Halloween Midnight Franchise – Saw 3D The Final Chapter (2010)

Director: Kevin Greutert

Writer: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan (Screenplay)

Starring: Tobin Bell, Costass Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Cary Elwes, Sean Patrick Flanery, Chad Donella, Gina Holden

 

Plot: As a deadly battle rages over Jigsaw’s brutal legacy, a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of self-help guru and fellow survivor Bobby Dagen, a man whose own dark secrets unleash a new wave of terror.


Tagline – The Traps Come Alive

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The End That Works

 

Story: Saw VII opens as we learn how Doctor Gordon (Elwes) survived, we see how Hoffman (Mandylor) fixes himself after the betrayal he faced in the last film from Jill (Russell), we also see how Jill spills the beans to the cops about who was John’s (Bell) apprentice.

Meanwhile Bobby Dagen (Flanery) is touring a book about how he survived one of Jigsaw’s game, but this has made him a new target for the games. With Bobby needing to complete his tests with rest of his team that made up his story, while we also see Hoffman trying to get his hands on Jill to end it all but there might be more people at play here.

 

Thoughts on Saw VII

 

Characters – John is still dead, but we learn how he wasn’t impressed with one of the so-called survivors gaining his fame from the story of being involved in the game, he does have a much smaller role though. Hoffman is known fully as the man working with John, scared after escaping the bear trap, he is playing the last gang now while keeping one step ahead of the law. Jill is in hiding with the police after Hoffman escaped the trap she placed him in, worried for her life she is willing to spill on everyone involved. Dr Gordon is back and part of a survivors support group, the fans of the series have been waiting for years to see him return. Bobby is a man that has been making money off claiming to have survived one of the jigsaw games but not he is being forced into going through one with his team.

PerformancesTobin Bell does have a much smaller part but is the drawn in the film. Costas Mandylor for me is now the star of these franchise as he is the most interesting character now. Betsy Russell is good without being as believable this time around. Cary Elwes brings the class back as we had been waiting for years for his return. Sean Patrick Flanery is also good in his role as the latest man being tested.

StoryThe Hoffman versus Jill storyline is the highlight of the film as now Hoffman is known by the police to be the bad guy he can do anything to anyone who gets in his way. The game does have a man that needs to be tested but the main victim he needs to save shouldn’t be in the game at all. This has been my problem for a while, the wrong people are being left in a place of choice. I will however praise how the film tied up at the end finishing the saga in a full circle.

Horror/Mystery The gore is at the highest level in this film, the 3D effects even add more to the gore being used, but some of it is just pointless. The mystery once again is the highlight of the film as we are kept guessing to where the characters will go next and why Dr Gordon has returned.

SettingsThe settings are a strange one here, the big game is normal location but the opening sequence is in broad daylight with the crowd running to see, not sure if this is designed to mock the fans that enjoy the torture porn general or not.

Special EffectsCan’t fault certain effects here but some are made just for the point of having 3D, when we didn’t need it.


Scene of the Movie –
Game Over.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The game is gore for the sake of gore.

Final ThoughtsWhile the game is poor, the conclusion of the story of who works for Jigsaw does work for this franchise that needed to end here.

 

Overall: Nice finish to the franchise.

Rating

 

 

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Halloween Midnight Franchise – Saw (2004)

Director: James Wan

Writer: Leigh Whannell (Screenplay) Leigh Whannell, James Wan (Story)

Starring: Leigh Whannell, Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Ken Leung, Michael Emerson, Monica Potter

 

Plot: Two strangers awaken in a room with no recollection of how they got there or why, and soon discover they are pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer.


Tagline – How do you solve a puzzle with pieces missing?

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Horror

 

Story: Saw starts as Adam (Whannell) and Dr Lawrence Gordon (Elwes) awaken in a bathroom, with their ankles chained and a dead body between them. They both have a tape from notorious murderer Jigsaw that wants to play a game with them.

Dr Gordon fills in who Jigsaw is to Adam and us, as we learn the Detectives David Tapp (Glover) and Steven Sing (Leung) who have been hunting Jigsaw and even suspect Dr Gordon at one stage. It becomes an obsession for Tapp who believe Dr Gordon is Jigsaw leaving him to watch his home, but as Adam and Lawrence get to know each other the twists on the true identity of Jigsaw come to light.

 

Thoughts on Saw

 

Characters – Dr Gordon is one of the latest victims of Jigsaw, a respected doctor why would he be selected is a mystery but his personal life isn’t as clean as his medical career. Dr Gordon plays the vital role of filling in the blanks to who Jigsaw could be as he has been considered a suspect. Adam is the other victim in the room, he seems clueless to everything going on but we learn his reason for being selected and his connection to Dr Gordon. Detective David Tapp has been hunting Jigsaw, it nearly cost him his life and has now become an obsession for him. Detective Sing is the partner of Tapp that has been working on the case with him.

PerformancesCary Elwes and Leigh Whannell are both great in the leading roles of the film both show the desperate position they find themselves one being calm the other panicked with their responses. Danny Glover wasn’t too old for this shit, in fact he is good throughout in the supporting role of the film.

StoryThe story is a mystery of why the two are being locked in bathroom, the film opens the door to the bigger picture to who and why Jigsaw does what he does, the selecting the victim process and the concept of keeping us guessing to just who Jigsaw is. We have a nice number of twists that keep us guessing from early on in the film which only gives us more when we look back on second viewing. This is a brilliant start to what became a Halloween tradition in cinema.

Horror/Mystery The horror is what has happened to previous victims of the Jigsaw murders, we also have the idea of what could happen to our leads in the bathroom. The mystery comes from the idea of just who is behind the crimes as we watch the investigation unfold before us.

