Naomi Watts Weekend – King Kong (2005)

Director: Peter Jackson

Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson (Screenplay) Merian C Cooper, Edgar Wallace (Story)

Starring: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks, Andy Serkis, Evan Parke, Jamie Bell


Plot: In 1933 New York, an overly ambitious movie producer coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to the mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter Kong, a giant ape who is immediately smitten with leading lady Ann Darrow.

Tagline – The eighth wonder of the world.

Runtime: 3 Hours 7 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Epic Remake


Story: King Kong starts when struggling actress Ann Darrow (Watts) loses her latest job in the packed city of New York, she gets lucky when she meets disgraced director Carl Denham (Black) who is rushing to find a leading lady, taking Ann for his latest film, with his screenwriter Jack Driscoll (Brody), the every man Ann wants to work with.

Escaping New York before Carl gets arrested, he sets out searching for the mysterious Skull Island, which he wants as his backdrop for his movie, a place nobody has ever set foot on. Once on the island the crew get attacked by a tribe who take Ann to feed to their feared leader King Kong.

With the crew going in search of Ann, they discover the island is crawling with animals they have never seen, with Carl continue to shoot his picture, the desire to hunt down Kong for display being the biggest attraction in New York.



Thoughts on King Kong


Characters – Ann Darrow is a stage actress who has ben performing in an unsuccessful show for years until her theatre gets closed down, she is getting desperate to work with famous play write, only to find herself meeting a film director working with him. Ann jumps at the chance to have a paid gig, only this becomes more than she ever bargained for, when she becomes the object of King Kong affections on Skull Island. Carl Denham is a film director whose latest film isn’t impressing his investors, he decides to run before having the whole projects plug pulled, taking his crew to an unknown island and even after the danger starts, he continues to film his evolving story. Jack Driscoll is the screenwriter that is trying to get back to his stage work, only to find that Carl has tricked him into remaining on the boat, forcing him to work on the screenplay, he starts to fall in love with Ann along the way too, willing to risk his own life to save hers. Kong is the feared ruler of Skull Island, he takes Ann as a sacrifice falling in love with the human on his island, he can fight any threat, including T-Rexes. He is the icon that we know from previous films bought to life once again.

PerformancesNaomi Watts in the role made famous by Fay Wray, brings her own stamp to the role, handling the small comic moments very well through the film too. Jack Black might not have been many people’s first choice for the director role, but he proves a lot of people wrong with his performance, which still remains one of his best. Adrien Brody proves to be a great choice too because he gets to poke fun at the Hollywood stereotypes.

StoryThe story here follows an ambitious director who takes his crew including a desperate young actress to Skull Island, a mysterious uncharted location only to find a land filled with unseen monsters including the king of the island Kong, who becomes friends with Ann the actress. This is the remake of the one of the classic films of the 1930s, it does tell the same story, only builds on everything to new levels, because back then, nobody knew how big movies were going to be, so this time we can look back at the movie building era, showing more of the conflicts between movies and theatre. The island is also much larger in scale with plenty of creatures which add to the story. we do even have small side stories which do work to fill the films lengthy 3 hour plus run time. We do get to see just how destructive the human can be to new worlds too.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is massive, edge of the seat and most importantly brilliant to watch, be it the fights between creatures, monsters and humans, right down to the New York showdown with Kong. The adventure does take us to a new world, where we haven’t seen the creatures before, or at least not this size. It shows the most dangerous side of the explorer’s journeys in the world.

SettingsThe film does use two main settings, first New York which is re-created for the time period perfectly, the second is the island which is filled with the beauty and terror you would have come to expect from an unknown location

Special EffectsThe effects are one of the biggest talking points of this film, first of all Kong looks fantastic, large amounts of the film looks brilliant, but that one chase scene will drag this down because it is such a weak point for the film.

Scene of the Movie –
Kong versus the T-Rex.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The canyon chase the CGI looks awful.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the remakes that works because of the improvement in technology, it is epic in scale and manages to capture the true feeling behind what made the original such a memorable movie.


Overall: Stunning remake that lives up to the scale of the movie.




