Franchise Weekend – Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004)

Director: Dwight H Little

Writer: John Claflin, Daniel Zelman, Michael Miner, Edward Neumeier (Screenplay) Hans Bauer, Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Morris Chestnut, KaDee Strickland, Eugene Byrd, Matthew Marsden, Johnny Messner, Karl Yune, Nicholas Gonalez

 

Plot: A scientific expedition sets out for Borneo to seek a flower called the Blood Orchid, which could grant longer life. Meanwhile, they run afoul of snakes and each other.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Story, Average Acting

 

Story: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid starts and Dr Jack Byron (Marsden) and Gordon Mitchell (Chestnut) have discovered that the blood orchid could offer a natural fountain of youth and have convinced a medical board to let them travel to Borneo to complete their research.

Putting together their team including Sam (Strickland), Dr Douglas (Gonzalez), Cole (Byrd) and Gail (Richardson-Whitfield) they find a rag-tag captain Bill Johnson (Messner) and his first mate Tran (Yune) the only man who will travel to the location in the rainy season.

When the ship is destroyed, the group must travel through the jungle to rendezvous with another boat, but they must face up against a group of deadly oversized anacondas.

 

Thoughts on Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid

 

Characters/PerformanceBill Johnson is the captain that will do anything for money, risk his life and go on the missions no one else would. He does also take responsibility if anyone is killed on his boat. Sam is the best researcher on the expedition who does know that life is more important than the research once the team come under threat. Dr Byron is the one who will do anything for money even risk his teams lives. The rest of the characters are Cole who panics too much, Gail who panics too much, Tran who is locally smart knowing how to survive. Gordon also in it for the money.

Performance wise, this is harsh to say but I feel nobody does anything that good in the acting side of this film, we are have a mix of plain acting or completely overacting nothing comes off convincing.

StoryThe idea that doctors and scientists have discovered a plant that could offer a cure for endless number of diseases and the group are going in search in unknown area comes off very well, this give us a good reason why these characters are there and certain actions they take. Add in the snakes you get survival horror 101 so this isn’t the worst story.

Adventure/HorrorThe adventure is good because you could see this happening, but the horror just doesn’t reach the levels it could.

SettingsMoving the setting was a risk because the first is on the Amazon river now we are in Borneo, the truth this does work as it helps the story as we need to see our characters go to an unknow location.

Special EffectsThe special effects are not good in this film as you can tell this is a CGI snake from start to finish.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid sequel, it has a believable reason for going into the jungle and risking everything but the poor acting and bad CGI don’t help this one out.

 

Overall: For a good drunk creature feature this is a lot of fun.

Rating

 

 

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George Clooney Franchise Weekend – Ocean’s Twelve (2004)

ocaenDirector: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: George Nolfi (Screenplay) George Clayton Johnson, Jack Glden Russell (Characters)

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, Catherine Zeta-Jones

 

Plot: Daniel Ocean recruits one more team member so he can pull off three major European heists in this sequel to Ocean’s 11.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks the Style

 

Story: Ocean’s Twelve starts 3 years after the final scene of Ocean’ Eleven and Terry Benedict (Garcia) has tracked down the whole team Danny (Clooney), Tess (Roberts), Virgil (Affleck), Turk (Caan), Yen (Qin), Frank (Mac), Basher (Cheadle), Linus (Damon) Saul (Reiner), Livingston (Jemison) Reuben (Gould) and Rusty (Pitt). Benedict wants his money back with interest.

The team heads to Europe for their latest in a string of heists to repay Benedict and get their lives back but things get complicated when Rusty’s ex-girlfriend Isabel Lahiri (Zeta-Jones) leading the hunt for thieves and now she is targeting Rusty and the rest of Danny’s team, but they find themselves one step behind an infamous thieve the Night Fox.

 

Thoughts on Ocean’s Twelve

 

StoryThe reason why the first Ocean’s film worked was just how small the idea was, one heist one town one vault. This story becomes a competition which isn’t how these characters would act even if they are being chased down by a vengeful Benedict. I did like the idea that Benedict wanted his money back but otherwise I found this story overcomplicated for no reason and just not a slick as the first.

Crime/ThrillerThe heists are what make the crime side of the story but this time we just don’t get sucked into the crime elements of the story.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all like the first time with just Rusty being a lot more like Danny with his old flame being the problem in the heist. The addition of Isabel does add another dimension but really isn’t the most interesting character within the film. the performances are all solid but not to the levels we are used to from the cast.

