Original v Remake Weekend – Rollerball (2002)

rllerDirector: John McTiernan

Writer: Larry Ferguson, John Pogue (Screenplay) William Harrison (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Klein, Jean Reno, LL Cool J, Rebecca Romijn, Naveen Andrews Oleg Takarov

 

Plot: The big thing in 2005 is a violent sport which can have some pretty serious consequences… like dying.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Social Commentary 101

 

Story: Rollerball starts as we see aimless extreme sports lover Jonathan Cross (Klein) taking part in a boarding race through the streets of San Francisco only to be saved by his old friend Marcus Ridley (Cool J) who offers him a chance to take part in Rollerball in Central Asia where he can make a fortune for a couple of seasons work.

The sport is mostly hosted in Kazakhstan which while isn’t related to the film this does sum up big sports being offered major deals in Asia in the likes of football and cricket. Anyway, back to the story, Jonathan has become an overnight success in the sport and new favourite for owner Alexis Petrovich (Reno) with the sponsorship money pouring through Jonathan becomes the star for the whole crowd.

When the sport continues to draw a large audience with the violence we get to see just how deadly this sport can become as Jonathan’s popularity sky rockets he gets to live the life of luxury, fast cars, beautiful women and parties, but looking past this life Jonathan can see the problems within the country and with the sport he has become the star off.

 

Thoughts on Rollerball

 

Characters/PerformanceJonathan being made out to be the naïve extreme sports player works for this version of the film because he is the one that can see the problems in the sport he is the star of but isn’t able to take on what could easily be a dictator for the nation involved. Marcus is the best friend in the sport that is wiser to the country as well as happier to turn away from the problems he has seen. Aurora is your standard love interest with a dark past where she finds from the world. Alexis is the all powerful owner of the sport and what feel like the country that is desperate to be as rich as possible.

Performance wise Chris Klein does struggle to be the lead this film needs in places, but does pull the naïve side off well just not the action man lead. LL Cool J is fun as the best friend role while Rebecca Romijn does work for the love interest. Jean Reno does a good job as the power-hungry owner too. The rest of the supporting cast are all good without being scene stealers.stars

StoryThe story here is different in enough places from the original to only really use the sport as the remaining elements from the original. This time the sport has only just started to take off, the money is in it but the story focuses on the idea the sport is about to become the biggest sport in the world because of the nearly acquired blood lust of the audience, with the star player seeing this and wanting out and to stop this change to the sport. We get the feeling the rest of the world gets when they see the billionaires in similar countries spending money on sports when the rest of the country is struggle to make ends meet.

Action/Sci-Fi/SportsThe action is bigger and bloodier than the original film which shows how the fans will be drawn to the blood sport. The sports side is all entertaining for the fans.

SettingsThe settings are based in Asia showing how that is the new future for high paying sports owned by corrupt billionaire.

Special EffectsThe special effects for this film are all good but the night shot tries to be different and looks very difficult to watch.genre

Final ThoughtsI do have a personal soft spot for this movie and I can see why people don’t like it, but this is one film you can switch your brain off and enjoy the mad over the top entertainment.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable sports action movie.

Ratingrating

 

 

DJ Qualls Weekend – The New Guy (2002)

Director: Ed Decter

Writer: David Kendall (Screenplay)

Starring: DJ Qualls, Eliza Dushku, Zooey Deschanel, Jerod Mixon, Parry Shen, Lyle Lovett, Eddie Griffin, Sunny Mabrey

 

Plot: A high school senior branded uncool in the ninth grade gets himself expelled so he changes his image to cool kid at the town’s other high school.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: The New Guy starts on the first day of senior for Dizzy (Qualls) and his band mates Nora (Deschanel), Kirk (Mixon) and Glen (Shen), they are blips in the social group but in the end he gets fully embarrassed in front of the whole school. Continuing his spiral out of control Dizzy ends up in prison where he meets Luther (Griffin) who teaches him how to be tough and al Dizzy needs to do is get expelled.

Starting his new school, with a new look, he makes an instant impact taking out the big dog of the school yard. Dizzy uses this new image to help change the school, grabbing the attention of head cheerleader Danielle (Dushku) along the way but how long can he keep this up.

 

Thoughts on The New Guy

 

Characters/PerformanceDizzy is the typical outsider in high school, he dreams of fitting in but the truth is he never will, he does all he can to make himself stand out and he does make an impact but he also faces the idea of leaving him friends behind to be popular. Danielle is your standard cheerleader dating the high school asshole but also designed not to have her own mind and just date the popular kid. Nora, Kirk and Glen are the old friends that are there to support Dizzy but also be part of the band. We have the full group of typical high school students which all make for the laugh for the story.

Performance wise, DJ Qualls followed up his scene stealing performance in Road Trip with this lead performance where he once again builds on the idea of an outsider changing a mentality. Dushku fits the role very well but isn’t the most developed character. We also get an early from Zooey Deschanel who brings her quirky style to this film and shows off her singing abilities.

StoryThe story follows the idea of one boy wanting to fit into high school, he changes to fit in only to turn on his friends. He learns from his mistake to make a difference at the high school showing everyone that they need to treat each other with respect to achieve everything you could in the early time of life. This is a good look at high school life but is one people could learn from.

ComedyWe have plenty of comedy in this film which is all enjoyable for the audience watching even if most of the humour is based on teen comedy.

