Franchise Weekend – The Ring (2002)

Director: Gore Verkinski

Writer: Ehren Kruger (Screenplay) Koji Suzuki (Novel)

Starring: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox, Jane Alexander, Lindsay Frost, Amber Tamblyn

 

Plot: A journalist must investigate a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone one week to the day after they view it.


Tagline – In the well, no one will see.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Scary Horror Mystery

 

Story: The Ring starts when Rachel’s (Watts) niece dies suddenly after giving us the idea of what happens with the mysterious video tape, that if you watch it, you will receive a phone call saying, you will die in seven days.

Rachel being a reporter starts to investigate the mysterious death, which medical personal simply can’t explain, she ends up watching the tape filled with the horrific images, receiving the phone call, facing the seven days to solve the mystery about the tape.

 

Thoughts on The Ring

 

Characters – Rachel is a single mother and reporter that starts investigating the mysterious death of her niece, this leads her to a VHS tape which puts her in the same seven day warning, forcing her to investigate the tape, she uses her connections and skills as a reporter to unlock this truth, while become more desperate after her son watches the same tape. Noah is the ex-partner and father to Aidan, he is still dating college students, which is why they no longer date, he is however an expect on video, which sees him being used to help break down the tape, which does including him watching it, he doesn’t come off like a nice guy, but we get the scene which shows why he is the way he is. Aidan is the son of the two, he seems to be the most grounded of the three, he is always prepared for the day, knowing that his mother will be late, only he watches the video making him one of the targets for the curse within the video. Richard is the adopted father of Samara, his love for the horses as seen his life destroyed even with his connection to Samara being the reason for the curse.

PerformancesNaomi Watts in the leading role is great, she gets to show us just how difficult being a single mother can be, while trying to face a life and death situation with trying to find the answers. Martin Henderson is solid enough in his role which sees him being a bad father that could learn over this week. David Dorfman does give us a creepy kid performance, while Brian Cox in his limited screen time makes a big impact.

StoryThe story here follows a reporter that is investigating the death of a family member that is connecting a video tape which will give any viewer seven days to live. This story is a remake of Ringu and does fall into one of my favourite sub-genres of horror, the ghostly haunting investigation one, which is looking to solve a mystery and isn’t afraid to give us a moment of hauntings to push everything in the right direction. It is strange that part of this film has dated with the technology advances which could see the VHS side of the film going over people’s heads, but away from that seeing just how everything is connected, with glimpses of the video appearing through the film needing to be solved by both the character and audience gives this an interesting element for the audience to get involved in.

Horror/MysteryThe horror comes from the horrific imagines we see on the tape, we also know early on what will happen to anybody that watches the tape, by seeing just how the first opening kill looks. The mystery comes from just what we are seeing in the tape, it is a host of clues which will unlock the truth.

SettingsThe film shows us the settings through the tape, each one has a connection to everything going on and makes us want to know just what the connection is going to be.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are fantastic to watch, with one of the greatest effects scenes in the closing of the film which will shock and wonder how it was done.


Scene of the Movie –
The Horse on the boat is a horrific scene to watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me VHS has dated out now.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the greatest horror remakes, it remains scary through the years along with giving us the time scale everything is going to be revealed.

 

Overall: Wonderful horror remake.

Rating

 

 

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Sylvester Stallone Weekend – Driven (2001)

Director: Renny Harlin

Writer: Sylvester Stallone (Screenplay) Jan Skrentny, Neal Tabachnick (Story)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Kip Pardue, Stacey Edwards, Til Schweiger, Gina Gershon, Estella Warren, Robert Sean Leonard

 

Plot: A young hot shot driver is in the middle of a championship season and is coming apart at the seams. A former CART champion is called in to give him guidance.


Tagline – Get ready for the race of your life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Sports Drama

 

Story: Driven starts as we get to see how a racing season is going, Beau Brandenburg (Schweiger) the reigning champion starts shinning until rookie driver Jimmy Bly (Pardue) starts becoming competition for the title. When Jimmy starts to fade, team manager Carl Henry (Reynolds) brings back former champion Joe Tanto (Stallone) to help keep the head on straight of the rookie driver.

