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

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Sunshine Cleaning (2008)

sunshineDirector: Christine Jeffs

Writer: Megan Holley (Screenplay)

Starring: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Jason Spevack, Steve Zahn, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Clifton Collins Jr

 

Plot: In order to raise the tuition to send her young son to private school, a mom starts an unusual business — a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service — with her unreliable sister.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charmingly Delightful Comedy Drama

 

Story: Sunshine Cleaning starts as we follow single mother Rose (Adams) who works as a cleaner just to make sure her son Oscar (Spevack) gets everything he needs while dealing with the teachers telling her he needs special attention.

Needing to put her son into a private school Rose works with police officer Mac (Zahn) who sets her up with a job cleaning up crime scenes with her slacker sister Norah (Blunt) and the two-start seeing the money fly in as Sunshine Cleaning business is born.

 

Thoughts on Sunshine Cleaning

 

StoryThe story being told here is a story that shows that people out there will work hard to make the life they want they may need to go through difficult stages of life to reach it. We see two sisters whose lives clearly haven’t gone the way they had planned them out both feeling like they are just grinding to make ends meet rather than having their chance to live. The story is put together perfectly to tell what is needed from the story that can be enjoyed by all.

Comedy/Drama The comedy drama mixes together to make light of the serious side of the story where we can get the laughs coming from everyday life rather than forced life situations. This story will make you laugh, smile and cry with the characters.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters of Rose and Norah are great examples of two sisters struggling through the whole story, we get good laughs from their father looking after Rose’s son but otherwise all the characters do end up feeling like they could all be everyday people. When you look at the performances Adams and Blunt are brilliant as the sister with chemistry to burn between them proving they are two of Hollywood’s heavyweights.

SettingsEach setting is a different crime scene in need of cleaning which is where our characters get to see just the different lives people have lived. The settings are just as important as the two relationship between the sisters which shows the struggles the girls are both going through.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the sweetest and nicest dramas you will see, it is filled with real life struggles everyday people go through.

 

Overall: Brilliant drama that people should go out there way to see.

Ratingcard

 

 

Surveillance (2008)

survDirector: Jennifer Lynch

Writer: Kent Harper, Jennifer Lynch (Screenplay)

Starring: Julia Ormond, Bill Pullman, Pell James, Michael Ironside, Kent Harper, Ryan Simpkins, French Stewart, Cheri Oteri

 

Plot: Two FBI agents attempt to clarify the murders occurring in a desolate region. They approach the witnesses of the latest incident with the help of the local police. All of them hide something and all have wildly different stories to tell.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Well Designed Thriller

 

Story: Surveillance starts with a bloody murder when FBI agents Elizabeth Anderson (Ormond) and Sam Hallaway (Pullman) come to investigate what has been going on much to the disagreement to the local law with Captain Billings (Ironside). The agents have a young girl Stephanie (Simpkins) who isn’t saying a word and a stoner Bobbi Prescott (James) worried she will get busted as their only witnesses.

With the cameras set up the interviews beginning as we learn what led to the events of the day in question. The longer the investigation goes on we get to learn how the two police officers involved took advantage of the victims for fun before we learn the outcome of the film.

 

Thoughts on Surveillance

 

StoryThe story is slow moving as we must go through the events of one day from three different points of view leading up to the final reveal. I did find this very slow because we had a lot of character development before everything kicks off, I think the final twist in the film is one you won’t see coming but the build-up takes too long.

Crime/Horror/Mystery/ThrillerThe whole film is circling around the idea of a crime being retold through the eyes of the witnesses which is all solid enough and you add in the mystery about what has happened to the mix you get the horror side to the story. the mix all work well to make us wonder what the hell is going on through the film.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters all come off feeling like different generic characters, we have the survivors of an incident one being innocent young girl, another being a stoner with the third being a shady cop. The FBI agents both come off very simple but instantly deal with the political material we are used too. As for performances, we get good from everyone because we don’t know who the killers really are throughout.

SettingsWhen it comes to the settings we have large part inside the police station with the rest just being on the open road, both settings are used well throughout the film.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the special effects they are only used when needed to make the accident look extra special when it finally happens.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow but well built up crime mystery horror thriller that is saved by the final twist within the film.

 

Overall: Slow thriller but rewarding by the end.

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – April Fool’s Day (2008)

casting card

 

Plot: A year after an April Fool’s Day prank which resulted in the death of one of their set, a group of friends find themselves targeted by someone who is out for revenge.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: I Know What You Did Last April Fool’s Day

 

Story: April Fool’s Day starts with a rich party hosted with Desiree (Cole) and Blaine (Henderson) with guests Torrance (Taylor-Compton), Ryan (Egender), Barbie (Newsom) Charles (McKelheer) and Peter (Child). The April Fool’s Day party is in honour for Torrance joining the ranks of the elite but the night is going to be filled with pranks. The big prank of the night was going to be played on Milan (Aldridge) which ends with her dead and a nationwide study.

One year later the friends get a warning from someone claiming they know who kill Milan and will continue to kill the group until the person responsible admits their guilt. Time for the finger pointing and suspicious growing between them until the truth is revealed.

April Fool’s Day plays out just like I Know What You Did Last Summer having a prank go wrong and the friends being taken out by a killer who knows what happened. My problems with this is the title is too clear where the film will go and the characters are all very unlikable throughout. This isn’t anything original and does show how the elite believe they can get away with anything.

 

Actor Review

 

Taylor Cole: Desiree Cartier is the elite lady who is hosting the party for Torrance while trying to get plan a prank on an old friend Milan. When things go wrong she ends up controlling the family fortune but is guilt ridden. She has to put a side he social status to find out who really killed her friend. Taylor is solid lead without being too impressive in it.

Josh Henderson: Blaine Cartier is the playboy brother to Desiree who agreed to play an apart in the prank in the Milan. He becomes the prime suspect but gets away with any wrong doing through the court system. He must work with his sister to find out who is after them. Josh is solid without being anything special in this role.

Scout Taylor-Compton: Torrance is the young lady who is being welcomed into the rich society group, she is an aspiring actress who after the incident before is getting her first roles in film. Scout struggles to make the impact she has in other horror films.

Joe Egender: Ryan is the camera guy that takes what happens the most, he finds himself near broke having to work for a living unlike the rest of the friends. He becomes the prime suspect due to his strange nature. Joe is solid but basic in this role.

Support Cast: April Fool’s Day has a supporting cast which pretty much only includes a couple of other potential suspects along with the victim being very basic for the film.

Director Review: The Butcher BrothersThe brothers give us a good mystery horror that does keep us guessing from start to finish.

 

Horror: April Fool’s Day has all the elements of a slasher movie with how the characters are getting picked off one by one but is never truly scary.

Thriller: April Fool’s Day tries to keep us guessing to who is doing the killing.

Settings: April Fool’s Day uses the rich house for parts of the setting while the rest are just random around the town settings.
Special Effects
: April Fool’s Day has good effects with the kills without being over the top or bad.

Suggestion: April Fool’s Day is a late night TV viewing for horror fans. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: Twist.

Worst Part: Twist you know is coming from the title.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

Tagline: It’s gonna be a killer party!

 

Overall: Title gives away too much about this film.

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