Franchise Weekend – Spiderman (2002)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: David Koepp (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comic Book)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Cliff Robertson, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons

 

Plot: When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Enjoyable Spiderman Movie

 

Story: Spider-Man starts as we meet high school student Peter Parker (Maguire), he only had one friend at school and that is over privileged Harry Osborn (Franco) and his high school crush Mary Jane (Dunst) attending a field trip at science laboratory where Peter gets bitten by one of the spiders.

The next day Peter finds himself stronger and more aware than ever, he has gained the spider skills, Peter uses his time to learn his abilities, but when his Uncle Ben (Robertson) becomes a victim of crime, Peter becomes Spiderman protecting New York City from the criminals.

With high school finished Peter and Harry move to New York, where they find jobs, but Peter has been fighting crime become front page news. Harry’s father Norman a CEO at Oscorp determined to make the most money unleashes the Green Goblin on the city, giving Spiderman his first opponent that will tests his abilities.

 

Thoughts on Spider-Man

 

Characters – Peter Parker is the socially awkward high school outcast, he does have the brains to become anything but when he gets bitten he becomes Spiderman where he starts to fight to protect his city after losing his Uncle. Norman Osborn is the career driven genius that will go to any lengths to be the leading developer in government technology, but when he loses his way, he goes out to stop anyone with his Green Goblin persona. Harry is Peter’s best friend and son of Norman, he watches how everything unfolds but also starts dating Mary Jane. Mary Jane is the high school crush of Peter, she does stick up for him as they share the same dreams.

PerformanceTobey Maguire is great in this leading role showing the innocence side of Peter but away from the high school age. Kirsten Dunst is a beautiful Mary Jane and while mostly the damsel in distress does give us a good performance. James Franco showed us all the potential he has started to show us in this role. Willem Dafoe enjoys the villainous role through the film and is easy one of the better conflicted villains in the universe.

StoryThis is an origin story for Spiderman that came out just when the superhero boom was starting up, it bought us a new hero to root for and one that was filled with the odd joke. We have the motivation for Peter to become Spiderman, a friendship which will become important through this franchise and a villain that is conflicted with why he is doing the things he is doing. It may well be a by the book origin story it does have enough darker moments to make us see the light in his actions.

Action/AdventureThe action fits the comic book genre perfectly with the adventure side of the film coming from just what Peter is learning of his new skills.

SettingsNew York City makes for the setting here, much like in the comics, it works because of the landscape that Spiderman will be taking on with his web slinging.

Special EffectsThe effects for this film show us that practical effects could still make an excellent film, the CGI feels very little.

Scene of the Movie – The parade.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You do feel like we needed more of the high school side of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is an origin film that does hit the marks, a villain that can do enough damage but is never a true threat, learning the correct path and building a bigger picture for the whole franchise.

 

Overall: Easily one of the best origin stories.

Rating

 

 

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Featdotcom (2002)

Director: William Malone

Writer: Josephine Coyle (Screenplay) Moshe Diamant (Story)

Starring: Stephen Dorff, Natascha McElhone, Stephen Rea, Udo Kier, Amelia Curtis, Jeffrey Combs

 

Plot: A New York City detective investigates mysterious deaths occurring 48 hours after users log onto a site named feardotcom.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fear Dot Wrong

 

Story: Feardotcom starts as New York detective Mike (Dorff) teams up with environmental health officer Terry (McElhone) to investigate a string of death which look like a viral outbreak but could just be murders, the first investigation takes them into a German metal couple fans that seem to have died mysteriously but soon the cases become more significate.

With three different victims, with three unrelated backgrounds the crime seems all unrelated until they look deeper into the computer history and that all three have visited a website called ‘feardotcom.com’ that blasts horrific images into the viewers face leaving the viewer 48 hours to live, but there is also a connection to serial killer Dr Alistair Pratt (Rea).

 

Thoughts on Feardotcom

 

Characters – Detective Mike is haunted by his failure to capture a serial killer, this doesn’t make him bad at his job but does show how he never gives up but he also can’t follow simple instructions. Terry, I believe worked for the environmental health and is called into be sure there isn’t a viral outbreak happening, she does seem to be the one that puts the pieces together within the puzzle. Dr Alistair Pratt is the serial killer Mike was never able to capture, he is still active tracking down new victims but just how much of a connection does he have to everything going on. In all honesty, the characters are written to be as dumb as they come, we have a lady working with the police who visits the site and just hides what has happened, and the main two characters both warn the other not to view the site and both run off within moments and watch the site.

