Anthony Hopkins Weekend – Fracture (2007)

ractureDirector: Gregory Hoblit

Writer: Daniel Pyne, Glenn Gers (Screenplay) Daniel Pyne (Story)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike, Embeth Davidtz, Billy Burke, Cliff Curtis, Fiona Shaw, Bob Gunton

 

Plot: An attorney, intent on climbing the career ladder toward success, finds an unlikely opponent in a manipulative criminal he is trying to prosecute.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Courtroom Thriller

 

Story: Fracture starts when Ted Crawford (Hopkins) finally challenges his cheating wife Jennifer (Davidtz) about her affair before shooting her, Ted is a genius so he has been planning this for a while now and has come up with the perfect cover as the man who she was having the affair with is a negotiator for the LA police department Rob Nunally (Burke).

We got onto meet Willy Beachum (Gosling) who is a high rising lawyer working in the District Attorney Office under Joe Lobruto (Strathairn) who doesn’t think Willy should take his new job offer.

When one of his final cases see, Willy having to go against Ted the two find themselves having to go face to face in the courtroom as Ted decides to represent himself. What looks like an easy case soon becomes Willy’s biggest test of his career against one of the smartest men on the planet but who will come out on top?

Fracture is a crime mystery thriller turned cat and mouse style courtroom drama which follows the genius trying to show off against a young hot shot lawyer, sure we have seen this before but the fact we 100% know how guilty Ted is really tips the scales here. The case does take a few twists and turns along the way but it is the lengths that Willy will go to win this case against his own career.

The cast shine with Hopkins versus Gosling is delightful to watch whenever they go against each other on the screen. The supporting cast really don’t get the chance to shine like the lead two which does disappoint in places.

 

Overall: Courtroom thriller that does it’s best to keep us guessing without that final punch needed.

Ratingcard

 

 

Tim Robbins Weekend – The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

logoDirector: Frank Darabont

Writer: Frank Darabont (Screenplay) Stephen King (Short Story)

Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, Mark Rolston, James Whitmore, Jeffrey DeMunn

Plot: Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Masterpiece

Story: The Shawshank Redemption starts with Andy Dufresne (Robbins) telling his story about what happened when his ex-wife and new lover have been murdered, a crime he is found guilty of and sentenced to 2 life sentences. Next we meet Red (Freeman) who is up for parole after twenty years of his life sentence which gets rejected.

We see how Red guides Andy around the prison teaching him the ropes, as Andy tries to survive the vicious prison scene with Captain Hadley (Brown) throwing of beatings for fun. As his time continues Andy becomes popular with the guards from not just this prison but others as he helps them all with their finances. All this is his plan for his escape but he has to be patient.

The Shawshank Redemption is a film that really doesn’t need me too explain too much, we know how good this film is and anything I say about the story has already been said. The story includes the corruption within prison and the push for hope even when everything is against you. This is a story that you simply have to have seen once in your life. (10/10)

Actor Review

Tim Robbins: Andy Dufresne is the man wrongly convicted of murder, which leads to him being locked up for back to back life sentences. He has to navigate prison life before becoming popular with the inmates and guards alike. He decides to plan his own escape without letting anyone else know. Tim gives a great performance that is easily one of the basic performance that the character is always thinking. (10/10)andy

Morgan Freeman: Red is the go to guy within the prison that helps Andy get what he wants, he also becomes best friends with Andy over the years helping each other through the problems of prison life. Morgan gives one of his best performances and in this role we learn just how amazing his voice is in a narration tone. (10/10)red

Bob Gunton: Warden Norton takes advantage of all the hard work Andy does to help generate more money for himself rather than helping the inmates out. Bob gives a great performance as the warden who is out to make himself rich. (8/10)

Support Cast: The Shawshank Redemption has a large supporting cast that all help either Andy or the Warden we get clear sides of the fight to get through the prison life.

