Logan Lerman Weekend – Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief (2010)

Director: Chris Columbus

Writer: Craig Titley (Screenplay) Rick Riordan (Novel)

Starring: Logan Lerman, Peirce Brosnan, Uma Thurman, Steve Coogan, Sean Bean, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T Jackson, Jake Abel

 

Plot: A teenager discovers he’s the descendant of a Greek god and sets out on an adventure to settle an on-going battle between the gods.


Tagline – Worlds collide.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Adventure Film

 

Story: Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief starts when struggling high school student Percy Jackson (Lerman) learns about his mysterious father, when a teacher turns into a monster of sorts, Percy is a demi-god and is being targeted by the Greek Gods who believe he has stolen Zeus Lightning.

Percy’s life changes when he is taken to a secret location for all demi-gods by his protector Grover (Jackson), where he must learn to fight like the rest of the demi-gods as he is joined by Annabeth (Daddario) on an adventure to learn who has the stolen the lightning.

 

Thoughts on Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief

 

Characters – Percy Jackson is your average struggling high school student, raised by his mother with no clue about his father. His life is about to change forever when he learns that he is a demi-god and must prove he isn’t the person responsible for the potential war between the gods and learn his place in the world. Grover is the protector of Percy in the real world and helps guide him through the world. Annabeth is the best warrior of the demi-gods in training, she hasn’t been to go on quests before and sees this as her chance to experience the world. Zeus is in search of his lightning bolt with the gods believing it is Percy. Chiron trains the demi-gods in battle, he keeps them safe while they are preparing to any encounters. We do have the gods we know too with Athena, Hades and Poseidon being involved in the adventure.

PerformancesLogan Lerman is good in this leading role, when it comes to this genre, we need a young actor that can bring the energy and the acting which Logan brings. Brandon and Alexandra give great supporting performances which bring together both the comedy and the brains needs to guide Percy. We have the A-listers here too with Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Uma Thurman and Steve Coogan having fun in the role.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely high school student that finds himself learning his true identity as a demi-god and must go on his first adventure with the Gods searching for him. This is a wonderful introduction to the character of Percy and the people will be working with or fighting against. We go through the learning curve with Percy which also brings the mythology of the Greeks to different location around America. We do get darker moments in the story even though it is just as fun as it needs to be for vision of the Greek Gods in modern society. The flaw in the story comes from the fact that Percy does seem to get out of each situation too easily as a lot are dealing with the idea of Gods he wouldn’t know how to battle against.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure side of this film takes Percy into a world he had no idea of, Annabeth into the real world and the two needing to advise each other through the battles they will face. The fantasy world of Gods and monsters is front and centre here, mixing with he modern day world wonderfully well.

SettingsThe film brings the mythology of the Greek Gods to America where we learn just how the two become one with the iconic locations from history being reimagined in America.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are good, we have a lot that could come off terrible, but this is a success for the ambitious ideas behind different moments in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Hades meeting in the underworld.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too easy for Percy to escape certain situations.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun adventure film that is a great introduction to a much bigger series of stories we could see coming in the future.

 

Overall: Fun and enjoyable throughout.

Rating

 

 

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Home Alone (1990)

homeDirector: Chris Columbus

Writer: John Hughes (Screenplay)

Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Roberts Blossom, Catherine O’Hare

 

Plot: An 8-year old troublemaker must protect his home from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Family Classic

 

Story: Home Alone starts as we see the McCallister family preparing for their Christmas holiday away in Paris and with 15 family members in the house the chaos begins. We follow 8-year-old Kevin (Culkin) who gets banished to the attic after misbehaving and wishing for a new family.

During the night, there is a power cut which makes everyone oversleep and an all-out panic to get to the airport on time leading to Kevin getting forgotten and left Home Alone. Kevin doing what every child would do on their own gets the run of the house but soon finds himself having to fight off two burglars Harry (Pesci) and Marv (Stern) and he uses all the weapons from inside the house to defend his family home.

Home Alone is always going to be the family comedy classic people can enjoy of Christmas the slapstick comedy works to perfection even if it comes off slightly violent for today’s audience. The solo setting inside the house Kevin is protecting all works to show just what one boy can do to protect his own home.

