Tim Burton Weekend – Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Director: Tim Burton

Writer: Kevin Yagher, Andrew Kevin Walker (Screenplay) Washington Irving (Story)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, Jeffrey Jones, Richard Griffiths, Michael Gough, Christopher Walken, Christopher Lee

 

Plot: Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of 3 people with the culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman.


Tagline – Who will it come for next?!

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Fantasy Horror

 

Story: Sleepy Hollow starts in 1799 when forward thinking constable Ichabod Crane (Depp) is set from New York City to the small farming community of Sleepy Hollow, where a series of murders have been happening by a headless horseman, who takes the heads of his victims.

Requested by Baltus Van Tassel (Gambon), Ichabod gets to use his forward-thinking ideas to investigate the crimes and learn about the town’s people with their strong male hierocracy that controls business, until he teams up with Baltus daughter Katrina (Ricci) to unlock the truth about the legend of the headless horseman.

 

Thoughts on Sleepy Hollow

 

Characters – Ichabod Crane is a constable who wants to start using the science to solve crimes instead of the torture techniques being adopted for the time. He becomes the fish out of water in the farming community trying to solve a crime that is surrounded by supernatural, he must use his skills to solve who is behind the supernatural events, using his quirky ways. Katrina is the daughter of the Van Tassel’s who is looking for husband, she takes a liking towards Ichabod and helps learn the truth. Hessian Horseman is the legend that slaughtered many before being defeated and beheaded, now he has risen from the dead to take the heads of the community. Lady Van Tassel is the wife of Baltus, she has a secret from him and for the most part enjoys the new life she is living. Baltus is the man that called for Ichabod to help solve the murders, he is one of the few that will stand up for Ichabod to get the truth. We do get plenty of different town’s people to meet that fill the gaps to help us understand the hierarchy of the community.

PerformancesJohnny Depp was truly making his name at time of this release and we knew he was capable of the quirky, this shows him balance the act perfectly in one of his more underrated roles. Christina Ricci is good, though she doesn’t seem to need to do more than be the damsel in distress. Miranda Richardson does a good job n her role showing her experience of how to handle the period piece films. Christopher Walken does give us a delightful dark character though I do know he doesn’t do a lot of the headless scenes in the film. if you look at the rest of the cast we have some of the great British actors mixed with Casper Van Dien who at the time was hot property after Starship Troopers.

StoryThe story is based on the legend of the headless horseman, which in its own right is an interesting fantasy horror. We keep to the time where science was first trying to get pushed in the crime world and still looked down upon, we also get the idea that science is meant to solve crime until the supernatural is thrown into the mix throwing everything out the window. The story does give us a serial killer to try and see stopped which can keep the detectives in the audience happy and the pace things unfold give us enough time for the twists to have effect in the story.

Fantasy/Horror/MysteryThe fantasy side of the film comes from the horseman coming back from the dead to take the heads of the community. This does play into the horror elements of the film too because we see how the community become scared of whether they will be next, this does also give us the blood and the creepy atmosphere before his arrival. The mystery gives us the questions about who is behind the horseman and his return, this does give us twists along the way too.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to the best levels as we get to see the excellent built sets to make us feel like we are in 1799 farming community.

Special EffectsThe effects use mostly excellent practical effects with the lost heads, the CGI moments do work well too when used mostly with the re-creation of the horseman from the skeleton to human again.


Scene of the Movie –
Horseman vs Ichabod & Brom, excellent fight sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The science does get forgotten in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun fantasy horror that gives us an iconic killer with a crime to solve around why he has targeted the farming community.

 

Overall: Fun horror with Burton’s token quirks.

Rating

 

 

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Distorted (2018)

Director: Rob W King

Writer: Arne Olsen (Screenplay)

Starring: Christina Ricci, John Cusack, Brendan Fletcher, Vicellous Shannon, Nicole Anthony, Oliver Rice

 

Plot: A 32-year-old woman suffering from bipolar disorder comes to suspect the proprietor of the state-of-the-art ”smart apartment” she and her husband just moved into is using the building’s residents as unwitting guinea pigs for a ”synthetic telepathy” brainwashing plot with dire global ramifications.


