George Clooney Franchise Weekend – Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

oceanDirector: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Ted Griffin (Screenplay) Harry Brown, Charles Lederer (Original Screenplay)

Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Elliott Gould, Carl Reiner, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin

 

Plot: Danny Ocean and his eleven accomplices plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slick, Stylish Heist Film

 

Story: Ocean’s Eleven starts with Danny Ocean (Clooney) getting released from prison after his life has fallen apart with his wife leaving him. Danny heading straight to Las Vegas looking for a team to rob three casinos owned by Terry Benedict (Garcia). The team Danny puts together is his right-hand man Rusty (Pitt) blacklisted dealer Frank (Mac) finaceer Reuben (Gould), gadget men Virgil (Affleck) and Turk (Caan), tech guy Livingston (Jemison) acrobat Yen (Qin), senior player Saul (Reiner) explosives expert Basher (Cheadle) and pickpocket Linus (Damon).

With the location set the team set out to prepare for the heist but things take a turn when Rusty learns of Tess (Roberts) involvement with Benedict as this has turned into a revenge mission against his ex-wife.

 

Thoughts on Ocean’s Eleven

 

StoryThe story is about the heist going on with the careful planning that goes into everything. we do get the slip ups along the way which makes it all fun to watch and with the pacing being almost perfect you barely notice the time fly by. We have a film that builds the character to make everyone important to the heist.

Crime/ThrillerWhen you go into heist films you always have an expectation level and this one nails it on every single level as we are all kept guessing to what the next trick up the guys sleeves will be.

Characters/PerformanceDanny is a great leading character that is filled with charisma and with the tea he puts together you care and are interested in all their stories. Terry Benedict makes for a great villain who people are all looking to get one over. It is the Tess character I have most issues with in this film because she is made out to be mostly a money grabber. The performances are all fantastic because we get Clooney leading the film with ease but each of the supporting characters know exactly just how much screen time they are getting and how to make the most of each and every scene they are in.

SettingsThe film is set inside Vegas with most of the set inside the casino as we see the planning and execution of the plan in its full.

Final ThoughtsThis is by far one of the finest heist movies you will be lucky enough to ever see.

 

Overall: Enjoy the heist unfold.

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The Order (2001)

orderDirector: Sheldon Lettich

Writer: Les Weldon, Jean-Claude Van Damme (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Charlton Heston, Sofia Milos, Brian Thompson, Ben Cross, Vernon Dobtcheff

 

Plot: Van Damme plays Rudy whose father, Oscar is an archaeologist. His father goes to Israel. When his father disappears, he goes to Israel to find him. The chief of police claims that his father never entered the country, but an old friend of his father’s was expecting him and before he could tell him more, some people start shooting at them. He manages to get away, and when he goes back to the police chief, he still refuses to believe that a crime has been committed. He then has Rudy deported, but Rudy convinces the police woman assigned to bring him to the airport not to and help him find his father.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Van Damme 101

 

Story: The Order starts with a history lesson because we need back story to what happen in this one battle in Jerusalem where a new order was born against the religious crusades. We move to the present day and meet Rudy Cafmeyer (Van Damme) who is a world class thief applying his latest job in Ukraine. Rudy’s father is archaeologist who has discovered the final chapter of the Visialy script while Ruby’s last adventure has led him to be wanted by the Russian Mafia.

When his father goes missing Ruby travels to Israel to uncover the truth and working with his father’s old friend Walter Finney (Heston) he learns just how much danger his father has got himself into. Rudy must work with LT Dalia Barr (Milos) to uncover a religious movement that his father has discovered the final piece off being led by Cyrus Jacob (Thompson) in the city of Jerusalem during the time when other religions have come to pray thanks to their gods.

 

Thoughts on The Order

 

StoryThe story is designed to give Van Damme a chance to show his fighting while have a loss idea on how to deal with a potential religious uprising in a modern world. This is a treasure hunt style movie which all works for fun and that is all you need from it.

Action/ThrillerWhen it comes to the action we have plenty of chase sequences as well as good fight sequences again all designed to show off Van Damme’s skills.

Characters/Performance –  Ruby is a thief that has a way of being able to look after himself and has a way to cover his tracks while uncovering the truth, this is what you would call a typical Van Damme character that is there to show off his fighting ability. Charlton Heston is pretty much here to fill in the gaps for Rudy in the history before biting the bullet early on. We do have the typical good cop working with Ruby too as well as a good religious leader ticking off the villainous role.

