The Social Network (2010)

socialDirector: David Fincher

Writer: Aaron Sorkin (Screenplay) Ben Mezrich (Book)

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, Max Minghella, Josh Pence, Rashida Jones, Rooney Mara

 

Plot: Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.

 

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overrated and Hard Work

 

Story: The Social Network starts as we meet Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) on a date with Erica Albright (Mara) showing how socially awkward he can be during his time Harvard. Upset about the break up Mark with his friend Eduardo Saverin (Garfield) Dustin Moskovitz (Mazzello) and Chris Hughes (Mapel) create a comparing girls photos on a website that spread through Harvard instantly bringing down the servers.

This night’s events cause Zuckerberg on front of a disciplinary panel as well as showing us the ongoing court case going on against Zuckerberg. His stunt has grab the attention of the Winklevoss twins Cameron and Tyler (Hammer playing both) who want Zuckerberg to help them with their big idea.

The story continues to show Mark works with Winklevoss twins only to use their idea to build his own site The Facebook. When the site takes off it grabs the attention of founder of Napster Sean Parker (Timberlake) who wants to take the site from Millions to Trillions. This is the story of how Facebook ends up becoming one of the biggest things the world has ever seen.

 

Thoughts on The Social Network

 

StoryThe story shows us how Facebook was built by making enemies with the people who helped start it going by borrowing ideas to make it the biggest sites in the world. We get plenty of business talk, tech talk and lawyer scenes which mix up the story for us making it difficult to understand everything that goes on because most of the story is very American, so if you don’t understand the terms you will find yourself lost in the mix. I feel this will always be a complex story that will be remember but is told very slow and confusingly.

Biography/DramaShowing the actions of the real-life people involved Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, the Winklevoss twins and Sean Porter show how they were all effected by what happened with the creation of Facebook which is all good as we see how these people were meant to be acting towards making this happen. There is nothing bad to say about this side of the story watching the genre.

Characters/PerformanceThe performances are nearly all flawless as we see just how these people are portrayed, we see how Zuckerberg comes off very brash arrogant and rude towards the people who help him. When you see the cast being involved you can see how the stars have started and come onto the next big things.

SettingsEach setting makes us see just how much a party incident this started as which would be where the idea started but the most important side of this is showing how it started with dorm room before turning into the business venture in a tower.

Final Thoughts Overall this is a very interesting look at how Facebook started even if the story can be hard to follow. We get heavyweight performances from all but the early stages of the film come off slow but the final acts of the film are the real highlights of the film.

 

Overall: Great performance, important story but at times tells a story we don’t need to know.

Ratingcard

 

 

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Original v Remake – The Karate Kid (2010)

This is the follow up entry to the Now and Then Blogathon from Thoughts All Sorts.

 

Director: Harald Zwart

Writer: Christopher Murphey (Screenplay) Robert Mark Kamen (Story)

Starring: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P Henson, Wenwen Han, Rongguang Yu

 

Plot: Work causes a single mother to move to China with her young son; in his new home, the boy embraces kung fu, taught to him by a master.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Stand Alone Movie

 

Story: The Karate Kid starts as Dre (Smith) and his mother Sherry (Henson) move from Detroit to Beijing, China. While this is a bigger move that the original we follow the same idea, Dre meets a girl Meiying (Han) and grabs the attention of the local bullies led by Cheng (Wang).

When the bully looks like Dre will find himself in trouble he can’t get out of, the handyman Mr Han (Chan) comes to his aid. Mr Han sees the Master training the bullies and gets Dre entered into a tournament leading to him to teach him kung fu before the tournament, this gives Dre the level of discipline he would need in life.

 

Thoughts on The Karate Kid

 

Characters – Dre is our teenager that goes from Detroit to China, he faces a language barrier, needing to make new friends and worst of all bullies. When he gets the chance to learn kung fu, he gains the discipline needed to be w worthy fighter. Mr Han is the handyman that becomes the teacher for Dre, he keeps to himself for the most part but when he sees Dre in looks to pass on his training. Sherry is the over protective mother that moves her son to China. In this film the love interest and bully do seem to have small parts to the bigger picture though.