Tagline – Don’t fear the lies. Fear the truth.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Confusing

 

Story: Distorted starts as married couple Lauren (Ricci) and Russell (Fletcher) move into a new state of the art apartment, with increased security to help give Lauren a better state of mind. With the apartment full of fellow successful people, Lauren sees her husband working giving her time to focus on finding inspiration to return to her artistic ways.

When Lauren starts to believe she is hearing things around the apartment, she starts to investigate believing that the apartment is part of an experiment which is also making it difficult for her to befriend anyone else in the apartment, but it could also be her bipolar disorder effecting her mind, though a meeting with a hacker Vernon Sarsfield (Cusack) could offer some answers.

 

Thoughts on Distorted

 

Characters – Lauren Curran is a sufferer of bipolar disorder and her own personal tragedy, she has spent time in a hospital and is now getting ready to return to her normal artistic life. In her new apartment she starts to believe she is part of an experiment and must learn the truth before becoming part of the experiment. Russell is her husband that is reluctantly supporting him even though he believes she is going off the wagon again, his character is mostly us wondering which side he is on. Vernon Sarsfield is a hacker that knows what is being used in the building technology and how to get around it, he helps Lauren along the way as he wants to bring the system down. When we look at the rest of the residents we go through the motions of who we are focusing on as they fill the generic fillers in the roles in the apartment.

PerformancesChristina Ricci is our leading lady in this film and she is good for the most part, it must have been hard to react to certain flashing images moments. John Cusack is solid enough his character is meant to be withdrawn from the rest and he keeps that in his performance. The rest of the performances are average throughout no one gets the chance shine over Ricci.

StoryThe story follows a couple that move into a new apartment after their own personal tragedy. It follows the wife who is suffering with her own mental disorders who starts to believe the apartment is being used for something very different. This story focuses on the idea of conspiracies which could be very interesting, but the suspense in the story never comes to light early enough and just ends up going into technical terms, rather than showing us what could be going on in the bigger picture. It does sometimes feel like they just throw her bipolar disorder in for the sake of it too. The story also turns to flashing images to try and show the confusions in Lauren’s mind.

Action/MysteryThere is action sequences, though it is soft to watch and never brings you to the edge of your seat. The mystery is around what is going on and what has Lauren uncovered or is it in her head.

SettingsThe locations used mostly keep us in the new apartment and the strange events going on within it, when we leave we feel like we are getting involved in the conspiracy side of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are a weakness in this film because most of the time we just resort to flashing images to show what is happening to Lauren.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act is the most interesting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The flashing images just get annoying.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard action mystery that tries to give us the old conspiracy idea only for it to rely on flashing images to get tell us what is going on.

 

Overall: Standard action mystery film.

Rating

 

 

The Addams Family (1991)

addamDirector: Barry Sonnenfeld

Writer: Caroline Thompson, Larry Wilson (Screenplay) Charles Addams (Characters)

Starring: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Dan Hedaya, Elizabeth Wilson, Judith Malina, Carel Struycken, Dana Ivey, Paul Benedict, Christina Ricci, Jimmy Workman

 

Plot: Con artists plan to fleece an eccentric family using an accomplice who claims to be their long-lost uncle.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Family Comedy

 

Story: The Addams Family starts as we meet the family Morticia (Huston), Gomez (Julia), Lurch (Struycken), Wednesday (Ricci), Pugsley (Workman) and Thing (Hart) who have been trying to contact Uncle Fester after his disppearnce years before. Bring in Tully Alford (Hedaya) and his wife Margaret (Ivey) who want the Addams family fortune.

Tully and Abigail Craven (Wilson) use her son Gordon (Lloyd) to pretend to be Uncle Fester as he enters the house to find his share of the fortune but his adventure are nothing like he would expect as he has to deal with the unusual behaviour of the Addams family. It isn’t long before the family starts to question this Uncle Fester and soon begin to love the strange character even if he isn’t the man they thought he was.

