Halloween Midnight Franchise – Saw III (2006)

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Writer: Leigh Whannell (Screenplay) James Wan, Leigh Whannell (Story)

Starring: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus Macfadyen, Bahar Soomekh, Donnie Wahlberg, Dina Meyer

 

Plot: Jigsaw kidnaps a doctor named Lynn denlon to keep him alive while he watches his new apprentice put an unlucky citizen named Jeff through a brutal test. Lynn has to keep jigsaw alive until Jeff completes the test or else Lynn will die


Tagline – Legends never die

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Starting to Slide

 

Story: Saw III starts right after the last film with Detective Eric Matthews (Wahlberg) needing to get out of the bathroom ankle lock, with the rest of his department still hunting down Jigsaw. The detectives are noticing something different with the latest games as we see the victims not getting a chance to survive the games, unlike anything John (Bell) has ever designed before.

For this game we follow doctor Lynn Denlon (Soomekh) who is struggling with her own depression and is abducted by Amanda (Smith) to perform surgery on John as he continues his battle with cancer, on the other side of the story we follow Jeff (Macfadyen) who has closed off from the world after his son is killed by a drink driver, who got off light, Jeff must perform a series of tests to help him get to face the killer.

 

Thoughts on Saw III

 

Characters – John Kramer is now on the verge of death with the cancer leaving him bed ridden through this movie, he has passed on his ideas to Amanda to carry on his work. Amanda is running this game, while watching over John’s surgery, she thanks him for everything while trying to put her own spin on the games. Jeff is being tested through the tasks as a man that has lost his child who could get revenge on the people that let the guy of lightly. He must learn to get over his loss to make it through the game. Doctor Lynn Denlon is abducted to perform the surgery on John, placed in a trapped she must perform brain surgery to help prolong his life and if she fails her life will end.

PerformancesTobin Bell continues to be the shining light in the film series, Shawnee Smith is good in her role where we see a candidate to replace Jigsaw being designed. Angus Macfadyen is solid as the man following the redemption and we see his desperation and emptiness he is feeling. Bahar Soomekh is strong as the doctor needing to stay in control while being in the game.

StoryThe story does continue to show how desperate John is to pass his message on to someone new, we do watch how the surgery is being performed to make sure John could have more time, while the game shows one man getting the moments he has dreamt of being able to get revenge on the people involved in his son’s death trial. This is the beginning of the story I don’t enjoy, it puts someone else in charge of whether people make it out alive, which seems to go against everything we have been taught. The side of the story I did like is watching how an apprentice is being created to John’s ideas, this is the beginning of me enjoying the bigger story over the tests.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is much higher than we have seen before, the games are more violent and this easily has the most gore of the franchise thus far. The mystery comes from the connections to everything but to be fair it just doesn’t click together like the previous two.

SettingsWe do continue our warehouse settings which helps us see the dirt the people are expected to make it out of to live.

Special EffectsThe effects here are again fantastic with most coming off practical with the cracking of bones echoing through every scene.


Scene of the Movie –
The Rack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Stepping into the idea of choosing if someone survives or not.

Final ThoughtsThis is where the series started to go downhill, we do get a better bigger picture but as the for games we see things going in the wrong direction for the franchise in quality.

 

Overall: It’s all downhill from here.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Open Water 2: Adrift (2006)

Director: Hans Horn

Writer: Ada Kreutner, Collin McMahon, David Mitchell, Richard Speight Jr (Screenplay)

Starring: Susan May Pratt, Richard Speight Jr, Niklaus Lange, Ali Hillis, Cameron Richardson, Eric Dane

 

Plot: When a group of friends fail to lower the ladder of their boat, they find themselves stranded in the surrounding waters and struggle to survive.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Thriller

 

Story: Adrift starts as Amy (Pratt) along with husband James (Speight Jr) as she reunites with old friends for Zach’s (Lange) birthday, we also are joined by Lauren (Hillis) on Dan’s (Dane) yacht with his new flame Michelle (Richardson) for a weekend at sea.

Amy has a fear of the water to which Dan tries to cure by taking her into the ocean, with the rest of the friends, but this brings back all the traumatic memories and to make things worse the friends forgot to put a ladder up. The friends must now figure out how to get back onto the boat where Amy’s baby is sleeping.