Director Review: Frank DarabontFrank gives us a masterpiece that will live long in the memory and will always get talked about. (10/10)

Drama: The Shawshank Redemption manages to show all of the human factors of surviving in the prison system and how careful planning could change a few things. (10/10)

Settings: The Shawshank Redemption has the most part the prison as its setting which makes full sense as we see how untie the inmates can become. (10/10)

Suggestion: The Shawshank Redemption is a film that everyone should see once, it has to be watched to see not only how great the story is but how amazing Stephen King can write none horror. (WATCH)

Best Part: Red’s final parole hearing.

Worst Part: Let’s be picky here, what if Andy wasn’t in the end cell?

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 7 Oscars, won none.

Box Office: $2.3 Million

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 22 Minutes

Tagline: Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.

Trivia: Rob Reiner loved Frank Darabont‘s script so much that he offered $2.5 million for the rights to the script so he could direct it. Darabont seriously considered Reiner’s offer but ultimately decided that it was his “chance to do something really great” by directing the movie himself. Reiner wanted Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise to play Red and Andy respectively.

Overall: A masterpiece that will live long in the memory of all film fans out there.

Rating98

Halloween Kingathon – Dolores Claiborne (1995)

Banner-3logoDirector: Taylor Hackford

Writer: Tony Gilroy (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judy Parfitt, Christopher Plummer, David Strathairn, Eric Boogosian, John C Reilly, Ellen Muth, Bob Gunton

Plot: A big-city reporter travels to the small town where her mother has been arrested for the murder of an elderly woman that she works for as a maid.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliant Story

Story: Dolores Claiborne starts with a fight between Dolores (Bates) and Vera Donovan (Parfitt) which leads to a witness walking in on Dolores standing over the body of Vera. When hot shot reporter Selena St. George (Leigh) hears about what has happened she has to return home to look into the story. Det John Mackey (Plummer) is the lead investigator on the case with an old friend police officer Frank Stamshaw (Reilly) trying to keep things together.

Dolores didn’t want Selena too be involved in the case and didn’t even recognized Selena, it becomes clear the too have become very distant and that Dolores is very confrontational. We watch the flashbacks of Dolores as she had to deal with an abusive husband Joe (Strathairn) who also had a mysterious death. Dolores also recounts how she ended up working for Vera and her obsessive ways but how it was all work to help Selena.

We are left with Dolores and Selena dealing with the past as the truths come back to haunt them both while they uncover the truth about what really happened all while dealing with John who was determined to catch Dolores this time.

Dolores Claiborne tells the story of how difficult facing your past can be, but it also shows how just because you remember event one way they could be a different side to the story. The story manages to get the balance of flashbacks down perfectly only just showing parts before finally giving us the final reveals. This shows just how to tell a story the right well giving us enough to keep us guessing and surprise by the end. (8/10)

Actor Review

Kathy Bates: Dolores Claiborne is the long suffering carer who is being charged with her murder, she has been through hell in life just working to make sure her daughter got a chance escape the dead end job. She has had a troubled relationship with her daughter and this case could be the final nail in the coffin for them both. Kathy gives a very powerful performance that could easily be one of her best. (9/10)

Jennifer Jason Leigh: Selena St. George is the big shot reporter who has to return home to help defend her mother from a murder charge but coming home only shows how the memories from her past have scared her life, but this does give her a chance to bury the memories. Jennifer gives us a great performance. (8/10)

Judy Parfitt: Vera Donovan is the victim that Dolores is meant to have killed, she is the lady that Dolores has been working for, for years and as the story continues we learn how they became quiet close. Judy gives a great performance in the supporting role. (8/10)

Christopher Plummer: Det. John Mackey has had it out for Dolores ever since her husband’s death which he still suspects her of committing till this day. He has taken this case personally and wants to throw the books at her. Christopher gives a good villainous performance but I do feel we need a little more from his character. (7/10)

David Strathairn: Joe St. George is the abusive husband of Dolores who died under suspicious circumstances but did he really die in an accident or was he murdered. David gives us a good performance in what is a very dark role. (8/10)

Support Cast: Dolores Claiborne has a supporting cast that are only small part in the final story, focusing mostly on the relationship between Dolores and Selena.

