Original v Remake – Let the Right One In (2008)

Director: Tomas Alfredson

Writer: John Ajvide Lindqvist (Screenplay) John Ajvide Lindqvist (Novel)

Starring: Kare Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist

 

Plot: Oskar, an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Modern Day Classic

 

Story: Let the Right One In starts as we meet bullied school boy Oskar (Hedebrant) who in secret is looking for a way to fight back against these bullies, he attention is caught when a new family with a young girl Eli (Leandersson) moves in to the same apartment building in the dead of night.

Around this same time Hakan (Ragnar) Eli’s father is seen performing a certain style of murder, draining the blood from his victim. This becomes clear when we see him interrupted leaving Eli having to show her own true colours as she hunts in the dark.

The two meet and become friends, but only at night, when it is safe for Eli to come out but Oskar doesn’t know the truth about Eli yet, so does he know what he is getting himself into with this young vampire? When Eli’s father is taken, she finds herself alone with the only friend in the world Oskar, this brings out the truth and a chance for Oskar to get revenge on all of his bullies.

 

Thoughts on Let the Right One In

 

Characters/PerformanceOskar is the typical lonely school boy who never fits in with the people around him finding himself being bullied by class mates looking for an escape from this world. Eli is also lonely because of the vampire side of her, she desires friendship but the vampire in her prevents that happening. We don’t get too much from the rest of the characters, we have the loyal guardian, the bullies and the neglectful parents.

Kare and Lina are both brilliant in the lead roles making you fully understand the motives they both face, the struggles they are going through and just carry this film effortlessly.

StoryThe story focuses on two different loners that are drawn together to help each other solve their own problems. While there is a deeper look at how a vampire could well struggle in the modern world alone which is a huge draw to this movie, we also get to see how one boy handles being bullied with the extreme measurements. This is a slow-moving story that packs a real punch in the second half and is a much watch for the fans of vampire movies and high school movies.

Horror/RomanceHorror side of this film is in the pure violence involved when it comes to the kills or attacks in the movie. The romance side comes from the two young children falling in love with each other.

SettingsWe are kept in this small Swedish town for this movie which shows it to be a perfect location for a vampire to hide out as well as being a place where someone could feel all alone.

Special EffectsWe only have a few special effects in this movie, which I do feel works to all the levels it needs to in this film to make the terror filled moments work to their full effects.

Final ThoughtsThis will go down as a modern classic in the vampire genre, with the final swimming pool scene easily the iconic scene of the movie.

 

Overall: This is a must watch film for the vampire fans.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – The Cottage (2008)

Director: Paul Andrew Williams

Writer: Paul Andrew Williams (Screenplay)

Starring: Andy Serkis, Reece Shearsmith, Jennifer Ellison, Steven O’Donnell, James Bierman

 

Plot: In a remote part of the countryside, a bungled kidnapping turns into a living nightmare for four central characters when they cross paths with a psychopathic farmer and all hell breaks loose.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Horror Comedy

 

Story: The Cottage starts when David (Serkis) and Peter (Shearsmith) have kidnapped Tracey (Ellison) taking her to a remote farmhouse. The two are brother’s looking to make a quick quid with this half assed attempt with the kidnapping.

When everything stars to go wrong it doesn’t take long for a bigger threat to come after the unlikely group who along with Tracey’s step-brother Andrew (O’Donnell) must survive against a deadly psychopathic farmer.

 

Thoughts on The Cottage

 

Characters/PerformanceDavid is the brother with a plan, he wants the money to get away from this life, Peter is filled with panic about the kidnapping not wanting to upset his wife back home. Tracey is the victim who is tougher than both the men involved in the kidnapping.

Performance wise, Andy Serkis is good as the deadpan lead through the film, while Reece Shearsmith is good in what you would expect to be the leading lady, constantly screaming. Jennifer Ellison goes against her type cast of a dumb blonde by being a tough blonde who take nonsense.

