true nature. John is great in this role where we see just how far he will go.

Willem Dafoe: Max Schreck is the actor that gets hired by Friedrich for the role of the vampire, he is keeping within the character from the first moment of the film to the final but it soon becomes clear that he might in fact be a vampire. Willem gives the best performance of his career where he is nearly unrecognizable.

Udo Kier: Albin Grau is the producer for the film that first questions the ideas that are being used before finally seeing the good side of the film happening. Udo is good in this role giving what feels like a real producer performance.

Cary Elwes: Fritz Arno Wagner is the newest cameraman bought into the shoot after the first one gets injured. He is out different to the first being louder and more worldly in his ideas. Cary is good in the supporting role.

Support Cast: Shadow of the Vampire has a small but key supporting cast that all are members of the film either behind the cameras of fellow actors. Each member does a good job in their roles.

Director Review: E. Elias MerhigeThe director gives us a film that is really one of the more interesting ones that seems to have gone under the radar.

 

Horror: Shadow of the Vampire gives us a horror that shows what it could be real events behind one of the greatest.

Settings: Shadow of the Vampire puts us in the settings that make us feel like we are part of the film crew.
Special Effects
: Shadow of the Vampire has great effects with most being with the creation Max looks.

Suggestion: Shadow of the Vampire is one I think people should really give a go, it is very interesting concept. (Give it a Go)

 

Best Part: Dafoe is amazing.

Worst Part: It does have slow moments.

 

Believability: It is all about what you want to believe.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 2 Oscars including Best Supporting Actor for Willem Dafoe.

Budget: $8 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

Tagline: An Unspeakable Horror. A Creative Genius. Captured For Eternity.

 

Overall: Very interesting concept that we could see on many other films.

Ratingcard

 

 

What Lies Beneath (2000)

beneahDirector: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: Clark Gregg (Screenplay) Clark Gregg, Sarah Kernochan (Story)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Remar, Katharine Towne, Miranda Otto, Diana Scarwid

 

Plot: The wife of a university research scientist believes that her lakeside Vermont home is haunted by a ghost – or that she is losing her mind.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Chilling Thriller

 

Story: What Lies Beneath starts as Claire (Pfeiffer) and Norman (Ford) Spencer seem to have the perfect marriage as they witness their only daughter Caitlin (Towne) head off to college. They have recently had new neighbours Mary (Otto) and Warren (Remar) who Claire believes Warren has harmed Mary.

Alone in the house Claire starts to try and investigate what happened only to find herself haunted by strange goings on including her front door randomly opening. Claire starting to question her own sanity believes she is being haunted by a ghost and she thinks it is the neighbour she thinks got killed but the truth will leave her shocked.

What lies Beneath is the type of horror I love to watch where it is a ghost trying to communicate with a living person to get to the bottom of their death. The stand out thing is that we don’t have a slow build up we get straight into the paranoia level for Claire to end up in through the film. We are left guessing which is great as we do get a false lead to where the story is going. The fact this keeps us on edge makes this a top horror mystery to be enjoyed with all the chilling side.

 

Actor Review

 

Michelle Pfeiffer: Claire is the wife of Norman and mother of Caitlin who has moved to college, she finds herself alone in the house at times where she finds herself being haunted by a ghost who is trying to communicate with her and the truth will leave her wondering everything about her life. Michelle is great in this role filled with fear throughout.cliare

Harrison Ford: Norman is the university professor working in the field of genetics who has been leaving his wife in their home alone. He doesn’t believe she is being haunted and in fact thinks she is just reacting to being alone. Harrison is great as we are left wondering about his true nature throughout.norman

Diana Scarwid: Jody is the best friend of Claire who helps her try to get to the bottom of the hauntings in the house, she helps with the ghost hunting and is the supportive friend needed. Diana is good in the supporting role.

James Remar: Warren is the neighbour that Claire first suspects has killed his wife, he comes off abusive making him an easy false subject. James is good in this role which is only a supporting one.

Support Cast: What lies Beneath has a supporting cast that only help with trying to solve whether Claire is sane or not.

Director Review: Robert ZemeckisRobert gives us a horror mystery that keeps us guessing throughout with plenty of twists and getting straight into the action.

 

Horror: What lies Beneath has wonderfully built up horror with scares that use the jump scares correctly.

Mystery: What lies Beneath does keep us guessing to what will happen next through the film as we see everything unfold.

Thriller: What lies Beneath has you on edge once you learn the truth about what is happening.

Settings: What lies Beneath uses the lake house setting for the film which shows how isolated Claire really is feeling during her experience.
Special Effects
: What lies Beneath has good effects when needed but really uses the build-up for effects.

Suggestion: What lies Beneath is one for all the horror fans to watch (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Surprise in Harrison Ford Character.

Worst Part: Certain final effects look weak.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $100 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

Tagline: He was the perfect husband until his one mistake followed them home.

 

Overall: Mystery horror that just keeps us guessing from start to finish

Ratingcard

The Crow Week – The Crow: Salvation (2000)

logoDirector: Bharat Nalluri

Writer: Chip Johannessen (Screenplay) James O’Barr (Comic Book Characters)

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Eric Mabius, Fred Ward, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, William Atherton, K.C. Clyde, Debbie Fan

Plot: Alex Corvis returns to the world of the living to solve the murder of a young woman that he was wrongly accused of.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Getting Back on Tracks

Story: The Crow Salvation starts with the Randall’s Erin (Dunst) & Nathan (Atherton) who are going to witness the execution of Alex Corvis (Mabius) the man found guilty of killing their sister and daughter Lauren (O’Keefe). Alex continues to confirm he is innocent and knows the man who killed her but the state has decided.