Director Review: Taylor HackfordTaylor brings us a brilliantly told story from start to finish keeping everything simple. (9/10)

Crime: Dolores Claiborne puts us into a story where we have to try and figure out what happened in the case. (9/10)

Drama: Dolores Claiborne shows how the relationship has effected the lives of of both Dolores and Selena. (9/10)

Mystery: Dolores Claiborne creates a mystery about what really happened. (9/10)

Settings: Dolores Claiborne puts nearly the whole story in a small remote town showing how determined Dolores was to get Selena out. (10/10)

Suggestion: Dolores Claiborne is one for all the murder mystery fans to enjoy but the whole film could be enjoyed by all. (Watch)

Best Part: Kathy Bates is brilliant.

Worst Part: Hard to find one.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $24 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minute

Tagline: Sometimes, an accident can be an unhappy woman’s best friend

Trivia: Judy Parfitt was recommended for the role of Vera by director Taylor Hackford‘s wife,Helen Mirren. Parfitt, who had largely confined her career to the stage, was virtually unknown to film audiences at the time. After auditioning with Kathy Bates, Bates reportedly turned to Hackford and gasped “Who was that?” They agreed to cast Parfitt on the spot.

Overall: A must watch for all Stephen King fans, a real gem in the collection.

Rating 85

Paul Walker Weekend – The Lazarus Project (2008)

logoDirector: John Glenn

Writer: John Glenn (Screenplay) Evan Astrowsky (Story)

Starring: Paul Walker, Piper Perabo, Brooklynn Proulx, Bob Gunton, Lambert Wilson, Linda Cardellini, Tony Curran

 

Plot: A former criminal is drawn into a criminal endeavour and subsequently finds himself living an inexplicable new life working at a psychiatric facility.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting

 

Story: The Lazarus Project stars by introducing our protagonist Ben (Walker) with his daughter Katie. Ben is part of a normal family but fresh out of prison on parole. Along with his wife Lisa (Perabo) the family is looking to the future. When Ben brother Ricky who is also fresh out of prisoner comes to him with a job, Ben rejects the chance. Ben loses his job because of his criminal background he doesn’t want to disappoint his wife, who is about to start studying. Ben goes along with his brother’s plan but the plan goes horribly wrong and Ben ends up on death row.

After being executed Ben is found walking along a roadside by Father Ezra (Gunton) where he is on his way to be the new janitor. When Ben meets a mysterious man Avery (Wilson) who explains that he has been given another chance to make up for his mistake. While Ben tries to figure out what is going on he meets a variety of different characters that could help or hinder his situation as he searches for answers.

The Lazarus Project is a slow moving story that tries to keep you guessing and it does throw out a few twists and turns. The problem is that none of the attempted twists come off believable as well as being forced down our throats. It tries to keep the mystery around for the whole film and slowly tries to push your emotions by what happens or is told to Ben. It doesn’t end up getting messy like it could, but it moves very slowly and one pushes you in one direction. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Paul Walker: Ben Garvey criminal trying to go on the straight road but after his chance if thrown away he turns back into crime leading to him to get caught and executed. That isn’t the end for Ben who finds himself in a small town working as a grounds keeper trying to figure out why he is there and how to get home. Paul gives a good performance and carries the film in the whole. (7/10)

 paul

Piper Perabo: Lisa Garvey wife of Ben who is looking to start a career that will help the family together, but after Ben is caught she continues her own life without him. Piper gives a good supporting performance but is not seen enough to make any impact. (6/10)

 

Bob Gunton: Father Ezra the leader of the institute who treats Ben like a lost son trying to help him in the right direction. Bob gives a good performance in the authority role. (6/10)

 bob

Support Cast: The supporting cast all help push us in the direction where we think we need to be going but in the end all come off very generic.

 

Director Review: John Glenn – John does a solid job directing but fails to push us the audience with anything that happens. (5/10)

 

Mystery: The Lazarus Project creates a good mystery leaving us to wonder what is going on but never ends up surprising us. (7/10)

Thriller: The Lazarus Project is a good thriller because we want to know what will happen or has happened to Ben. (8/10)

Settings: The Lazarus Project uses its limited settings to show how Ben is now trapped in a place he doesn’t understand. (7/10)

Suggestion: The Lazarus Project is one to be trying, it doesn’t push you as far as it should but is enjoyable for the mystery hungry fans like. (Try it)

 

Best Part of The Lazarus Project: Dog.