The acting all works great as Macaulay Culkin will always be remembered for this role and the turns from Joe Pesci in a comedy shows the range he had along with Daniel Stern being a great sidekick character to him. The rest of the family all work well giving good performance to show the different siblings Kevin must live with.

This is always being one people will talk highly about and it is hard to say anything bad about this true classic on the genre.

 

Overall: Fantastic Festive Family Film

Ratingcard

 

Bicentennial Man (1999)

manDirector: Chris Columbus

Writer: Nicholas Kazan (Screenplay) Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg (Novel ‘The Positronic Man‘)

Starring: Robin Williams, Embeth Davidtz, Sam Neill, Oliver Platt, Kiersten Warren, Wendy Crewson, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Lindze Letherman

 

Plot: An android endeavour to become human as he gradually acquires emotions.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Story of Undying Love

 

Story: Bicentennial Man starts when the Martin family Richard (Neill), Ma’am (Crewson) children Amanda and Grace get a android which is accidently named Andrew (Williams). Andrew becomes part of the family with his unique programming making him the only android who can think for himself. Richard decides to continuing teaching Andrew the ways of the world including pushing his creative ways.

As the years go by the house has become filled clocks and the girls have grown up with Amanda (Davidtz) known as little miss becoming his close friend. Richard decides to open a bank account for Andrew to sell the clocks he has been making for him for years giving Andrew a chance to move forward with his world of looking after himself.

Andrew requests his own freedom from the family and sets out on his own voyage of discovery and his ultimate desire, to become human and truly understand all of the emotions humans have and with the help of Rupert Burns (Platt) everything could become a reality for Andrew.

Bicentennial Man tells the incredible story behind a seemingly every day android who starts to think for himself, he wants to learn about the world. We see how he wants to go about making himself human so he can understand feelings, emotions and most of all love. The quest follows him through 200 years of ups and downs but ultimately he has to overcome the hardest of all challenges. This story ends up following through the lives in a way that never overcomplicates things and we just see the one story without seeing how the rest of the world is changing. I think this is one of the best stories of trying to find a place to fit in I have seen.

 

Actor Review

 

Robin Williams: Andrew Martin is our android who goes on an incredible 200 yearlong adventure where he starts out as a ‘household appliance’ before learning on his own free will. He gets taught along the way and soon decides he wants to be a human being. We watch how he watches people live and die in his quest to become human making him truly unique to the world. Robin gives one of his most underrated performances where he gets to show his serious side and comedic side through the film.andrew

Embeth Davidtz: Amanda Martin/Portia Charney, first Amanda is the youngest of the two girls Andrew first got to know, he watches her whole life and the two have a bond that could never be during her life time. Portia is Amanda granddaughter who Andrew turns to because she is the only family left in her future life, the two eventually put their difference behind them and become madly in love and it is with her Andrew challenges to become a legal human. Embeth gives a brilliant performance where she plans a full range of ages as well as multiple characters.embeth

Sam Neill: Richard Martin is the man who bought Andrew but quickly learnt that he was different to the rest of the androids in the world. He teaches Andrew the ways of the world giving him a living. He watches his own family grow up his two girls and Andrew leave but he always knows he has had a brilliant life. Sam gives us a great performance in this role where he plays the caring father and man.richard

Oliver Platt: Rupert Burns is the man trying to conduct research on Andrew models of androids, he works on a shoestring budget but Andrew teams up with him to make the research reach the next level as the two spend their whole lives trying to turn Andrew into a human leading to them both making ground-breaking breakthroughs in medical advancements. Oliver gives us a good supporting performance which works well with Robin’s performance.rupert

Support Cast: Bicentennial Man isn’t the largest and each character has a different reaction to Andrew, some good some bad.

Director Review: Chris ColumbusChris gives us one of the most charming films of his career which does included bigger and more popular films.

 

Comedy: Bicentennial Man has good use of comedy that just takes away the serious side of certain moments but isn’t over the top.

Romance: Bicentennial Man has a love story that shows just how long people can wait to have their love legally validated and whether certain things are making sense in the real world.

Sci-Fi: Bicentennial Man brings us into the future of robots in the real world and while we see advances in technology that will improve life for humans.

Settings: Bicentennial Man may well be set in the future but tries to keep everything feeling only slightly in the future without being all about the future settings.
Special Effects
: Bicentennial Man has great effects through the androids life span.

