Robert De Niro Weekend – Hide and Seek (2005)

Director: John Polson

Writer: Ari Schlossberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen, Elisabeth Shue, Amy Irving, Dylan Baker, Melissa Leo

 

Plot: As a widower tries to piece together his life in the wake of his wife’s suicide, his daughter finds solace, at first, in her imaginary friend.


Tagline – If you want to know the secret, you have to play the game.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Confusing Horror

 

Story: Hide and Seek starts when psychologist David (De Niro) loses his wife to a sudden suicide, to help his daughter Emily (Fanning) through the trauma he decides to move to a more remote location upstate of New York.

David is trying to settle in with Emily, who soon starts to have her own imagine friend named Charlie, David does turn to colleague Katherine (Janssen) for advice, while trying to move on with both their lives, only Charlie starts to show an evil side.

 

Thoughts on Hide and Seek

 

Characters – David is a psychologist in the big city of New York, he has a wife and daughter, only all his skills can’t help him see the depression his own wife is suffering through, needing to put his life back together with his daughter, he needs to  make sure Emily doesn’t fall into needing more help, while navigating learning to live in a new town. Emily is the daughter that became traumatised after the death of her mother, she uses her imaginary friend to get away with doing evil things around the house. Emily is a character that you can understand the acting against the normal because dealing with loss can be difficult for a child. Katherine is the colleague that specialises in helping children, she is the one that David turns to for added advice for helping his daughter. Elizabeth is a local divorced woman with a child the same age as Emily, David tries to build a friendship for both himself and Emily with her, Elizabeth shows that people can be patient when searching for new friendship.

PerformancesRobert De Niro stepping into the horror genre is something refreshing, he does show how difficult it could be for a father to keep everything together after losing a wife. Dakota Fanning as the traumatised daughter brings the fear required, while also being creepy through the film. Famke Janssen and Elisabeth Shue are both solid enough supporting the film, without needing to make that big of an impact in what is going on.

StoryThe story follows a recently widowed father taking his daughter to start a new life in a quieter neighbourhood, only for her to get a new imaginary friend that doesn’t like the people in her life. Now this story could and does start by showing the effects of a trauma on a young girl, after she witnesses her mother’s suicide, this could explain the actions she ends up causing through the film, the problem with the story comes from the fact the film sets this up, only to go in a direction which makes zero sense for anything we have seen in the first act. It also doesn’t help the fact we have five yes FIVE different endings too. This is a story that completely derails because of a simple choice and ends up just being difficult to watch.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film is confusing too, mostly because it is weak dream sequences before anything being remotely scary happening until the final third of the film which, does have strong moments, just doesn’t make sense to what we knew before. The mystery in the film comes from trying to figure out who Charlie is, because we get suggestions it could be a person with the number of people that get introduced around the new home, add in that it could be supernatural, we are left to figure out who they are.

SettingsThe film is set in upstate New York where the father and daughter are trying to start a new life away from the busy life that could have caused added stress in life. It does give the family an isolation factor which adds to the potential suspense in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Not interested in new friends.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The third act twist just confuses everything.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that was going in a smooth direction to be interesting only to take a twist which makes it frustrating by the end of the film.

 

Overall: Weak ending horror.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Cocktail (1988)

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: Heywood Gould (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Bryan Brown, Elisabeth Shue, Lisa Banes, Laurence Luckinbill, Kelly Lynch, Gina Gershon

 

Plot: A talented New York City bartender takes a job at a bar in Jamaica and falls in love.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Barely Dated a Day

 

Story: Cocktail starts a Brian Flanagan (Cruise) returns from the services and heads to New York looking to walk into a successful job on wall street, he gets rejected everywhere due to his lack of qualifications. Finding a job in a bar as a bartender where he learns the art of the cocktail from Doug Coughlin (Brown). While studying he finds, himself failing once again but his cocktail reputation grows.

