1911 Revolution (2011)

Director: Li Zhang, Jackie Chan

Writer: Xiagdong Wang, Baoguang Chen (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Winston Chao, Bingbing Li, Chun Sun, Joan Cheen, Wu Jiang, Jayceee Chan

 

Plot: A historical drama based on the founding of the Republic of China when nationalist forces led by Sun Yat-sen overthrew the Qing Dynasty.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard to Follow

 

Story: 1911 Revolution starts as we start learning the facts of the revolution against the Qing Dynasty, we have Sun Yat-sen (Chao) who is leading the revolution with his loyal soldier Commander Huang Xing (Chan) heading into the battles. As the story unfolds we continue to get pop up information about each battle which does make this hard to follow because instead of letting the story unfold on front of us a lot of details happens off camera with just information filling in the gaps.

 

Thoughts on 1911 Revolution

 

Final ThoughtsI have decided not to do the breakdown like normal here, mostly because this wasn’t a very impressive film. Jackie Chan just doesn’t seem to fit a straight-faced war character, while I have no issues with him doing non-comic roles this is one serious role that doesn’t come off. The war sequences do all look great without being anything special but it is the story telling process I have most issues with. The story is show us a short scene then throw some text up to explain who this new character is and this happens a lot making us wonder what is actually happening.

 

Overall: Very poor storytelling of what could have been an interesting war film.

Rating 1/10

 

 

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The Iron lady (2011)

Director: Phyllida Lloyd

Writer: Abi Morgan (Screenplay)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Richard E Grant, Olivia Coleman, Alexandra Roach, Iain Glen

 

Plot: An elderly Margaret Thatcher talks to the imagined presence of her recently deceased husband as she struggles to come to terms with his death while scenes from her past life, from girlhood to British prime minister, intervene.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Biopic

 

Story: The Iron Lady starts as we meet an elderly former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Streep) who has been having conversations with her husband Denis (Broadbent) while finding herself trying to escape the guards guarding her.

Margaret (Roach, younger Margaret) has flashbacks to the war time the lessons her father Alfred (Glen) gave her in life as she gets into Oxford. Getting through Oxford she meets Denis who loves her determined mindset on making change, we continue to watch in flashbacks as the elderly Margaret remembers her rise through political career to become one of the most famous Prime Ministers England has every had.

 

Thoughts on The Iron Lady

 

Characters/PerformanceMargaret Thatcher is easily one of the most iconic Prime Ministers England has ever had, seeing how her life from humble grocery’s daughter to leader of a country comes about, she was one of the strongest women in history taking on the world centred around men, but in her elderly age she looks back at her role in defying the country. Denis is her husband, we see how he keeps her grounded even after he passes on he plays a big part in what she sees when looking back. The rest of the characters are people from her life, her whole life which all have an impact on the decision-making process.

Performance wise, Meryl Streep is fantastic and you can see why she went on to win the Oscar. Jim Broadbent is fun in this role as the husband both alive and dead talking to Margaret. The rest of the cast all go great even if this is the Meryl Streep Show.

StoryWe all know that Margaret Thatcher is one of the most famous prime minsters the UK ever had. This film focuses on how Margaret was looking back on the key incident leading to her run to Prime Minister, through it and what led to the end of it. I really liked how we looked back without getting bogged down with the politics of her reign. The story is told as if a once great leader looked at what she sees as success and failure.

BiographyThis is a great look at Margaret Thatcher, a woman who came from a family of groceries to become leader of the Prime Minister, we see the good and bad moments of her life as well as paving the way for women in politics.

SettingsEach setting used fits the time we are seeing, nothing looks out of place for this great moment she lives through.

Final ThoughtsHaving a history lesson can sometimes get boring when looking at one person’s life, but this doesn’t focus on this too much instead looks at the idea of how she remembers everything.

