Edward Norton Weekend – Primal Fear (1996)

Director: Gregory Hobilt

Writer: Steve Shagan, Ann Biderman (Screenplay) William Diehl (Novel)

Starring: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, John Mahoney, Alfre Woodard, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Terry O’Quinn, Andre Braugher


Plot: An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.

Tagline – Sooner or later a man who wears two faces forgets which one is real.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Brilliant Thriller


Story: Primal Fear starts when the Archbishop is murdered, all clues point to bloody covered Aaron (Norton) as the murderer, he shy stuttering alter boy. When former district prosecutor Martin Vail (Gere) turned defence lawyer sees this as a spotlight for his new career direction and going against former colleague Janet (Linney) and her boss the district attorney Shaughnessy (Mahoney) the case goes to trial.

When Martin learns that Aaron has a split personality disorder with a much more aggressive Roy doing the dirty work for Aaron and the bigger picture of the motivation behind the murder comes to light.


Thoughts on Primal Fear


Characters – Martin Vail is the lawyer, he once was one of the biggest prosecutors in the city but has turned his back on that career to become a defence lawyer. He sees this case as the one that will give him his big break as a defence lawyer doing this case for free. He has a strong trusted team, he is made out to be a womaniser, though we never see him hit on anyone, only that he once had a fling with Janet in the past. Janet is the prosecutor that is taking the case, she is the one taking over Martin’s role and with a previous relationship with him. She knows this will be a career maker for her and is enjoying going head to head with her former mentor. Shaughnessy is the District Attorney that wants the death penalty and will not let Janet forget this. Aaron is the shy alter boy that is accused of murder but with him being found covered in blood even if you can’t see him doing this murder, Roy is the aggressive personality next to Aaron that knows the truth and seems to be the release of everything Aaron holds in. Shoat is the judge trying to control the case in what lawyers are trying to pull for their wins. Molly is psychologist that is studying Aaron trying to figure out what his mindset learning about Roy.

PerformancesRichard Gere is fantastic in the leading role, you see here how he shows the desperate he is to win this case. Laura Linney is strong in her role which must go against Richard Gere. Edward Norton gives one of the best debut roles of any actor in the history of film, he is disturbed when needed and calm when Aaron and crazed when Roy. The supporting cast are great too without taking the spotlight of the rest of the cast.

StoryThe story follows the trial of a disturbed young man accused of murdering an archbishop. While the court case unfolds like you would expect with twists coming from every corner and evidence coming to light through nearly every witness. As a fan of courtroom dramas this plays into everything I enjoy and I love watching crimes get solved in a courtroom. The story is very well paced and even being over 2 hours long doesn’t feel like you are giving the film this much time.

Crime/MysteryThe crime focuses on the murder and what gave the killer motivation, the mystery plays into the motivation too and just how the shy timid altar boy could have committed the murder.

SettingsThe film uses the courtroom for most of the scenes, we have the location involved in the crime too which shows how the lawyers are operating on both sides of the case.

Scene of the Movie –
The final twist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would say the side case Martin worked on being touched on through the main case gets slightly annoying.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best courtroom dramas of all time, with a crime which does balance the line between what would be considered a bigger crime and performances that could be considered the career best for members of the cast.


Overall: Courtroom delight.




Original v Remake – Poseidon (2006)

poseideonDirector: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: Mark Protosevich (Screenplay) Paul Gallico (Novel)

Starring: Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Jacinda Barrett, Richard Dreyfuss, Emmy Rossum, Mia Maestro, Mike Vogel, Kevin Dillon, Freddy Rodriguez, Andre Braugher


Plot: On New Year’s Eve, the luxury ocean liner Poseidon capsizes after being swamped by a rogue wave. The survivors are left to fight for their lives as they attempt to escape the sinking ship.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Glossy but Pointless Remake


Story: Poseidon starts on board the Luxury Ocean Liner Poseidon and we go through meeting al our characters Robert Ramsey (Russell) and his daughter Jennifer (Rossum) who is with her boyfriend Christian (Vogel), we also meet gambler Dylan Johns (Lucas), Elena (Maestro) who has snuck on board to be with her boyfriend Marco (Rodriguez) who works on the crew. Richard Nelson (Dreyfuss) is celebrating his trip away wanting a midnight call from his loved one even though he has had his heartbroken back home with Captain Bradford (Braugher) keeping everything calm. This character introduction feels very rushed and I am not sure if I want to cheer for any of these characters. Actually I want to see Richard’s story.