 

Thoughts on Adrift

 

Characters/PerformanceAmy is the new mother with a fear of the water thanks to a childhood incident, she goes on this trip to see old friends but must face her fears to survive and save her baby. James is the husband of Amy that is meeting most of these friends for the first time. Zach is the birthday boy that brings the friends together, we see how he has always had a crush on the other friend Lauren the daredevil of the group who has travelled the world. Michelle is the new flame of Dan’s who has never met the other people and is a party animal.  Dan is the owner of the boat and has been letting his money pay for the parties for the groups whole time.

Performance wise, it would be fair to say everybody in this film is fine, not great, not bad just fine because there isn’t too much acting to be done here.

StoryThe story is simple, six friend find themselves trapped off their boat in the middle of the ocean after forgetting the ladder. We have the struggle to find a way to get back on the boat and that is the story, sure, we do have a few weak emotional connections to what the guys could have achieved but nothing that strong here.

Adventure/HorrorThe adventure breeds the nightmare that is the horror of potentially drowning while you are so close to safety, it does work because it doesn’t get to the full extremes.

SettingsThe middle of the ocean is always an easy and reliable setting for a film like this to unfold and easily the highlight of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is solid and does work for all the horror it tries to give us, the problem is while the peril is scary it is mostly just waiting to die.

 

Overall: Solid but not edge of your seat stuff here.

Rating

 

 

Robin Williams Weekend – R.V.: Runaway Vacation (2006)

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Writer: Geoff Rodkey (Screenplay)

Starring: Robin Williams, Cheryl Hines, Joanna ‘Jojo’ Levesque, Josh Hutcherson, Jeff Daniels, Kristin Chenoweth

 

Plot: Bob Munro and his dysfunctional family rent an RV for a road trip to the Colorado Rockies, where they ultimately have to contend with a bizarre community of campers.


Tagline – One family. Eight wheels. No brakes.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Serviceable Comedy

 

Story: R.V.: Runaway Vacation starts as businessman Bob (Williams) is facing the reality of seeing his kids about to start preparing for their next steps in life, he decides to cancel their Hawaii vacation to take them across country in an RV. Bob must convince his wife Jamie (Hines) and children Cassie (JoJo) and Carl (Hutcherson) this trip is going to be good.

As their journey continues we get the usual series of mishaps along the way as Bob is fighting to keep his job by secretly doing his work while the others sleep, just what else can happen in the family’s adventure.

 

Thoughts on R.V.: Runaway Vacation

 

Characters – Bob Munro is an officer worker always on his boss’s good side, his family is growing up and about to move on with their lives and he decides to take them on a cross country trip to keep his job. Jamie is his wife that isn’t happy about losing the Hawaii vacation but understands he wants to spend time with his family. Cassie and Carl are the children with their own growing up problems that Bob has been ignoring for the most part.

PerformancesRobin Williams is the main star of the movie, he gets to do a watered-down version of his comedy which is serviceable for the film. Going into the supporting cast we don’t get too much that stands out as most of them are playing off what Williams does.

StoryThe story follows a family vacation in an RV which takes them on a series of unfortunate events. The story does feel weak for the family growing dynamic because too much of the movie is focused on the father’s problems rather then looking at how the family needs to come together. This will pass as a comedy level story which is fine and never becomes the importance a lighter comedy could achieve.

Comedy/FamilyThe comedy is hit or miss, it is mostly material we have seen before and even with Williams in the leading role, it doesn’t always hit.

SettingsThe film takes us across parts of America which is fine, we get the beauty spots in certain places.


Scene of the Movie –
The reason why the trip happens.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The weakness of the comedy.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t the best comedy, it has moments but in the end it will become one that you do end up forgetting.

 

Overall: Forgettable comedy for the most part.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – I – Ils (2006)

Director: David Moreau, Xavier Palud

Writer: David Moreau, Xavier Palud (Screenplay)

Starring: Olivia Bonamy, Michael Cohen, Adriana Mocca, Maria Roman, Camelia Maxim, Alexandru Boghiu

 

Plot: Lucas and Clementine live peacefully in their isolated country house, but one night they wake up to strange noise… they’re not alone… and a group of hooded assailants begin to terrorize them throughout the night.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Addition to the Home Invasion Genre

 

Story: Ils starts as we meet our couple, school teacher Clementine (Bonamy) and aspiring writer Lucas (Cohen) who has relocated in Romania with an isolated house so Lucas can focus on his work, the next night turns into a nightmare when the couple get visited by a group of intruders/

The intruders set out to make their night hell by forcing them to hide in their own home wondering just what the motivation for the actions are and being prepared to fight if things get out of hand.

