Naomi Watts Weekend – King Kong (2005)

Director: Peter Jackson

Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson (Screenplay) Merian C Cooper, Edgar Wallace (Story)

Starring: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks, Andy Serkis, Evan Parke, Jamie Bell

 

Plot: In 1933 New York, an overly ambitious movie producer coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to the mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter Kong, a giant ape who is immediately smitten with leading lady Ann Darrow.


Tagline – The eighth wonder of the world.

Runtime: 3 Hours 7 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Epic Remake

 

Story: King Kong starts when struggling actress Ann Darrow (Watts) loses her latest job in the packed city of New York, she gets lucky when she meets disgraced director Carl Denham (Black) who is rushing to find a leading lady, taking Ann for his latest film, with his screenwriter Jack Driscoll (Brody), the every man Ann wants to work with.

Escaping New York before Carl gets arrested, he sets out searching for the mysterious Skull Island, which he wants as his backdrop for his movie, a place nobody has ever set foot on. Once on the island the crew get attacked by a tribe who take Ann to feed to their feared leader King Kong.

With the crew going in search of Ann, they discover the island is crawling with animals they have never seen, with Carl continue to shoot his picture, the desire to hunt down Kong for display being the biggest attraction in New York.

 

 

Thoughts on King Kong

 

Characters – Ann Darrow is a stage actress who has ben performing in an unsuccessful show for years until her theatre gets closed down, she is getting desperate to work with famous play write, only to find herself meeting a film director working with him. Ann jumps at the chance to have a paid gig, only this becomes more than she ever bargained for, when she becomes the object of King Kong affections on Skull Island. Carl Denham is a film director whose latest film isn’t impressing his investors, he decides to run before having the whole projects plug pulled, taking his crew to an unknown island and even after the danger starts, he continues to film his evolving story. Jack Driscoll is the screenwriter that is trying to get back to his stage work, only to find that Carl has tricked him into remaining on the boat, forcing him to work on the screenplay, he starts to fall in love with Ann along the way too, willing to risk his own life to save hers. Kong is the feared ruler of Skull Island, he takes Ann as a sacrifice falling in love with the human on his island, he can fight any threat, including T-Rexes. He is the icon that we know from previous films bought to life once again.

PerformancesNaomi Watts in the role made famous by Fay Wray, brings her own stamp to the role, handling the small comic moments very well through the film too. Jack Black might not have been many people’s first choice for the director role, but he proves a lot of people wrong with his performance, which still remains one of his best. Adrien Brody proves to be a great choice too because he gets to poke fun at the Hollywood stereotypes.

StoryThe story here follows an ambitious director who takes his crew including a desperate young actress to Skull Island, a mysterious uncharted location only to find a land filled with unseen monsters including the king of the island Kong, who becomes friends with Ann the actress. This is the remake of the one of the classic films of the 1930s, it does tell the same story, only builds on everything to new levels, because back then, nobody knew how big movies were going to be, so this time we can look back at the movie building era, showing more of the conflicts between movies and theatre. The island is also much larger in scale with plenty of creatures which add to the story. we do even have small side stories which do work to fill the films lengthy 3 hour plus run time. We do get to see just how destructive the human can be to new worlds too.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is massive, edge of the seat and most importantly brilliant to watch, be it the fights between creatures, monsters and humans, right down to the New York showdown with Kong. The adventure does take us to a new world, where we haven’t seen the creatures before, or at least not this size. It shows the most dangerous side of the explorer’s journeys in the world.

SettingsThe film does use two main settings, first New York which is re-created for the time period perfectly, the second is the island which is filled with the beauty and terror you would have come to expect from an unknown location

Special EffectsThe effects are one of the biggest talking points of this film, first of all Kong looks fantastic, large amounts of the film looks brilliant, but that one chase scene will drag this down because it is such a weak point for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Kong versus the T-Rex.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The canyon chase the CGI looks awful.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the remakes that works because of the improvement in technology, it is epic in scale and manages to capture the true feeling behind what made the original such a memorable movie.

 

Overall: Stunning remake that lives up to the scale of the movie.