With Joe back to be used as an experienced blocker to help Jimmy, it is Jimmy that will need to make the difficult decisions and with his brother and manager Demille Bly (Leonard) who is trying to control the young drivers ever movement. Can he get the title won on his rookie season or will the pressure get to him?

 

Thoughts on Driven

 

Characters – Joe Tanto was the once great driver, former champion and past his prime, still considered one for the experience factor. He needs to help guide the rookie who is destining to become champion, while facing his own personal regrets. Carl Henry is the owner of the team, he knows Jimmy will become champion and will do anything to make sure his team brings the title back. Jimmy Bly is the rookie making big waves in the sport, controlled by his brother to avoid the pressure that comes with being at the top. He makes the rookie mistakes and need guidance to become champion. Beau Brandenburg is the champion, the best in the game right now even if he can come of arrogant at times. Sophia is the girlfriend of Beau, she has been for years now and after a disagreement she befriends Jimmy adding extra tension between the two potential champions. Demille Bly is the brother and manager of Jimmy, he is trying to control every decision of his career, he is the closest to being the villain in the film.

PerformancesSylvester Stallone is solid enough for this film he fills in the mentor role well enough. Burt Reynolds as the team manager works for the film, we needed an older figure in this role. Kip Pardue does suit the rookie driver well even certain parts of the script are poor. Til Schweiger, Estella Warren and Robert Sean Leonard are good in the supporting roles which give them a chance to have fun with their roles.

StoryThe story follows a rookie facing a champion for an unlike season in race car driving, we see the good and bad moments for the whole field, the pressures thrown on the young driver, with a friendly rivalry being created between the two. We have the older mentor role needed to keep the head on the straight for the younger driver. While being a Formula One fan I can enjoy a good rivalry film which this does give us even if the races have been intensified for the cinematic audience. We get lesson to be learnt by the drivers, team and managers which this season will give us.

Action/SportsThe action in this film comes from the races, while the special effects used have dated horrendously the flat out racing is a join to watch. The sport side of the film gives us a look into the racing industry and just how dangerous it can be when racing for victory.

SettingsThe film takes us around the world to different race tracks used in the sport in real life.


Scene of the Movie –
The accident.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The special effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film the fans of racing will enjoy, it has good sequence even if the special effects are weak, it does feel like we are watch Cars the live action movie.

 

Overall: Racing fun film.

Rating

 

 

Ron Perlman Weekend – Blade II (2002)

Director: Guillermo del Torro

Writer: David S Goyer (Screenplay) Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan (Characters)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kirstofferson, Ron Perlman, Leonor Varela, Norman Reedus, Thomas Kretschmann, Luke Goss, Donnie Yen

 

Plot: Blade forms an uneasy alliance with the vampire council in order to combat the Reapers, who are feeding on vampires.


Tagline – One Man Still Has The Edge

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Blood-Soaked Sequel

 

Story: Blade II starts as a new breed of vampire Nomak (Goss) hunts down vampires for feed, meanwhile Blade (Snipes) has unfinished business with the vampires, he wants Whistler (Krisofferson) back after he was turned and taken from him. Once Whistler is saved, Blade returns him to the human form with his new assistant Scud (Reedus).

When the Vampire council approach Blade to help them stop the Reaper strain Nomak is carrying, Blade must team up with the Blood Pack led by Nyssa (Varela) and including Reinhardt (Perlman), Snowman (Yen) and Chupa (Schulze) to put aside their difference to defeat the newest enemy to them both.

 

Thoughts on Blade II

 

Characters – Blade, daywalker, the half human, half vampire is continuing his battle against vampires, but this time he learns of a new threat the Reapers, who are deadlier than any vampire he has face, so he must unite with the vampires to defeat them. Still as deadly as before, with sword or guns, no vampire can just defeat him. Whistler returns only this time Blade must help him to recover, which leaves us wondering which side of the battle he will be on through the movie. Reinhardt is a member of the Bloodpack, he is the one that hates working with Blade, his sworn enemy for years. He shows his discontent while be one of the best soldiers in the unit. Nyssa is the daughter of Damaskinos, a pure blood vampire and leader of the Bloodpack, she becomes a Love interest for Blade in a strange turn of events. Scud has filled the Whistler role for Blade in his hunt, he creates the weapons needed to defeat the enemies while mostly being a slob for the most part. Damaskinos is the leader of the vampire council, he brings the rivals together to try and end the war. Nomak is the reaper terrorising the streets, he is the first of his creation and now deadly to anyone who he infects.