The Addams Family is one of the true classic family comedy fantasy film that shows just how different we can see each person in our own family to be different. The interactions between the family are all twisted in a loving way where we could see others question while the interaction with the people outside the family all come off slightly awkward which sums up the family perfectly.

The con-artist side of the story comes off nicely as we can see how naïve a family can be but even with love people can change. The performances are all great with Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston have perfect chemistry as the father and mother of the family. The rest of the cast all give great performances that you can believe from start to finish with the uniqueness given to each character.

 

Overall: Underrated classic that hits on all of the unique style needed to make it truly stand out.

Ratingcard

 

 

Lizzie Borden Took an Ax (2014)

logoDirector: Nick Gomez

Writer: Stephen Kay (Screenplay)

Starring: Christina Ricci, Clea DuVall, Gregg Henry, Stephen McHattie, Sara Botsford, Hannah Anderson, Andrea Runge, Billy Campbell

Plot: The true story of Lizzie Borden, a young woman tried and acquitted in the 1892 murders of her father and stepmother.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: TV Case History

Story: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe starts by introducing us to the Borden family with Lizzie (Ricci) finding the butchered body of her father Andrew (McHattie). We are in the 1892 and the families all dress to impress while attending church on a weekly bases we have Lizzie, Andrew as well as Emma (DuVall), Abby and (Botsford). Lizzie dreams of getting out of the shadows her father casts and not wanting to become a victim of her father’s nature.

Lizzie continues to go against her father and her step mother Abby as she keeps getting accused of stealing. With Emma away the events follow with both Andrew and Abby getting murdered and the district attorney Hosea Knowlton (Henry) eyeing up Lizzie as the murderer. Old friend Andrew Jennings (Campbell) comes to the house to offer his services to Lizzie if she would require it.

What follows is Hosea trying to put together a case which does make Lizzie look guilty but he can’t find that evidence so the case goes before a judge to figure out what really happened.

Lizzie Borden Took an Axe is a story I have to say I am slightly confused about, I personally thought there was some sort of supernatural side to the story but this only look at the basic case. The story is one that still gets talked about today because it never got solved which instantly makes it an interesting story to look into. I do feel this version of the story never really gets into enough detail because it just seems to come off very slow and automatically makes Lizzie a villain which is disappointing because it may look like she was guilty but we will never know. (6/10)

Actor Review

Christina Ricci: Lizzie Borden is the very calm sister in the family who dreams off getting out from the shadows of her father, but as the tension rise the parents are murdered making her the prime suspect. This leaves us to wonder if she is the killer and if she is how she wants to prove her innocence. Christina does what we know she can giving us a god performance throughout. (7/10)lizzie

Billy Campbell: Andrew Jennings is the defence lawyer who knows the father and offers to defend Lizzie in the court case. He advises Lizzie during the trial as well as defending her. Billy gives a solid performance in the supporting role. (6/10)jennings

Clea DuVall: Emma Borden is the sister of Lizzie, who wasn’t around during the murders. She starts by defending Lizzie but over time she starts to question her sister’s reaction after the murders. Clea also gives a solid performance but doesn’t do enough to make us care about her career. (6/10)emma

Gregg Henry: Hosea Knowlton is the District Attorney who wants to build a case against Lizzie and he has a good case but he does lack the evidence to fully convict without a trial. Gregg does a good job in the role opposite Ricci. (7/10)

Stephan McHattie: Andrew Borden is the father that gets murdered, he is very strict making Lizzie feel trapped inside her own home, not letting her see the world or find herself a husband, but just who killed him. Stephen may only have a small part but his character drives the motives to what everything happens and he does a good job. (7/10)father

Support Cast: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe has a supporting cast of people who either help the case unfold without really doing enough for the whole story.