SettingsThe film uses Jerusalem as the main setting which works because of the religious implication going on within the story as well as looking good for the chase sequences.

Special EffectsHas good enough effects for the characters involved because we don’t need anything fancy just a few explosions during the chases.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film designed solely to show off how could Van Damme is as fighting, it has a good religious idea going on. This is fun easy to watch action film from start to finish.

 

Overall: This is easily the rule book on how to make a Van Damme movie.

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The Glass House (2001)

glassDirector: Daniel Sackheim

Writer: Wesley Strick (Screenplay)

Starring: Leelee Sobieski, Diane Lane, Stellan Skarsgard, Bruce Dern, Kathy Baker, Trevor Morgan, Chris North

 

Plot: An orphaned teenager is taken in by a Malibu couple but discovers they aren’t the caring friends they seemed to be.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Solid Thriller

 

Story: The Glass House starts as high school student Ruby Baker (Sobieski) and her younger brother Rhett (Morgan) lose their parents in a car accident they find themselves orphaned and having to move into the Glass household with Erin (Lane) and Terry (Skarsgard).

After spending time with the family Ruby starts to suspect something strange going on with the Glass family and that they have an alternative motive for wanting to take the orphaned children in.

The Glass House is a thriller that does follow the ABC ideas of most of these domestic thrillers where the eldest child has to prove their new guardians are not who they thought they could be even if they have trick the others into believe they are good and all the people that are important. The problem here is that this is nothing overly fresh, it also doesn’t push any of the boundaries needed for the thriller side of the story. it all just becomes extreme average as easily forgettable.

 

Overall: Basic thriller that just doesn’t hit any of the good marks needed in a true thriller.

Rating45

 

 

Movie Reviews Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Tremors 3: Back to Perfection (2001)

casting card

 

Plot: Third entry in series returns to the small desert town of Perfection, Nevada seen in the first and briefly in the second.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Yet Another Solid Sequel

 

Story: Tremors 3: Back to Perfection starts as Burt (Gross) has continued to track graboids and shriekers around the world and this time he is in Argentina to rid them of the problems. Completing this mission Burt returns to Perfection only to find Jack Sawyer (Christian) has been leading tourists around the desert for a graboid experience.

When the graboids return to Perfection Burt leads a few familiar faces including Nancy (Stewart), Mindy (Richards) and Miguel (Genaro) in what was meant to be a fight until Agent Rusk (Pappas) and Dr Merliss (Livingston) arrive claiming it to be illegal to hunt an endangered species of the graboids. This time the graboids and shriekers have evolved once more into ass-blasters.

Tremors 3: Back to Perfection brings the action back to the home town of the graboids which is what the second film lost. I do think we need to keep the action in this location because we also bring back fellow members in the town. As for originality we don’t get too much as it is just a group of people trying to survive. The only fresh angle which never got used enough was that the government want to protect the graboids. For some reason I remember more from this film from when I was younger though.

 

Actor Review

 

Michael Gross: Burt returns home only to find that the graboids have returned, he has built his house to be a fortress when the graboids try to attack but he can’t hunt to kill this time as the government wants to protect them. He uses all his experience to follow these rules and save his hometown once more. Michael finally becomes the character I have known went I heard the name Tremors.

Shawn Christian: Desert Jack runs a fake tourist attraction in the town of Perfection but when the graboids really turn up he must work with Burt to fight and survive from the attacks. Shawn fits the description need for the role without being anything special.

Susan Chuang: Jodi is the new shop keeper of the town of Perfection, she has been selling merchandise from the graboids that have made her money after giving up high salary job in the big city. Susan is good in this role that is the strongest of the leading females we have seen.

Charlotte Stewart: Nancy is one of the town’s people still leaving in Perfection, she is still protecting her daughter from the graboids but this time she calls in the government to deal with the problem. Charlotte is good but nothing over most of the supporting cast.

Support Cast: Tremors 3: Back to Perfection has a very standard supporting cast not adding too much to the final film.

Director Review: Brent MaddockBrent continues the fun behind the movie which works for making it enjoyable.

 

Action: Tremors 3: Back to Perfection has good action when it comes to fighting the creatures.

Comedy: Tremors 3: Back to Perfection has a few laughs but not to the same level the first two did.

Horror: Tremors 3: Back to Perfection brings in us yet another creature into the battle making the horror coming from three different directions.

