Franchise Weekend – Goal II: Living the Dream (2007)

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Mike Jeffries, Adrian Butchart, Terry Loane (Screenplay) Mike Jefferies, Adrian Buchart (Story)

Starring: Kuno Becker, Stephen Dillane, Leonor Varela, Elizabeth Pena, Carmelo Gomez, Miriam Colon, Rutger Hauer, Alessandro Nivola, Anna Friel


Plot: When Newcastle United soccer star Santiago Munez is offered a spot with Real Madrid, he accepts, but the move – accompanied by big money and fame – tests his ties and loyalties to family, friends and business acquaintances.

Tagline – The Journey Continues…

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Disappointing Sequel


Story: Goal II: Living the Dream starts with Gavin Harris (Nivola) now playing for Real Madrid, noting having a good spell at the time. Santiago as continues to thrive in Newcastle planning to marry Roz (Friel), until Real Madrid come knocking for him.

Santiago signs for Real Madrid where he must learn to cope with added fame and fortune, a long-distance relationship with Roz and being in the headlines every night, let along a personal twist to his past.


Thoughts on Goal II: Living the Dream


Characters – Santiago has now been signed by the biggest club in the world, Real Madrid, the spotlight is now firmly on him, he has too much money for a young footballer, in another new country, he starts to become reckless, against the character Roz fell for, as well as making bad life decisions, much like what Gavin was doing. He must deal with learning about what happened to long lost family members in the most important stage of his career. He has taken a complete turn from the supportable young man trying to follow his dream in this film. Gavin Harris has made the move before Santiago, he has been struggling to make an impact in the new team, he has tried to turn his life around, he is in competition with Santiago for a place in the team. Roz is planning the wedding between the two, she struggles with the distance apart knowing it would difficult, she doesn’t enjoy the spotlight either. Rosa is the long-lost mother of Santiago, she can’t believe he has come to her town which has seen her raise a new family one with another gifted young footballer.

PerformancesKuno Becker does struggle with the character switch he goes through, he doesn’t know how to truly make us feel sympathetic to his characters decisions. Alessandro Nivola does get us plenty of laughs through the film. Anna Friel doesn’t get enough time to make impact like she did in the first film, while Elizabeth Pena does bring another dimension to the film.

StoryThe story follows Santiago in the next stage of his career, here he will play for the biggest club in the world and must learn to deal with new problems including fame and fortune, one that all new footballers will need to face at a younger age. This story does feel strange because we don’t see the time frame between the two movies, we don’t know how successful Santiago became at Newcastle, but it can only be a couple of seasons. The switch in character of the grounded Santiago is strange because he never wanted to cave the pressure and this time, he is doing everything recklessly. Add in the fact this is about reaching a cup final it just feels to cinematic to be a believable story, unlike the first film. the romantic side of the story does feel like it is just tagged on making little impact on the main story, it is the story of the long-lost mother and the truth about what happened that does make the biggest impact on the story.

SportsThe football success chasing is strong, but does feel too cinematic with the goals mostly being unrealistic.

SettingsThe film takes us to Spain and the elite living class of a footballer, we see how they can walk in anywhere to be known, but it does give weather to feel like home.

Scene of the Movie –
Meeting mum.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The goals scored are ridiculously fake.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing sequel, mostly because it changes the character, we got to know too much from the first film.


Overall: Sequel that doesn’t live up to the original.




*batteries not included (1987)

batteriesDirector: Matthew Robbins

Writer: Brad Bird, Matthew Robbins, Brent Maddock, S.S. Wilson (Screenplay) Mick Garris (Story)

Starring: Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Frank McRae, Elizabeth Pena, Michael Carmine, Dennis Boutsikaris, Tom Aldredge, Jane Hoffman


Plot: Apartment block tenants seek the aid of alien mechanical life-forms to save their building from demolition.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Enjoyable


Story: *batteries not included starts by introducing us to Frank (Cronyn), Faye (Tandy) Harry (Noble), Marisa (Pena) and Mason (Boutsikaris) who all are the remaining residents living in the middle of a building site, constantly being hounded by Carlos (Carmine) trying to force them to move out to the building can be demolished.

The lives of these residents takes a surprise turn when robotic aliens enter the apartment fixing the damaged caused within as the resident try to communicate with them. The Aliens become part guardians of the residents who continue to fight to keep their homes.

*batteries not included is a charming comedy fantasy that we get to see the serious side of the human life where people are forced relocated. I think this point comes through strong with each side be it the residents the rich or the thugs to remove the characters it all comes off great. We also get to see the unknown with the robots appearing in the story. overall this story is easy to follow and truly enjoyable throughout.


Actor Review


Hume Cronyn: Frank Riley is the café owner and husband to Faye, he does everything he can to look after her and run a business but it is his wish that comes true when the aliens arrive. We see Frank start to have to make the difficult decision about caring for Faye in her condition. Hume is good in this role leading the film.