PerformancesWesley Snipes will always be remembered for this role, it is his most iconic and the one the fans enjoy watching. Here he does everything needed to continue making it people’s favourite. Kristofferson on the other hand does feel like he is mailing it in for the most part. Ron Perlman does the best to try and steal the spotlight bring the few moments of humour to the film. Leonor Varela is good as the only major female character in the film and does have a good opening fight sequence with Blade. Luke Goss is good as the villain showing us the sympathetic side and the brutal side of his character. The rest of the cast are good through the film.

StoryThe story puts our hero Blade needing to team up with his enemy to take on a new enemy, this does work because we didn’t need to see Blade just take on more normal vampires, we needed to up the stakes and the new breed does this. We also get the tension between the two sides with the common enemy, needing to trade secrets to make things happen. We must remember this is a comic book movie, so we need things to be farfetched at time too. We have the traditional twists you would come to expect at times too.

Action/HorrorThe action is fun, we have great fighting sequences, but certain moments feel like a video game. The horror uses the vampires for the blood filled violence moments in the film.

SettingsThe settings show us the dark underworld you would imagine vampires would live in, the new breed in the sewers shows us how they are starting at the bottom looking to raise to the top too.

Special EffectsThe effects for the kills are good throughout, the effects for the fight scenes are at times seems poor CGI.


Scene of the Movie –
Sewer invasion.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Donnie Yen’s characters death, wasted opportunity.

Final ThoughtsThis was a fun comic book action horror, we get plenty of blood flying around with plenty of kills going on which will keep the fans happy.

 

Overall: Great sequel for an iconic character.

Rating

 

 

About a Boy (2002)

Director: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz

Writer: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz, Peter Hedges (Screenplay) Nick Hornby (Novel)

Starring: Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult, Toni Collette, Natalia Tena, Rachel Weisz

 

Plot: A cynical, immature young man is taught how to act like a grown-up by a little boy.


Tagline – Growing up has nothing to do with age.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant British Comedy

 

Story: About a Boy starts as we meet Will Freeman (Grant) who lives the perfect life in his head, no job because of his father’s royalties, no responsibilities and no relationship, he can jump from woman to woman and now he has learnt about single mums, he new target. Marcus (Hoult) is a young boy whose single mother is battling depression and when the two become unlikely friends.

As the friendship builds between Will and Marcus, the two learn valuable life lessons with Will finally learning the serious side to life, one he had coasted over through his life.

 

Thoughts on About a Boy

 

Characters – Will is the playboy bachelor who has gone from woman to woman never taking responsibility in anything in his life, at the age of 38 he isn’t getting any younger and wants to look to a new location to meet women, which finally gives him a chance to look at his own life errors and start to make something from life. Marcus is a bullied young boy, his mother is battling depression and he never fits in at school, he sees a male role model in Will and starts to becoming friends with Will where he can starts to learn how to be who he should be. This character is drawn up wonderfully because he doesn’t understand the problems his mother is going through, while he is aware there is a problem it reflects in his everyday life. Fiona is the mother of Marcus, she is battle depression in her life while trying her hardest to stay positive for Marcus, a battle she isn’t always winning. Rachel is the woman that shows Will a new meaning to life, only she is the one that could shatter his new look too.

PerformancesHugh Grant is easily one of the most British actors out there, he gives one of his best performances here that will make you like his bad character. This role could easily be a look at the person people believed he would be in real life. Nicholas Hoult gives one of the greatest breakthrough performances for a young star and by seeing just how far he has gone since this shows the early talent he showed. Toni Collette gives us a supporting performance that is just as difficult to watch because of her characters problems that it is an essential performance to see. Rachel Weisz is good in her supporting role, she doesn’t need to do too much with her character though.

