Viggo Mortensen Weekend – Appaloosa (2008)

Director: Ed Harris

Writer: Robert Knott, Ed Harris (Screenplay) Robert B Parker (Novel)

Starring: Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons, Renee Zellweger, Lance Henriksen

 

Plot: Two friends hired to police a small town that is suffering under the rule of a rancher find their job complicated by the arrival of a young widow.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid but Slow Western

 

Story: Appaloosa starts as we see just how much control Randall Bragg (Irons) has over this small western town, he murders the current Marshall which brings a new Marshall to town. Virgil Cole (Harris) and his partner Deputy Everett Hitch (Mortensen) come to town with their own laws to clean up the Bragg gang.

When Cole & Hitch do find a way to arrest Randall the courts find him guilty of murdering the former Marshall but on route to the prison the rest of the gang force Cole’s hand by using Mrs French (Zellweger) to force Randall’s release, this leads to them needing to find a new way to eliminate Bragg’s gang.

 

Thoughts on Appaloosa

 

Characters/PerformanceVirgil Cole is the freelance Marshall, fast with a rifle and only killing the men who break the law. His reputation follows him as one of the scrictiest law men out there with a lot of his trust in Everett. Everett is the longtime partner of Virgil that always stands tall next him in battle, completes the long words and is the calm influence between the two. Randall Bragg is the rancher who has control over the town of Appaloosa him and his gang take what they want, kill who they want and reign terror over the town. Mrs French comes to town a widow becoming the love interest for Virgil and we learn what type of woman she is.

Performance wise, Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen both work well together showing good chemistry throughout the film and both play the lawman well through the film. Jeremy Irons always makes for a good villain through the any film and this is no exception. Renee is here but you do feel like her character is almost pointless to the main part of the film.

StoryThe story fills in just what you want from a western story, we have an enemy of the town that out numbers them all but two lawmen come into town to help clean it up in their own way, be it through legal or other means. This was meant to be a start of a series of films which is why you feel the threat wasn’t as big as it could have been but still enjoyable enough to watch.

Crime/Western/RomanceThis is a nice western film with perfect use of the setting for the crimes to take place, the romance side of film does feel tagged on in places though.

SettingsEach setting looks great for the film never taking us out of the time in question for the movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is a western film which is fine, it isn’t bad but isn’t up there with the greatest.

 

Overall: Western fans will enjoy.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Horror – P – Prom Night (2008)

Director: Nelson McCormick

Writer: J.S. Cardone (Screenplay)

Starring: Brittany Snow, Scott Porter, Jessica Stroup, Dana Davis, Collins Pennie, Kelly Blatz, Idris Elba

 

Plot: Donna’s senior prom is supposed to be the best night of her life, though a sadistic killer from her past has different plans for her and her friends.


Tagline – A Party To Die For

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bog Standard Slasher

 

Story: Prom Night starts as Donna (Snow) witnesses her family being murdered by a crazed teacher Mr Fenton (Schaech). 3-years-later it is the senior prom and Donna still haunted by the events of that night, but with her boyfriend Bobby (Porter), best friends Claire (Stroup) and Lisa (Davis) look to have a night to remember.

The problem comes when Detective Winn (Elba) receives the news that Richard Fenton has escaped his prison and has turned up at the prom too. This prom will be one they will never forget as it becomes a fight to survive.

 

Thoughts on Prom Night

 

Characters – Donna is our damaged high school student that is still dealing with the effects of the murder of her family that she survived. Now it is her graduation prom and she is planning to have the time off her life but things soon take a turn when her stalker returns. Detective Winn catch the killer and now must do anything to stop him finishing off what he started. We do have the typical high school characters that are filled with terrible decisions on the prom night, the biggest one that cause is a problem was Lisa who wanted to be prom queen but decided to go upstairs to fool about before it gets announced even though it is the most important moment in the high school experience to her.

PerformancesThe performances, how we missed talking about how well actors perform with bad scripts, Brittany Snow is struggling here to make an impact as the lead which is the only character we only really are meant to care about if we are being honest. The other teenagers are poor to basic even if Dana Davis does look stunning in most scenes. Idris Elba is the highlight of the performances as the cop searching to the escaped killer.