SettingsThe high school settings are great because of the morale in the story as the characters learn their lessons about how to treat each other.

Final ThoughtsI grew up watching this film, I loved the story so much that I made the film my username on most things I used, it works on every level it aims for.

 

Overall: This is a worthy addition to the teen comedy genre.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Below (2002)

belowDirector: David Twohy

Writer: Lucas Sussman, Darren Aronofsky, David Twohy (Screenplay)

Starring: Matt Davis, Bruce Greenwood, Holt McCallany, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Chinlund, Olivia Williams, Scott Foley, Andrew Howard, Christopher Fairbank

 

Plot: Strange happenings occur on a WW II submarine.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Horror Film

 

Story: Below starts in the year 1943 as the USS Tiger Shark submarine must respond to a stranded group of survivors where Captain Brice (Greenwood) and his crew must make the save of the British survivors including the only female now on the vessel Claire (Williams). Brice’s crew including Loomis (McCallany) and Odell (Davis) start to look at the attack on the British ship which doesn’t seem to make sense to Odell.

Discovering that one of the survivors is a Germany and that someone has put the crew at risk we see the tension rise on the ship which has just survived an attack from a Germany battleship. When strange things continue to happen on the ship we are left to wonder whether the submarine is cursed or not, but it could well be something outside this world causing the strange occasions on the ship.

Below is a horror mystery thriller that follows the crew during World War II, it starts with coincidence going on before it dives into the supernatural, while I liked the early side of the being superstition between the soldiers I found the dive into 100% supernatural really doesn’t help the second half of this film. The jump scares are easily to see coming and while it does end up in a cover up style film I appears to feel very forced.

The cast are solid without being truly stand-out with Matt Davis struggling in the leading man role because he comes off too young for the character in question, Greenwood is great as the captain with McCallany and Williams filling up the main stars with good performances. It is the supporting cast of actors you would know else like Fairbank, Flemyng and an early role from comedian Zach Galifianakis which surprised me the most in this film, not because he is the best or worst thing more that I wouldn’t have pictured him in this style of film.

 

Overall: Tension filled horror playing on wartime experiences.

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Franchise Weekend – Ripley’s Game (2002)

ripleyDirector: Liliana Cavani

Writer: Charles McKeown, Liliana Cavani (Screenplay) Patricia Highsmith (Novel)

Starring: John Malkovich, Dougray Scott, Lena Headey, Ray Winstone, Chiara Caselli

 

Plot: Tom Ripley persuades a man to commit a murder for a large sum of money. The situation goes out of control, and that man must escape trouble.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing Sequel

 

Story: Ripley’s Game starts as we see an older Tom Ripley (Malkovich) trying to make a deal that his partner on this case Reeves (Winstone) has ruined the full amount on. 3 years later Tom is back in Italy in his mansion.

Trying to live a quiet life Ripley’s old partner is back Reeves wants Ripley to help him with a problem back in Germany with Ripley looks at his neighbour Jonathan Trevanny (Scott) to do the dirty deed as a final attempt to help Jonathan financial future with his sickness.

When Jonathan does the job, he has to deal with the consequences that has Reeves continue to contact him to do other jobs for him but has he found himself in the middle of a deadly game that only Tom can save him from.

 

Thoughts on Ripley’s Game

 

StoryThis is a follow up to the 1999 film taking place years after the events in that film. Ripley is in full control of his abilities now and his ability to complete any job required. The problem I have with the story this time is that it feels like a heist film gone wrong rather than a smart slick con-artist film. I just don’t think this film clicked on the levels of the first film.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side of the story does in fact feel bigger throughout this film it just doesn’t balance with the thrilling side of the story leaving the crime elements feeling average because Ripley is designed to be slick with his actions.

Characters/PerformanceMalkovich is always an interesting performer and his grabs this role and makes it his own but when it comes to both the performance of Scott and Winstone they feel out of place to the world created making it hard to be pulled into the world we are watching this time around.

SettingsThe first film captured the background if Italy perfectly this time around everything just feels slightly messy with not a single scene being iconic when it comes to seeing what we do with the character’s decisions.

Final ThoughtsThis is really a sub-par sequel that never reaches the heights of the Talented Mr Ripley.

 

Overall: Heads in the wrong direction for what the film had created.

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – May (2002)

mayDirector: Lucky McKee

Writer: Lucky McKee (Screenplay)

Starring: Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris, James Duval, Nichole Hiltz, Kevin Gage, Nora Zehetner

 

Plot: A lonely young woman traumatized by a difficult childhood and her increasingly desperate attempts to connect with the people around her is sent into a murderous tailspin.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gem of a Horror

 

Story: May starts as we meet the socially awkward veteran nurse May (Bettis) who has spent years struggling to fit in due to her insecurities about her lazy eye. When she sees Adam (Sisto) she decides to take a chance to try and impress him grabbing his attention.

When things don’t go to plan May decides to take drastic action to make sure she gets a chance to lice the happy every after she has only ever dreamt of having.

May is a film that even at 13 years old is one that keeps getting spoken about as one of the most popular within the horror fan scene. It is easy to see why this is too because the character May is created perfectly for this genre and her actions drawn from not fitting in like most horror characters. While this does have moments that come off slow the slow build gets excellent pay off in the final act.

 

Overall: One of the true horror gems that I would expect all horror fans to have seen.

Rating75