When Brian and Doug decide, they want to go into business together and open their own cocktail bar, but their friendship is broken and Brian goes out on his own to Jamaica to make the money to have his own cocktail bar. Falling in love with Jordan (Shue) he decides to let her go to following in Doug’s footsteps and marry a rich woman, but love will have control over him.

 

Thoughts on Cocktail

 

Characters/PerformanceBrian is an ex-service man that finds it hard to get a job without qualification, wow if this isn’t a relatable character or what? Brian finds to make money as a cocktail bartender but his friendship and romantic personality changes his path. Doug is the teacher to Brian, he teaches the tricks of the trade and how to get away with everything. Jordan is the woman that Brian falls for but only finds a way to make a mess of it.

Performance wise, Tom Cruise is good in this leading role showing that he was always going to be a big star for years to come. Bryan Brown is good in his role with Elisabeth Shue doing a good job through the parts of the film she is in.

StoryThe story here isn’t the most important thing going on here as it isn’t the most interesting part of the film. The part of the story that does stick out is the fact we see how hard it is to find a job without qualifications. There is a romantic angle which is fine without being anything stand out in the film and the success the guy faces also works well.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is light in places but nothing fancy, the romantic side is something we have seen before but is mostly about a guy that screws up and gets a second chance somehow.

SettingsThe settings all work for the film showing the New York setting, the Jamaica setting as well as the high life and lower life the characters find themselves in.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun and enjoyable movie that has poor scores everywhere but it is hard to find anyone that doesn’t like it.

 

Overall: Enjoyable film.

Rating

 

 

Original V Remake – The Karate Kid (1984)

This is also an entry into the Then and Now Blogathon, with the Then appearing on Realweemidget site

 

Director: John G Avildsen

Writer: Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay)

Starring: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue, martin Kove, Randee Heller, William Zabka

 

Plot: A martial arts master agrees to teach karate to a bullied teenager.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Classic

 

Story: Karate Kid starts as Daniel (Macchio) moves from New Jersey to California with his mother, he needs to make new friends and it isn’t long before he meets a girl Ali (Shue) from his new school but also grabs the attention of the local bullies and their leader Johnny (Zabka) who knows karate.

When the handy man Mr Miyagi (Morita) of the building sees Daniel’s struggle he comes to his aid showing that he is a martial arts master and agrees to train him ready to face Johnny and the bullies in a karate tournament. Daniel goes through an unusual training routine to prepare him for the fight.

 

Thoughts on Karate Kid

 

Characters – Daniel moves to a new town where knows nobody, he finds himself targeted by the local bullies but with the help of Miyagi he learns karate to get one over the main bully. Miyagi is the karate master that works as a building handyman to cover his personal pain, he does see bright things in Daniel and agrees to train him with unusual methods. Ali is the girl that Daniel falls for at school, she is the ex of the bully, she likes Daniel even though he is from the wrong side of town. Johnny is our bully, he doesn’t like that Daniel will stand up to him and uses his advance karate to point him in his place.

PerformanceRalph Macchio gave us a performance here that made people want to be in a karate movie, he sums up the lost teenage perfectly. Pat Morita is fantastic in his role as the mentor which often gets emulated but never duplicated. Elisabeth Shue is good as the love interest and William Zabka is good as thee bully.

StoryThe story shows how an ill-disciplined student can be turned into a calm fighter ready to defend himself against anyone who challenges him. This shows us that anyone can blossom into something great given the right guidance and self-belief in their own abilities, making it a bench mark for anyone that has been questioning their own skills.

Action/Family/SportThe action plays to a typical 80s musical background being high school level chases and fights. The family side shows us just what you need to be doing within a family when it comes to guiding children. The sport is karate in competition.

SettingsThe settings show us the places 80s high school student would hang out and the trouble they can find themselves in.

Scene of the Movie – Training.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would say the film is slightly too long for the same point message.

Tagline – He taught him the secret to Karate lies in the mind and heart. Not in the hands.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the classic films of all cinema, it is a film that shows character needed to defeat in the right manner.