StoryWhen looking at the basics of the story it does come down to a kidnapping gone wrong with deadly consequences. It is something we have seen before and it is a good formula for horror comedy so I can’t find anything bad with this aspect of the film, I do also like the surprise that you are left to wonder just who will get killed next with no one being safe.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy is good in this film we have great chemistry between Peter and David which add to the laughs with their hapless attempt to kidnap Tracey along with the reactions to the killer. The horror is generic to say the least, it is just a disfigured killer trying to kill the main characters in a gore filled way, nothing to fancy.

SettingsHaving the film set on the remote farm comes off well because it shows a good idea for location of the kidnapping as well as a god location for the killer to hunt in.

Special EffectsThe special effects are mostly all practical and all come off very well to add to the extra gore needed for the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror comedy that doesn’t take any part of the film too serious with over the top kills and colourful characters.

 

Overall: Easy to watch horror comedy.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Anaconda: The Offspring (2008)

Director: Don E FauntLeRoy

Writer: Nicholas Davidoff, David C Olson (Screenplay)

Starring: David Hasselhoff, Crystal Allen, Ryan McCluskey, Patrick Regis, Anthony Green, John Rhys-Davies, Alan O’Silva

 

Plot: A mercenary-for-hire accepts a mission from a billionaire to capture a dangerous snake that could possibly help cure a terminal illness.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: No Amount of Alcohol Can Make This Good

 

Story: Anaconda: The Offspring starts with Hammett (Hasselhoff) with his group of mercenaries telling everyone to sit back and enjoy the ride as his men kill a giant anaconda with very annoying cutting between gun, blood, snake, screaming on a rinse repeat idea.

Now back in America Mr Murdoch (Rhys-Davies) the CEO for Wexel Hall has continued the blood orchid experiments to help cure Murdoch’s cancer, but when questions on the methods of the experiment are getting questioned leading to Murdoch looking into the methods. Amanda Hayes (Allen) is the handler of the snake and security is concerned with the safety in the research lab and she is correct when the anaconda escapes.

To contain this situation an elite group of mercenaries are called in to hunt down the anaconda with Hammett needing to return from his own travels to help with the clean-up operation.

 

Thoughts on Anaconda: The Offspring

 

Characters/PerformanceHammett is the master hunter, he will do anything for money and enjoys hunting down the any animal he faces. Amanda has worked with the snakes for the whole research mission and now she is the only one that knows the true danger the snakes possess, she wants to end the project before it gets out of hand. The rest of the characters are generic soldiers, a millionaire and an officer lackey that don’t do much to the film.

Performance wise, well when you cast the Hoff in the leading role you know you won’t get acting gold, the acting isn’t good from anyone in the film.

StoryGenetical enhanced snakes have escaped and need hunting down to save a millionaire’s life, this seems like an easy formula, well it works on the basic level but ends up just being lost of running around shooting trees, I mean snakes. This does try to build on what the last one created though.

Action/Horror The action is mostly guys running around shooting, while the horror is a giant snake trying to kill people, there isn’t anything scary going on here.

SettingsThe setting is back in America but for budget reason it looks like anyone went down to some local woods and ran around with toy guns.

Special EffectsNope.

Final ThoughtsThis feels like an idea to just use the name Anaconda and go full blown we just don’t care anymore.

 

Overall: Just terrible now.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)

Director: Andrew Adamson

Writer: Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) C.S. Lewis (Novel)

Starring: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Williams Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Sergio Castellitto, Peter Dinklage

 

Plot: The Pevensie siblings return to Narnia, where they are enlisted to once again help ward off an evil king and restore the rightful heir to the land’s throne, Prince Caspian.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Magic Lost

 

Story: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian starts in Narnia where Prince Caspian (Barnes) is taken away from the kingdom for his own safety when his Uncle Miraz (Castellitto) has a son. We move to London, post-war now as we meet the Pevensie children, Lucy (Henley), Edmund (Keynes), Peter (Moseley) and Susan (Popplewell) who find themselves magically transported back to Narnia, a different Narnia to the one they left though.

