Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Plague (2006)

plagueDirector: Hal Masonberg

Writer: Hal Masonberg, Teal Minton (Screenplay)

Starring: James Van Der Beek, Ivana Milicevic, Brad Hunt, Joshua Close, John P Connolly, Dee Wallace, Brittany Scobie, Arne MacPherson

 

Plot: Ten years have passed since the world’s children fell into a coma. Tonight they’re waking up and all hell is breaking loose. An unholy battle between the generations is being waged, and time is not on the side of adults.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard

 

Story: The Plague starts like any other morning when David (MacPherson) finds his son in a coma only to rush him to the hospital as we learn the world’s children under 9 have all gone into a coma like stance. Ten years later the world still has no children in it with all new-borns being born comatose.

We go onto meet Tom Russell (Van Der Beek) who has returned to this small town to rebuild his relationship with the people he walked away from with his brother David and doctor Jean Raynor (Milicevic). When all the children suddenly wake up Tom must lead the rest of the adults to safety because the children seem to be hell bent on killing their elders.  

The Plague has what I feel is a great concept for the film where the children become comatose and the human race looks like it will face extinction, but this all goes wrong when the children turn into blood thirsty monsters searching to kill any adults. I could see so much potential in this but not have a reason for what has happened doesn’t help this and then a series of terrible decision making pulls this film apart. This is such a standard zombie film that ends up offering nothing new to the genre.

 

Actor Review

 

James Van Der Beek: Tom is freshly out of jail for a manslaughter charge where he returns to his home town searching for a way to rebuild the bridges he burnt. When he returns the children just so happen to awake from their comas and Tom must lead the fellow survivors against the children who seem to be after blood. James is solid in this role but he doesn’t really pull off the bad boy image well enough.

Ivana Milicevic: Jean is the doctor who has been treating all of these patients during the coma spell, she has seen all of the side effects but stayed by their sides but now she must fight them off just to survive. Ivana is solid in this role but even as a leading character she seems to fall into a supporting role.

Brad Hunt: Sam is the brother of Jean and good friend of Tom’s whose been struggling with the effects when he needs to fight off the children. Brad struggles to make the true impact on this film really never looking like a leading man.

Support Cast: The Plague has a supporting cast which comes off very generic for the style of film which doesn’t help push the story along enough.

Director Review: Hal MasonbergHal gives us a very generic story that doesn’t push any boundaries when it comes to the zombie style of film.

 

Horror: The Plague has elements of horror but not enough to reach any of the real high points needed in the film.

Settings: The Plague tries to keep everything within the small town even though the story is going on worldwide.
Special Effects
: The Plague has very basic effects that come off looking cheap throughout the film.

Suggestion: The Plague is one to try when it is on late night on television because it doesn’t hit all the essential points but is an easy watch. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: Concept sounds good.

Worst Part: Just comes off like a genetic zombie film.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

Tagline: And the children shall lead them .

 

Overall: Bog standard zombie film that fails to use the concept well enough.

Ratingcard

 

 

Studio Ghibli Weekend – Tales From Earthsea (2006)

talesDirector: Goro Miyazaki

Writer: Goro Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa (Screenplay) Ursula K Le Guin (Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jun’ich Okada, Aoi Teshima, Bunta Sugawara, Yuko Tananka, Teruyuki Kagawa, Jun Fubuki

 

Plot: In a mythical land, a man and a young boy investigate a series of unusual occurrences.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not their Best

 

Story: Tales from Earthsea starts as we see a mysterious fever sweeping through the kingdom of Earthsea with the King being attacked by a young boy who steals his sword, Arren escapes to the wastelands with his prize. Arren saved from wolves by Sparrowhawk who set out on their own adventure.

Captured by salvers Arren finds himself being sold into slavery only for Sparrowhawk to return to rescue him and continue guiding him. As Arren’s powers grow he becomes a wanted boy in the kingdom with Cob leading the chase for both him and Sparrowhawk.

 

Thoughts on Tales from Earthsea

 

StoryWhen you look at this story I can’t help but find that this one doesn’t ever reach the levels of what you have come to know and love from Ghibli’s work. I can’t quite figure out what it is that makes this happen but I think it falls into the dull characters for what you expect in a world that feels too outside the box of what fantasy world’s we have entered before. I could not find myself drawn into this story at all.

Adventure/FantasyIn what is meant to be an adventure film we only find our heroes on one adventure that just doesn’t feel as peril filled as it should be. The fantasy side of the story enters us into a world of wizards and witches but again like most of this film feels slightly short by the end.

Characters The characters all end up feeling very bland which is something Ghibli usually always gets correct none of these characters will be remembered once you have finished this film.

SettingsThe film does take us to a fantasy world that you can fully believe these characters being part of and can be one of the few highlights of this film.

AnimationThe visual look of this animation is brilliant and when it comes to the darker side of the story you can fully believe just how scary it aims to be.

Final ThoughtsI personally see this as one of the weakest stories from the great studio but I can see how people could enjoy parts of this film.

 

Overall: Not my favourite and I think it could struggle to get near my top 10 from Ghibli.

