Original v Remake Weekend – The Hitcher (2007)

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Plot: A serial killer pins his crimes on two college students who gave him a ride.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bad Remake

 

Story: The Hitcher starts as we follow college sweethearts Grace (Bush) and Jim (Zachary) traveling cross country for vacation. The trip gets interrupted when they clash with John Ryder (Bean) a hitchhiker that enjoys killing people, luckily they escape him for a while only to find themselves being chased across the dessert like environment.

When the two start getting framed by John they find themselves on the run not only from him but from the State Police run by Lt Esteridge (McDonough) who believes they are involved with killing all of the police officers. The game of cat and mouse leads to final showdown between the four.

The Hitcher is a remake that isn’t able to do anything original with the idea. It feels like it wanted just to do a shot for shot remake but then tried to do a fresh spin that didn’t create anything. The fact the film is incredibly short doesn’t help because nothing gets built up enough to make us care. I don’t understand the remake happening when he has an interesting sequel a few years before.

 

Actor Review

 

Sean Bean: John Ryder is the Hitcher looking for a ride, but what he really wants is to go on a killing spree. When Grace and Jim refuse to stop to help him he takes everything personally and starts targeting them and he just won’t give up. Sean is one of the good things in this movie as you believe he will be this crazy throughout the film.

Sophia Bush: Grace is our leading lady of the college student couple that always needs a pee break, she has to wait for instructions and is written to be plain as stupid. Sophia tries her best with such a badly written character.

Zachary Knighton: Jim is the boyfriend of Grace that is preparing to meet her friends on their cross country journey. He wants to help John but doesn’t get involved because Grace says no, he then has to try and keep her safe through the experience against John. Zachary is ok but you will soon forget about his character.

Neal McDonough: LT Esteridge is the state police officers trying to bring everything to an end, he doesn’t believe Grace and Jim are involved but has to follow the evidence. Neal is a standard police officer authority figure you will forget too.

Support Cast: The Hitcher has only a disposable supporting cast with barely any of the ones you meet actually making it to the end of the film.

Director Review: Dave MeyersDave gives us a simple horror film that has one brilliant scene but otherwise is forgettable.

 

Crime: The Hitcher puts us in a crime battle between good and evil as the couple battle the hitchhiker.

Horror: The Hitcher has easy horror elements that just don’t get the point over because of lack of tension aiming for just a body count.

Settings: The Hitcher keeps most of the film set in the dessert showing how alone the couple are but they always seem to find somewhere to hide.
Special Effects
: The Hitcher has a mix of good and bad effects, with the CGI coming off terrible but the truck scene look great.

Suggestion: The Hitcher is one I think you could easily just watch the original. (Watched Original)

 

Best Part: Truck scene.

Worst Part: Grace is written so badly.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

Overall: Poor remake that loses the horror elements needed.

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The Number 23 (2007)

numberDirector: Joel Schumacher

Writer: Fernley Phillips (Screenplay)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, Logan Lerman, Danny Huston, Lynn Collins

 

Plot: Walter Sparrow becomes obsessed with a novel that he believes was written about him. As his obsession increases, more and more similarities seem to arise.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Interesting Thriller

 

Story: The Number 23 starts as we follow mild mannered animal controller Walter Sparrow (Carrey) who had just celebrated his birthday which has made things change, he has a wife Agatha (Madsen) and son Robin (Lerman) in what looks like an ordinary life.

Walter’s life is turned upside when one of his gifts if a book called The Number 23 which just so happens to tell the same story of a character called Fingerling who has the same childhood Walter remembers. The further Walter looks into the character we see how he becomes obsessed with the number 23 in everyday life but is this a message or a former life he once lived?

Th Number 23 is a mystery thriller that puts us on a rollercoaster of conspiracy or truth about Walter’s life. Everything really does keep us guessing from start to finish. Each answer is spoon-fed to us which does take away the shock in the final act but this still does enough to keep us on edge.

