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.

Ratingcard

 

 

Melissa George Weekend – The Amityville Horror (2005)

logoDirector: Andrew Douglas

Writer: Scott Kosar (Screenplay) Jay Anson (Novel)

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Jesse James, Jimmy Bennett, Chloe Grace Moretz, Rachel Nichols, Philip Baker Hall

Plot: Newly-weds are terrorized by demonic forces after moving into a large house that was the site of a grisly mass murder a year before.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Solid Start Bad Finish

Story: The Amityville Horror starts with The Based On True Story warning, where we watch one member of a family slaughter the rest blaming voices in his head for his action. Move forward one year and we meet the Lutz’s family, George (Reynolds), Kathy (George) kids Billy (James), Michael (Bennett) and Chelsea (Moretz) as they plan on moving into the house where the murders take place.

The family is aware of the crimes committed inside the house and move in anyway but it isn’t long until the family start getting haunted by the ghosts of the house. Chelsea the youngest actually ends up befriending one of the ghost Jodie, while George starts getting effected by the dark spirits inside the house. Will the spirits take over George or will the family make it out.

The Amityville Horror gives us the idea it is based on true events and recently these events have actually been dismissed which takes away that factor from the film. The early idea of the hauntings all works very well but then suddenly in the second half it just ends up being dream sequences followed by dream sequence and flashing images throwing away all the slowly built jump scares. I feel this film ends up becoming forgettable in the second half of the film with the best moments in the opening halves moments. (5/10)

Actor Review

Ryan Reynolds: George Lutz is the step father to the children, and husband to Kathy, he is still struggle to win over the eldest child. After the family moves into the house he starts to act strange with the spirits of the house taking over his mind pushing he to the reaches of potentially harming them. Ryan’s performance is the highlight of the film because he has the biggest character change and ends up being the psycho by the end of the film. (7/10)george

Melissa George: Kathy Lutz is the loving wife and mother to the children, she doesn’t seem to get affected by the goings on but she does notice the changes happening in the house. She has to look for help before it is too late. Melissa does a solid job in the role proving she could become a scream queen. (6/10)kathy

Jesse James: Billy Lutz is the eldest son of the family who wants to grow up quicker because he doesn’t get along with George still, he gets punished by George through the film but will have to show just how grown up he has become by the end. Jesse does a good in the role trying to be the tough brother while also having a weak side. (7/10)

Jimmy Bennett: Michael Lutz is the middle child who is scared from start to finish of the film even though he does seem to be the closest of the kids to George. Jimmy does a good job looking scared all the way through which the kids should be. (7/10)

Chloe Grace Moretz: Chelsea Lutz is the youngest member of the family who has become friends with the victim of the first slaughter on the house and is even being guided by the decisions. Chloe does a good job in the role of a character that doesn’t make sense because she isn’t scared of a ghost girl. (7/10)

Support Cast: The Amityville Horror doesn’t have the biggest support cast, we get the trademark babysitter and priest but that is all that really ends up in the film.

Director Review: Andrew Douglas Andrew starts the film nicely but by the end the film seems rushed and tensionless. (5/10)

Horror: The Amityville Horror has good jump scares in the opening half but in the end it is all flashing lights and blood splatter dreams. (5/10)

Mystery: The Amityville Horror tries too create a mystery about what is going on but the investigation side of it is so fast you could blink and miss it. (3/10)

Thriller: The Amityville Horror starts by making you care about what is happening but loses us half way through. (5/10)

Settings: The Amityville Horror uses the setting of the house for the most part which has a creepy external look but otherwise nothing much. (5/10)
Special Effects: The Amityville Horror has good effects when they are needed with the ghosts with the highlight being the babysitter in the closest. (8/10)

Suggestion: The Amityville Horror is one for the horror fans to try, I think the horror fans will get enough out of this one. (Horror Fans Watch)

Best Part: Babysitter in the closest.

Worst Part: Last half of the film.

Scariest Scene: Michael needs the toilet.

Believability: Now it is not at all. (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $108 Million

Budget: $19 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: What happened over the next 28 days has never been explained.