PerformanceStephen Dorff is fine in this but he can’t do much with the character written, Natascha McElhone is also fine in this role and handles what she has better than the rest, Stephen Rea does pull of psychopathic well but we just don’t see us enough. Most of the performances are just ok without really doing anything special.

StoryThe story follows detectives needing to solve a mystery about a haunted website or a serial killer, I am not sure which as things just seem to get caught between the two. The idea of having the cops fail miserably to solve this or act rational only confuses things for the story, I could understand if it was a reporter like we had in The Ring but now this does just seem to be trying to rip that idea off using the internet over a video.

Crime/HorrorPeople are dying I guess that does offer up the crime mystery side of this story but in the end the that part turns into horror which is mostly just throwing images at the camera while shaking it a lot.

SettingsThe settings are mixed, we have the idea of New York having a serial killer so we get mixed cultures but otherwise we just have typical dark locations.

Special EffectsThe special effects do just feel like a lot of shaky cams being used to throw us around the horror happening. We do also have moments of dated CGI that don’t help.

Scene of the Movie – Dr Alistair’s first appearance because it adds the horror needed and is the only truly scary moment in this film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Decision making from the police officer characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a messy, hard to watch film that tries to capture the magic of horror that The Ring did, it grabbed itself 3 respected lead actors and tried to give us an investigation film but misses on nearly every single level.

 

Overall: Disappointing Horror Mystery.

Rating

 

 

Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Director: Michael Moore

 

Plot: Filmmaker Michael Moore explores the roots of America’s predilection for gun violence.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Documentary

 

Story: Bowling for Columbine starts as Michael Moore explores the gun culture through America, we see how you can purchase guns through in a bank just by opening an account. We see how certain states encourage people to have guns which led to the main incident Michael is looking at.

When two high school kids went on a shooting rampage through their school of Columbine. We see how America reacted by blaming music, video games and movies while others want to tackle gun control.

 

Thoughts on Bowling for Columbine

 

DocumentaryThe investigating style of Michael Moore is always one sided and while this is about looking at the naivety of needing a gun, this does show how outlets can make things very one sided from the people involved but this is important to the people to realize how people can be miss-led.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most important documentaries you will see, it shows how America is still living in fear and guns are the excuse to defend themselves. We see how people can blame different sides of culture while the rest of the world has barely any gun crime, while I would have liked to have seen more of the personal effects to the main tragedy it is sold on but otherwise this does send the important message.

 

Overall: Important Documentary that still hasn’t has the message pushed through.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Scorpion King (2002)

Director: Chuck Russell

Writer: Stephen Sommers, William Osborne, David Hayter (Screenplay) Stephen Sommers, Jonathan Hales (Story)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Steven Brand, Michael Clarke Duncan, Kelly Hu, Bernard Hill, Grant Heslov

 

Plot: A desert warrior rises up against the evil army that is destroying his homeland. He captures the enemy’s key sorcerer, takes her deep into the desert and prepares for a final showdown.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Adventure

 

Story: The Scorpion King starts in a world where tyrant Memnon (Brand) is taking over the land with ease, killing anyone who goes against him with his Sorceress (Hu) by his side everybody fears him. When the last remaining leaders Balthazar (Duncan), Queen Isis (Howard), King Pheron (Rees) Takmet (Facinelli) want to end his dominate destruction they hire Mathayus (Johnson) and his brother Jesup (Richmond) to kill the Sorceress who is helping Memnon on his rampage.

When Mathayus is betrayed the Sorceress spares him being killed at the hands of any of Memnon men’s hands, he finds himself in a sticky situation where trickster Arpid (Heslov) aids his escape. Mathayus sets out to bring down Memnon and save the land, the Sorceress while teaming up with a range of former enemies fighting the biggest common enemy.

