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

 

 

 

Anthony Hopkins Weekend – Bad Company (2002)

badDirector: Joel Schumacher

Writer: Jason Richman, Michael Browning (Screenplay) Gary M Goodman, David Himmelstein (Story)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Chris Rock, Peter Stormare, Gabriel Macht, Kerry Washington, Adoni Maropis

 

Plot: When a Harvard-educated CIA agent is killed during an operation, the secret agency recruits his twin brother.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Comedy

 

Story: Bad Company starts as we see CIA agent Kevin Pope (Rock) working undercover trying to get a nuclear weapon under the guidance of Officer Oakes (Hopkins) but the mission goes terribly wrong as Kevin is killed.

Not wanting all the work to go to waste Oakes is assigned to train up Kevin’s twin brother Jake Hayes (Rock) a street hustler to replace the brother he never knew he had. Going through the training process Jake learns just how dangerous this cover up really is, as we watch how the dealer Adrick Vas (Stormare) and Jake meet for the deal that could help save the world from a nuclear attack.

Bad Company is an action comedy that follows a pretty generic formula for a CIA let’s do a deal movie to save the world. We gets to see Chris Rock go to his fast talking reaction of a poor man entering a rich mans world comedy which gets very tiring after the first couple of times. This is a fun film for what it is without being one of the greatest of all time.

Chris Rock is fun with both roles even if he does get repetitive after a while, Hopkins is good as the senior member of the team but you are left wondering if this was a slight miss-cast when you look at what he is meant to be doing. Stormare is as always reliable for a foreign deal maker but doesn’t get the screen time required to enjoy the role. As for the female roles go in this film they barely get any serious screen time at all.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable action comedy that works for a relaxing movie experience.

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The Cat Returns (2002)

catDirector: Hiroyuki Morita

Writer: Reiko Yoshida, Cindy Davis Hewitt, Donald H Hewitt (Screenplay) Aoi Hiiragi (Comic)

Starring: (Voice Talents in English) Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, Judy Greer, Andrew Bevis, Kristen Bel, Rene Auberjonois, Andy Ritcher, Peter Boyle, Elliot Gould, Tim Curry

 

Plot: After helping a cat, a young girl finds herself involuntarily engaged to a cat prince in a magical world where her only hope of freedom lies with a dapper cat statuette come to life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Little Fantasy

 

Story: The Cat Returns starts when Haru a school student who has no luck saves a cat from a traffic accident only to find out that the cats have their own kingdom. As a reward for save Prince Lune the King Cat goes out of his way to make sure Haru gets everything she wants but this also includes marrying the Prince Cat.

Haru knowing how crazy this idea is must find the Cat Bureau a turn to Baron to find a way out of the arranged marriage as we learn about the cat underworld.

The Cat Returns is a film from the amazing Studio Ghibli that gives us a fairy tale that has elements of Alice in Wonderland going on throughout. We get what is a simple storyline about one girl not fitting in her own world finding herself in the middle of another one. I will say this is one of the weakest of the film I have seen from Ghibli but in no way is it a bad film.

 

Overall: Solid addition to the works of Ghibli that will for the cat lovers out there.

Rating60

 

 

Owen Wilson Weekend – I, Spy (2002)

spyDirector: Betty Thomas

Writer: Morton S Fine, David Friedkin (Screenplay) Marianne Wibberley, Cormac Wibberley (Story)

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Famke Janssen, Malcolm McDowell, Gary Cole, Phill Lewis, Viv Leacock, Keith Dallas

 

Plot: A professional athlete has to help a U.S. government agent recover a missing jet.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Buddy Comedy Fail

 

Story: I, Spy starts as we meet clumsy spy Alex (Wilson) who get the information about a missing plane that is in the hands of Gundars (McDowell) before meeting cocky boxing champion Kelly (Murphy) who is about to fight his second fight in a week in Budapest.

The mission puts the two opposite men together working with experience undercover operative Rachel (Janssen) in Budapest to locate Gundars and the missing plane.

I, Spy is a buddy comedy that uses both the comic reliefs and forgets to pull off either in the serious role which is so important to make either of them work. We find ourselves going through the same routines over and over with little to no suspense being built up by the characters. The jokes are very hit or miss throughout with the action being very much bog standard.

Wilson and Murphy just don’t click the way Wilson does with Chan or Murphy did with Nolte and nearly all the scenes come off feeling awkward rather than funny between the two. The supporting cast are all average too with no one sticking out in anyway what so ever.

 

Overall: This is a flat buddy comedy with no laughs.

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