Jessica Tandy: Faye Riley is the wife of Frank who is suffering with dementia, she spends nearly every moment of her waking day waiting for her son to return and making friends with her condition. Jessica is great in this role where we get to see the most laughs from her character.

Frank McRae: Harry Noble is the former fighter that now is a mute living in the building watching television most of his time. He finds a way to communicate with the aliens that the others can’t. Frank is good in this role where we get to see the stronger character with a heart of gold.

Elizabeth Pena: Marisa Esteval is a pregnant resident of the home who has been getting harassed by the people trying to get her out but she is strong independent woman. Elizabeth is good in this role going through her own struggles in the story.

Support Cast: *batteries not included has a supporting cast that is mostly just Carlos who is trying to chase them out and artist Mason living in the building, we don’t really have a need for a big cast to make this enjoyable.

Director Review: Matthew RobbinsMatthew gives us a truly enjoyable touching and charming fantasy film.


Comedy: *batteries not included has good laughs throughout mixing slapstick with jokes well.

Family: *batteries not included is one I do think the family can all enjoy.

Fantasy: *batteries not included throws us into a world where aliens can be friendly and not a threat.

Sci-Fi: *batteries not included uses the alien side of the story for the science fiction side of the story.

Settings: *batteries not included keeps most of the settings inside the building showing us how these unlikely residents could become friends.
Special Effects
: *batteries not included has special effects which still look good today when it comes to the robots.

Suggestion: *batteries not included is one I do think people will enjoy. (Watch)


Best Part: Robots.

Worst Part: Not one.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears:

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

Tagline: Five ordinary people needed a miracle. Then one night, Faye Riley left the window open.


Overall: Truly enjoyable fantasy comedy.




Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

logoDirector: Adrian Lyne

Writer: Bruce Joel Rubin (Screenplay)

Starring: Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Pena, Danny Aiello, Matt Craven, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Jason Alexander, Patricia Kalember, Eriq La Salle, Ving Rhames

Plot: Mourning his dead child, a haunted Vietnam war veteran attempts to discover his past while suffering from a severe case of dissociation. To do so, he must decipher reality and life from his own dreams, delusion, and perception of death.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Confusing Thriller

Story: Jacob’s Ladder starts with Jacob (Robbins) during the Vietnam war where his unit comes under attack from first an airborne toxic before coming up against the enemy. Jacob alone finds himself stabbed before waking from his nightmares in present day. In the present day Jacob is involved in a relationship with Jezzie (Pena) after his previous marriage didn’t work out where he lost a son.

Jacob finds himself having flashbacks between present time and his time in Vietnam while also becoming paranoid about a series of events that seem to be following him with ghost like images around. We follow Jacob has he has to put the pieces together as he tries to figure out what is happening in his life and what is actually real as he discovers his fellow platoon also happen to be experiencing these visions.

Jacob’s Ladder brings us into the world of a war veteran as he deals with his own personal issues, we also get to see him question his own sanity and have to solve what is happening to him. While this all comes off confusing it gets made even more confusing the final moments makes a lot of the film come off like what happened?

Actor Review

Tim Robbins: Jacob is the Vietnam war veteran who has lived through the marriage which fell apart after they lost a child and involved with a new woman. He starts seeing images all around him of ghost like figures which seems to follow him around while also jumping between time leaving him feeling paranoid about just what is real. Tim gives one of his best performances of his career with the constant look of paranoia on his face.

Elizabeth Pena: Jezzie is the new girlfriend of Jacob who doesn’t like his former marriage she tries to support him but easily snaps when Jacob starts freaking out. Elizabeth gives a good performance as the love interest dealing with the issues of Jacob.

Danny Aiello: Louis is Jacob’s trust chiropractor who knows all the issues Jacob has been having, he is one of the few people who understands what is going on without ever having been part of the war. Danny gives us a good supporting performance that works for his scenes but in the end isn’t involved enough.

Matt Craven: Michael is the man who created the experiment and has been trying to help uncover the truth the government has been hiding. Matt gives us a basic supporting role that never gets enough time to give the most detail.

Support Cast: Jacob’s Ladder has a supporting cast that all come into small moments of the life of Jacob each one ends up making him wonder about what is happening just when he thinks he knows the answers.

Director Review: Adrian LyneAdrian brings us a mind bending mystery thriller that keeps us guessing from start to finish.

Horror: Jacob’s Ladder brings us the horror of what happens to Jacob’s mind set as the story unfolds showing how certain things could be real or not.

Mystery: Jacob’s Ladder leaves us wondering about what is happening, what is real and how will we find the answers.

Settings: Jacob’s Ladder keeps the settings easy to tell which time period we are in with it either being the war, present or the first marriage.
Special Effects: Jacob’s Ladder has great effects to create the horror effects during the film.

Suggestion: Jacob’s Ladder is one to try, I will rate it highly but I would understand how it does come off confusing in places. (Try It)

Best Part: Confusing style.