 

Overall: One of the best sports films of all time.

Rating

 

 

30th Anniversary Weekend – Back to the Future Part III (1990)

logoDirector: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael J Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Mary Steenburgen, Thomas F Wilson, Lea Thompson, Elisabeth Shue, Matt Clark, Richard Dysart

Plot: Enjoying a peaceable existence in 1885, Doctor Emmet Brown is about to be killed by Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen. Marty McFly travels back in time to save his friend.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Fitting Conclusion

Story: Back to the Future Part III starts picks up right where part II ends with Marty (Fox) having to turn to Doc Brown (Lloyd) of the past to help him save Doc Brown from the future from the past. Doc Brown has ended up in 1885 while Marty is in 1955, in 1955 Doc Brown must team up with Marty fix the time machine and go back to save Doc Brown after they discover that Doc gets killed one week after he wrote the letter to Marty.

Marty arrives and ends up making an enemy with Buford ‘Mad Dog’ Tannen (Wilson) the badest man in the west who has already made an enemy out of Doc Brown. We are left to watch the pair work out how to fuel up the DeLorean and go back to the future.team

Back to the Future Part III completes the saga with wonderful enjoyment by going back in time even further with the western theme. I liked how this continues the adventure to a new level and shows enough respect to what will happen later in the story. This is the perfectly completion to a trilogy that can easily be watched in one go and not feel old.

Actor Review

Michael J Fox: Marty McFly continues this adventure through time as he goes back to 1885 to save Doc Brown but he ends up getting stuck there as the two have to find a way to go back to the future. Michael does it great job in this role where he completes the final chapter of the saga.marty

Christopher Lloyd: Doc Brown must first help Marty go back to the old west but while there the original Doc Brown must then learn his new fate before returning to the future but he has finally found love. Christopher gives his best of the trilogy performance where he gets to shine with his story unfolding.doc

Mary Steenburgen: Clara Clayton is the new love interest of Doc Brown and how he ends up saving her life, she ends up putting a difficult decision in Doc’s mind as he has never found love before. Mary is a welcome addition to the story that is much need as she becomes the strongest female character in the series.

Thomas F Wilson: Buford ‘Mad Dog’ Tannen is the badest man in the west, he is responsible for Doc Brown’s death, he clashes with Marty as he first goes back leading to a final showdown between the two. Thomas does well in yet another role in the series showing he can look the part in any time period.

Support Cast: Back to the Future Part III has the supporting cast works really well and you get to see them all in their roles through a different time periods.

Director Review: Robert ZemeckisRobert finishes his trilogy off marvellously with this finish instalments.

Action: Back to the Future Part III brings in the wild west action into the story which all comes off very generic for the ideas.

Adventure: Back to the Future Part III finishes the saga off which ends up becoming one of the greatest of all time.

Comedy: Back to the Future Part III has the funniest moments in the franchise with where ti all ends up going.

Sci-Fi: Back to the Future Part III uses the idea of sci-fi world of time travel but steps away from it slightly more.

Western: Back to the Future Part III brings us into the western world and makes it easy to watch rather than just settling with the idea easy to use style.

Settings: Back to the Future Part III creates the western setting for the story which works to change the idea of the story again but keeps the peril in there.
Special Effects: Back to the Future Part III continues the use of great effects which have hardly dated.

Suggestion: Back to the Future Part III has to be watched once you have seen the rest of the saga. (Watch)

Best Part: Doc Brown falling in love.

Worst Part: That evil looking kid.

Favourite Quote: Doc Brown It means your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one, both of you.

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Nope

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $88 Million

Budget: $40 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

Tagline: They’ve saved the best trip for last… But this time they may have gone too far.

Trivia: When Doc and Marty are at the drive-in preparing the DeLorean for the trip to 1885, Marty mentions Clint Eastwood and Doc replies, “Clint who?” In this shot, there is a movie poster on the drive-in’s wall showcasing Revenge of the Creature (1955) and Tarantula(1955), containing some of the first film appearances of a young, then-unknown Eastwood.

