Franchise Weekend – Justice League Dark (2017)

Director: Jay Oliva

Writer: Ernie Altbacker (Screenplay) J.M DeMatteis, Ernie Altbacker (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Rosario Dawson, Camilla Luddington, Jerry O’Connell, Jeremy Davies, Alfred Molina, Enrico Colantoni, Matt Ryan, Jason O’Mara, Nicholas Turturro, Roger Cross, Ray Chase

 

Plot: Beings with supernatural powers join together to fight against supernatural villains. This team of supernatural beings include John Constantine, Zatanna and Jason Blood also known as the demon Etrigan.


Tagline – Every super hero has a dark side.

Runtime: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darker Justice League Delight

 

Story: Justice League Dark starts when the people of the world start seeing demons in everyday life causing them to commit crimes including murder. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern are doing their best to solve the mystery which leads them to work with John Constantine.

John is joined with his connection Zatanna and Boston Brand as Batman leads the investigation to the mysterious demons being seen by the people around the world. Destiny an ancient evil has returned and only Constantine’s dark magic can save humanity.

 

Thoughts on Justice League Dark

 

Characters – Batman must look outside of the normal Justice League for help on the latest mission, one that goes into the dark arts of magic, he must use his connection to find Constantine as they prepare to fight to save the world once again. John Constantine is the British dark arts expert, he doesn’t get on with many people, but knows each and every connection in the darker side of the universe. Zatanna is the connection between Batman and Constantine, she does have Boston around to help control bodies, which is what Boston uses his abilities for, Jason Blood is the one friend that John still has even if they do have moments where they don’t see eye to eye, as well as his own inner demon which does the fighting for him. Destiny is the demon that is trying to find his way back to Earth after being left in darkness after his failed invasion.

StoryThe story here takes Batman to a new group the dark magic group of the DC Universe which brings us the darkest story to date. We only have small appearances from most of the Justice League, this does let the new characters have the focus for the story which is important because we are in a world a dark magic. This does have twists along the way in the story which will keep you guessing along the way and if you don’t know most of these characters you will get a chance to learn with how they are introduced through the film.

Action/Fantasy/HorrorThe action does fill the quota for a big superhero style fighting film, we have lots of explosion and destruction with each case getting bigger as the film unfold. Where this film uses the fantasy card is with the magic involved in the film, we get to see the creature from different universes appear and fight, with some showing us the horrors in these worlds.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us the different places the magic can take us, we see the darkness and the normal, the homes of the new characters and the past of them too.

AnimationThe animation is of good quality here and fits the style of the film giving us the action and horror we deserve.


Scene of the Movie –
Swamp Thing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slight short again.

Final ThoughtsThis is a much darker comic book movie with the big name of Batman involved, it works with the worlds colliding giving each side the battle they are looking for.

 

Overall: Darkest Justice League story.

Rating

 

 

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Gemma Arterton Weekend – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Director: Mike Newell

Writer: Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard (Screenplay) Jordan Mechner (Video Game)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Steve Toussaint, Toby Kebbell

 

Plot: A young fugitive Prince and Princess must stop a villain who unknowingly threatens to destroy the world with a special dagger that enables the magic sand inside to reverse time.


Tagline – Defy the Future

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Adventure

 

Story: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time starts in the land of Persia, ruler Nizam (Kingsley) and brother to the king Sharaman (Pickup) leads his armies in battle with his generals and rebellious prince Dastan (Gyllenhaal) still keeping his streetwise behaviour in him. The latest show of strength sees Dastan lead an attack on Princess Tamina (Arterton) city bringing the two cities together.

When Dastan gets framed for the King’s death, he goes on the with Tamina only to learn about a dagger that can control time, that his brother really wanted from the siege, Dastan must prove his innocence and return home while unlocking his own destiny.

 

Thoughts on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

 

Characters – Dastan was born on the streets, but raised in the place after impressing the king, he still remains close to the people on the streets which leaves him unable to follow orders. He leads an assault on a new kingdom only to find himself a pawn in a game of power for control of Persia and must learn his true destiny and save the kingdom. Tamina is the princess of a new land that the Persian’s claim, she is forced to marry one, but knows the secrets behind the dagger and the power it gives. She is willing to help get the dagger to safety and away from those who will use the power for their own greed. Nizam is the brother to the king, Uncle to Dastan, he has always lived in the shadow of his brother and no matter who takes over, he will not be king. Sheik Amar is a man that Dastan keeps running into on his travels, a man that is driven by gold which he sees with the bounty on Dastan’s head.