ABC Film Challenge – Random – U – Untraceable (2008)

untracDirector: Gregory Hoblit

Writer: Robert Fyvolent, Mark Brinker, Allison Burnett (Screenplay) Robert Fyvolent, Mark Brinker (Story)

Starring: Diane Lane, Billy Burke, Colin Hanks, Joseph Cross, Mary Beth Hurt, Peter Gray Lewis


Plot: FBI agent Jennifer Marsh is tasked with hunting down a seemingly untraceable serial killer who posts live videos of his victims on the Internet. As time runs out, the cat and mouse chase becomes more personal.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Dark Thriller


Story: Untraceable starts as we meet a partnership within the FBI computer division where Jennifer Marsh (Lane) and Griffin Dowd (Hanks) search for cybercrimes. This is show as we see how good the pair are at tracking down and capturing the criminals.

The main story starts when Jennifer discovers a website called ‘Kill With Me’ showing a tortured cat that can’t be closed down. When the killer returns, he picks a human victim with brings in Detective Eric Box (Burke) to work with Jennifer to figure out the motive behind the killer’s actions.


Thoughts on Untraceable


StoryWe all like to see a good dark crime thriller and this story delivers on that, we get plenty of graphic murders happening by the killer as we are left to wonder just what his motives are. I do think we have a killer with good motives once we learn them and I also like how everything in circled around societies new obsession with the internet and viral videos. This is a crime story I would expect that fans of the genre to enjoy even if certain elements are slightly too dark for some.

Crime/Mystery/Thriller We get a crime story that is full of the everything you need for an intense thriller that shows just how dark crimes can be when you looking for why the crime is taking place. We do have the mystery side of the story as we have to figure out why the killer is committing these crimes.

Characters/PerformanceWhen it comes to the characters Jennifer Marsh is developed to be the solo parent who seems to be the only one smart enough to figure out how to stop the killer, well her and her partner Griffin. When you look at the Detective Box character you are left wondering how he was in that position because he has no clue about the crimes going on. The killer does have good motives but in the end we are left feeling he is defeated slightly too easily. I do think the performances are all good without being considered any of the best of that year.

SettingsI think the settings are solid because the killer wants it hard to find him but in the end, nothing feels like it is anything special to where the events of the film take place.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good dark thriller I do think people can enjoy even if it is too dark for the casual fans.


Overall: Deliciously dark crime thriller that tries to push boundaries with the killer.




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.




Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Alone With Her (2006)

logoDirector: Eric Nicholas

Writer: Eric Nicholas (Screenplay)

Starring: Colin Hanks, Ana Claudia Talancon, Jordana Spiro, Jonathon Trent, Alex Boling, Tony Armatrading

Plot: A quiet but disturbed young man puts the life of a woman he’s obsessed with under a virtual microscope when he installs hidden cameras throughout her house.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Disturbing Thriller

Story: Alone with Her starts warning statistics about how every minute 3 people become victims of stalkers and how easy it is to become one. We start by following our stalker in question Doug (Hanks) who has rigged a bag to wonder around with a hidden camera. When Doug picks his victim Amy (Talancon) he enters her house to place hidden cameras around her apartment while she is on holiday.

With the cameras set up Doug learns all the ins and outs of Amy’s live while she has no idea but when Doug starts trying to get to know Amy in person he uses his own information about her to make a relationship happen, but when things don’t go to his plan things turn sour and we see just how dangerous Doug can be.

Alone with Her brings us a disturbing look at how far a stalker can go, it all comes off early that it is just going to be watching but then when Doug gets involved in Amy’ life we get to see how far it goes. To think this film was made in 2006 just think how this could reach new levels with all the new technology we have in the world now. This film could make you paranoid about everything in your life but by the end it ends up going in an easy ending.

Actor Review

Colin Hanks: Doug is our stalker he likes to follow people’s lives when he picks his newest victim Amy he sets up cameras all over her house while following her around her everyday life, when things don’t go to his plan he starts getting involved in her life showing how dangerous he is. Colin gives us a disturbing performance that will use his charming side before showing his darker side.doug

Ana Claudia Talancon: Amy is the single lady that becomes the object of Doug’s obsession. She is unaware of anything going on but tore between what she wants from a chance meeting from Doug leading her to putting her life in danger when she finds out Doug’s true motives. Ana gives us a brave performance where she has to go through a lot during the film.amy

Support Cast: Alone with Her only really has two supporting cast members with Amy’s best friend and a potential love interest, they do what they need to but get eclipse by the two stars of the film.