The cast all do a good job with Jim Carrey really shining in the none comedic role yet again, but the supporting performances from Virginia Madsen, Danny Huston and Logan Lerman all keep up with the star of the show.

 

Overall: One of Jim Carrey’s most underrated films of his career.

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George Clooney Franchise Weekend – Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)

oceanDirector: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Brian Koppelman, David Levien (Screenplay) George Clayton Johnson, Jack Golden Russell (Characters)

Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Al Pacino, Elliott Gould, Eddie Jemison, Don Cheadle, Shaobo Qin, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner, Ellen Barkin, Andy Garcia

 

Plot: Danny Ocean rounds up the boys for a third heist, after casino owner Willy Bank double-crosses one of the original eleven, Reuben Tishkoff.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: My Favourite of the Series

 

Story: Ocean’s Thirteen starts as Danny (Clooney), Rusty (Pitt) and Linus (Damon) returning to Vegas after Reuben (Gould) gets screwed out of everything he had by ruthless casino owner Willy Bank (Pacino). Bringing the team Livingston (Jemison), Basher (Cheadle), Yen (Qin), Virgil (Affleck), Turk (Caan), Frank (Mac) and Saul (Reiner) back to Vegas to give Bank a chance to return the money to Reuben which he refuses.

6 Months later the team are back together looking to pull off a revenge job on the Grand Opening of the casino. With the team in place we get to see how this latest heist unfolds right back where it started, but just how do they pull it off?

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Thoughts on Ocean’s Thirteen

 

StoryWhen you see how where the characters have been and how they all came together in the first two films this story feels like the final completion on their jobs. With this story, we have the most personal revenge job as one of their own has been struck by the villainous casino owner, unlike Benedict who has been fair with his ruthlessness Bank takes things past the bounds of fairness. We do get to see role reversal with our characters which adds to the twits along the way. I personally find this the most enjoyable watch of all three of the films.

Crime/ThrillerThe heist side of this film is just as slick as the first film which is just what you want from this film. you are kept guessing to where the heist will go too.

Characters/PerformanceWe know the characters by know and they are all great once again, the inclusion of Willy Bank is good because he is ruthless compared to Benedict but in the negative the loss of Tess is questionable. The performances are all great as each star knows how to make the most of every single scene they are in.

SettingsI am delighted they moved this film back to Vegas because when these characters are looking to rob a casino you love seeing how everything unfolds.

Recommending ScaleI would be giving this the seal of approval and you can Bank on that.

Final ThoughtsThis is by far the most fun the series has and you can find yourself gripped to every scene enjoying the heist unfolding.

 

Overall: This is easily the most enjoyable of the series.

Rating

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Franchise Completion Weekend – Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

resDirector: Russell Mulcahy

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Ali Larter, Iain Glen, Ashanti, Christopher Egan, Spencer Locke

 

Plot: Survivors of the Raccoon City catastrophe travel across the Nevada desert, hoping to make it to Alaska. Alice joins the caravan and their fight against the evil Umbrella Corp.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Sequel

 

Story: Resident Evil: Extinction starts with Dr Isaacs (Glen) performing tests on Alice (Jovovich) only to learn he has a clone army of Alice’s looking for one that can meet the abilities of the original Alice.

We jump forward years now with the world destroyed left in a desert like state and Alice a lone traveller in this wasteland. Also, travelling the wasteland Carlos (Fehr) and Claire (Larter) lead a convoy of survivors around staying one step ahead of the undead using the safety in numbers idea.

When the two collide, they find themselves on the run from Umbrella as Dr Isaacs is searching to the original Alice to help complete his research in the hunt for a cure for the T-Virus.