PerformancesJake Gyllenhaal is good when it comes to the action and physical side of the film, though his accent does bounce around at times. Gemma Arterton has the look of a princess, though the accent involved is questionable, for the location she is meant to be from. Ben Kingsley is an easy choice for a villainous character, which is fine he doesn’t get truly challenge in his role, while Alfred Molina adds comedy it can lighten up the movie enough.

StoryThe story is adapted from the video games series, which had a smart idea of a dagger that could control time and the battle for power of the dagger. The film does follow those lines well showing us that not everything is going to be easy for our hero and he simply won’t know who to trust when it comes to gaining power for good or evil. It does follow a trend which was going on at the time with the unlikely couple from different worlds that are slowly falling in love as they look to save the day, with unlikely friendship and enemies made along the way. The idea of a weapon which could possesses the ability to change time is interesting addition to the normal adventure movie too.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action in the film is good and entertaining, it includes the fights and battles which will show the number of people fighting for each side. The adventure side of the film shows us how far Dastan must travel to make his position right in the kingdom, going through location which would be considered dangerous on other days. The weapons power adds in the fantasy element which sees us reverse time when suited.

SettingsThe film does use the generic temple style cities and royal locations as well as the open deserts to show us where out character is going on their adventure.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mixed bag, when we see the time rewind, we do get a unique look which is good, the weakness come from certain larger scale moments.


Scene of the Movie –
The rewind of time scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The giant CGI moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun video game adventure movie, it has an idea which can become just like we could imagine a video game playing out which is what we would like at times.

 

Overall: Enjoyable adventure film.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Spiderman 2 (2004)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Michael Chabon, Alvin Sargent (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comic Book)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons

 

Plot: Peter Parker is beset with troubles in his failing personal life as he battles a brilliant scientist named Doctor Otto Octavius.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun

 

Story: Spider-Man 2 starts with the beautiful opening credits that recap what happened in the first film, before we follow Peter Parker (Maguire) in his new roles as a pizza delivery boy. Peter is still struggling to be on time for the important moments of his life including college, times for being there for Mary Jane (Dunst) and Harry (Franco) who is still holding the grudge against Spiderman.

Harry now running Oscorp where he has Dr Otto Octavius (Molina) working on fusion energy technology but when an accident happens Otto becomes Doc Ock, who has 4 extra arms that control him as they take over the city.

 

Thoughts on Spider-Man 2

 

Characters – Peter Parker still finds himself running late to his important matters but he still finds time to fight crime even though Spiderman has become hated by his best friend. He must deal with his life crashing down around him now, his best friend hates his loyalty to Spiderman, Mary Jane has moved on and his powers are draining. He must overcome the difficult moments in life to defeat his latest enemy. Mary Jane has moved on from Peter and Harry but deep down she does still love Peter. Dr Otto Octavius does believe he can help change the world for the better but when he loses his love and becomes controlled by Doc Ock he wreaks havoc on the city.

PerformanceTobey Maguire once again brings us a performance worthy of leading any movie showing us in the early 2000’s he was one of the best in the industry. Kirsten Dunst is good enough but once again falls into the damsel in distress role taking away the talent we know she has. Alfred Molina is great as the villain here, he is filled with the emotionless actions but also feeling like he is smarter than everyone else in the film. James Franco is good but we are continuing to build his character up.

StoryThe story has two main parts, the first is looking at Peter Parker trying to balance his normal life or education, love and friendship with being Spiderman, giving himself the decision on whether to give up the Spiderman side of his life to be a better man or not. We also have a villain on the loose that wants to continue his experiments which could destroy the whole city. The conflict is strong through the story as having a superhero question his part in the battle which gives s edge of your seat viewing.

Action/AdventureThee action is toned down in places when you look at the number of sequences but the reality is they are much bigger sequences throughout the film that have increased peril for Spiderman to fight.

SettingsWe stay in New York which was always key to making this film the enjoyable experience we know it was going to be.

Special EffectsSeemingly remaining with practical effects with editing around them, this film does seem to feel like we are in a real-world city with real superheroes battling.

Scene of the Movie – Train sequence

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel we need to start making Mary Jane stronger.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great continuation of the Spiderman evolution that was needed to keep things feeling fresh in the genre.