 

Overall: This is a biopic with a difference and well worth a watch.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Scream of the Banshee (2011)

screamDirector: Steven C Miller

Writer: Anthony C Ferrante, Jacob Hair (Screenplay)

Starring: Lauren Holly, Lance Henriksen, Eric F Adams, Marcelle Baer, Edrick Browne, Leanne Cochran, Thomas C Daniel

 

Plot: An archaeology professor unearths a dangerous artefact, unwittingly releasing a creature that is able to kill with the power of its bone-splitting scream.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Horror

 

Story: Scream of the Banshee starts in 12th century Ireland as we see an evil vanquished before moving to present day. We get to meet researcher Professor Isla Whelan (Holly) and her students Shayla (Baer), Janie (Cochran) and Otto (Haberkorn) who are getting the latest project ready.

When the team discovers a box from the 12th century they discover the head inside which unleashes a terrifying scream before vanishing. When the research team start getting haunted by the banshee they must locate former professors Samuel Page (Adams) and Broderick Duncan (Henriksen) for answers on how to stop the creature.

Scream of the Banshee plays into the screaming banshee myth which is the first time I have seen this in a horror movie which I am happy to see. The problems do build from that though because the story makes a big point of this being an Irish myth and sets the film in America almost randomly. We get the banshee that can only attack when you scream but in the final act it doesn’t seem to matter so we have built up nicely on for it to end playing against all of the rules created earlier in the film. The overall story is easy to follow so just enjoy the kills and look into an interesting myth.

 

Actor Review

 

Lauren Holly: Professor Isla Whelan leads an archiving team at the university who discover a 12th century box with a head inside. Once they open the box they start getting haunted by the banshee as she needs to rebuild her crumbling relationship with her daughter. Lauren is solid in this role but the character doesn’t seem to be as big of an expert as we are led to believe.

Lance Henriksen: Broderick Duncan is a former professor who was obsessed with the box so much so that he has become a fanatic theorist. Lance is the big name in the film even though we don’t meet his character in person till the final act.

Eric F Adams: Samuel Page is the former assistant to Duncan who doesn’t want anything to do with but once he starts also getting haunted by the banshee he must help the researchers find Duncan to put a stop to everything. Eric does a basic job as the character telling more of the story.

Support Cast: Scream of the Banshee has a supporting cast which are mostly made up for the students who just become disposable as the story unfolds.

Director Review: Steven C MillerSteven give us a horror that looks into Irish folk law to get the horror but has one too many false jump scares.

 

Horror: Scream of the Banshee plays into the jump scares of horror as we see each character getting haunted with jump scares coming in nearly every scene but often too many times.

Settings: Scream of the Banshee throws us into the university style settings to start with before moving out, the settings don’t really have any impact on where the story actually goes.
Special Effects
: Scream of the Banshee has solid effects throughout while not everything is jaw-dropping it all works for the concept of the film.

Suggestion: Scream of the Banshee is a late night television experience that can be enjoyed by the horror fans. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: Banshee idea works.

Worst Part: Certain inconsistency in how the banshee acts.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: She hasn’t been out for a thousand years.

 

Overall: Simple horror that does all it needs to.

Ratingcard

 

 

Mark Strong Weekend – The Guard (2011)

guardDirector: John Michael McDonagh

Writer: John Michael McDonagh (Screenplay)

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong, Liam Cunningham

 

Plot: An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is partnered with an up-tight F.B.I. agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darkly Comic Crime Comedy

 

Story: The Guard starts as we meet slacker but smart Irish small town police officer Gerry Boyle (Gleeson) who is happen just to clean up crime scenes than solve the crime when it comes to the petty ones. When his small village has a surprise murder and the number 5 and half written in blood on the wall.

This case brings FBI agent Wendell Everett (Cheadle) from America to track down the drug shipment that went missing and is believed to be in Ireland. This brings us the unlikely pairing of Gerry and Wendell from two different worlds trying to track down drug dealer Francis Sheehy-Skeffington (Cunningham) who is hiding out in the village.

 

Thoughts on The Guard

 

StoryIf you were to bottle down this story it is just an odd couple crime comedy tracking down drug smugglers which is all fine and an enjoyable watch throughout. I have said before I am happy with simple stories and this is just that we get good characters and fun moments and is one that can be enjoyed by all.