Director Review: Nick GomezNick does a solid job telling just one theory of what happened in the case of Lizzie Borden. (6/10)

Crime: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe shows the crimes that were committed but never managed to figure out who really did it. (6/10)

Mystery: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe is a mystery we are still studying today, this film only offers one outcome. (9/10)

Thriller: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe doesn’t really make you wonder what will happen because we all know she doesn’t get found guilty and we don’t know who did the crime. (3/10)

Settings: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe creates authentic looking settings to match the time period in question. (9/10)

Suggestion: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe is one to try but it might as well just have been a crime show looking at one theory about what happened. (Try It)

Best Part: Ricci’s performance.

Worst Part: Not enough answers about what could have happened.

Believability: The case is real as is the mystery behind it. (10/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Ended up having its own television show.

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

Trivia: The Medical Examiner’s Assistant was an uncredited courtesy role created by the film’s producers for Jono Borden, an author and regional authority on the Borden family based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was asked to consult on his family’s history and offered an appearance onscreen. The irony of his casting saw him assist in the fictionalized depiction of the postmortem examinations of his very real cousins, Andrew and Abby Borden, and in an alternative courtroom scene cut from the final film, present the exhumed skulls of his relations to the jurors.

Overall: Just one side to a story that is one of the most interesting in crime history.

Rating 55

 

Robert Pattinson Weekend – Bel Ami (2012)

bel amiDirector: Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod

Writer: Rachel Bennette (Screenplay) Guy de Maupassant (Novel)

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christina Ricci, Colm Meaney, Philip Glenister, Holliday Grainger

 

Plot: A chronicle of a young man’s rise to power in Paris via his manipulation of the city’s wealthiest and most influential women.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Costume Fluff

 

Story: Bel Ami starts in Paris 1890 as we follow Georges Duroy (Pattinson) a man that starts at the bottom given a chance to have dinner with the upper classes the Forestier’s Madeleine (Thurman) and Charles (Glenister). On this dinner date he meets three members of the upper class Virginie (Thomas) Madeleine and Clotilde (Ricci) as Georges plan gets put into place.

Georges finds himself using this woman to get their husbands choice put in place with the first being Clotilde.  Georges is trying to climb the social ladder in Paris and with the women on his side he can go right to the very top.

Bel Ami is a film that is all about the ups and downs of a peasant trying to rise through society. It really all comes down to a lot of costume fluff that goes nowhere fast and ends up being plain. This is one for the fans for period piece films but if they are not your thing you will not enjoy.

 

Actor Review

 

Robert Pattinson: Georges Duroy is the peasant in France that get remembered for his time in the war, his new found fame leads him into entering the higher classes of Paris as he learns that woman control the decisions of their husbands. Robert is solid in this role but he doesn’t seem to nail an accent through the film.georges

Uma Thurman: Madeleine Forestier is the wife of the man that first brings Georges into the high society, she helps Georges with his education while becoming one of the ladies in his life. Uma does a basic job in this role but like Robert never really nails an accent.

Kristin Scott Thomas: Virginie Rousset is another member of the upper class in Paris, she takes a shine to Georges along the way up the classes. Kristen is solid but we don’t see enough of her character until later in the film.

Christina Ricci: Clotilde de Marelle is the first of the ladies to take up the adulteress ways with Georges as the two have a whirlwind affair behind her husband’s back. Christina is solid in the supporting role of this film being the only interesting character.

Support Cast: Bel Ami has a supporting cast that all end up being forgettable and mostly the husbands.

Director Review: Declan Donnellan, Nick OrmerodThe pair give us a basic period piece that will keep the fans happy without being memorable.

 

History: Bel Ami puts us in the 1890s for the film I don’t know how actuate the film is though.

Romance: Bel Ami shows plenty of sex but you never see any real romance.

Settings: Bel Ami puts us in the settings of the time in question without being anything special.

Suggestion: Bel Ami is one for the period piece fans to try but otherwise avoid it. (Period Piece Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Ricci is good.

Worst Part: Too political.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: Possessed by love. Consumed by desire.

 

Overall: Period piece that lacks that punch.

Ratingcard