Rating45

 

 

Original v Remake – Poseidon (2006)

poseideonDirector: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: Mark Protosevich (Screenplay) Paul Gallico (Novel)

Starring: Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Jacinda Barrett, Richard Dreyfuss, Emmy Rossum, Mia Maestro, Mike Vogel, Kevin Dillon, Freddy Rodriguez, Andre Braugher

 

Plot: On New Year’s Eve, the luxury ocean liner Poseidon capsizes after being swamped by a rogue wave. The survivors are left to fight for their lives as they attempt to escape the sinking ship.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Glossy but Pointless Remake

 

Story: Poseidon starts on board the Luxury Ocean Liner Poseidon and we go through meeting al our characters Robert Ramsey (Russell) and his daughter Jennifer (Rossum) who is with her boyfriend Christian (Vogel), we also meet gambler Dylan Johns (Lucas), Elena (Maestro) who has snuck on board to be with her boyfriend Marco (Rodriguez) who works on the crew. Richard Nelson (Dreyfuss) is celebrating his trip away wanting a midnight call from his loved one even though he has had his heartbroken back home with Captain Bradford (Braugher) keeping everything calm. This character introduction feels very rushed and I am not sure if I want to cheer for any of these characters. Actually I want to see Richard’s story.

New Year’s Eve again and the celebrations start the new year before the disaster strikes as a rogue enormous wave strikes the ship rolling it upside down. As if all the characters we met are important they are the ones that survive and go out to search for a way out while the rest stay behind in safety so we have Robert, Jennifer, Dylan, Elena, Marco, Richard, Maggie (Barrett) and her son Conor (Bennett). It would be fair to say this is slightly too many characters to be dealing with so I guess we need to trim them down by having over the top deaths for the supporting ones, there we go it starts.

We are left to wonder which ones of the survivors will make it out alive even if we use the process of elimination we know which ones will make it to the end.

Poseidon is a remake of the classic disaster film and what this film does this time is go for the overkill on the characters that are not part of the main group, be it through the first wave, the survivors who didn’t want to go with the rest or just the less important characters have big, Hollywood style kills. The threat remains good because if your ship gets tipped upside down it is easy to create the peril needed for this film. It ends up being nothing but a Hollywood glorified over the top disaster film with under developed characters.

When it comes to the cast you see Josh Lucas get a leading role in an action film where due to poorly written character he is never good or bad with the way he behaves this can also be said about the Kurt Russell character with neither taking the roles filled by Hackman or Borgnine is the original. None of the other performance stand out with as I said before just being disposable characters throughout the film. This film almost feels like a pointless cash in remake for a film that never need to be remade as an action set piece rather than the quest to survive.

 

Overall: Easy to watch disaster film that lacks character development needed.

Ratingcard

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Underworld Evolution (2006)

underDirector: Len Wiseman

Writer: Danny McBride (Screenplay) Len Wiseman, Danny McBride (Story)

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Tony Curran, Derek Jacobi, Bill Nighy, Steven Mackintosh, Michael Sheen

 

Plot: Picking up directly from the previous film, vampire warrior Selene and the half werewolf Michael hunt for clues to reveal the history of their races and the war between them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Fun Sequel

 

Story: Underworld: Evolution starts as we go back to the beginning of the battle as Viktor (Nighy) Marcus (Curran) must deal with the reckless behaviour from William (Steele) giving us a look back at the battle with swords and crossbows. In this we learn more of Viktor’s turn on Marcus imprisoning him for all time.

Selene (Beckinsale) along with new hybrid Michael (Speedman) are now the enemies of both sides must locate Marcus to put an end to the battle once and for all, but he is just as evil as Viktor and with Corvinus (Jacobi) also after Michael it is down to Selene and Michael to work together to escape the hands of both sides of the war.

Underworld: Evolution continues the war between vampires and lycans but this time we have a new species evolving that is both vampire and lycan. We get plenty more action this time around with blood flying and bodies piling up all around but it the looks into the past that drives the film to the next level as we learn why the battle lines were first drawn. The settings all look to generic for the story too without any being memorable by the end of the film.

Beckinsale continues to show her kick ass side in this performance even if she does have to show a vulnerable side too. Where this film struggles are by making such a point out of the Selene character the rest all just seem to fall into generic forgettable characters for the series. This really disappoints what could be yet another brilliantly fun action fantasy film.

 

Overall: When it comes to sequels this is extremely watchable even if not very memorable.

Ratingcard

 

 

Julianne Moore Weekend – Freedomland (2006)

freeDirector: Joe Roth

Writer: Richard Price (Screenplay) Richard Price (Novel)

Starring: Samuel L Jackson, Julianne Moore, Edie Falco, Ron Eldard, William Forsythe, Aunjanue Ellis, Anthony Mackie

 

Plot: A black police detective must solve a strange case of a kidnapped boy and deal with a big racial protest.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Crime Thriller

 

Story: Freedomland starts when a bloodied woman Brenda Martin (Moore) stumbles into an emergency room claim she was car jacked with her son still inside the car. Local cop Lorenzo Council (Jackson) who knows everyone in the troubled area takes the lead trying to find the car-jacker. With racial tension building within the neighbourhood and the fellow cop Danny Martin (Eldard) wanting to find his nephew we have to wait to see where Brenda’s story is really going.

When we learn Brenda is respected with in the neighbourhood containing all black members we see how Lorenzo starts questioning whether someone in the neighbourhood could actually be involved in the carjacking. We are left to see where the twists will be going in this story.

Freedomland is a crime thriller that has plenty of twists along the way with the background racial tension as the wrong person can get accused. We get to see the trauma of losing a child through the character of Brenda as well as having the lead detective having to stay neutral through the case which is filled with one too many questions for his own likely. This does have good elements for any crime thriller and does keep you guessing to where the story will be going next. We do get good performance from both Jackson and Moore in the leading roles as we see how they both deal with the characters they are playing.

 

Overall: Great crime thriller that shows consequences with one story.

Rating70