Franchise Weekend – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

Director: Andrew Adamson

Writer: Ann Peacock, Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) C.S. Lewis (Book)

Starring: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Williams Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent

 

Plot: Four kids travel through a wardrobe to the land of Narnia and learn of their destiny to free it with the guidance of a mystical lion.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Start to a Franchise

 

Story: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe starts as the Pevensie children Lucy (Henley), Edmund (Keynes), Peter (Moseley) and Susan (Popplewell) are evacuated to the country during World War II.

When the youngest Lucy discovers a wardrobe in the house she finds the magical world of Narnia and Mr Tumnus (McAvoy) who teaches her all about this winter ravished land with the evil White Witch controlling. With Edmund finding his way into Narnia he meets the White Witch (Swinton) who asks him to bring the rest of the children to her kingdom.

When the four children are reunited, they learn they must fight alongside Aslan the lion in a battle against the evil Witch in an adventure they could never imagine.

 

Thoughts on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

 

Characters/PerformanceLucy, Edmund, Peter and Susan are thee four children, they all have their difference but most of all they work together to succeed on their mission. They must look after each other through the human war and the fantasy war they find themselves fighting in. thee White Witch is a character that works on the villainous side of the story and with her deceiving white image we can get misled to her true nature. With any extra characters being the different fantasy creatures the children meet along the way we know the world we find ourselves in.

Performances now, the four children all do a good job in their roles showing each of the character’s strengths and weakness. Tilda Swinton always makes for a great villain with McAvoy giving us a good supporting performance.

StoryStory wise this plays into the idea of what children could find themselves doing when they have escaped from a war-torn country. I do understand that this is meant to be a real adventure they find themselves on but the reality is it can be looked at as an escape. The idea of a battle between good and evil is all fine and needed for this film as it is the start of a bigger set of stories to come.

Adventure/Fantasy/FamilyThe adventure is massive for these children as they find themselves in a fantasy world they could never imagine, this is one the whole family could find themselves enjoying.

SettingsThe settings all come off very well for this film as we see the bleakness of the world the children find themselves escaping from and the wonder of the fantasy world they find themselves entering.

Special EffectsMost of the special effects here are brilliant, we do have a lot of CGI which in the most part in flawless it would only be the voice acting for some of the creatures that I would question.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good starter for a franchise, it does go generic with the male children doing the fighting and the female being considered for magic and curing style but this franchise came at the wrong time getting buried by the Harry Potter one.

 

Overall: This is how you start a franchise correctly.

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Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

kingDirector: Ridley Scott

Writer: William Monahan (Screenplay)

Starring: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Maron Csokas, Edward Norton

 

Plot: Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long History Lesson

 

Story: Kingdom of Heaven starts as we meet Balian (Bloom) a blacksmith whose wife has committed the ultimate sin, suicide. When his father the great warrior Godfrey de Ibelin (Neeson) arrives offering to take him to the promise land of Jerusalem to become a warrior he takes the chance to escape the past which is haunting him. When his father dies, he must continue on without him across the seas and the dessert.

Arriving in Jerusalem Balian must start to find his faith once again in a town where prays can be had by any religion un the strict leadership of King Baldwin (Norton). Balian finds himself having to lead the armies of Baldwin as he finds himself in the middle of a religious war during the crusades.

Kingdom of Heaven gives us the story of the battle for Jerusalem during the crusades, I am not good with all my history so most of this I had no idea before watching which made this film all the more difficult to understand what was going on. The battles sequences all come off very well without being wow.

The performance all seem to be what you would expect from the stars involved with the elder being good for their smaller roles and Bloom struggle to be the leading man. In the end this feel just like all the other historical war films with nothing special about what is going on really.

 

Overall: Overly long history lesson that we didn’t need to know.

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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

kissDirector: Shane Black

Writer: Shane Black (Screenplay) Brett Halliday (Novel)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan, Corbin Bernsen, Dash Mihok, Larry Miller, Rockmond Dunbar

 

Plot: A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Crime Comedy

 

Story: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang starts as we meet Harry (Downey Jr) who is once a thief but ends up finding himself hired as an actor in LA. We also meet aspiring actress Harmony (Monaghan) and private eye Gay Perry (Kilmer) who are all at the same party in LA. For the role Harry accidently lands himself he has to spend some time with Gay Perry learning how a private investigator works.