Worst Part of The Lazarus Project: Not enough hints of twists.

What Could Have Been Better? – More twists or at least hints of twists.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Shutter Island

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Tagline: Some realities have no escape

 

Overall: Poor Man’s Shutter Island

Rating 55

Demolition Man (1993)

logoDirector: Marco Brambilla

Writer: Peter M Lenkov, Robert Reneau Daniel Waters (Screenplay) Peter M Lenkov, Robert Reneau (Story)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Sandra Bullock, Nigel Hawthorne, Benjamin Bratt, Bob Gunton, Glenn Shadix, Denis Leary

 

Plot: Frozen in 1996, Simon Phoenix, a convicted crime lord, is revived for a parole hearing well into the 21st century. Revived into a crime free society, Phoenix resumes his murderous rampage, and no one can stop him. John Spartan, the police officer who captured Phoenix in 1996, has also been cryogenically frozen, this time for a crime he did not commit. In 2032, the former cities of Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara have merged into peaceful, utopian San Angeles. Unable to stop him with their non-violent solutions, the police release Spartan to help recapture Phoenix. Now after 36 years, Spartan has to adapt himself to the future society he has no knowledge about.

 

Verdict: Vintage 90s

 

Story: What happens when a crazed mad man get frozen only to escape in a new time with a new way of life? That’s right you get the man who caught him first out of his frozen state to capture him because murder is no longer a crime. We get the basic cop chasing bad guy storyline, but more importantly we get the idea of being taken to a world unknown and the struggle to adapt to the new world. In conclusion we get what could be just a comedy that is actually turned into a fun over the top action film that really is designed to switch off your brain and enjoy. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Sylvester Stallone: John Spartan the no nonsense cop who will go against orders to make sure he gets his man, but when his style leads to the deaths of a group of hostages he gets sentenced to be frozen. He gets awakened to stop the very man who left him there and with his still up to date detective skills he helps solve the problems on the new ‘perfect’ world. Good performance from Sly who does what he does best. (8/10)

 sly

Wesley Snipes: Simon Phoenix a mad man criminal who will not stop even when he is against all odds. He escapes from his prison and starts causing chaos in the world that is not used to crime, waiting for one final fight with his old nemesis Spartan. Good performance from Snipes who takes to the villain role well. (8/10)

wesley

Sandra Bullock: Lenina a young cop in the future who longs for something to happen in a world with no crime. When John turns up she turns into his partner who she has studied and learns how to do real police work. Good performance offering a good partner for John Spartan. (8/10)

 sandra

Nigel Hawthorne: Dr Cocteau the leader of the new peaceful world, he is also the man behind helping release Simon Phoenix to get rid of the underground population of the city. Good performance showing how a person in power can do what they want. (7/10)

 nigel

Benjamin Bratt: Alfredo a rookie cop who gets drawn into the investigation working with John and Lenina as they try to uncover the truth, he offers a lot of comic relief through the film. Good supporting performance saying everything wrong. (7/10)

 bratt

Bob Gunton: Chief Earle the man who reluctantly lets Spartan out to stop the mad man but only under strict rules which he fails to follow. Good authority performance. (7/10)

 bob

Director Review: Marco Brambilla – Creates a fun over the top action film that is good fun to watch. (7/10)

 

Action: Plenty of action used throughout the film. (9/10)

Sci-Fi: Good look at how the future world might be. (9/10)

Thriller: Not the most thrilling but does up the level when the action starts. (7/10)

Settings: Great vision of a peaceful future with this setting. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Good special effects to create the future look. (8/10)

Suggestion: This is one for all the action film fans, it fills all the boxes for a relaxaction film, sit back and enjoy. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Swear Alarm is funny.

Worst Part: It’s dated a bit like most future looking films.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final battle.

Funniest Scene: Sex scene is funny.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $58 Million

Budget: $57 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

Tagline:  In the 21st Century, the police aren’t equipped to handle this kind of violence. John Spartan isn’t equipped to handle this kind of peace and harmony.

 

Overall: Relaxaction Film At its Best

Rating 74