SettingsThe settings for the film are used perfectly, we have the games which are mine fields for the victims with the bathroom being the biggest of all of them, which is what makes this the icon film we know.

Special EffectsThe effects are practical which is good to see, we are left in shock with moments even if some of the film is based more of what has happened over forcing us to watch.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act

That Moment That Annoyed Me Part of Tapp’s storyline seems tagged on.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most iconic horrors of modern time, it has everything and most importantly took the horror genre to a much needed new direction.

 

Overall: Must watch horror film.

Rating

 

 

Liar Liar (1997)

liarDirector: Tom Shadyac

Writer: Paul Guay, Stephen Mazur (Screenplay)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Maura Tierney, Justin Cooper, Cary Elwes, Anne Haney, Jennifer Tilly, Amanda Donohoe

 

Plot: A fast-track lawyer can’t lie for 24 hours due to his son’s birthday wish after he turns his son down for the last time.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh a Minute Comedy

 

Story: Liar, Liar starts as we meet Fletcher Reede (Carrey) a high-flying lawyer who has gone through a smooth divorce with Audrey (Tierney) to keep life happy for their son Max (Cooper). With Audrey moving on with her life with new boyfriend Jerry (Elwes), Fletcher is focusing on his career where he has an ever-growing reputation of being able to lie his way through any case.

When Fletcher’s lying effects his relationship with his son and Fletcher misses Max’s birthday, Max makes the wish that his dad can’t lie for one whole day. We follow how Fletcher must get through the day without being able to tell a lie in what could be the biggest case of his career.

 

Thoughts on Liar, Liar

 

StoryThe story here shows us many different problems when it comes to overworking parents, lawyers lying and being a good parent. We get to see how the fantasy element of this film comes through to show how the new vision to life Fletcher must go through, I will say the film has a similar message to Mrs Doubtfire about a father finally need to become responsible about the parenting. I think this is a very good story that allows Carrey to perform his comedy to the strongest levels he can.

Comedy/FantasyJim Carrey single handily carries all the comedy within this film, with his joke a minute routine going on that will find a joke that works for anyone at some point in the film. The fantasy side of the story comes from the change that Fletcher must go through when the wish comes true.

Characters/PerformancesFletcher away from the comedy is your typical overworking lying father and lawyer who has put his career before his personal life. The rest of the characters are the always struggling wife which can make her look like the bad guy, the son that is always getting disappointed, the new love that wants to impress the son and the lawyer community. When you look at the performance Jim Carrey carries this film on every single level not giving enough time for the rest of the characters to truly develop in the end.

SettingsThe settings are never designed to be the most important for the story but are important for the lawyer side of the office which shows that the true opinion of the characters can be seen through the eyes of the truth.

Final ThoughtsCarrey shines, the story shines the rest will soon become something people would forget.

 

Overall: This is a hugely enjoyable comedy that shows Carrey at the top of his game.

Ratingcard

 

 

The Cat Returns (2002)

catDirector: Hiroyuki Morita

Writer: Reiko Yoshida, Cindy Davis Hewitt, Donald H Hewitt (Screenplay) Aoi Hiiragi (Comic)

Starring: (Voice Talents in English) Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, Judy Greer, Andrew Bevis, Kristen Bel, Rene Auberjonois, Andy Ritcher, Peter Boyle, Elliot Gould, Tim Curry

 

Plot: After helping a cat, a young girl finds herself involuntarily engaged to a cat prince in a magical world where her only hope of freedom lies with a dapper cat statuette come to life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Little Fantasy

 

Story: The Cat Returns starts when Haru a school student who has no luck saves a cat from a traffic accident only to find out that the cats have their own kingdom. As a reward for save Prince Lune the King Cat goes out of his way to make sure Haru gets everything she wants but this also includes marrying the Prince Cat.

Haru knowing how crazy this idea is must find the Cat Bureau a turn to Baron to find a way out of the arranged marriage as we learn about the cat underworld.

The Cat Returns is a film from the amazing Studio Ghibli that gives us a fairy tale that has elements of Alice in Wonderland going on throughout. We get what is a simple storyline about one girl not fitting in her own world finding herself in the middle of another one. I will say this is one of the weakest of the film I have seen from Ghibli but in no way is it a bad film.

 

Overall: Solid addition to the works of Ghibli that will for the cat lovers out there.

Rating60

 

 

Elvis & Nixon (2016)

elvisDirector: Liza Johnson

Writer: Joey Sagal, Hanala Sagal, Cary Elwes (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Colin Hanks, Evan Peters, Sky Ferreira, Tracy Letts, Tate Donovan

 

Plot: The untold true story behind the meeting between Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ‘n Roll, and President Richard Nixon, resulting in this revealing, yet humorous moment immortalized in the most requested photograph in the National Archives.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Elvis & Nixon starts as we see Elvis Presley (Shannon) decide he wants to get a Federal Badge which leads him to bring his two closest associates Jerry (Pettyfer) and Sonny (Knoxville) to arrange a meeting with President Nixon (Spacey).

Going through the President’s associates Krogh (Hanks) and Chapin (Peters) to make the most unlikely meeting between the two different worlds to have a simple conversation between two of the most iconic men in American history.

Elvis & Nixon is a good comedy that has good moments to see how different the two men are. We get a brilliant performance from Shannon once again as we see him become the King and interact with different members of his fan base to get what he wants. The gun scenes are all the extra funny moments because we get to see how Elvis believes he is doing nothing wrong. This is an overall an enjoyable watch in a light hearted manner.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy that has moments of truth through it.

Rating70