When the two find themselves in the middle of a cover up that ended up having to find out who murdered Harmony’s sister.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a crime comedy that only Shane Black can bring us, we get a unique way of telling the story. we get the almost odd couple having to work together but that is more along the lines of a who dun it which could easily fit in any comedy mystery show. It is the creation of the characters and their interactions which makes for all the laughs throughout the film with the overreaction to things that have happened years before.

Downey Jr and Kilmer are excellent together really getting all of the laughs throughout and Monaghan is great completion to the leading trio. When it comes to the villain side of the story we don’t get very strong characters on this side of the story. this is a fun alternative Christmas comedy mystery film but you will have to be used to the style of Shane Black.

 

Overall: Enjoy comedy that will only work if you are prepared for the style of comedy being used.

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – 2001 Maniacs (2005)

2001Director: Tim Sullivan

Writer: Tim Sullivan, Chris Kobin (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Englund, Lin Shaye, Giuseppe Andrews, Jay Gillespie, Maria Malcolm, Dylan Edrington, Matthew Carey, Peter Stormare, Gin Marie Heekin, Brian Gross

 

Plot: Eight college students traveling to Florida for Spring Break stumble into a remote town in Georgia where they are set upon by the residents who are out to avenge their deaths by Union troops over 100 years earlier during the Civil War.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gore Filled Horror

 

Story: 2001 Maniacs starts as three history students Anderson (Gillespie), Nelson (Edrington) and Cory (Carey) failing through college before spring breaks gives them a chance to party some more. When the three friends meet fellow travellers including two hot girls Joey (Malcolm), Kat (Heekin) and Ricky (Gross) they arrange to meet back up on the beach and we continue our adventure with our three friends who find Pleasant Valley.

When the six find themselves being welcomed by the Mayor Buckman (Englund) for a celebration they decide to stay. As the strangers spend more time in the town they start to go missing before learning the truth about the people in the town. Who will make it out alive.

2001 Maniacs is one of those horrors that came out at the perfect time, it was the time when gore and nudity were big in the industry and this does everything needed. The story is pretty simple, strangers arrive in town and welcomed only to learn not everything is as it seems. Sure this is easy to watch but it is also important that nothing becomes over-complicated too.

 

Actor Review

 

Robert Englund: Mayor Buckman is the man running Pleasant Valley, he is from a time where the south was still in control meaning he only accepts white people in his town. It isn’t long till we learn his motives as the man who welcomes guests with arms wide open. Robert is always going to be a good lead for a film like this.mayr

Lin Shaye: Granny Boone is the host where the guests are staying. She is welcoming throughout the stay trying to make sure all the women look extra pretty. Lin is good in this role where we get to see the added quirky character.

Giuseppe Andrews: Harper is the charming man of the local town that seduces the women who come to town before finding his own way to kill them. Giuseppe is good in this role as you believe he will be calm and crazy in the same side.

Jay Gillespie: Anderson is the nice guy of the three friends travelling who meets the beautiful Joey where he sees a potential new girlfriend, when he learns what is going on he must try to survive. Jay is solid in this role but it could easily be any of the friends.

Support Cast: 2001 Maniacs has a supporting cast which is mostly the victims but also most of the women end up having to do some sort of nudity.

Director Review: Tim SullivanTim gives us a film that reaches all the special effects levels and is filled with all the gore and nudity fitting the genre.

 

Comedy: 2001 Maniacs has a few good one liners when it comes to the kills.

Horror: 2001 Maniacs is gored filled for all of the kills but isn’t suspense filled.

Settings: 2001 Maniacs keeps most of the film in this small town showing how this is more of a tradition rather than mistake.
Special Effects
: 2001 Maniacs has great effects when it comes to the kills which is important for the film.