Worst Part: Was it all for nothing?

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $26 Million

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

Tagline: The most frightening thing about Jacob Singer’s nightmare is that he isn’t dreaming.

Overall: Mind bending mystery thriller that keeps yo guessing.


Rush Hour (1998)

logoDirector: Brett Ratner

Writer: Jim Kouf, Ross LaManna (Screenplay) Ross LaManna (Story)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Tom Wilkinson, Tzi Ma, Chris Penn, Ken Leung, Rex Linn, Elizabeth Pena, Philip Baker Hall, John Hawkes


Plot: Two cops team up to get back a kidnapped daughter.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Classic Entertainment


Story: Rush Hour starts by showing Officer Lee (Chan) closing a big case for his boss Consul Han (Ma) who is leaving the city in the hands of Griffin (Wilkinson). Moving to Los Angeles we meet Carter (Tucker) an undercover officer who shows he is all talk but capable of completing the job. Consul Han starting his new job in Los Angeles when his daughter is kidnapped, with the FBI involved Han wants his own man involved. This brings Lee over but when the FBI want to leave him out the picture they call the LAPD leading to Carter being put on the assignment as a punishment.

Carter talks too much believing that Lee doesn’t speak any English leading to the comedy tension between the two starting early. Carter and Lee being pushed off the case decide to look into the case on their own free will. They couple find themselves in the middle of the battle after Lee loses Carter. When it becomes apparent that Lee is going to be up against an old enemy Sang (Leung) it becomes clear that the kidnapping is personal.

Carter and Lee have to put aside their differences and go against the orders of the FBI to save the girl from the infamous yet elusive Juntao.

Rush Hour is a style of film that put together correctly works to high levels, Rush Hour reaches those levels with the brilliant pairing of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. The story is simple to follow and relies on the twos action to keep us entertained. It will go down as one of the last great buddy cop films because certain parts wouldn’t be accepted in the cinema nowadays. We get to see Tucker’s wise cracking joking spitting character mix with Chan’s all action character to give us a great blend of comedy and action that really keeps us fully entertained. (9/10)


Actor Review


Jackie Chan: Lee brilliant detective from China who gets bought to America to help find the kidnapped daughter, but once there he gets treated like a tourist. He ends up teaming up with the unlikely Carter to make for a great team when it comes to solving the kidnapping. Jackie is always going to give us great action scenes but moving his style into comedy worked perfectly here. (8/10)


Chris Tucker: Carter loud talking streetwise detective who’s against the books techniques lands him on babysitting duties with Lee. Carter’s connections do end up helping solve the kidnapping. Chris does a good job to create a character that you actually hate but love at the same time because when it comes down to business he always comes through. (8/10)


Tom Wilkinson: Griffin/Juntao we do see Griffin as a friend of the Consul but we do also see that he is the infamous Juntao who is the evil businessman. Tom gives a solid performance as the typical generic evil business man. (6/10)


Ken Leung: Sang the main henchman for Juntao, he ends up going up against Lee on multiple occasions always seeming escaping the duel. Ken does a good job but we are waiting for a battle between him and Lee which never happens. (7/10)


Support Cast: Rush Hour has a supporting cast that includes the FBI who are the typical stupid characters. The Consul and his family who play the victims well. We also have the typical henchman there to give Jackie Chan a chance to kick ass.


Director Review: Brett Ratner – Brett does a good job directing this action comedy that still feels fresh today over 15 years later. (8/10)


Action: Rush Hour has plenty of fight scenes, chase scenes and a giant shoot out at the end which all work well for the genre. (9/10)

Comedy: Rush Hour has plenty of laughs through the clashes in culture between the two leads. (8/10)

Thriller: Rush Hour doesn’t have the thriller level that the story could have but this is more about the comedy anyway. (5/10)

Chemistry: Rush Hour uses Chan and Tucker’s chemistry to make this film a stand out 90s film. (9/10)

Settings: Rush Hour LA always makes for a good setting but we don’t see any landmarks that make the settings truly memorable. (5/10)

Suggestion: Rush Hour has to really be seen at least once by everyone it has a great blend of action and comedy. (Watch)


Best Part: Restaurant fight scene.

Worst Part: Tucker can get annoying at times.

Action Scene Of The Film: Restaurant fight.

Funniest Scene: Lee breaks into the consul’s home.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has 2

Post Credits Scene: Bloopers through the credits.

Similar Too: 48 Hours


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $244 Million

Budget: $33 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

Tagline: Pals Forever. If they can get past today.

Trivia: According to director Brett Ratner, this film is the first one released in the U.S. featuring Jackie Chan in an English-speaking role without any kind of dubbing. According to Ratner, before this film Chan always had his voice dubbed over in his English-speaking roles because of his uncertainty in speaking the language. For this film, however, Ratner convinced him to forgo the dubbing as it would lend to the authenticity of his character.


Overall: Buddy Cop Comedy Entertainment

Rating 80