With Narnia on the verge of another war the children must lead the resistance against Miraz as they all wait in hope of Aslan’s return, but with a battle from within as Prince Caspian clashes with Peter as the children must answer questions to why they abandoned Narnia all those years ago.

 

Thoughts on The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

 

Characters/PerformanceThe children are now all back in London, they get called back to be the leaders Narnia thought they were going to be. The children all seem to have smaller parts in this film and just doing less of the more we saw first time around. Prince Caspian is a solid character but nothing too important in this battle with the villain just being human makes the threat not are scary as the first time around.

Performance wise, it would be fair to say we have nothing but average at best performances here, the kids are all fine coming off slightly too posh with the rest all feeling like no bigger name actors wanted to get involved in the film.

StoryI feel the story just doesn’t seem to have the magic we had first time around, first the idea the kids just go back after the war seems out of place because the first story seems to be about escaping the war. The battle within Narnia is just a power struggle again but the animals don’t talk as much and it is mostly a human battle losing all the fantasy elements which made the first fun.

Adventure/Family/FantasyThe adventure side of the film does feel lost here, as does the family and fantasy side which showed how Harry Potter was the dominate force at the time.

SettingsThe settings also don’t seem to be as well created as first time, nothing comes off memorable through this one.

Special EffectsWith this seeming to be a human battle the special effects are no as needed in what should be a big fantasy battle film.

Final ThoughtsThis was a huge step back, with a huge budget I just don’t get how it came off as dull as it did.

 

Overall: Poor sequel that should have continued what was created.

Rating

 

 

Frost/Nixon (2008)

frostnixonDirector: Ron Howard

Writer: Peter Morgan (Screenplay) Peter Morgan (Play)

Starring: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Sam Rockwell, Kevin Bacon, Matthew Macfadyen, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Toby Jones

 

Plot: A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Compelling and Fascinating Drama

 

Story: Frost/Nixon starts going through the historical events behind Richard Nixon’s resignation after Watergate. With his resignation, British journalist David Frost (Sheen) sees it as a chance for a rating winning interview by hosting an interview with Richard Nixon (Langella). We follow how Frost turns to John Birt (Macfadyen) to secure the interview with Nixon letting Swifty Lazar (Jones) handling it from his end.

Frost must find a way to get funding and the interview put on air with James Reston Jr (Rockwell) and Bob Zelnick (Platt) joining his team to make this happen as we see how this side understands just how important this interview could be for America.

We follow the lead up to the series of interviews that have been pre-agreed subjects with only one of the four being open to the Watergate incident, this becomes a battle between the two men to get the first punches in seeing how each other will react to either question or answer.

 

Thoughts on Frost/Nixon

 

Characters/PerformanceLooking at the characters in this story they are all based on real people with former President Nixon and David Frost being the ones we get to connect with most, the background staff on each side have different opinions on how the interviews and research goes is show brilliantly.

Performance wise Langella and Sheen give arguable two of the best in leading performances of any pairing of modern cinema, they carry this film with their compelling performances. When you dive into the supporting cast Rockwell, Bacon, Platt, Macfadyen or Hall they are all great too not overshadowing the lead pairing.stars

StoryConsidering this story we must look at the deeper story before the events of the film, you do need to understand the basics of the Watergate incident to understand just how important this interview actually was. The build-up itself to the interview shows how much is at risk and seeing how both sides tried to keep one step ahead of the other is captivating throughout.

Biography/HistoricalLooking at this pivotal moment in both Richard Nixon and David Frost’s lives is what makes this hit on every level because one risked everything to make the truth came out while the other risks everything to be put back in the positive light of the country.

SettingsEach setting used through the film make us feel like we are part of the theatre experiences which is how this story first got told, we do get to see how the time in question would have looked in each and every scene.genre

Final ThoughtsLooking at history this event is one of the most impactful moments in American history and this shows just how it was finally exposed.

 

Overall: This is a must watch for all the film fans out there.

Rating

 rating