Rating

 

 

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Black Panther (2018)

Director: Ryan Coogler

Writer: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby (Comics)

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Andy Serkis, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Letita Wright, Sterling K Brown

 

Plot: T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.


Tagline – The Avengers have a new king.

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Specular Visual Superhero Movie

 

Story: Black Panther starts after the events of Civil War, T’Challa (Boseman) returns Wakanda to claim his throne as the king of Wakanda after his father’s death. going through the ceremony with the rest of the people including his ex-love Nakia (Nyong’o), most trusted general Okoye (Gurira), little sister Shuri (Wright) and leaders Ramonda (Bassett), Zuri (Whitaker) and W’Kabi (Kaluuya).

Being the new king of Wakanda his first mission is to track down former enemy Ulysses Klaue (Serkis) who is planning to sale a Wakanda weapon which brings back an old friend Everett Ross (Freeman) and a strange who believes he has the right for the throne in Erik Killmonger (Jordan), can this battle be the one that shows T’Challa his rightful place as the king and the Black Panther.

 

Thoughts on Black Panther

 

Characters – T’Challa is the new king of Wakanda, he wants to continue the calm peaceful reign like his father, but will need to face his father’s past to bring the new future for the technological advanced society. He has the expert combat skills, the calmness to be a leader and following rituals like the leaders of his past have. Erik Killmonger is a mercenary that knows he has a right to the throne and will go to any lengths to take the throne. He has an impresses kill count in battle which makes him a deadly enemy. Nakia is the former partner of T’Challa, she returns to support him and wants to see him open the technology of Wakanda to the world after her work as a spy around the world. Okoye is the greatest warrior in Wakanda, she must stay loyal to the throne regardless of if she believes in the leader of not. Shuri is the younger sister of T’Challa, she works on the weapons being the bubbly gadget lady that makes the most jokes and easily steals the scenes she is in. we have plenty of other characters with some being inside Wakanda, others being enemies and others being friends in waiting.

PerformancesChadwick Boseman is wonderful in this leading role, he bought us everything we got from Civil War and made us only want more from his character. Michael B Jordan gives us a great villainous performance that is as complex and he is deadly. Lupita is good in her role as she offers Chadwick a difficult set of decisions. Dania gives us the kick ass character and one we know she can play well. For me Letita Wright is the breakout star from this movie, being able to steal nearly every scene is something that will get people talking. In fairness the whole cast is great throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows T’Challa and his rise to be the king and the next Black Panther, he must come to face the new challenges of being a leader, be it the conflict within or the conflict from the outside world. He must make the difficult decisions which could bring his people to a new stage to the world. This is a good introduction to this character and his world, which does have moments which you will have seen in other movies, but works enough to make this stand out on its own.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action sequences are wonderful to witness, we have brilliant camera work which will make one certain moment truly seem original and stand out. The adventure takes us to this new world, technology advanced from the rest of the world. The sci-fi world we enter isn’t like anything we could imagine seeing in the middle of the rain forest.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to make every location feel different from the last, this helps us enjoy the environments we are entering.

Special EffectsThe effects can’t be faulted once, they all look spectacular making this one of the best visual experience of the year so far.


Scene of the Movie –
South Korea fight sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I felt moments of comedy missed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful addition to the MCU, we get to learn more about The Black Panther character and the world he is from, which only makes us want to see more of this in the future.

 

Overall: Brilliant addition that still stands out as one.

Rating

 

 

Breathe (2017)

Director: Andy Serkis

Writer: William Nicholson (Screenplay)

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Ed Speleers, Tom Hollander, Hugh Bonneville

 

Plot: The inspiring true love story of Robin and Diana Cavendish, an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating disease. Their heartwarming celebration of human possibility.


Tagline –  With Her Love, He Lived

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Biopic

 

Story: Breathe starts as we learn how Robin (Garfield) and Diana (Foy) Cavendish met, got married and went on to start a family. This is glossed over because the main story starts when Robin gets struck down with polio given only a few months to live and stuck on a respirator machine.