SettingsWe have far too many settings going on through the film to make us focus on the main story which was one of the highlights of the original film.

Final ThoughtsThis really is a sub-par sequel to an enjoyable first trip with these characters.

 

Overall: Disappointingly sloppy sequel.

Ratingcard

 

 

Franchise Completion Weekend – Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

resDirector: Alexander Witt

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Sophie Vavasseur, Razaaq Adoti, Jared Harris

 

Plot: Alice awakes in Raccoon City, only to find it has become infested with zombies and monsters. With the help of Jill Valentine and Carlos Olivera, Alice must find a way out of the city before it is destroyed by a nuclear missile.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Big, Bloodier Sequel

 

Story: Resident Evil: Apocalypse starts above ground in Racoon City going on with their normal days like nothing has happened but below ground the Hive is reopened and the infected are released upon the city with the important members of the Racoon City board evacuated including Dr Ashford (Harris) but his daughter Angie (Vavasseur) gets lost in the panic.

13 hours later the dead running riot in the city as we meet Jill Valentine (Guillory) the tough and sexy cop with a near perfect shot looking to follow the rest of the city in their evacuation. Here we continue to get introduction to characters including picking up Alice (Jovovich) right where we left her last time, we also get to see rescue team member Carlos Olivera (Fehr) in his example rescue methods and Major Cain (Kretschmann) who is leading the evacuation.

When the infection reaches the gate, Major Cain closes the gates forcing the people stuck inside Racoon City to fend for themselves against the infected. Joining forces Alice, Jill, Carlos and other survivors must locate Angie to rescue her from what is coming to Racoon City, with time counting down the infection spreading this is a race against time for Alice and the survivors with the Nemesis program activated.

 

Thoughts on Resident Evil: Apocalypse

 

StoryJust continuing the story is all this franchise needed, because the first film we get the introduction to the virus now we get the full outbreak starting City wide. We have the same basic story going on though, a group of survivors trying to survive all be it in a bigger world from a deadly infection of zombies that continue to track down enemies. We are left to see our heroes take on bigger enemies as we learn how deep the corruption in Umbrella really is which opens the doors to bigger sequels.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is bigger while over the top with bullets flying everywhere which is similar to how some people would be playing the game, the horror is based on the zombies and is main survival horror again all good. Both works well for what this film is trying to be.

Characters/PerformanceAlice returns with all the fighting skills learnt from the first film and more as the true icon if the franchise. The inclusion of Jill Valentine is big for the fans of the games as it marks the first character from the source material to join the franchise. The rest of the characters are good even though they are generic with the main villain becoming something we will get used to through the series of films.

The performances are all good with Jovovich showing her action skills throughout the film as she makes this her own franchise. I do think the rest of the cast all do a good job throughout the film even if some of the smaller roles are slightly over the top.

SettingsHaving the film set in Racoon City works because we slowly build to a bigger infected world and get to have bigger action spectacles.

Special EffectsYou can’t fault the special effects in this film, bigger, bloodier but more realistic than first time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a bigger sequel that is an proper easy to watch film for all that enjoy switching their mind off while watching films.

 

Overall: Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Ratingcard

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Seed of Chucky (2004)

seedDirector: Don Mancini

Writer: Don Mancini (Screenplay)

Starring: Brad Dourif, Jennifer Tilly, Billy Boyd, Redman, Hannah Spearritt, John Waters, Jason Flemyng

 

Plot: Chucky and Tiffany are resurrected by their innocent son, Glen, and hit Hollywood, where a movie depicting the killer dolls’ murder spree is underway.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Addition

 

Story: Seed of Chucky starts as we meet Glen (Voiced by Boyd) the son of Chucky and Tiffany who has been having nightmares about killing people but he knows nothing about his parent’s past as he is just used in a ventriloquist competition.

Elsewhere in the world, there is a new Chucky movie being made following Chucky and Tiffany with Jennifer Tilly returning to the franchise. When Glen sees a feature about the making of the film he sets out to find what he believes to be his parents all the way in Hollywood.

When Glen brings Chucky and Tiffany back to life the killing spree begins once again but this time in Hollywood. With the dolls looking for new bodies Chucky and Tiffany battle with what sex Glen or Glenda is as he learns how his parents are killers and they need to teach him their ways.