StoryThe story follows one pro night when the stalker of one of the students comes to get his revenge, the idea this film takes place over one night is the best and only good thing about this movie. What follows in the story telling process is a series of awful decision, including when the fire alarm goes off, going upstairs to retrieve an item of clothing. Having a prom that feels like a film premier also doesn’t help because surely nothing we be this dramatic.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is the basic of all slashers and we don’t see any blood because of the age rating it received. It claims to be a mystery but most of this mystery is why the characters are written so poorly.

SettingsThe setting for the most part is the hotel for the prom, which feels like an everyday location but soon becomes a game of who can stay ahead of who.

Special EffectsThe effects are barely touched because of the lack of gore used in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
This is a tough decision here, well I am going to have to go shallow here and go Dana Davis prom dress.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The characters are written contradictable to their actions.

Final ThoughtsThis seems to be a remake that didn’t click, it is a bog standard to bad slasher with terrible characters, weak horror moments and just fades into a blur of bad decisions.

 

Overall: Yeah, no just forget about it.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Outpost (2008)

Director: Steve Barker

Writer: Rae Brunton (Screenplay) Kieran Parker, Steve Barker, Rae Brunton (Story)

Starring: Ray Stevenson, Julian Wadham, Richard Brake, Paul Blair, Brett Fancy, Enoch Frost

 

Plot: In war-torn Eastern Europe, a world-weary group of mercenaries discover a long-hidden secret in an abandoned WWII bunker.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Horror

 

Story: Outpost starts when Hunt (Wadham) recruits DC (Stevenson) to bring his mercenaries Prior (Brake), Jordan (Blair), Taktarov (Fancy), Cotter (Frost), Voyteche (Rivett) and McKay (Smiley) to an abandoned WWII bunker in the middle of the war in Eastern Europe. The bunker which seems easy to find does grab the attention of a passing patrol but now the men must make this safe in case of a meeting with any enemy soldiers.

When the truth about Hunt’s mission becomes clear, DC finds all his men in danger against an enemy they don’t seem to be able to kill and a lone survivor that doesn’t say a word. The group must fight to survivor against the remains of a Nazi experiments.

 

Thoughts on Outpost

 

Characters/PerformanceDC is the generic leader of the mercenaries, he doesn’t have a backstory of any merit, he just demands the respect of his unit. Prior is the top soldier in the unit keep it together for the rest of the unit. Hunt is the man who hired the unit and of course he is alternate plans for the mission. The rest of the soldiers are what you expect to see from a team of mercenaries.

Performance wise, well Ryan Stevenson is a good leading man but does struggle to make the most of his character, if you are to be honest we do find most of the cast struggling to make enough impact.

StoryThe story is a good watch for horror, we all know the stories of how the Nazi’s were trying experiment with the supernatural so, this is the main part of the story. There are not many twists and this can give the horror fans enough without getting carried away.

Action/HorrorThe action is mostly just shooting in the way you would expect soldiers to be part of. The horror is a lot of creepy material that leads to the extra horrors where we see the gore involved in the kills.

SettingsMost of the film is set around the bunker which does keep the film easy to follow and adds to what you expect from the Nazi based horror film.

Special EffectsThe special effects are used well to add to the extra kills in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror that uses the idea of Nazi war experiments to the full.

 

Overall: I enjoyed this one for a basic horror film.

Rating

 

 

The Strangers (2008)

Director: Bryan Bertino

Writer: Bryan Bertino (Screenplay)

Starring: Scott Speedman, Liv Tyler, Gemma Ward, Kip Weeks, Laura Margolis

 

Plot: A young couple staying in an isolated vacation home are terrorized by three unknown assailants.


Tagline – Because you were home.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Suspense Filled Horror

 

Story: The Strangers starts when struggling couple James (Speedman) and Kristen (Tyler) head off for a romantic weekend away things don’t go as planned as the two don’t let things go as they want to leave. When Kristen gets a return guest she believes she isn’t alone and soon they learn how many guests they have.

The strangers Dollface (Ward) Pin-Up Girl (Margolis) and the leader a man with a mask (Weeks) refuse to let the leave, terrorising them in their own holiday location. This becomes a battle to survive against a calculated enemy.