Suggestion: Bicentennial Man is one I think people should watch, I am aware it wasn’t the critics favourites but it is very enjoyable. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The end is very rewarding.

Worst Part: We do miss a lot of the life Andrew lives.

Funniest Scene: Andrew’s fear of windows.

Romantic Moment: 75th birthday.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: Yes you could have some.

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for an Oscar for Best Make Up

Box Office: $ 58 Million

Budget: $100 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

Tagline: One robot’s 200 year journey to become an ordinary man.

Trivia: Disney asked that the budget be cut by approximately $20 million, and when the film was released on Christmas Day, it flopped at the box office. Robin Williams blamed Disney’s marketing and the loss of content the film suffered because of the budget cuts. As a result, he fell out with Disney again.

 

Overall: One of my personal favourites and a beautiful story

Ratingcard

Pixels (2015)

logoDirector: Chris Columbus

Writer: Tim Herlihy, Timothy Dowling (Screenplay) Patrick Jean (Short Film)

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Matt Lintz, Brian Cox, Sean Bean, Dan Aykroyd

Plot: When aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth in the form of the video games.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Never Really Levels Up

Story: Pixels starts in 1982 with Brenner and Cooper as the first video game arcade opens in their town where Brenner shines before entering the world championships. At these Championships Brenner and Cooper meet Eddie for competition and Ludlow as a new friend, these games get filmed and sent into space. Even though Eddie wins the championship Brenner and Cooper remain long term friends.

Move forward to the current time Brenner (Sandler) works as an engineer, while Cooper (James) becomes President (yes it is true Kevin James is the president). Brenner meets fellow divorcee Violet (Monaghan) to start to potential romantic angle but more to the problem comes aliens invading using 80’s video games which leads to Cooper calling in Brenner to help with the situation.

Ludlow (Gad) finds the answers and the alien race wants to challenge Earth to the video game with the losing planet being owned by the winning planet. Brenner ad Ludlow need to train the soldiers to go into battle against the aliens, before they take over the assault with the former champion Eddie (Dinklage).

Pixels tries to play on the nostalgia levels on the gaming fans, and on that part of the story the film really works but then you add the Sandler factor which sucks all the fun out of the film. I want to give this a positive review because I do think the idea is a great idea but I just think they used the wrong humour throughout the film. You could see this film reaching the levels of 21 Jump Street with they had played the correct comedy level and used smart jokes but in the end just stick to Wreck it Ralph. (5/10)

Actor Review

Adam Sandler: Brenner is the former gaming prodigy who never used his skills in life. He now works as an engineer but when the alien video games invade his skills come to the forefront as he leads the attack against the video games. Adam give us his used lazy comedy that really doesn’t work for the film world created. (2/10)brenner

Kevin James: Cooper is the best friend on Brenner who is now the President of the USA, when the alien games invade he calls to his best friend and former gaming community to save the world. Kevin does work in the role and that fact it is him adds to the comedy. (6/10)coopr

Michelle Monaghan: Violet starts off as just a random customer for Brenner before we discovery that she works for the President and is the romantic interest for Brenner. Michelle is just used for eye candy never really being a major part of the film. (5/10)

Peter Dinklage: Eddie is the former champion who now is a criminal but he is the best so Cooper turns to him to help with the battle where his ego still hasn’t changed. Peter gives us a solid performance getting extra laughs but just not to the level he could reach. (6/10)eddie

Josh Gad: Ludlow is the former gamer who has turn into a conspiracy theorist who joins Brenner in the battle for the planet, he gets most of the funny lines because he will change mood instantly. Josh is the highlight of the film that easily gets all the laughs. (7/10)ludlow

Support Cast: Pixels has plenty of supporting cast members that all try to add extra comedy that works sometimes in the Sean Bean character but doesn’t in others.

Director Review: Chris ColumbusChris is a class director and I think he could easily have made this great but he doesn’t reach the levels he could here. (5/10)

Action: Pixels has good gaming action used throughout which I think gets created well. (7/10)

Comedy: Pixels has some funny moments but falls from grace when Sandler jokes take over. (3/10)

Sci-Fi: Pixels creates a good idea with aliens using video game characters to attack Earth. (7/10)

Settings: Pixels has basic settings with well known landmarks being the targets of the alien destruction. (5/10)
Special Effects: Pixels has good effects to create the alien invaders which make things look like they have been taken out of the games. (7/10)

Suggestion: Pixels is one to try but I would say you have to deal with Sandler level humour throughout. (Try It)

Best Part: Pacman.

