Franchise Weekend – From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999)

Director: Scott Spiegel

Writer: Scott Spiegel, Duane Whitaker (Screenplay) Scott Spiegel, Boaz Yakin (Story)

Starring: Robert Patrick, Bo Hopkins, Duane Whitaker, Muse Watson, Brett Harrelson, Raymond Cruz, Danny Trejo

 

Plot: More people are turned into vampires as they go around spreading their evil satanic hate.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sucks the life out of you

 

Story: From Dusk till Dawn 2 Blood Money starts when criminal Buck (Patrick) is offered a new job from his partner Luther (Whitaker), he puts a teams together including C.W. (Watson), Ray Bob (Harrelson) and Jesus (Cruz) and sets off to allude Sheriff Otis Lawson (Hopkins) who believes he is about to get involved in a new job.

It isn’t long the crew finds themselves at the Titty Twister bar and being hunted down by the vampires that are trying to rebuild their numbers and the five thieves seem to be their choice.

 

Thoughts on From Dusk till Dawn 2 Blood Money

 

Characters – Buck is a thieve that has claimed to have gone clean after his recent stint in prison, the cops do still watch him, only now he gets a chance at a new job which will see him put his crew together, he has a way to work with his men, well that is about it, his character doesn’t have much more to him, Sheriff Otis Lawson has been waiting for Buck to make a mistake for years now, using the latest former member of his crew as hope that he could catch him in the act once again. Luther is the one that brings the job to Buck, only on his way back to the crew, he ends up at the Titty Twister grabbing the attention of the vampires, looking for spread the curse to a new selection of victims. C.W. is another member of the crew and just like the rest they don’t get much to make them stand out.

PerformancesRobert Patrick does try to make the most of his character only he doesn’t get anything to work with here. This is the big problem for the rest of the cast, nobody gets a chance to make anything from their characters who all end up being painful bland.

StoryThe story follows a group of criminals that are looking to head to Mexico for their latest job, only to attract the attention of the vampires using the Titty Twister becoming the latest target, can they survive the night? The story here is very weak, we get five criminals with little to no character development, not making us care about what is happening. We get thrown into another direction with the story which doesn’t help because we know what is happening, while certain members of the crew don’t, this does against what we learnt about the vampires in the first film. this story just feels like a forced sequel nobody really asked for.

Crime/Horror The crime side of this horror comes from seeing just how the crew is operating, how they plan to get the job done, the horror comes from the vampire side of the film, it does have darker moments, only it still doesn’t feel like a scarier film.

SettingsThe film is set between Mexico and Texas, no location involved does make us feel like we are in iconic location the first one did.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are not at the same standard either, with most of the attacks being from bats which seem to be extreme close ups that just feel too difficult to watch.


Scene of the Movie –
A helping hand?

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of interest around the characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappoint sequel that pulls the quality level right down to just a basic sequel that just so happens to visit the same bar, having no connection to the previous film.

 

Overall: Bland sequel.

Rating

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – R – Remember the Titans (2000)

Director: Boaz Yakin

Writer: Gregory Allen Howard (Screenplay)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst, Donald Faison, Craig Kirkwood, Ethan Suplee

 

Plot: The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Sports Drama

 

Story: Remember the Titans starts as a typically white American Football team gets assigned a new African American head coach Herman Boone (Washington) even though he is replacing highly successful coach Bill Yoast (Patton). The two have different approaches which involves bringing both the races together for a mixed Football team.

Julius Campbell (Harris) represents the black captain, while Gerry Bertier (Hurst) represents the white captain, the two must learn to put their racial differences behind them and accept themselves as equal and take the league by storm.

 

Thoughts on Remember the Titans

 

Characters – Coach Herman Boone has been breaking boundaries in the racial divided in American Football high school coaching career, not he comes to a white school to continue to break his boundaries bringing the two different races together to try to become champions. Coach Bill Yoast was the coach that ran the team who has championships behind him, but gets drop to assistant coach under Boone, he continues to show his skills running the defence side of the team and learns along with Boone to improve their coaching. Julius Campbell is the black captain that works with the white captain to get rid of the divide between the races to win his own championship. We have plenty of different characters in the team that have their own opinions on the racial divide between the players.

PerformanceDenzel Washington in the leading role is fantastic as the coach that inspires a team to put their differences aside to try and win a championship. Will Patton is great too standing toe to toe with Washington on the side lines with the powerful scenes when needed. The rest of the young cast are great too because we have a lot of stars who went onto have huge career too.