 

Thoughts on Ils

 

Characters – Clementine is the school teacher that is getting used to the new school and country, she lives with her husband in the isolated home where when they get invaded must fight to survive. Lucas is the writer partner of Clementine that spends his time at the home while she works, he works with her to escape the intruders that visit the home. We don’t learn much else about these two characters or even about the intruder’s other than they seem to be experienced in confusing their prey.

PerformanceThe two leads both do well but they only have to do the look scared and desperate to survive routine, it isn’t going ot be that difficult to pull off.

StoryThe story here is also minimal with it focusing on the idea that a couple get terrorised in and around their home by uninvited strangers. We are left to wonder just what are the motives but the simplistic idea behind this story makes it stand up to be counted in the story side of things.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror comes from how the couple get invaded by the strangers and being as clueless as us to just why. We also get the thrilling side of the film from this as we are left on the edge of the seats waiting to see where things will go.

SettingsMost of the film is set in the house which works but while it still stays intense the idea of leaving to the random tunnels loses the point of the film.

Scene of the Movie – Building space.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You kind of want to know more about the intruders.

Final ThoughtsThis is a short sweet home invasion film which keeps us on the edge from start to finish.

 

Overall: Good home invasion film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – A – Apocalypto (2006)

Director: Mel Gibson

Writer: Mel Gibson, Farhad Safinia (Screenplay)

Starring: Rudy Youngblood, Dalia Hernandez, Jonathan Brewer, Morris Birdyellowhead

 

Plot: As the Mayan kingdom faces its decline, the rulers insist the key to prosperity is to build more temples and offer human sacrifices. Jaguar Paw, a young man captured for sacrifice, flees to avoid his fate.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutal Adventure Film

 

Story: Apocalypto starts as we meet a peaceful Mayan tribe living in the jungle, using it to survive the hardship as a unit, we have our hero of this story here Jaguar Paw (Youngblood) with a family, wife Seven (Hernandez) and a young child.

When morning comes Zero Wolf (Trujillo) sends his tribe into to attack and capture Jaguar Paw’s tribe, killing many and leaving the children to fend for themselves, but Jaguar Paw does get Seven out before she can be captured. The women are sold into slavery but the men they have been selected for ritual sacrifice to the Gods to solve the famine running through the city.

When it comes to Jaguar Paws sacrifice an eclipse happens and the people believe no more are needed force the captures to use them as target practise game, this gives Jaguar a chance to escape into the jungle and return to his wife.

 

Thoughts on Apocalypto

 

Characters – Jaguar Paw is our leading man, he is just a hunter for his tribe, but one with the forest, when his tribe comes under attack, saving his wife and child is the most important for him before he gets captured. He shows he will be the hardest to deal with and given a chance to escape he takes it using his knowledge of his forest to defeat his enemies. Seven is the wife that spends most of the film in the cave waiting for her husband to return. Zero Wolf is the leader of the hunters that take Jaguar Paw’s tribe captive for his own gain hoping to use them to sacrifice to the Gods, he does command the best from his men.

PerformanceNone of these actors were that well known before this film and that is an excellent thing because the performance do feel natural through each of the moments in the film, the situations show the horror, the pure desperation and harsh reality of the world they are living in.

StoryThe story shows the Mayan culture, the calm life they did live mixed with the heavy beliefs they once had which was considered one of their downfalls. We mostly just follow one man Jaguar Paw as he is taken into slavery but escapes to return to his wife before he becomes a sacrifice, it is a brutal adventure showing how barbaric the Mayan’s were when it came to sacrifice but it is also an intense experience seeing the struggle to survive.

Action/AdventureThe action is mostly surrounding the final third which follows the chase back to Jaguar Paw’s forest and how he must defeat the enemies chasing him using his knowledge, which does end up feeling like an adventure at times too.

SettingsThe setting all look fantastic, mostly jungle sequences with one temple based town which does have elements of CGI about it but does still look good through the film.

Special EffectsWhen you look at the effects we have good use of practical ones as we see the brutal kills throughout the film

Scene of the Movie – Waterfall.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is one film that does suffer with the subtitles, which in all honesty weren’t needed to tell the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brutal bloody action adventure with the ones desire for our character to get home, back to safety with his family.

 

Overall: An intense experience worth watching.

Rating