Worst Part: Sandler.

Action Scene Of The Film: Pacman game.

Funniest Scene: Josh Gad in Pacman game.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $68.5 Million

Budget: $88 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

Tagline: Play for the Planet

Overall: Disappointing Effort of smart idea.

Rating 40

 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

logoDirector: Chris Columbus

Writer: Steve Kloves (Screenplay) J.K. Rowling (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Harry Melling, Toby Jones, Jim Norton, Jason Isaacs, Robbie Coltrane, Tom Felton, Kenneth Branagh, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith

 

Plot: Harry ignores warnings not to return to Hogwarts, only to find the school plagued by a series of mysterious attacks and a strange voice haunting him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Mystery Left Open

 

Story: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets starts by showing Harry (Radcliffe) back with his Uncle and Auntie who have given him an actual room but still resent having him around. While Harry gets a warning from Dobby not to go back to Hogwarts because of a plan against him. Ron (Grint) and his brothers come to Harry rescue and help him get back to Hogwarts. While Harry continually gets block be it not make the train because of it getting blocked. While the three friends have to go through the same problems as the year before, it is a mysterious voice that Harry keeps hearing that starts to make the main story.

When a visible warning appears that is trying to frame Harry including the death of the janitors cat. The Chamber of Secrets is a myth that was created by one of the founder of Hogwarts that will only be opened when his heir starts the school which will lead to all the muggle-born (human blood) wizards being killed. With more bodies turning up petrified the fingers continue to point at Harry and with more people believing it is him he finds himself trying to uncover the truth along with Ron.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets while the first one focused on the introduction, this time we learn more about the history of Hogwarts. We learn more about the mystery of the world that Harry has only just started to learn about as much as we do. We do get the continuation of the character development as well as only hearing parts about the greater evil that awaits the wizards in the future. We see the bound between the three friends grow as well as the battle against the rivals grows too. This is an improvement on the first as it shows how easily things can change for our hero. (9/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Radcliffe: Harry Potter our young wizard who ignores the warning about returning to Hogwarts and finds himself trying to defend himself from all the clues that point in his direction when strange things start happening at Hogwarts. Daniel gives a great performance as the young wizard who has to fight against an enemy who underestimates him. (9/10)

harry

Rupert Grint: Ron Weasley rescuer of Harry as well as loyal friend who wants to make sure Harry gets back to Hogwarts. Ron continues along his clumsy side but always is in the right place when Harry needs back up. Rupert gives a good performance who like previous film he gets the extra laughs. (8/10)

ron

Emma Watson: Hermione Granger smartest of the three she learns about the potion that could unlock the truth for them, but also spends time in this film out of the picture due to the goings on. Emma gives a good performance but doesn’t get much screen time. (7/10)

 emma

Support Cast: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has a massive supporting cast and as the story telling tries to keep you guessing you have to work out who are the good, the bad and the planning ones. They all help with the story and are all portrayed very well.

 

Director Review: Chris Columbus – Chris does a great job directing, moving our characters into the next chapter of their story very well. (9/10)

 

Family: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a great family film and this one will be much more interesting for the whole family. (9/10)

Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets put you in the fantasy world from the opening moments to the final moments. (10/10)

Mystery: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets does create an interesting mystery to be solved and with plenty of different suspects it will keep you guessing. (10/10)

Settings: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets creates authentic looking sets that have created a world that we can look at and see as natural looking. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has solid effects in the most part but the Quidditch effects again come off poor. (6/10)

Suggestion: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets should be watched to continue the story and even if you haven’t seen the first one you won’t have missed much in the way of story. (Watch)

 

Best Part:  The mystery created.

Worst Part: Quidditch effects

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: 2 – 8 in the series

Post Credits Scene: Yes, but not important one.

 

Awards: Nominated for 3 BAFTAs

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $879 Million

Budget: $100 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: The Chamber of Secrets has opened.

Trivia: Daniel Radcliffe was initially only offered £125,000 (approximately US $181,500) for this film. The actors’ union, Equity, stepped in and negotiated new terms which increased his salary to roughly £2,000,000 (US $3,000,000).

 

Overall: The first mystery of the saga

Rating 89