New Year’s Eve again and the celebrations start the new year before the disaster strikes as a rogue enormous wave strikes the ship rolling it upside down. As if all the characters we met are important they are the ones that survive and go out to search for a way out while the rest stay behind in safety so we have Robert, Jennifer, Dylan, Elena, Marco, Richard, Maggie (Barrett) and her son Conor (Bennett). It would be fair to say this is slightly too many characters to be dealing with so I guess we need to trim them down by having over the top deaths for the supporting ones, there we go it starts.

We are left to wonder which ones of the survivors will make it out alive even if we use the process of elimination we know which ones will make it to the end.

Poseidon is a remake of the classic disaster film and what this film does this time is go for the overkill on the characters that are not part of the main group, be it through the first wave, the survivors who didn’t want to go with the rest or just the less important characters have big, Hollywood style kills. The threat remains good because if your ship gets tipped upside down it is easy to create the peril needed for this film. It ends up being nothing but a Hollywood glorified over the top disaster film with under developed characters.

When it comes to the cast you see Josh Lucas get a leading role in an action film where due to poorly written character he is never good or bad with the way he behaves this can also be said about the Kurt Russell character with neither taking the roles filled by Hackman or Borgnine is the original. None of the other performance stand out with as I said before just being disposable characters throughout the film. This film almost feels like a pointless cash in remake for a film that never need to be remade as an action set piece rather than the quest to survive.


Overall: Easy to watch disaster film that lacks character development needed.




Glory (1989)

logoDirector: Edward Zwick

Writer: Kevin Jarre (Screenplay) Lincoln Kirstein, Peter Burchard (Book)

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman, Jihmi Kennedy, Andre Braugher


Plot: Robert Gould Shaw leads the US Civil War’s first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of both his own Union army and the Confederates.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Great Historical Drama


Story: Glory starts with narration from Robert Gould Shaw (Broderick) writing back to his parents explain why he is fighting for the freedom of every man woman and child in America during the Civil War. After he loses a large number of men in a battle he gets a chance to become a Colonel of the first coloured Battalion. Robert brings along his close friend Major Cabot Forbes (Elwes) and the Battalion is born. Robert’s personal friend Thomas Searles (Braugher) is the first to enlist and we meet a Private Trip (Washington) John Rawlins (Freeman) who along with others share the tent before training for combat.

When the men both black and white alike learn their potential fate if caught during the war they will either return to slavery or be executed not a single one leaves the unit. When the training continues to go on it starts to become apparent that they might just be there for show. the tensions rise as they keep getting pushes into manual work but when they finally get their chance in combat they live up to the occasion showing their excellent combat skills. When a chance to prove themselves once and for all Shaw takes it even if it means many of his men will die in the battle for Fort Wagner.

Glory tells the story of a little known part of the American Civil War, it also shows how the struggle between the race lines even if one side was fighting for their freedom. It shows how they overcame all the prejudices and even added the much need numbers in the war to help their side to victory. It does shy away from going full blown war gore on us which is a positive because it is about the idea of fighting for their chance. It is one of the best war films of all time and an important history lesson about the American Civil War. (9/10)


Actor Review


Matthew Broderick: Col. Robert Gould Shaw leader of the first coloured unit in the civil war, he has to fight to get them into combat even though his age gets put into question compared to the rest of the senior officers. Matthew gives a great performance and could easily be the best of his career. (9/10)


Denzel Washington: Private Trip the hot heated soldier who just wants to fight the world even though the people he is fighting with all want the same thing. Denzel shows here that he was going to be a superstar with a great performance. (9/10)


Cary Elwes: Maj. Cabot Forbes second in command who tries to balance his rank between his friendship and leadership. Cary gives a good performance but a large amount of his scenes were cut. (7/10)


