Millions (2004)

millionsDirector: Danny Boyle

Writer: Frank Cottrell Boyce (Screenplay)

Starring: Alex Etel, Lewis McGibbon, James Nesbitt, Daisy Donovan, Christopher Fulford

 

Plot: Ethics, being human and the soul come to the fore when a 7-year old finds a bag of Pounds just days before the currency is switched to Euros and learns what we are really made of.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful

 

Story: Millions starts with Europe changing currency to the Euro and in this world the UK is about to too, two young boys Damian (Etel) and Anthony (McGibbon) are moving with their father Ronnie (Nesbitt) to a brand newly built house.

When Damien the religious of the two boys has visions of different Saints coming to visit him hoping one would know his mother in heaven he ends up being rewarded with a bag of money. Sharing it with his brother the two have different ideas of what to do with the money Anthony wants to invest while Damian wants to help the poor of the world like the Saints would have.

As the differences between the boys continues to come through they learn about a money robbery that their bag is actually one of making the boys want to be extra carefully with their money but as the time comes together the heart Damian has help people comes through.

 

Thoughts on Millions

 

StoryThe story going on in Millions is bar far one of the best in as we see how two boys are both dealing with tragedy of losing their mother and both dealing with in in different ones, our main focus is on the one that has turned to religion for answers. We see how two children would deal with having large amount of money suddenly. The ability this story has to balance what is right and wrong works very well throughout which makes us wonder what we would do in the same situation.

Comedy/Crime/FamilyThe film has light moments of comedy going on through the film but it is about the family connection with the crime background going on through the story. each genre balance the story well to make us care about what is going on throughout.

Characters/PerformanceThe two boys both give wonderful performances throughout with great performances from Nesbitt and Donovan complimenting the two. The characters also come off likeable throughout as we see Damian as the nice kind hearted boy next to the business hunger older brother.

SettingsThe settings all work showing the everyday life style these characters would be involved in which brings this story down to Earth for us to enjoy.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the nicest dramas you will see this year, that shows us that at Christmas you should be giving rather than being selfish with the only one that can see this is Damian the youngest child.

 

Overall: Wonderful Christmas story from a modern world idea.

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Franchise Weekend – AVP Alien vs. Predator (2004)

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay) Jim Thomas, John Thomas, Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett (Characters)

Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner, Colin Salmon, Tommy Flanagan

 

Plot: During an archaeological expedition on Bouvetøya Island in Antarctica, a team of archaeologists and other scientists find themselves caught up in a battle between the two legends. Soon, the team realize that only one species can win.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not That Great

 

Story: AVP: Alien vs. Predator starts by taking us around the world fron Antarctica to space to Nebraska to Nepal where we meet the mountain climbing expert Alexa Woods (Lathan) onto Mexico where we meet the archaeologist Sebastian (Bova) who both get a visit from Maxwell Stafford (Salmon) who represents Charles Bishop Weyland (Henriksen).

Weyland has discovered an ancient pyramid buried under the ice of Bouvetoya Island in Antarctica and has built a team including Alexa, Sebastian, Miller (Bremner), Mark (Flanagan), Joe (Rye) and Adele (Boulaye) to mention a few. To travel to the island to enter into the pyramid for what could well be a massive discovery for whoever finds it.

What starts out as a simple exhibition turns into a nightmare when above ground the men get attacked by Predators but inside the pyramid they must battle aliens in a battle for survival stuck in the middle of these iconic villains.

 

Thoughts on AVP: Alien vs. Predator

 

Characters/PerformanceAlexa Woods is the expert climber hired to lead the team into the pyramid using her experience on climb ice surfaces, she reluctantly agrees knowing she is the only available person to do the job safely. Sebastian is the archaeologist that is an expert on many ancient cultures. Weyland is the man funding and seeking technology inside the pyramid. The rest of the characters get a proper introduction only to be killed off in about a ten-minute sequence.

Performance was Lathan is good and the highlight of the human characters with everyone else just coming off fine not getting the time to make an impact.

StoryWhen you look at this story you are left thinking this is Alien on Earth, just without any suspense, horror or interesting stuff going on. This sounds harsh because this is an easy watch and people are going to be happy to watch aliens and predators fight, the problem I have was the introducing us to countless humans only to be disposable for these villains. Certain elements of the story telling do work though, looking at the idea of ancient civilizations worshiping the predators in exchange for the pyramids I did like.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is all what you would come to expect, large body counts and alien or predator kills we have seen before. The horror is almost gone which disappoints with the sci-fi edge working on the level it needs to only.

SettingsAfter taking us around the world in the opening sequences we do settle down nicely for the setting inside the pyramid under the ice with little escape.

Special EffectsWe have good effects when we keep things small scale but bad effects when things get to the large scale.

Final ThoughtsThis is just fine nothing more, it is an easy watch and brings together icons of film, but this just isn’t as fun as Freddy v Jason.

 

Overall: Easy to watch all actioner horrorless movie.

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World Cinema – The Sea Inside (2004)

Director: Alejandro Amenabar

Writer: Alejandro Amenabar, Mateo Gil (Screenplay)

Starring: Javier Bardem, Belen Rueda, Lola Duenas, Mabel Rivera, Celso Bugallo, Clara Segura

 

Plot: The factual story of Spaniard Ramon Sampedro, who fought a thirty-year campaign in favor of euthanasia and his own right to die.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Amazingly Inspiring True Story

 

Story: The Sea Inside starts as we meet Ramon Sampedro (Bardem) a quadriplegic who has been campaign to have the opportunity to be euthanised to end his years of suffering. He lives with his brother’s Jose (Bugallo) Manuela (Rivera) and Javi (Novas) family who take care of him. His latest campaign is to hire Julia (Rueda) a lawyer to fight in his corner as she is also suffering from her own degenerate disease.

While Ramon clashes with his own family about his request he finds friendship in local single mother Rosa (Duenas) as Ramon’s story starts to inspire the people of Spain to make more of their own lives while they still have time and the ability too.

 

Thoughts on The Sea Inside

 

Characters/PerformanceRamon is a man that has lived the second half of his life as quadriplegic after an accident, he wants to die but must fight for the right to do so, he always has a smile on his face and inspires others to achieve so much more in their life. Julia is a lawyer that also fights for the right to die as she also has a degenerative disease. We also have Rosa who is a single mother that finds inspiration in a relationship with Ramon.

Performance wise, Javier Bardem is fantastic and you can see just why he gets all the praise for this performance, Rueda and Duenas both are also brilliant in their supporting roles.

StoryThe story isn’t all court case and medical drama which it could have easily been. Instead we learn about Ramon’s reasons to want to die, he also gets to see what he thinks would be to escape if he could continue to be mobile. The idea that he gets to help people also helps because it shows how even when you think your life is over you can help other people. This story is something people should enjoy.

Biographical/RomanceLooking at how Ramon was fighting for the right to die comes through so well, we also get to see how he holds back from true love even if people can fall in love with you.

SettingsHaving the trapped room Ramon finds himself in shows us just how helpless he feels in his life, anything outside the room doesn’t include the Ramon character which in places takes out of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most beautiful and tragic stories you could see with stunning performances, that gives us the moral question about what we would do.

 

Overall: This is a must watch.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

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.

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