 

Thoughts on The Strangers

 

Characters – Kristen is our leading lady in this, she goes on the trip to look to save her relationship but you feel she is too far gone after whatever pulled them apart. She must stay one step ahead of the strangers too. James is the partner of Kristen, he is willing to give her the space she wants to help save their relationship too, he offers himself to save her too. The strangers characters spend most of the film stalking their victims, they seem to be playing it safe letting them make the mistakes but also teasing exits too.

PerformancesLiv Tyler is the highlight of the film with a strong performance of terror with Scott Speedman being good, the three strangers performers are good throughout looking menacing through the film.

StoryThe story is very simple, a couple get terrorised in their own home by strangers, we don’t learn their motives, we only seem to follow the basics of building up but it works on many levels to keep us on edge through the film. if you want a full effects of everything you will be left disappointed but it was good for not giving us something you would expect.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is based on the idea of being invaded by an unknown group of people that seemingly just want chaos. The mystery never gets solved which is important for us to see too.

SettingsThe film is set in one home in the middle of nowhere which is easily the highlight of the film, it shows us not being able to find a way to escape.

Special EffectsThe effects are used when needed which are good to show where things could go.


Scene of the Movie –
The aftermath.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t see enough of what Strangers do.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that is filled with suspense which is great, but if you want to see the horror things will not being what you are expecting.

 

Overall: Horror for all the fans.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – M – Made of Honour (2008)

Director: Paul Weiland

Writer: Adam Sztykiel, Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont (Screenplay) Adam Sztykiel (Story)

Starring: Patrick Dempsey, Michelle Monaghan, Kevin McKidd, Kadeem Hardison, Chris Messina, Richmond Arquette, Busy Philipps

 

Plot: A guy in love with an engaged woman tries to win her over after she asks him to be her maid of honor.


Tagline – He’ll do anything to get the groom out of the picture.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Romantic Comedy

 

Story: Made of Honour starts as we learn how Tom (Dempsey) and Hannah (Monaghan) met in college, the two become best friends over the next 10 years, sharing their stories of their weeks, both professional and personal moments.

When Hannah travels for work, Tom realizes that he does have feelings for her determined to tell her once she returns, when she does return she breaks the news that she met someone Colin (McKidd) and they are getting married, wanting Tom to be her maid of honour.  Tom now knows the limit to tell Hannah how he feels about her and get rid of Colin.

 

Thoughts on Made of Honour

 

Characters – Tom is a serial womaniser whose best friend is a woman he never hooked up, he has a friendship with her that transcends any form of physical, but when he learns she is getting married he starts to realize he needs to be with her and will go out of his way to show her how he feels. Hannah is the best friend of Tom, she doesn’t care about his behaviour with how he treats women, an art specialist that falls in love while on a trip to Scotland. She asked Tom to be her maid of honour as she plans for her dream. Colin is the Scotsman that Hannah falls in love with, part of the high society in Scotland that seems like the perfect man at first.  

PerformancesPatrick Dempsey was a great choice for the leading role, he has the charm needed for this role. Michelle Monaghan is a good choice for a romantic lead because she always gives us a genuine performance of a real woman. Kevin McKidd makes for a good supporting man that gets the laughs when needed through the film.

StoryThe story here follows two best friends that have never been more than friends getting to a stage of their lives when things take a turn, so When Harry Met Sally. While this does do for the film it can take away moments of needed for the film, we have strange character decisions being made and an overly drastic decision to get married. If you do like your rom coms you will enjoy this one, it follows the rules well, but I didn’t get the sudden change in Tom’s character though.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film hits for the most part, we get good laughs even if we don’t get a laugh a minute, the romance side of the film shows us just how you could be missing something that is right under your nose.

SettingsThe film gives us the New York setting which is an old favourite for the romantic movies while also have parts of the film in Scotland which show us the different culture the two are in.


Scene of the Movie –
The Highland Games.

That Moment That Annoyed Me How America portrays Scotland.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that will be enjoyed by the rom com fans out there, they will enjoy what they see through this film.

 

Overall: Rom com fans to enjoy.

Rating