Morgan Freeman: Sgt. Maj. John Rawlins starting off as the grave digger he becomes the leader of the men in combat and communication between the men and Shaw. Morgan gives a great performance showing he was going to continue for years to come. (9/10)


Andre Braugher: Thomas Searles a house servant for the Shaw family who enlists in the unit even though he has to deal with his higher educated background compared to the fellow soldiers. Andre makes an impressive debut that showed his skills. (8/10)


Support Cast: Glory supporting cast is the fellow soldiers and the generals who both helped and hinder the battalion. They all help drive the story to the next chapter.


Director Review: Edward Zwick – Edward does a great job directing this film showing the struggle over the war experience. (8/10)


History: Glory shows how the American Civil War changed after the inclusion of the coloured soldiers. (9/10)

War: Glory shows the struggle of going into a war over the actual battles but when the battles happen it all shows the horror of the war. (9/10)

Settings: Glory shows the settings that would be used for the Civil War. (9/10)

Suggestion: Glory is one that should be watched by everyone and if you studying American Civil War one that you will most likely watch at school. (Watch)


Best Part: The final battle.

Worst Part: Some of the extras have lets us the world interesting over the top death jumps.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final attack.


Believability: It tells the story of what really happened. (9/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Won 3 Oscars including Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography and Best Sound.

Budget: $18 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

Tagline: Their innocence. Their heritage. Their lives. Nothing would be spared in the fight for their freedom

Trivia: This film has one of the longest credit rolls in history. The credits following the movie ran a full ten minutes and were shipped to theaters on a separate reel. The films cast is displayed three times, each in a different layout.


Overall: Glory Shines

Rating 90

Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

Director: Tim Story

Writer: Don Payne, Mark Frost

Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon, Kerry Washington, Doug Jones, Andre Braugher, Beau Garrett


Story Susan Storm (Alba) and Reed Richards (Gruffudd) are tring to have the perfect quiet wedding, only there is one big problem they are part of the fantastic Four Invisible Woman and Mr Fantastic. Susan’s sister Johnny or Human Torch (Evans) tries to arrange a bachelor party for Reed, Ben or the Thing (Chiklis) helps out.


While on the bachelor party General Hager (Braugher) comes looking for Reed to help solve a problem with a mysterious Silver Surfer (Jones)(Voiced by Laurence Fishbourne). The Surfer turns up at the wedding looking to destroy the machine that detects his location. Johnny goes on the chase and catches but fails to stop the surfer from escaping.


With the Silver Surfer setting up the world for destruction can the Fantastic Four save the day? With the government out to use the surfers power and Dr Doom (McMahon) having escaped his prison wants the power for himself?

Verdict This superhero movie is from the lighter worlds of heroes where its all about the hero not about stopping the villain in a dark world. AS I have not seen the first one I can’t comment on whether it is better or worse but I do prefer the already known rather than origin hero movies. I think more details on what is coming to destroy the Earth is would have been nice. Most superhero fans will enjoy this and it seems to be a superhero movie aimed more towards younger generations. All the characters are likely but the villains both don’t get too much screen time to build up any hype to their plans.

Story Mark 7/10 Simple heroes beat villains in the knick of time.

Action Mark 8/10 Some good action scenes with Human Torch chasing Silver Surfer through New York.

Friendship Chemistry Mark 9/10 All four leads comes together by putting difference behind them to make the unit stronger

Special Effects Mark 8/10 Basic special effects, which carries the action well.

Star Performances Chris Evans – has to come through a few struggles and adds some much needed laughs.

Favourite Character The Thing – get wound up easily by Johnny and teases him with the whole power swapping scenes

Poor Performance Ioan Gruffudd – is he really a lead actor?

Least Favourite Character Reed and Susan both boring and should never be getting married

Best Part Silver Surfer dissolves a missile with the surfboard

Worst Part No real villain back stories

Best Quote Silver Surfer – ‘All that you know, is at an end’

Similar Too – Fantastic Four, X-Men and Daredevil

My Rating 67%