Comedy/Crime We get comedy from the odd couple crime story going on which has laughs from start to finish with mostly inappropriate comments from Gerry.

Characters/PerformanceGerry is a great addition to the comedic police officer genre that has many but this one is great fun to watch as you don’t know how inappropriate he will be with his latest comments. The FBI agent Wendell plans the straight honest character who is great at reacting to the comments. The bad guys are all played to be what we expect from the genre with the local drug dealer turned international drug smugglers.

Looking at the performance Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle make for a great partnership for comedy that you feel you could watch again and again, when you look at Cunningham and Strong they both enjoy taking the villainous roles.

SettingsHaving the film set in a small Irish village adds to the comedy between local and outsider from the FBI agent but this is a village not used to crime.

Final ThoughtsThis really is a darkly comic crime film that can be enjoyable by all.

 

Overall: Entertaining Irish crime comedy that will make you laugh at all the right points.

Ratingcard

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Moth Diaries (2011)

mothDirector: Mary Harron

Writer: Mary Harron (Screenplay) Rachel Klein (Novel)

Starring: Sarah Bolger, Sarah Gadon, Lily Cole, Scott Speedman

 

Plot: Rebecca is suspicious of Ernessa, the new arrival at her boarding school. But is Rebecca just jealous of Ernessa’s bond with Lucie, or does the new girl truly possess a dark secret?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull

 

Story: The Moth Diaries starts as we see best friends Rebecca (Bolger) and Lucy (Gadon) returning to boarding school catching up with all their friends after a summer back together. When Ernessa (Cole) arrives at the school she instantly strikes up a friendship with Lucy as we see early on the tension rising between the Ernessa and Rebecca.

When Rebecca starts to think Ernessa is up to something she finds herself becoming distant from her friends but soon she starts to learn they may have more in common. Rebecca becomes obsessed with proving that Ernessa is evil when strange things start happening to her class mates but how does she go about this when she believes she is a ghost.

The Moth Diaries gives us what comes off as the ghost investigation mixed with St Trinian’s. we follow how friendships get pushed and girls get up to things they shouldn’t including drugs and sneaking off for sex. The girls are all unlikable and the serious side of the tory seems to get forgotten. The whole story does come off very average and boring as you never believe any of the fear Rebecca is meant to be feeling.

 

Actor Review

 

Sarah Bolger: Rebecca has been best friends with Lucy for years at boarding school but when Ernessa arrives she starts to find tension between her friends and dealing with the suicide of her father she finds herself wondering if she will act the same in the future. Sarah is solid but doesn’t really pull you into the story enough.

Sarah Gadon: Lucy is the best friend of Rebecca who starts to become distant from Rebecca as soon Ernessa starts school. Sarah does seem to get forgotten through the film sadly and never comes off strong enough.

Lily Cole: Ernessa is the mysterious new girl in the school who seems to have the ability to control other people decisions. She seems to be targeting Rebecca and her friends making Rebecca come off as a loner but does she have an alternative motive. Lily is solid but you can see her struggle with the serious scenes.

Scott Speedman: Mr Davies is the first male teacher the school has had, he is also a big admirer of Rebecca’s father. Scott really is just a small supporting part in this film.

Support Cast: The Moth Diaries has very generic supporting cast which are all very forgettable.

Director Review: Mary HarronMary gives us what comes off like a slightly dull ghost story.

 

Horror: The Moth Diaries doesn’t have any moments of real horror happening at all.

Mystery: The Moth Diaries has a thin mystery about who Ernessa really is but otherwise you don’t really care about what is happening.

Settings: The Moth Diaries keeps nearly the whole film in and around the boarding school which works for the film.
Special Effects
: The Moth Diaries has a few but easily forgettable effects.

Suggestion: The Moth Diaries is easily one you could miss really. (Skip It)

 

Best Part: UMMM.

Worst Part: Story is very thin.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

Tagline: Every girl has her secrets.

 

Overall: Basic and boring ghost mystery film.

Ratingcard