Suggestion: 2001 Maniacs is one for the horror fans out there to sit down and watch. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: The kills.

Worst Part: No suspense.

Kill Of The Film: Got Milk.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Has one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $3 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

Tagline: The south will rise again!

 

Overall: Enjoyable horror that pushes the boundaries on kills.

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Franchise Weekend – The Descent (2005)

decsnetDirector: Neil Marshall

Writer: Neil Marshall (Screenplay)

Starring: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, MyAnna Buring, Nore-Jane Noone

 

Plot: A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Horror

 

Story: The Descent starts as we meet adventurers Sarah (Macdonald), Juno (Mendoza) and Beth (Reid) who after their latest adventure suffer a heart-breaking tragedy when Sarah’s husband and child are killed in a car accident.

On year later Sarah and Beth travel to America for Juno’s next adventure, joined by Rebecca (Mulder), Sam (Buring) and Holly (Noone) to go caving. Once in the cave the friends have only one way out, going down but this adventure turns into a nightmare when the girls discover they are not alone in this cave as they must escape from the predators living deep within the cave.

The Descent is one of the most popular modern day horror films out there and it is this because of how simple it keeps the story. we have 6 adventurers who get trapped caving only to have to fight for their lives against creatures from within the cave. This is all we need to create the tension needed in the film but we do also get an interpersonal dynamic between Sarah, Juno and Beth which is also key to decisions being made within the cave. It would be hard to not say this flawless but it is all you need in horror without complicating things.

 

Actor Review

 

Shauna Macdonald: Sarah is our adventurer that suffers a tragedy losing her family in an accident. One year later still suffering the effects she re-joins her friends to go on their latest adventure caving in America to try and forget the tragedy even just for a day or two. Sarah must use all her pent up emotions to fight of the creatures with the cave. Shauna gives us a brilliant performance in this role throughout.

Natalie Mendoza: Juno is the most adventurous of all the girls always arranging the trips. She is in Scotland when Sarah’s family dies and has been involved with Sarah’s husband. Her latest adventure brings the friends back together to go caving but her choice is to explore an unmapped cave which puts everyone’s life at risk. Natalie is a great strong character throughout this film.

Alex Reid: Beth is the best friend of Sarah who has been by her side all the way through the personal tragedy, she joins Sarah and clearly knows what had been going on between Juno and Sarah’s husband. She is the voice of reason between the friends being the oldest of the group. Alex is great in this role being the typical best friend needed to our main character.

Saskia Mulder: Rebecca is one of the other friends joining the trip who comes off like just one of the other three really. Saskia does everything she needs to in this supporting role.

Support Cast: The Descent really has a small supporting cast with the other two cavers doing all they need to giving us a friendship we can believe between them all.

Director Review: Neil MarshallNeil gives us one of the best modern day horror movies that keeps the concept simple but the scares terrifying.

 

Adventure: The Descent gives us an adventure that turns into a nightmare with our girls all enjoying the adventurer’s way of life.

Horror: The Descent starts by making the horror feel like a trapped with no escape which is enough for a horror film but it soon escalates this to the next level by adding the creatures deeper within the cave, the horror is filled with tension building and jump scares and good old fashion gore.

Thriller: The Descent keeps us on edge from the moment the girls enter the cave to the final scene with the tension and suspense built up within.

Settings: The Descent uses the settings perfectly with most of the film taking place within the cave itself. This creates the claustrophobic environment.
Special Effects
: The Descent has great effects to when it comes to the kills with most being practical too.

Suggestion: The Descent is an absolute must watch for all the horror fans out there. (Horror Fans Must Watch)

 

Best Part: Tension building.

Worst Part: Not one

Scariest Scene: First full view on the creatures.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $26 Million

Budget: $3,5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: Afraid of the dark? You will be.

Trivia: The appearance of the creatures was kept secret from the cast members until the first scene in which they encounter them was filmed. When the cast were finally filming the scene where the girls encounter the crawlers, the girls were genuinely scared and screamed the building down, running off set and laughing.

 

Overall: Simply one of the great modern horror films.

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