StoryThe story here plays out as a middle-aged man needing to grow up, a young boy who needs a male role model and understand that life isn’t going to be perfect no matter how much you want to believe it. The growing up side of the story is the one that we get to focus on the most and is everything you expect it to be. There is however a much deeper and stronger side to this story we see, that comes from seeing how young Marcus doesn’t completely understand his mother’s depression and just wants somebody to talk to, while finding his own way to fix her. Now this is important because the mental health issues are a bigger talking point now and showing it through the eyes of an innocent young boy shows how difficult it can be to talk about and deal with, with him never truly understanding what the problems are.

Comedy/RomanceThis film did get me laughing a lot, this is usually hard for any comedy movie, this has so many clever visions on life through the shallow nature Will has. The romance is the backburner because it shows us just how Will is trying to find women, even if one does change his life.

SettingsThe film is set in London, we get the see the home environment, which for the most part are empty, the social life and everyday life, nothing is new.


Scene of the Movie –
Be a Godfather question?

That Moment That Annoyed Me The generic bullies.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant comedy that gets everything right with the way the comedy is handled, we do get a big issue covered and is a film that people need to look back on and watch.

 

Overall: Must watch comedy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – # – 8 Mile (2002)

Director: Curtis Hanson

Writer: Scott Silver (Screenplay)

Starring: Eminem, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy, Evan Jones, Omar Benson Miller, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: A young rapper, struggling with every aspect of his life, wants to make it big but his friends and foes make this odyssey of rap harder than it may seem.


Tagline –  If the streets had a voice, this would be the story they’d tell.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Rap Based Drama

 

Story: 8 Mile starts as we head to Detroit to follow Jimmy B-Rabbit Smith (Eminem) as along with his friends David ‘Future’ Porter (Phifer) Cheddar Bob (Jones), Sol George (Miller) are trying to make an impact in the raping world, this world is dominated by the black community though he does have the skills.

The world is filled with gangs that are out for control, Jimmy must deal with his mother Stephanie (Basinger) and her problems as well as meeting a new love in Alex (Murphy), we follow as he is desperate to get out of the town which has held back man before.

 

Thoughts on 8 Mile

 

Characters – Jimmy B-Rabbit Smith is a young man who aspires to be a rapper, he is from the wrong side of town in Detroit, where he is given a chance to prove himself in the underground rap battle world, where any wrong move could be his last move with the gangs around him. He has the close friends that will watch his back, while working a dead-end job for any money he can get. Stephanie Smith is the mother of Rabbit, she is dating an aggressive man around he sons age and struggling to pay the rent to keep the roof over her daughter’s head. She does try to do the best things but has her own personal demons holding her back. David is the closest friend to Jimmy, he offers him the chance he wants to reach the next level but also needs to be the one to stop him making the mistakes in his life. Alex is the new romance in Jimmy’s life, she dreams of leaving too, to become a model which helps the to connect on a level unlike what Jimmy is used to.

PerformancesEminem is strong in this leading role, there are a few moments where he does look lost, one second too long for fight sequences, but the emotional levels he shows good. Kim Basinger is good in her role which shows that we have the most experience from her. Mekhi Phifer continued his rise in the early 2000s with this performance where he shows his ability to blend into any film. the whole cast performers well through the film with talent that went onto bigger things.  

StoryThe story shows the struggles of a young man trying to break into the world of rapping in the mean streets of Detroit, he is from the wrong side of the town and the gangs are always dangerous. Seeing the struggles for everyday life is very interesting to see unfold, however I was expecting something different with more rap battles. If you are a fan of the underground rap scene this will be a story that you want to watch.

MusicThe music in the film starts with a battle rap and I was expecting more as the song Lose yourself did win Best Oscar Song.

SettingsThe film shows us just how difficult growing up in Detroit can be, we feel the tension and feeling of abandonment the city is feeling.


Scene of the Movie –
Battle rap.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough rapping.

Final ThoughtsThis is a look at the mean streets of Detroit in the battle rap world where every corner could be dangerous.

 

Overall: The rap world unfolded.

Rating