Memento (2000)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Christopher Nolan (Screenplay) Jonathan Nolan (Short Story)

Starring: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Junior, Russ Fega, Jorja Fox

 

Plot: A man juggles searching for his wife’s murderer and keeping his short-term memory loss from being an obstacle.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Masterpiece Thriller

 

Story: Memento starts as Leonard (Pearce) a man with no short-term memory, but has come up with a way to cope with the situation where he leaves notes on his body which will give him answers to his wife murder. Assisting him on this investigation is Natalie’s (Moss) and Teddy (Pantoliano) but with Leonard’s handicap are people taking advantage of him?

We are left to wonder just who did kill Leonard’s wife because each scene points him in a different direction to who was behind it all.

 

Thoughts on Memento

 

Characters – Leonard is a man who is investigating his own wife’s death but with his own short-term memory problem Leonard is finding it hard to figure out who to trust, with only the answers tattooed on his body. Natalie is a woman that Leonard meets who has also lost somebody and she does help him. Teddy is the other main person that is helping Leonard through the situation.

PerformanceGuy Pearce does give the performance of his career showing the full emotion his character is going through. Carrie-Anne Moss is good with her limited screen time. Joe Pantoliano is brilliant in the supporting role as we never know the truth about his character.

StoryAt the core of this story we have a mystery that needs to be sold, but the story is told in a different order than we would expect, even though this film is told in reverse the twists are still coming through thick and fast leaving us wondering about the characters involved from start to finish.

Mystery/ThrillerThe mystery comes into play early as we are giving the idea that someone has killed Leonard’s wife and now we want to know where things are going even though things are in reverse the clues keep popping up.

SettingsThe settings show us just where the characters are getting through with no big set pieces but just the crime world the characters find themselves in.

Special EffectsWe have a few effects but we don’t need too many for the story to unfold.

Scene of the Movie – So, I am chasing this guy’

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment I am picking the slightly under written character of Natalie as the picky point.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the great thrillers ever made, it truly will keep you wondering even if the beginning is the end of the story.

 

Overall: Must watch for the Nolan fans.

Rating

 

 

DJ Qualls Weekend – Road Trip (2000)

roadDirector: Todd Phillips

Writer: Todd Phillips, Scot Armstrong (Screenplay)

Starring: Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott, Amy Smart, Paulo Costanzo, DJ Qualls, Rachel Blanchard, Tom Green

 

Plot: Four college buddies embark on a road trip to retrieve an illicit tape mistakenly mailed to a female friend.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun Teen Comedy

 

Story: Road Trip starts as Josh (Meyer) and Tiffany (Blanchard) childhood sweethearts who have gone their own separate ways with college, they communicate through phone and video messages, yes this is a movie from 2000. When Josh doesn’t hear from Tiffany he stats getting worried and with the beautiful Beth (Smart) flirting with him Josh is pushed to enjoy the college experience by his friends EL (Scott) and Rubin (Costanzo).

When a drunken night where Josh records his night of sex with Beth he finds out Barry (Green) has sent the wrong tape to Tiffany. Josh finds out why he hasn’t spoken to Tiffany and now must travel 18,000 miles in 3 days with EL, Rubin and Kyle (Qualls) the shy student that hasn’t come out of his shell, but he has a car. What follows is the wacky adventure the four students travelling cross-country.

 

Thoughts on Road Trip

 

Characters/PerformanceLooking at the characters we get to see the traditional college students, Josh is the ‘good’ boyfriend who has planned his life, EL is the party animal that will most likely just make it in life with minimal effort, Rubin is a student that isn’t challenge by college and whose genius is above them all, while Kyle is the shy timid student that gets to be let out of his shell on this adventure with EL pushing him the most to enjoy his life. Beth is portrayed to be the new girl in Josh’s life, she doesn’t know he has a girlfriend but feels just as used by the night, we don’t really get to learn enough about this character all around.

Performance wise Meyer is good in the leading role, with Seann William Scott continue his highlight performances in the teen comedies, Amy Smart is good but doesn’t get enough time to shine. Tom Green does bring his unique form of comedy that you are either going to love or hate. This is the first film performance from DJ Qualls and you can see him breakout in this performance.stars

StoryThe story is simple, guy records sex tape sends to girlfriend and must travel cross country to stop her seeing it. Yes, we do get a road trip that only student get to experience with partying going on through the trip. This is easy to follow and you do get moments of self-discovery for the guys on the trip.

Adventure/ComedyThe cross-country adventure is all good but I do feel like I would have liked to have seen more than just colleges, the comedy I would say is hit or miss, when I was younger I loved it but now certain jokes just miss for me.

SettingsWe get to see a lot colleges across America but considering how far they travel they seem to miss all the major landmarks.genre

Final Thoughts – I was a big fan of this when I was younger and being released the same time as American Pie this fits in the boom the teen comedies had, with this easily being one of the better ones.

 

Overall: Teen comedy that hits all the point it needs to for the target audience.

Ratingrating

 

 

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