When Alex wakes following his execution he is greeted by the crows who lead him out of the prison and on the path to discovering who really killed his girlfriend. Alex goes up against corrupt cops while trying to convince Erin that he wasn’t the man responsible for her sister’s death.

The Crow Salvation tries to bring the franchise back in the right to where it should be, and while it improves on what the last one gave us and was brave enough to change its style by making the villains cops instead of gangsters works well. I like the building of this crow too because it shows the built up rage of our character to get revenge for what ha happened. I will saw say the tracking down does feel like we have seen before to start with and does end up leaving us wondering why the innocent characters get killed along the way. (6/10)

Actor Review

Kirsten Dunst: Erin Randall is the sister of the murdered girl Lauren, she believes Alex did commit the crime but once he returns she listens to his story. Kirsten gives a solid performance but ends up falling into the damsel in distress. (6/10)

Eric Mabius: Alex Corvis/The Crow is the young man executed for a crime he didn’t commit, he returns from the dead to find out the truth and kill all of the people responsible for his girlfriend’s death. Eric gives a solid performance in the leading role but doesn’t reach the level that Lee did. (6/10)

Fred Ward: The Captain is the leader of the corrupt cops who were involved in Lauren’s death, he sends his men out not caring if they don’t come back alive. Fred makes for a solid villain but doesn’t reach the menacing level previous villains have. (6/10)

William Atherton: Nathan Randall had a deal with The Captain to commit a couple of crimes, but when his daughter is killed he ends the relationship and has to live with his part in her death forever. William steps away from his usual villainous roles to give a solid supporting performance. (6/10)

Support Cast: The Crow Salvation has a supporting cast that includes the generic villains being picked off one by one and the trademark of the series a lady guiding the villains.

Director Review: Bharat Nalluri Bharat does a solid job bringing us a revenge film that doesn’t hold back on the punches. (6/10)

Action: The Crow Salvation has action sequences that all feel very similar with plenty of bullets being fired at Alex. (7/10)

Fantasy: The Crow Salvation doesn’t enter into the world of the legend behind the Crow as much as previous films holding the films fantasy level back. (6/10)

Settings: The Crow Salvation loses the dark tone of a town bring the action into a much realer world. (7/10)
Special Effects: The Crow Salvation has solid effects the explosion do end up looking slightly iffy though. (6/10)

Suggestion: The Crow Salvation is one for the fans of the franchise to watch, if you liked the first to you will like otherwise this isn’t going to be for you. (Franchise Fans Watch)

Best Part: Alex versus all the police in the warehouse.

Worst Part: Innocent cops killed off.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has one more.

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: For Vengeance, For Justice, For Love.

Overall: Better than the sequel still not to the standard of the original.

Rating 60

Meat Loaf: To Hell and Back (2000)

logoDirector: Jim McBride

Writer: Ron McGee (Screenplay)

Starring: W. Earl Brown, Dedee Pfeiffer, Zachary Throne, Tim Kelleher, Tom Wood, Kim Robillard, Lisa Jane Persky

 

Plot: A look at the life of Meatloaf, from his childhood to his success as an international singer.

 

Verdict: The Bat Out Of Hell

 

Story: We follow a young Meat Loaf as he deals with alcoholic father, school bullies and his cancer ridden mother who supports him on everything. After his mother loses her battle we follow the now college student Meat Loaf as he goes out his way to prove his disapproving father wrong. We see how he gets his first chance into the entertainment world before meeting Jim Steinman leading to the start of their partnership. We get to see how the partnership try to sell their first album and get pushed away because they have a different sound to what is popular at the time. We see how they go out on their own to make the record risking everything, but even after they make the record no label wants to buy them, until ambitious record label wants to sign them. Bat Out of Hell is born and Meat Loaf is becomes a star, but after he starts to lose his voice we see how his family’s life comes crashing down around him. We see how in the late 1980s Meat Loaf started to make his return and rekindle his friendships before making his comeback.

As a big Meat Loaf fan I always look out for any type of film or documentary about his life. This didn’t disappoint showing how he rose to fame before falling from grace and making his comeback, it might only show up to the early 90s but these were the most difficult years for him. It shows how he was always looking for approval from people who doubted him, it shows how he overcomes all the doubters and people who put him down to become one of the most unique musicians the world has ever seen. This tells us certain thing about how he became the star, but because he has gone onto have a longer career it feels only half the story. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Earl Brown: Meat Loaf the rock opera legend who has to go through personal battles to become the most unique singer the world had ever seen. He does a great job giving a solid performance as the still living and breathing musician which is always hard to achieve. (7/10)

 

Dedee Pfeiffer: Leslie Edmonds Wife of Meat Loaf who supports him through all of the troubles the family has to go through. Dedee gives a good performance going through the decades. (7/10)

 

Zachary Throne: Jim Steinman musical partner of Meat Loaf who gives him his first chance in music, they work together on the album even if they have a long spell of not talking to each other. Solid performance from Zachary. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: Be it other people in the music industry helping or hindering Meat Loaf, family members they all come together to help the story unfold and help define who Meat Loaf became.

 

Director Review: Jim McBride – Jim does a solid job directing the life achievements from until the early 90s. (7/10)

 

Biographical: Good look at how Meat Loaf has to overcome his different appearance to become one of the biggest names in music history. (9/10)

Music: We only get a few glimpses of the music but we get plenty of the classic songs Meat Loaf is known for. (9/10)

Settings: The settings are not used as well as they could be, but with so many time jumps it is hard to make any iconic for the film. (3/10)

Suggestion: I think this will only appeal to the fans of the man himself. (Meat Loaf Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: The Final Speech.

Worst Part: Too many times jumps telling us a very small part of the journey.

Believability: It is based on Meat Loaf’s real life. (10/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Concert in the background of the credits.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

Overall: Solid TV Movie About A Great Musician

Rating 71