 

Overall: Enjoyable continuing Spiderman films

Rating

 

 

Swelter (2014)

Director: Keith Palmer

Writer: Keith Palmer (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Alfred Molina, Mindy Robinson, Josh Henderson, Lennie James

 

Plot: Ten years after their casino heist, four escaped convicts trace their former partner to a desert town, where he is now a lawman with no memory of his criminal past.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Slow Thriller

 

Story: Swelter starts as we see how Bishop (James), Stillman (Van Damme), Boyd (Henderson), Cole (Bowler) who all tried to pull a Vegas robbery, Bishop escapes but loses his memory the rest spend time behind bars, 10 years later they are all free looking for Bishop who has become the Sheriff of a small town called Baker.

Stillman leading the way in search for Bishop to retrieve the money that was taken, causing chaos in the town, but when they learn of Bishop’s state they find themselves needing to find another way to find their money.

 

Thoughts on Swelter

 

Characters/PerformanceBishop is the former casino robber turned sheriff because of the memory loss he suffered on his last job, he does suffer nightmares about his past but never understands them, he must now save his town from his past. Stillman is part of the original casino team but now he wants it back, we don’t see what he is capable off early on in this film. Doc is the local doctor who does have a connection to Bishop’s past. The rest of the characters are what you expect for this genre and setting.

Performance wise, Lennie James is good but mostly like a Morgan we have known before, Molina is fine in his supporting role giving us what we know he can do. Jean-Claude Van Damme is the mystery in this because most of his role is sitting and watching what is going on.

StoryThis story does follow the traditional idea of the one lone member of a gang doesn’t do time for a robbery and once the rest are released they come back to get what they think is theirs’. This does have a slight twist on that idea because the free one has lost their memory and the returning group know that violence isn’t going to be the answer. The reality is most of this film feel very slow moving.

Action/CrimeThe action is fine mostly fights but nothing fancy with the crime story mostly being about the characters involved.

SettingsThe small town does help for the story and help build the town of small town people through the generic side of things.

EffectsThe small effects needed are all fine and never over complicate anything.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that just lacks that punch needed and completely wastes having Jean-Claude Van Damme.

 

Overall: Lacklustre disappointing thriller.

Rating

 

 

Abduction (2011)

Director: John Singleton

Writer: Shawn Christensen (Screenplay)

Starring: Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, Sigourney Weaver, Maria Bello, Jason Issacs, Michael Nyqvist

 

Plot: A thriller centered on a young man who sets out to uncover the truth about his life after finding his baby photo on a missing persons website.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Badly Acted Action

 

Story: Abduction starts as we meet rebellious high school student Nathan (Lautner) that is under strict training from his parents Kevin (Isaacs) and Mara (Bello) as well as his therapist Dr Bennet (Weaver) helping him control his anger problems. Nathan gets assigned to work with his high school crush Karen (Collins) in the latest project, which involved looking at missing children’s websites only to discover one of the kids looks just like him.

When Nathan learns the truth, he finds himself getting targeted and Nathan is wondering just who to trust with Dr Bennett, Agent Burton (Molina) or Kozlow (Nyqvist) in what will turn into a race against time to find safety.

 

Thoughts on Abduction

 

Characters/PerformanceNathan is a rebellious high school student, struggling with girls, studying and generally fitting in. he learns that he is in fact adopted but this opens the doors for people coming to capture him leaving him one option, running. Karen is the crush of Nathan and ends up in the middle of the chase also running for her life. Burton is the CIA operative trying to bring Nathan in before Kozlow can get his hands on him. Kozlow is a European enemy that came to America in search for Nathan for bargaining, nothing overly fancy about this character. Dr Bennett, Mara and Kevin all have a secret about what is going on with Nathan.

Performance wise, we all know Taylor Lautner isn’t known for his acting and it does clearly show here. Lily Collins is similar, while she has come a long way now back here she struggles. When we look at the older respected actors we get good supporting performances without shinning on any levels.

StoryThe story follows the idea of a teenager learning his parents are not his parents leaving him on the run from enemies he doesn’t know who to trust. Having two teenagers outsmart CIA, international enemies and normal cops does come off rather farfetched which in places does nothing but disappoint in this film. as for entertainment value, this is simple enough for the fans of the genre.

Action/MysteryThe action is everything you expect with no extra special moments but the mystery about Nathan’s true identity is what is the only interesting part of the film.

SettingsBeing on the run leaves us going through a string of generic settings for this type of film.

Special EffectsAll the effects are fine without being anything special.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that has its flaws sure, but once it gets going it can become an edge of your seat thriller.

 

Overall: Simple, average and forgettable action film.

Rating