 

Thoughts on The Scorpion King

 

Characters/PerformanceMathayus is an elite warrior assassin, so basically nothing like the Scorpion King in the Mummy Returns. He has honour and will fight against all odds for his family, freedom and mostly money. Memnon is a hands-on tyrant warrior who kills anyone who doesn’t follow him, he is the lands best swordsman and we see this in his combat against Mathayus but his weakness is believing in a Sorceress visions. I liked that he is happy to fight against any enemy, this is rare in action adventure films. The Sorceress sees how the fights are going to end, only she doesn’t because her visions don’t come true. Balthazar is a strong leader who is willing to fight up against a worthy opponent. The rest of the character all fit what you expect, the comic relief, the crazy old guy, the betraying son, the henchman the list goes on.

Performance Wise, this film was designed to make Dwayne Johnson look like a new action star, Brand is good as the villain but isn’t the worst for the action genre, with Kelly Hu being the beautiful sorceress works for the film.

StoryThe story is easy to follow as long as you are not looking to learn more about the Mummy Returns character because this guy is a hero. When you look into just this story we get a basic action adventure showing the rise of a warrior uniting a nation.

Action/AdventureThe action is all fun with plenty of hand to hand, sword fights and stealth like action going on through the wild adventure. The fantasy side brings up the mythology behind how Scorpion King came to be, again going against the original idea behind the character.

SettingsThe settings bring us to a land of sand and Gods which works but doesn’t create anything iconic.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all fine but don’t get used too often.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun, easy to watch action adventure film that can be enjoyed as you see Dwayne Johnson on his first steps in leading actor.

 

Overall: Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Halloween Resurrection (2002)

Director: Rick Rosenthal

Writer: Larry Brand, Sean Hood (Screenplay) Debra Hill, John Carpenter (Characters)

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Busta Rhymes, Bianca Kajlich, Sean Patrick Thomas, Daisy McCrackin, Katee Sackhoff, Luke Kirby, Thomas Ian Nicholas

 

Plot: Three years after he last terrorized his sister, Michael Myers confronts her again, before traveling to Haddonfield to deal with the cast and crew of a reality show which is being broadcast from his old home.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painful Sequel

 

Story: Halloween: Resurrection starts with Laurie (Curtis) now in a mental home as we learn that she killed an innocent man thinking it was Michael, now she waits for him to arrive so she can finish the job. When Michael finally gets to kill Laurie his rampage must be over, but no, let’ see where this film goes now.

We are not back in Haddonfield meting student Sara (Kajlich), Jen (Sackhoff) and Rudy (Thomas) who have all signed up for a reality television show hosted by Freddie Harris (Rhymes) and Nora (Banks) and joined by Donna (McCrackin), Bill (Nicholas) and Jim (Kirby) where they must stay in the Myers house for one night.

As the students look to investigate the home, they learn that Michael is still living there and ready to kill anybody inside his home, who will make it out and just what is the point in these victims.

 

Thoughts on Halloween: Resurrection

 

Characters/PerformanceLaurie is in this movie, for about 5 minutes and I feel this is the only connection to the Halloween franchise. Michael is deadly but you kind of route for him because the people are invading his home. Sara seems to be the main innocent student that gets pushed into something she wouldn’t normally do. Jen is the slightly slutty friend with Rudy being the lead hero. Freddie is the arrogant host that wants to make money and become famous and that is your ABC cast.

Performance wise, well, where do we start here? This isn’t known for its performance ability, Busta Rhymes please no more acting, and why in the hell would you hire an actress that couldn’t scream or cry on cue for a horror film, Jamie Lee clearly didn’t want to be in this film either.

StoryLooking at story we have a HUGE problem here, one you kill off the Laurie in the opening sequence and forget she has a kid now a young man in his twenties now too. We get an awful run around Michael’s house being picked off one by one for reality TV, none of these characters have a connection to Michael and this is just a hack em slash em film for no reason.

HorrorThis is fine as a standalone slasher horror but the connection it needs sucks the horror out of the film.

SettingsBeing set inside Michael’s childhood home works because it brings us back to Haddonfield, where we need to be but the stakes just don’t feel enough in this house.

Special EffectsThe kills have good effects but otherwise we don’t get many or need many.

Final ThoughtsThis film feels like someone watched The Truman Show and thought let’s make it a slasher film where we have an audience watching what is going on inside the house, we have terrible acting, terrible storytelling and just a boring reason to bring Michael back.

 

Overall: Terrible, terrible sequel.

Rating