StoryThe story is based on the true story of the African American coach that overcame a racial divide in a sport to turn a team that clashed over their skin colour to become a unit and a force in the league. This story shows how the younger generation who were raised to believe one thing can be taught the right thing when it comes to treating other people, by using sports to put those differences behind them.

Biopic/SportsThe biopic shows the strength this team and coaches had to become fighters when everyone else wanted them to fail. The sports side gives us good moments of American Football, but nothing we haven’t seen before.

SettingsThe settings show us how America was still riddled with racial difficulties during the 70s and different states act differently towards everyone.


Scene of the Movie –
The night they played the titans.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The whole girlfriend of Gerry seems tacked on.

Final ThoughtsThis is another one of the brilliant inspirational story that shows sports can bring people together through the hard times.

 

Overall: Wonderful inspiring sports drama.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

Max (2015)

Director: Boaz Yakin

Writer: Boaz Yakin, Sheldon Lettich (Screenplay)

Starring: Thomas Hayden Church, Josh Wiggins, Luke Kleintank, Lauren Graham, Robbie Amell, Mia Xitlali

 

Plot: A Malinois dog that helped American Marines in Afghanistan returns to the United States and is adopted by his handler’s family after suffering a traumatic experience.


Tagline – Best Friend. Hero. Marine.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Movie

 

Story: Max starts as we meet Kyle Wincott (Amell) an American Marine who works with a tracker dog Max, who helps locate dangers in Afghanistan. When Kyle is killed in action, his family, Ray (Church), Pamela (Graham) and little brother Justin (Wiggins) who is a gamer high school student get to meet Max for the first time and only see his aggressive nature, apart from around Justin.

They take Max home as he is suffering PTSD and the only person he will listen to and remain calm around is Justin, with a new friend in Carmen (Xitlali), Justin learns to take responsibility for the first time in his life.

 

Thoughts on Max

 

Characters – Max is the loyal marine trained dog that has served in Afghanistan locating potential threats for his soldiers. He sees his handler killed in action leaving him suffering with PTSD and now he needs a new owner, and the brother of his handler is the only one he will listen to. Justin is the younger brother of Kyle, he has spent more time on video games and illegal deals, not having responsibility needed like his brother. When Max enters his life, he learns about taking responsibility and following in his brother’s path. Ray is the father of the boys, he served before which has made him patriotic towards the cause while dealing with the grief of losing his son too.

PerformancesJosh Wiggins as the younger brother is good in this movie, we do see this sort of character a lot and he handles it well. Thomas Hayden Church is good in the supporting role, but if we are honest it is the dog that is the star of the show here.

StoryThe story here shows the effects war can have on a dog that has been trained to locate threats, but the aftermath of losing that handler with their connection. We see the loyalty shown by the dog and how he can teach responsibility to the next generation of family. This is the strongest part of the movie, the rest does feel like a version of a home alone sort of thing because we follow a story about Max knowing right.

Adventure/Family This does show the family needing to come together after their own tragedy which will give their youngster member a chance for an adventure.

SettingsWe get a small look at the war scenario that Max has been and how he must adjust to normal life, which is where the struggle comes.


Scene of the Movie –
Max search.

That Moment That Annoyed Me –  I feel there was more to the Reyes story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good movie, that should be seen by dog owners that understand loyalty that could be given to the owner.

 

Overall: Dog Owners dream film.

Rating

 

 

Now You See Me 2 (2016)

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Director: Jon M Chu

Writer: Ed Solomon (Screenplay) Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt (Characters)

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, Jay Chou, Sanaa Lathan, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman

 

Plot: The Four Horsemen resurface and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Sequel

 

Story: Now You See Me 2 starts by going all Ocean’s Twelve on us by having Thaddeus Bradley (Freeman) wanting revenge on the Four Horsemen Daniel (Eisenberg), Merritt (Harrelson), Jack (Franco) and Lula (Caplan). Dylan (Ruffalo) brings the Horsemen back for their next job as they look to expose a new technology that will be stealing information.

With the Horseman being played and exposed they find themselves being handled by the puppet master Walter Mabry (Radcliffe) who wants the Horseman to steal a technology he helped create to make up for the money he had stolen by the Horseman a year before.

Now You See Me 2 gives us the sequel that plays out very much like Ocean’s Twelve where the robbed characters want revenge on the people that took their money. This plays out like something that has lost the elements of surprise which the first film had because the twist in the first film defines how clever the concept was but this time we lack that side of everything. This is easy to watch but in the end just doesn’t reach the full potential required in the film.

 

Overall: This is an unnecessary sequel to a fun film

Rating51