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.

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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

 

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – 5ive Girls (2006)

5 girlsDirector: Warren P Sonoda

Writer: Warren P Sonoda (Screenplay)

Starring: Ron Perlman, Jennifer Miller, Jordan Madley, Terra Vnesa, Barbara Mamabolo, Tasha Quintas, Amy Lalonde, Krysta Carter

 

Plot: Five wayward teenage girls are sent to a reformatory and discover they possess unique powers to battle the ancient demon, Legion, which holds thrall over the sinister institution.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Sparkling Witches

 

Story: 5ive Girls starts when one of the student of Father Drake’s (Perlman) school it taken by an evil force leaving only blood stained classroom. With the school closed down on the outside we still see Father Drake trying to help troubled girls with his newest class being Alex (Miller), Mara (Madley), Cecilia (Vnesa), Leah (Mamabolo) and Connie (Quintas).

The girls discover they are all witches with different powers and when Alex starts getting haunted by Elizabeth but what is she trying to communicate. We learn that Miss Pearce (Lalonde) is involved with what is going on but is she good or bad? Could these girls have been bought together for a reason? The girls find themselves battling the ancient demon Legion who wants to walk the Earth once more.

5ive Girls gives us a witch based film where the witches are not evil but instead fighting evil. Having the girls not fully understanding their powers works because we get to learn about them with them but saying that doing that really doesn’t help when they get picked off easily. I would like to see more about the girl’s powers but in the end we just have basic ideas of them. The story does work well for the fighting evil but also could just have been an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

 

Actor Review

 

Ron Perlman: Father Drake is haunted by losing one of his students to an evil spirit, he is bought back to the school to finally make up for what happened but finds himself fighting the same evil that took away his faith. Ron is good in this role even if he is more of a supporting character than leading man.

Jennifer Miller: Alex is the last of the five new girls to arrive at the school, she has the ability to prevent and move objects with her mind. While in the school she finds herself having to work with the other girls to solve the hauntings going on in the school. Jennifer is solid in this role that works as the unsure girl.

Jordan Madley: Mara is the streetwise of the five girls, she is overly aggressive when it comes to protecting herself but is great to have on the right side when it comes to fighting the evil. Jordan is good as the bad ass chick that is actually very insecure.

Terra Vnesa: Cecilia is one of the students, she is the blind student who makes light of her disability being one of the main comic reliefs in the film. Terra is good because she is the funniest of the characters involved.

Support Cast: 5ive Girls only has a couple of extra cast members that end up doing just as good a job of the rest of the cast.

Director Review: Warren P SonodaWarren gives us a solid film that is easy to watch but never really challenges us.

 

Horror: 5ive Girls has good horror elements of good versus evil along with solid gore moments.

Thriller: 5ive Girls keeps us guessing to what will happened next as well as wondering what is going on through the story even if you can work parts of the film out.

Settings: 5ive Girls keeps nearly all the film in one place the school that is meant to be locked from the outside.
Special Effects
: 5ive Girls has solid effects for the kills but when we see Legion we don’t get the best effects.

Suggestion: 5ive Girls is one to watch if it is on late night television. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: Only having early witch abilities.

Worst Part: Slightly predictable.

Funniest Scene: Blind girl searching for someone alone while still enough people to do it in pairs.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $3 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Tagline: 5 Witches. 5 Powers. One Evil.

 

Overall: Easy to watch horror that does lack scares but has strong elements.

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