 

Thoughts on Resident Evil Extinction

 

StoryThe story continues the adventures of Alice and shows how Umbrella are still experimenting within this world. My issue with this story is the major jump in time, the first two are almost over two days but this jumps forward in years to the full destruction of the Earth that is covered with infected. This other problem with this story is that you can’t go back to fill in the gaps so the sequels after this must work around the world being in this condition which isn’t where the games are. For this franchise of films this is slightly out of character as a story but like the first two it is just a group of survivors trying to survive waves of the undead before Alice faces a big boss like enemy, not the most original but a tried and tested formula.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is bigger once again, the horror is weaker once again but overall this is all you need from this video game adaption.

Characters/PerformanceAlice continues to show off her character’s true abilities which continue to get unlocked through the film. Carlos also returns but offers nothing new and we get another video game favourite Claire Redfield joining the survival, but she is written as a leader but isn’t as strong as Jill. We also have a new primary villain in Dr Isaacs who is working on Umbrella research and is mostly the same as we had last time.

As performances go Jovovich continues to make herself the icon of the series and she is good at this. Glen adds the class in the villainous role without excelling and Ali Larter does well but the character isn’t written well enough for my liking. The rest of the supporting cast are all fine and good for the few scenes they are in.

SettingsHaving the film set in the desert leaves me feeling slightly mixed because I do feel that is needed to be a slow improvement in size rather than going almost worldwide, but I also like the big environment because it offers the film a chance to go in a different direction.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all good but not the best they could be, because of the film you are willing to let things go in places too.

Final ThoughtsWhen you watch the whole franchise through this one does feel like the longest but is also does help take the series to a larger scale.

 

Overall: Opens the door for the franchise to become bigger.

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Anton Yelchin Weekend – Charlie Bartlett (2007)

charlieDirector: Jon Poll

Writer: Gustin Nash (Screenplay)

Starring: Anton Yelchin, Robert Downey Jr, Hope Davis, Kat Dennings, Tyler Hilton, Mark Randall, Dylan Taylor

 

Plot: A rich kid becomes the self-appointed psychiatrist to the student body of his new high school.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant High School Film

 

Story: Charlie Bartlett starts as Charlie (Yelchin) finds himself expelled from a private boarding school for making fake driving licences, returning to live with his mother Marilyn (Davis) as he agrees to try a public school. Charlie makes an impression on his first day with his naïve nature to the high school experience, where he shakes off the bully and not having social status to continue his kind nature.

Charlie continues to find ways around his problems with Susan Gardner (Dennings) being the love interest, Murphy (Hilton) as the bully he confronts to deal with the problem where he comes up with the idea of selling his medication. Charlie’s new plan does become more difficult when the Principal Gardner (Downey Jr) installs cameras in the student lounge. Charlie starts his own business as a psychiatrist for the students holding sessions in the boys room fast tracking him to the most popular kid in school.

 

Thoughts on Charlie Bartlett

 

StoryThis story is a high school comedy drama about one boy coming from a wealthy family who enters the public high school system and using his own intelligence to help the kids with problems no one is listening to. We do get the typical situations going on with bullying, anti-social behaviour to certain students and a relationship between students with one being the principal’s daughter. The story really does look at how difficult the high school experience can be on the students and if the students could talk the problems through themselves they can help each other find what they want from life.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy going on through this film feels very much like a modern Ferris Bueller which all works because none of it feels forced. The romance is pretty much what you would call a standard high school romance angle.

Characters/PerformanceAnton Yelchin gives what could easily be considered his best performance of his career as the character shows confidence through each situation even if he is dealing with his own problems. Robert Downey Jr shows he can easily play a supporting character with this Principal character that works well because he is open to help with the problems. As for the rest of the cast each performer gives great performances making the character’s work for the story being told.

SettingsNearly all of the film is set in and around the high school setting which of course is all that is needed for a high school comedy drama.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most underrated high school comedy dramas I have ever seen, the character of Charlie shines through to be one of the most important characters in high school films I have ever seen with the power of Ferris Bueller but the smarts to keep everyone together.

 

Overall: Easily the most underrated high school movie out there.

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