Not willing to give up Robin stays alive, but it is Diana that brings him home and when Teddy Hall (Bonneville) an inventor starts to work on finding a mobile respirator so, despite being paralysed Robin could still live a normal life, where they become pioneers for the disabled.

 

Thoughts on Breathe

 

Characters – Robin Cavendish is a young man that meets the girl of his dreams, marries her and starts a family, but his life takes a turn for the worse when he gets polio, not given much time to live, he goes onto break boundaries for disabled becoming a pioneer for disabled people across the world. Diana is the wife of Robin, she never gives up on him, standing by his side supporting him on any improvements he could have made to improve his living conditions. Teddy Hall is an inventor friend of Robin, he helps build a wheel chair that could help many other disabled people in the future.

PerformancesAndrew Garfield is picking his projects well recently, he is picking roles where he can shine showing his skills as an actor which he does here again. Claire Foy steps away from the television role in The Crown to play Diana, where she does show that she can play the posh English woman with the best of them. Hugh Bonneville is good in the supporting role.

StoryThe story tells how Robin Cavendish, his family and friends pioneered a change in how disabled people can continue to function in society, this shows us how the people with the disease were not given much hope, but now with the help of an inventor and funding things will always b different now. We do cover many years which doesn’t help as we completely gloss over the meeting of the two, but as there isn’t much improvement or worsening to the disease, we only get to see the freedom created by the family.

Biopic/Romance Seeing how the people involved in this story work to make things possible for the people in the future shows how the biopic things of the story come through, which in places shows the love between Robin and Diana who inspired each other to make it as long as they could.

SettingsThe settings show us how trapped Robin is at first and just where his life does end up going once he gets the means to be out of the hospital.


Scene of the Movie –
Robin meets the disabled committee in Germany

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is one of those stories that seems to come from well off background, making this affordable for them over all of them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good biopic that can be enjoyed, inspire and shows just how people can help lead a change for people in the world.

 

Overall: Good, but nothing special in a biopic.

Rating

 

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Director: Rian Johnson

Writer: Rian Johnson (Screenplay) George Lucas (Characters)

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Carrie Fisher, Andy Serkis, Kelly Marie Tran

 

Plot: Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.


Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Spectacular

 

Story: Star Wars: The Last Jedi starts as the Force Awakens ends, Rey (Ridley) has tracked down Luke Skywalker (Hamill) in an attempt to bring in to join the rebel forces in the in battle against the First Order. Princess Leia (Fisher) is evacuating the Rebel Forces after the previous attack, with the First Order waiting to pick them off.

General Hux (Gleeson) is leading the assault from the First Order, with Poe (Isaac) leading to defensive assault, while Finn (Boyega) must go on his own adventure to bring down the First Order and help the Rebels escape. Kyle Ren (Driver) is trying to battle his inner demons deciding whether to make the transition to the Dark Side or not. This brings the characters into the next chapter in the saga who will have the upper hand by the end.

 

Thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi

 

Characters – Let’s look at the newer characters first, Rey locates Luke and must try to convince him to return to help the Rebels only to need to learn her place in the battle, she starts to go through Jedi training showing the powers she has deep down ready to become a powerful force in the rebel battle. Fin spends most of the film wanting to find Rey, only to go on a secret mission to help stop the First Order from tracking the Rebels. Poe is still the trigger happy pilot that wants to fight more often than just survive, he has thee biggest arc to learn about through the film. Kyle Ren is now being questioned on his dark side alliance from Snoke, he must prove his alliance by taking out the threat which stands in their way.

Original characters, Luke has been in hiding after what happened with Kylo Ren, he doesn’t want to see another student influenced by the Darkside and is reluctant to help Rey, but he must learn from his own past to guide the future. Leia is leading the Rebels escape, knowing that they have dwindling numbers, she knows they must regroup in order to survive for the next battle, she does clash with Poe’s battle heavy beliefs.

There is one more character I feel deserves a mention, that is Rose, she is an engineer for the rebels, she goes on the mission with Finn and we learn just how many people have been affected by the First Order and how they are all doing their part to help somehow.