Director Review: Eric NicholasEric gives us a terrifying look at how a stalker could operate, with it starting off with simple watching before turning darker as the film continues.

Crime: Alone with Her shows how a criminal stalker goes about his plans.

Horror: Alone with Her shows how things end up getting out of hand when someone is watching your every move without you knowing.

Thriller: Alone with Her keeps you guessing to what will happen next and how far Doug will go.

Settings: Alone with Her keeps most of the settings inside the house of Amy as we watch everything she does this all works because it brings the horror of terror inside his own house.

Suggestion: Alone with Her is one to try because it does have a good idea of horror but does start slow. (Try It)

Best Part: The fact it could be real.

Worst Part: Slow starting.

Believability: This could easily happen to someone.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Could have one

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $1 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

Tagline: Anytime. Anywhere. He’s watching.

Overall: Disturbing Thriller that will shock you with ow easy it is to become a victim of stalking


The Guilt Trip (2012)

logoDirector: Anne Fletcher

Writer: Dan Fogelman (Screenplay)

Starring: Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen, Kathy Najimy, Yvonne Strahovski, Colin Hanks, Brett Cullen


Story: Andy Brewster (Rogen) is an inventor, he has created a cleaning product which is safe if consumed by accident as well as being environmentally friendly. Andy now has to sell his product to all the major retail outlets, which means he is going on a road trip. Before he goes on his road trip he has to stop of at his mother’s house. Joyce Brewster (Streisand) is an over caring single parent who along with her girlfriends doesn’t take many chances. Andy hates to let his mum down, but as he knows he isn’t being overly successful on his selling, he lies to her about how things are going. After finding out about a long lost love of his mum’s he tries to locate him, partially to help himself knowing he is in sales business. Andy invites his mum along on his cross country road trip and you can tell from the first minute that this will test their relationship.


The start of the road trip

The start of the road trip

Verdict: A road trip film that has some heart, laughs and almost some tears.

Story: I enjoyed the story told in this film, I especially enjoyed the relationship between Andy and Joyce because it shows you that both people will hide something from their parents or children. Both also learn that whatever is going on in their lives the other one will support them. The road trip itself was a bit generic with everything you expect to see on the trip, but as an Englishman I enjoy watching anything that shows a trip across another country. (9/10)


Actor Review: Barbra Streisand – fitting in to the odd couple role with her son. Joyce has some interesting quirks like wanting to listen to a sex book on the road trip, but also has her vulnerable side, which she doesn’t let show as much as is needed. Barbra does a good job in the end Star Performance Award (9/10)


Actor Review: Seth Rogen – We are all used to seeing Seth in a loud drugged up comedy, this is a welcome detour from those. Seth shows some good emotional displays and keeps everything bottled up like every son can do with their mother. Even though he is meant to be playing a role in a cleaner comedy you can see he itching to get to his more mature content. (7/10)


Director Review:  Anne Fletcher – with only three previous films to her name you can see that comedy is her thing. Following up from The Proposal you can see the similar level of comedy in this, targeting the whole range of audience (8/10)


Comedy: Light hearted comedy, with some over the top laughs in the end credits scene. (7/10)

Music: good soundtrack that fits all the scenes well (8/10)

Settings: A road trip across American is a very good setting for a comedy gives the film a chance to experience a full range of weather and scenery. (9/10)

Suggestion: I feel this one will appeal to the casual film audience, people that will like to go home with a warm feeling inside. The film will leave you with a smile on your face which is good but you will also feel sad in parts. Don’t expect full blown rolling on the floor laughs or Seth Rogen to be anything that you have seen before, if you are expecting these two things you won’t enjoy the film. I suggest this because it is a film that puts a smile on your face as well as putting you in a position you can relate to, what more could you ask for? (8/10)


Best Part: An awkward moment when Andy’s mum is with him in a sales pitch and the guy is more interested in something she has bought to the table.

Worst Part: bit to generic

Similar Too: Due Date, Away We Go


Overall: A warm light hearted comedy

Rating 82%