Settings: Tremors 3: Back to Perfection brings us back to Perfection which I feel is the best thing for the franchise.
Special Effects
: Tremors 3: Back to Perfection has solid special effects with a mix of practical and CGI effects.

Suggestion: Tremors 3: Back to Perfection is one for the fans of the franchise to still enjoy. (Franchise Fans)

 

Best Part: New creature.

Worst Part: We do keep losing the leading actors who are not returning.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

Tagline: They’re Baaack!!!!

Trivia: In the scene involving the tourist mother and son conversing with Burt Gummer, the boy asks for his picture to be taken with ‘the tremor’, playing on a common misconception that the title ‘Tremors’ was also the name of the creatures despite the fact they are actually referred to as ‘graboids’ in the previous films.

 

Overall: Solid sequel that is yet again a fun watch.

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Shaolin Soccer (2001)

shaolinDirector: Stephen Chow

Writer: Stephen Chow, Kan-Cheung Tsang, Min Hun Fung, Chi Keung Fung (Screenplay)

Starring: Stephen Chow, Zhou Wei, Man-Tat Mg, Yin Tse, Cecilia Cheung, Karen Mok, Vincent Kok

 

Plot: A young Shaolin follower reunites with his discouraged brothers to form a soccer team using their martial art skills to their advantage.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable

 

Story: Shaolin Soccer starts as we see Golden Leg Fung the star football (I am calling it football not soccer because that is the name of the sport) player takes a bride to missed from Hung only to find himself crippled by the crowd. 20 years later Hung (Tse) is the coach of Team Evil and Golden Leg (Ng) is a crippled kit man who wants to coach his own team.

Golden Leg’s luck is about to change when he meets Mighty Steel Leg Sing (Chow) who has been practising the Kung Fu style of Shaolin and wants to embrace it into the game of football. Steel Leg brings together his brothers to form a team to take on Team Evil for the prize of $1 Million but can this unique style work on the football pitch?

Shaolin Soccer is one of those films where the story feels like it has been ripped from a comic book and thrown together to enter us into a world where we have to suspense our disbelief throughout the story. I do think it does play out like your standard sports film coming from nowhere to beat the best known team we know the final will be the biggest test too so on that side nothing is truly fresh. The films story is all about how Kung Fu can be used to make football an achievable sport for the talentless players.

 

Actor Review

 

Stephen Chow: Mighty Steel Leg Sing lives on the streets as he is determined to find a use for his Shaolin Kung Fu training. When he meets Golden Leg Fung he decides to try football and with this he reunites his brothers to make the most unorthodox team to enter the tournament. Stephen shines in this showing off his kung fu skills with his comedy skills.

Zhou Wei: Mui is a street cook that hides herself from the world but Steel Leg sees past her to see her real beauty as he tries to bring her out of her shell. Zhou is good in this supporting role which all works for the film.

Man-Tat Ng: Golden Leg Fung is a former football star that took a bride which ended his career, tired of being just the kit man he agrees to coach Mighty Steal Leg and his team as they enter the most famous tournament around. Man-Tat is good in this role as the man seeking one last chance to make up for his mistake.

Yin Tse: Team Evil Coach Hung ruined Golden Leg’s football career before using all of his wealth to control the gang making his team the all powerful force in the sports. Yin is good in this supporting role playing your typical villain.

Support Cast: Shaolin Soccer has a supporting cat which is mostly the rest of the team who all have their own abilities, they all add to the comedy being used through the film.

Director Review: Stephen ChowStephen puts together this entertaining film as well as starring in the leading role showing he can handle both sides of the job.

 

Action: Shaolin Soccer is filled with over the top whacky kung fu action.

Comedy: Shaolin Soccer makes you laugh with just how over the top everything really is going on through the film.

Sports: Shaolin Soccer brings us a fresh mix on football which we haven’t seen before.

Settings: Shaolin Soccer shows how the men are coming from the bottom of the streets to become household names.
Special Effects
: Shaolin Soccer uses the effects to make everything happen with the Shaolin work which works but you can see them happening.

Suggestion: Shaolin Soccer is one you can just put on to sit back and relax. (Relax and Watch)

 

Best Part: All the over the top Kung Fu football mixing.

Worst Part: Certain special effects you can see how fake they are.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: The sensation that swept Asia is coming to theaters!

 

Overall: A true sit back and relax film that can be enjoyed

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