Overall: Brilliant conclusion to one of the great set of films ever made.

Ratingcard

 

30th Anniversary Weekend – Back to the Future Part II (1989)

logoDirector: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael J Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Thomas F Wilson, Elisabeth Shue, James Tolkan, Jeffrey Weissman, Billy Zahn

Plot: After visiting 2015, Marty McFly must repeat his visit to 1955 to prevent disastrous changes to 1985… without interfering with his first trip.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Adventure Continues

Story: Back to the Future Part II starts where the first Back to the Future ends with Doc Brown (Lloyd) Marty McFly (Fox) and his girlfriend Jennifer (Shue) going into the future, only this time Biff (Wilson) witnesses this happening. They travel to the year 2015 where Marty has to stop his son from going along with Griff’s (Wilson) plan which ends up with him in jail.

With the plan successful and the future changed Biff gets his hands on the time machine where he goes back to a young version of himself handing himself a chance to make money and rule the town.

This leads to Marty having to go back to prevent this happening and putting everything back into place so they can end up living their normal lives again.

Back to the Future Part II continues the adventure that we all loved without making it all too over the top. We get to have a story that is built around the existing story without interfering in it and even ends up entering into the idea of questioning time travel. I think this is one of the best sequels that doesn’t get as much love as it could do.

Actor Review

Michael J Fox: Marty McFly is the same teenage hot head that won’t step away from a challenge, this time he goes to the future to stop his son getting into trouble only to get himself mixed up having to change the past yet again when Biff finds out about the time machine. Michael gives us a great performance as Marty that will still get known as one of his best.marty

Christopher Lloyd: Doc Brown is our eccentric scientist who has created the time machine, he comes back from the future to help Marty change his child’s future but when things have changed he has to find a way to correct the changes made. Christopher gives us a building on an iconic character that is now part of everyday reference.brown

Thomas F Wilson: Biff is the high school bully of Marty’s father who after the events of the first film is now finally just a slacker doing odd jobs, but when his older self learns of the time machine he travels back to young Biff to help him make him rich. Biff now runs the town and his Marty’s step father controlling the whole town. Thomas gives us the best performance in the film and really should get more praise for these characters he has to play.

Support Cast: Back to the Future Part II has the supporting cast from the previous films through the time periods, be it Marty’s parents, girlfriend of Biff’s bully friends. They all help to increase the fun in the adventure in their own way.

Director Review: Robert Zemeckis – Robert returns to bring us a continuing chapter to the adventure that is left open once more.

Adventure: Back to the Future Part II brings us an adventure that goes through time itself reaching new levels to the previous outing.

Comedy: Back to the Future Part II has good use of comedy to lighten the mood in what is actually a very serious story line.

Sci-Fi: Back to the Future Part II has to be one of the best uses of sci-fi ever made with the use of time travel.

Settings: Back to the Future Part II creates the future, past and alternative reality really well to show the good and bad side effects of time travel.
Special Effects: Back to the Future Part II has brilliant effect for the time period showing they are still believable today.

Suggestion: Back to the Future Part II is one to watch but I would say watch them all in order first. (Watch in Order)

Best Part: Handling of Time Travel

Worst Part: Being picky, I don’t like the cliff hanger ending.

Action Scene Of The Film: Hover-boarding.

Favourite Quote: Doc BrownRoads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Middle part of trilogy

Post Credits Scene: Yeah.

Oscar Chances: Nominated for One Oscar

Box Office: $118 Million

Budget: $40 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

Tagline: Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!

Trivia: Renowned scientist Carl Sagan considered this the greatest time travel movie ever made. He praised the accuracy in handling the multiple time lines as what would really happen if time travel were possible. In Back to the Future: The Game, Carl Sagan is the alias used by Doc Brown when visiting Hill Valley in 1931.

Overall: This is how sequels should be made.

Ratingcard