Trivia:  Ryan Reynolds chose not to become close with his “movie” children. He wasn’t mean or rude to them, just very distant. So distant in fact that the children often confided to those on the set that “Ryan doesn’t like us!” Ryan said that he didn’t want to “fall in love” with the kids. Ryan did this so that when “George Lutz” started changing, he’d have no trouble easing into the verbal and physical abuse.

Overall: Lacklustre remake of a fictional true story.

Rating 55

 

Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)

13Director: Jean-Francois Richet

Writer: James DeMonaco (Screenplay) John Carpenter (Earlier Film)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne, Gabriel Byrne, Maria Bellow, Drea de Matteo, John Leguizamo, Brian Dennehy, Ja Rule

 

Plot: A police sergeant must rally the cops and prisoners together to protect themselves on New Year’s Eve, just as corrupt policeman surrounds the station with the intent of killing all to keep their deception in the ranks.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Remake That Spins Original Well

 

Story: Assault on Precinct 13 starts as we follow Sgt Jake Roenick (Hawke) as he is undercover in a drug raid only for his team to get killed one thanks to terrible police work but Jake got his guys. 8 months later Jake is still recovering from his injuries both physically and mentally after what happened.

Jake now works in a small Precinct that is closing down on New Year’s Eve with him having to see Dr Sabian (Bello) to deal with what happened. Captain Marcus Duvall (Byrne) has finally caught the notorious cop killer Marion Bishop (Fishburne). While transferring Marion with other prisoners the bus gets caught in a snow storm they have to take shelter in Precinct 13.

When the clocks strike midnight the Precinct finds themselves under attack by a group of masked men giving Jake a chance of redemption while trying to save the people inside the precinct, but not everything is what it seems as it turns out it is corrupt police trying to take out Marion and the people inside the precinct.

Assault on Precinct 13 is sold as a remake and one of the issues with the remake is the gang attacking the precinct seemed very random but this time we have direction in what is happening with police corruption going on. We have the standard copy idea where the group of police and criminals need to team up to take out an imposing threat outside which is all it needed to be really. The police angle does work but what left me feeling let down is talking about how badass Marion is but we never really see him do anything other than fire guns. It does build on what the original gave us on certain sides but in the end the characters are too generic.

 

Actor Review

 

Ethan Hawke: Sgt Jake Roenick is a former undercover officer who ends up in a small precinct after losing his team on the latest job. He is still recovering from his injuries but this final night in the precinct give him a chance for redemption leading a group of officers and criminals as a gang of corrupt officers ties to take over the precinct. Ethan gives a very basic performance in this role but th character is very generic.

Laurence Fishburne: Marion Bishop is the notorious criminal that has finally been captured by the officers only for us to find out that he has been working with police for years. To cover up their trails they want him killed as he must team up with Jake to fight back showing the honour that has giving him the respect of the criminal world. Laurence is good but I wanted to see so much more from his character.

Gabriel Byrne: Capt. Marcus Duvall is the leader of the corrupt cops who has been working with Marion for years, he brings his men to take him out before his whole unit gets exposed. He is deadly when it comes to taking prisoners and will kill without even blinking. Gabriel makes for a threatening villain without getting full psycho which would have helped a lot.

Maria Bello: Dr Alex Sabian is the lady treating Jake after his loss of partners, she ends up trapped in the precinct during one of the appointments where we get to see her quirky side which includes randomly doing her times tables to keep calm.  Maria is kind of wasted in this supporting role where she never gets a chance to show off her skills.

Support Cast: Assault on Precinct 13 has a supporting cast that all seem to make bad decisions through the film.

Director Review: Jean-Francois RichetJean does some great stuff with source material but then makes the supporting characters very sloppy.

 

Action: Assault on Precinct 13 has very basic action between the shoot outs going on.

Crime: Assault on Precinct 13 uses the crime angle well but is also very generic throughout.

Thriller: Assault on Precinct 13 tries to keep you on edge but with the modern technology it actually takes the tension away.

Settings: Assault on Precinct 13 uses the one location to show the characters trapped with no escape.
Special Effects
: Assault on Precinct 13 has basic effects for the kills and shootouts.

Suggestion: Assault on Precinct 13 is one for the action fans to try but make sure you see original first. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Using the cops works well.

Worst Part: Marion has so much promise.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

Tagline: The only people more dangerous that the hardened criminals… are the cops. 

 

Overall: A remake that has certain parts better and others worse.

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