PerformancesWe can spend time going through all the individual performances here, but it would be hard to find a fault with any of them. The whole cast picks up where they left off last time around and the addition in Kelly Marie Tran and Benicio Del Toro shows we can get stars from different scales of the experience walk into the franchise without looking out of place.

StoryThe story continues from where we left off nicely, it does branch out into the four main stories with Rey & Luke, Finn, Rose and BB8, Poe trying to save the rebels and Kylo Ren showing his true colours. This helps continue the saga on to the next chapter, gives the characters the development needed for the next stage of the battle and gives the story a real time feel about it, as the film follows the Rebels trying to escape from The First Order for the most part of the film. it does have a darker town to everything, but this is needed because this is the middle of the trilogy story and now we are ready to see how the saga concludes.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe action here is big battle set pieces, we have space battles, land battles and one wild race through a city, they entertain throughout the film. the adventure takes some of our characters to new worlds, with new fantasy creatures which helps them grow and learn the size of the battle they are part of.

SettingsEach world has its own unique style, the island Luke lives on feels abandoned and isolated for a reason, the rich person planet shows the type of people that could be using the battles for their own good and the space sets look brilliant too.

Special EffectsThis is one of the best looking special effects filled films in this whole saga, nothing looks out of place for this movie and it shows from the first shot to the final one.


Scene of the Movie –
Lightspeed, this moment had the whole cinema gasp in amazement.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I did find the timeline slightly confusing, Rey & Luke seem to be together for days maybe even weeks, while everything else seemed to be one or two days or nights only.

Final ThoughtsThis movie has bought the saga to new levels, our characters know their place in the battle and now they are ready to get to the next level of this battle, we know the stakes are at a critical level in the battle as we wait to see where things will go next.

 

Overall: This is the best addition to Star Wars since the Original Saga.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – The Cottage (2008)

Director: Paul Andrew Williams

Writer: Paul Andrew Williams (Screenplay)

Starring: Andy Serkis, Reece Shearsmith, Jennifer Ellison, Steven O’Donnell, James Bierman

 

Plot: In a remote part of the countryside, a bungled kidnapping turns into a living nightmare for four central characters when they cross paths with a psychopathic farmer and all hell breaks loose.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Horror Comedy

 

Story: The Cottage starts when David (Serkis) and Peter (Shearsmith) have kidnapped Tracey (Ellison) taking her to a remote farmhouse. The two are brother’s looking to make a quick quid with this half assed attempt with the kidnapping.

When everything stars to go wrong it doesn’t take long for a bigger threat to come after the unlikely group who along with Tracey’s step-brother Andrew (O’Donnell) must survive against a deadly psychopathic farmer.

 

Thoughts on The Cottage

 

Characters/PerformanceDavid is the brother with a plan, he wants the money to get away from this life, Peter is filled with panic about the kidnapping not wanting to upset his wife back home. Tracey is the victim who is tougher than both the men involved in the kidnapping.

Performance wise, Andy Serkis is good as the deadpan lead through the film, while Reece Shearsmith is good in what you would expect to be the leading lady, constantly screaming. Jennifer Ellison goes against her type cast of a dumb blonde by being a tough blonde who take nonsense.

StoryWhen looking at the basics of the story it does come down to a kidnapping gone wrong with deadly consequences. It is something we have seen before and it is a good formula for horror comedy so I can’t find anything bad with this aspect of the film, I do also like the surprise that you are left to wonder just who will get killed next with no one being safe.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy is good in this film we have great chemistry between Peter and David which add to the laughs with their hapless attempt to kidnap Tracey along with the reactions to the killer. The horror is generic to say the least, it is just a disfigured killer trying to kill the main characters in a gore filled way, nothing to fancy.

SettingsHaving the film set on the remote farm comes off well because it shows a good idea for location of the kidnapping as well as a god location for the killer to hunt in.

Special EffectsThe special effects are mostly all practical and all come off very well to add to the extra gore needed for the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror comedy that doesn’t take any part of the film too serious with over the top kills and colourful characters.

 

Overall: Easy to watch horror comedy.

Rating