 

Thoughts on Seed of Chucky

 

StoryWhen you look at the Chucky film franchise it went in a new direction with Bride of Chucky and this story continues that idea with the family dynamic, this story as well before it’s time by tackling the transgender character in Glen/Glenda as well as having the parental reaction one supporting the other against. Putting the film within the settings of the real world of making a film does borrows heavily from New Nightmare and the Scream franchise which works adding a new dimension to the comedy but in the end this became the of the franchise direction.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy in this film comes from the references being used within the film to other films as we see how the dolls try to cover up their kills from their child. The horror is a slasher and comes off very effective for the genre with all blood, gore and unique kills.

Characters/PerformanceThe returning characters are al fun throughout the additions all work well with Glen/Glenda adding to the laughs and Jennifer Tilly not being afraid to poke fun at herself. The performances all fit the film well without being one of the most iconic of the franchise.

SettingsBring the action to Hollywood makes this film have a lot more fun with itself where it gets to bring the characters into the real world of being the stars of the films they are being made for.

Special EffectsWhen you look at the special effects, you can see how it has started to date over time which does take away from some of the kills.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun addition to the franchise not being the best or the worst just another addition to it.

 

Overall: Enjoy the crazy adventures of Chucky and his family.

Ratingcard

 

 

Layer Cake (2004)

layer cakDirector: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: J.J. Connolly (Screenplay) J.J. Connolly (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Colm Meaney, Jamie Foreman, Tom Hardy, Sienna Miller, Tamer Hassan, Kenneth Dranham, Michael Gambon, Ben Whishaw

 

Plot: A successful cocaine dealer gets two tough assignments from his boss on the eve of his planned early retirement.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slick Thriller

 

Story: Layer Cake starts as we meet the guy (Craig) we never learn his name who has taken advantage of being a business man within the drug world, he keeps everything strictly business with a plan to get out of the business with his latest deal completed. When his boss Jimmy Price (Cranham) sends for him to find his daughter Charlie (Lunghi) while also working with loose cannon Duke (Foreman) on the latest job. The problem is the Duke has started an international war with his latest attempt to get a score. Can our guy get through all of the troubles and out of the business with his life?

Layer Cake enters into the type of film I personally don’t enjoy too much and that is the drug crime world ones, that isn’t going to judge whether I think this is a god or bad film. I liked how the usage of drugs was minimal to no existent in the film. The story is filled with twists and turns along the way which really does keep us guessing as we see where the final outcome of the film will take us. I did find myself enjoy this one and would suggest to people to watch.

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Craig: We never learn the name of this character but he is our leading man through the story, a smart business man in the world of drugs. He finds himself stuck doing one last job before trying to get out of the business but this job leads him into going against all of his business plans. Daniel is good in this leading role showing he was ready for the next step up.

Colm Meaney: Gene is the second in command to Jimmy who has always been the middle man between the guy and Jimmy until the two have to work together to clean up the mess. Colm is your always reliable supporting character.

Kenneth Cranham: Jimmy Price is the supplier that the guy works for, he hires him to find his partners daughter and deal with the Duke a loose cannon. He is loud and will do anything to make sure he makes extra money. Kenneth is solid as this gangster character who has too much for their own good.

Sienna Miller: Tammy is a mystery girl that comes into the guy’s life that seems to have a plan that should be keeping her ahead of anyone else. Sienna is good and bursts onto the big screen with this role.

Support Cast: Layer Cake has a big supporting cast that does have a lot of familiar faces in that all become part of the bigger picture with our leading man, all giving good performance throughout.

Director Review: Matthew VaughnMatthew shows off all his style in this film showing how he can handle multiple story branches around the main one going on.

 

Crime: Layer Cake puts our characters in the middle of the drug world where we don’t know who to trust.

Thriller: Layer Cake does keep us guessing to what will happen next through the story.

Settings: Layer Cake keeps nearly all of the settings being what feels like the criminal underworld location which works out nicely for the film.
Special Effects
: Layer Cake has good effects when needed but only uses them for the occasions needed.

Suggestion: Layer Cake is one I do feel or the gangster fans will enjoy. (Gangster Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Craig shows he is ready to a leading man in this role.

Worst Part: Slightly too much going on.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $4 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

Overall: Slick crime thriller from start to finish.

Ratingcard