PerformanceJaden Smith does lack the charisma which we had in the first film to carry the leading role. Jackie Chan is fine in his role working as the mentor but doesn’t bring anything new to the role. Taraji P Henson does a solid job as the mother role.

StoryThe story is boy moves to new town or in this case country where he must learn a new culture as well as discipline when it comes to defending himself, we have the same training idea leading to the same tournament. The differences come from the idea that Sherry moves for a promotion, the love interest does feel awkward as they seem too young and we have kung fu over karate. This doesn’t have the same magical feeling the original film had but could be enjoyed if you haven’t seen the original.

Action/Family/SportThe action does feel weaker than the original, it is a tame couple of chases and then the tournament. I feel it would be hard to get the family to enjoy this because of the running time of nearly 2 and half hours.

SettingsThis is the biggest plus for the film, the setting of China makes the move impossible for Dre to go back on, he must learn the new culture and it does get to look at moments of the spiritual side of the kung fu.

Scene of the Movie – What happened to Mr Han’s family.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is a subtitles moan or a lack there of for moments when the kids are arguing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a remake we didn’t need, it does lose what made the original magical but as a standalone film it can be watched for what it is meant to be.

 

Overall: Remake waste, solo film enjoyment.

Rating

 

 

Original v Remake Weekend – Let Me In (2010)

Director: Matt Reeves

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

Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Cara Buono, Elias Koteas, Sasha Barrese

 

Plot: A bullied young boy befriends a young female vampire who lives in secrecy with her guardian.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Remake

 

Story: Let Me In Starts with a man being rushed to hospital with a police escort, before we learn that his daughter was asking about him, before he commits suicide. We move back two weeks to meet the lonely Owen (Smit-McPhee) who has become the latest victim of the school bully, but with no one to turn to he looks to find his own way to defend himself.

Moving in next door to Owen is the mysterious family with Abby (Moretz) being the same age as Owen, but it is her father (Jenkins) which comes off very strange. It isn’t long before Owen and Abby become friends being drawn to each other by their loneliness, but can this friendship last with the two from very different worlds.

After Abby’s father dies, she turns to the only friend she knows of, Owen to help her with her feeding, living situation while she helps Owen out with his own problems with the bullies at school.

 

Thoughts on Let Me In

 

Characters/PerformanceOwen is portrayed as the loner bully victim who doesn’t have any friends, no support from his mother or teachers. He is looking for a way to fight back, be it through his PE coach or with his own choice of weapon, his knife. Abby is the estranged neighbour that offers him friendship but also has her own dark secret which will make friendship all the more difficult. I do feel these characters don’t quite reach the levels that the original manages to achieve.

Performance wise I also think both Kodi and Chloe do a great job but I also feel the original has a more realistic feel to the performances. I don’t feel the rest of the cast get enough time to make the impact as this story is about the two children.

StoryThe story does follow the same path as the original only going for the impact moment to start the film, the story also pays a lot more references to Romeo and Juliet because you can see the same ideas for the story of two young lovers coming from different worlds.

Horror/MysteryThe horror side of the story comes from the graphic attacks but they do feel at times forced for extra impact. The mystery side of the story comes in as we wonder just where things will go if you have never seen the original.

SettingsIn this version we are in small town America which again shows it being a good location for a vampire to hide out and for a young boy to feel lonely in.

Special EffectsWe have limited special effects with them being used well when needed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good remake that does enough to keep the story similar but bringing enough of an America twist to the story.

 

Overall: This is a remake that works showing if it is done correctly.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – The Shrine (2010)

Director: Jon Knautz

Writer: Jon Knautz, Brendan Moore, Trevor Matthews (Screenplay) Jon Knautz, Brendon Moore (Story)

Starring: Aaron Ashmore, Cindy Sampson, Meghan Heffern, Trevor Matthews, Vieslav Krystyan, Laura de Carteret

 

Plot: Two female journalists and a photographer travel to Europe to investigate a series of mysterious disappearances, only to find themselves embroiled in a struggle against a kind of evil they never expected.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Easy but not Shocking Horror

 

Story: The Shrine starts as young ambitious reporter Carmen (Sampson) learns of a string of missing people in a small town in Poland, going against her bosses wishes she takes her boyfriend Marcus (Ashmore) and her intern Sara (Heffern) to this Polish town.

Getting a less than warm welcome, the three find themselves pushed to leave, but Carmen’s determination to get a story puts their lives in danger once they enter a mysterious mist or fog surrounding one part of the forest. When their snooping gets them into trouble the three will learn what is really happening in this small town.

 

Thoughts on The Shrine

 

Characters/PerformanceMarcus is a photography boyfriend of Carmen who reluctantly agrees to go on the trip to help their relationship but does believe it’s all for work, he isn’t happy when he learns the truth but will fight to save Carmen’s life. Carmen is the ambitious reporter that brings her team to this small town in search of answers about disappearances through the years. She will do anything for the story. Sara is an intern working for Carmen that see this story as a chance to get ahead in her career but her naïve nature leaves her being designed as the disposable one of the three. The cult figures are all what you would expect in a film like this not coming off overly original in anyway.

Performance wise, Aaron Ashmore is fine without hitting the heights we know he can, the same goes for the whole cast, they are fine without being great.

StoryThe story is easily a by the book horror, group of Americans find themselves in a new country where they must fight to survive against the enemy there. It offers very little new to the world of storytelling and is easily an ABC into horror.

HorrorThis falls into the horror genre of being captured and needing to survive, the only scare comes from not knowing an easy way out of trouble they find themselves in.

SettingsThe remote town works on two fronts, it helps with the budget and shows us just how trapped our characters will be.

Special EffectsAll of the effects come off very basic, they are not needed too often and work when required.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple horror that can be enjoyed without being overly impressive but can be enjoyed by the horrors fans out there.

 

Overall: One for late night tv

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – Black Death (2010)

Director: Christopher Smith

Writer: Dario Poloni (Screenplay)

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, Carice Van Houten, John Lynch, Tim McInnerny, Andy Nyman, Kimberley Nixon

 

Plot: Set during the time of the first outbreak of bubonic plague in England, a young monk is given the task of learning the truth about reports of people being brought back to life in a small village.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Medieval Horror

 

Story: Black Death starts with the plague sweeping across England, a young monk Osmund (Redmayne) is starting to question his own faith when the chance to join a group of soldiers led by Ulrich (Bean) who are requesting a man of faith on their latest mission. Ulrich and his men of colourful characters, that include a torturer, a family man and a man who would be happy to cut someone in half.

The mission is to search for a small group of people who don’t have the Black Death but are meant to be using the dark arts and sacrifice to keep them safe. As the journey continues the group learn that the plague isn’t the only thing that could kill them.

 

Thoughts on Black Death

 

Characters/PerformanceUlrich is a leader of soldiers who fight against the unholy for the bishop’s cause, he takes his work seriously and will kill anyone who crosses him or his men. Osmund is a young monk who has given his heart to a woman who gets stuck between his own faith and the woman he loves. Langiva is the leader of the small village who has the power to bring the dead back to life using her own ways to tempt the men away from their God. The rest of the soldier all fit the generic requirements with the villagers also fitting in them too.

Performance wise, Sean Bean is the star performer here showing he can carry any film, Redmayne is good but you can see how he was still learning with this performance, while Carice van Houten does make for a good seductive villain.

StoryLooking at the story, we get elements of how the world feared the Black Death and would turn to God or lose faith in him all together turning to another form of belief. That is the core part of this film as the soldiers refuses to give up on what they have come to believe to stop what is meant to be a wave of terror surrounding a small village. This does everything it needs to but does have moments that could come off original but others that you could see things coming.

Action/Horror/MysteryThere is small bursts of action mostly sword fighting, the horror comes from what could be happening and any torture scenes which are all off camera torture, the mystery does keep us going as we are left to wonder what is the truth.

SettingsEach setting makes us feel like we are in the current time this movie is set which is during the Black Death which is all we require and isn’t over used for any added horror.

Special EffectsThe special effects are mostly practical ones when it comes to the deaths, torture and potential witchcraft going on through the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good medieval horror film, it does look at the idea of religion being good or bad as well as how deeply away from it you could go. It is also good to see a young Eddie Redmayne in one of the leading roles.

 

Overall: This is a film well worth checking out even if it isn’t the absolute best in the genre.

Rating