James Bond Month – GoldenEye (1995)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: Jeffrey Caine, Bruce Feirstein (Screenplay) Michael France (Story)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen, Joe Don Baker, Judi Dench, Robbie Coltrane

 

Plot: James Bond teams up with the lone survivor of a destroyed Russian research center to stop the hijacking of a nuclear space weapon by a fellow Agent formerly believed to be dead.


Tagline – When the world is the target and the threat is real, you can still depend on one man. 

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Most Action Packed Bond

 

Story: GoldenEye starts with James Bond (Brosnan) joined by 006 Alec Trevelyan (Bean) on the latest mission, one that goes wrong, seeing Alec executed and James escaping. James starts his latest mission 9-years-later investigating a Georgian woman Xenia Onatopp (Janssen) who has connections to a criminal group operating in Russia.

When the group launch their first attack, James must search for the lone survive Natalya Simonova (Scorupco), first to find out what was being worked on in the apparent abandon satellite facility and soon stop an old friend that has changed sides.

 

Thoughts on GoldenEye

 

Characters – James Bond still sees himself, charming the ladies, completing the missions, enjoying a drink. This latest mission will see him come face to face with an old friend, which will see him face his toughest enemy, a man he once trusted. Alec Trevelyan is the fellow 00 agent who James believed died in action. He didn’t and now he has been working with the Russians to become richer than God (his words), he does hold a grudge against James, with this being a chance to kill two birds with one stone, he will become the most difficult enemy to face because of his knowledge of how James operates. Natalya works in the satellite facility, she becomes a target after not being killed, which makes her one of the few people in the world that could disarm the bomb that is being planned to be released. Xenia Onatopp is the henchwoman in this case, military trained, willing to kill anybody, she even enjoys killing her victims.

PerformancesPierce Brosnan in his first outing as Bond is great to watch, he mixes the charm of the most popular, with the action presence needing to make the character his own. Sean Bean brings us one of the best villains to the franchise, he makes his character feel like a try terrorist over super villain. Famke Janssen as the henchwoman is strong, she does make the character her own, but it is the lack of character behind Izabella Scorupco that struggles the most in this film.

StoryThe story here sees James take on one of his closest enemies, in Alec a former agent turned terrorist that is planning on sending England back to the stone age. This story does seem to bring everything into a more personal level for James, it feels fresh from the last few outings, it does have the longest gap between the film to date. We do seem to have the most realistic battle between hero and villain because Alec could easily be James himself if he was to turn, they know each other’s tricks. For me this is easily the most entertaining story we have seen, as we do start to lose some of he sexist behaviour James was known for.

Action/AdventureThe action in this film is easily the best the franchise has offered to date, we have the tank chase through St Petersburg before the train collision with a tank, even the fight sequences feel more intense in this film. The adventure takes James around the world once more, this time we go through Russia and Cuba to save the world.

SettingsThe settings takes us to the known locations we are used to seeing, this does however have one of the most memorable endings in any Bond film with the hidden satellite dish.


Scene of the Movie –
The old friend returns.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Alan Cumming’s generic Russian accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best Bond movie in the franchise to date, it has the most intense villain for James to face and a personal story for James to take on.

 

Overall: Pure action entertainment.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

Jeffrey Combs Weekend – House on Haunted Hill (1999)

Director: William Malone

Writer: Dick Beebe (Screenplay) Robb White (Story)

Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Famke Janssen, Taye Diggs, Peter Gallagher, Ali Larter, Bridgette Wilson, Jeffrey Combs

 

Plot: An amusement park mogul offers a group of diverse people $1,000,000 to spend the night in a haunted house with a horrifying past.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Creepy Mysterious Horror

 

Story: House on Haunted Hill starts as we see the horrors that took place in the Vannacutt institute, where the inmates escaped the torture the Dr Richard Benjamin Vannacutt (Combs) was performing on them with everyone dying within the fire.

Move to present day which is 1999 where Evelyn Stockard-Price (Janssen) wants her husband Stephen Price (Rush) an amusement park mogul to host her birthday inside the abandoned institute. The guest list includes Eddie Baker (Diggs), Donald Blackburn (Gallagher), Sara Wolfe (Larter) and Melissa Marr (Wilson) but the problem is neither of the Price’s know them and they have no idea why they have been invited.

When the guests along with the caretaker Watson Pritchett (Kattan) find themselves locked in the prize Stephen is offering of $1 Million becomes a draw for them all but the house has a history of coming alive at night, can these guests survive a night with Dr Richard Benjamin Vannacutt and the other victims of the mental institute?

 

Thoughts on House on Haunted Hill

 

Characters/PerformanceStephen Price is a man who has made his money in amusement parks, he has a strained relationship with his wife becoming the suspect in who is behind the goings on within the house. Evelyn believes that this whole party is a game by her husband but is happy to play the game her own way. The guests are all what you would expect, the ambitious celebrity driven, the kind hearted, the one trying to prove themselves and the doctor. The highlight comes from the creepy doctor haunting the hallways.

Performance wise, Geoffrey Rush gets to have a lot of fun in this leading role where he shows his class whereas Famke Janssen adds the dominate leading lady with a plan. Diggs and Larter both do well filling in blanks of the story with Jeffrey Combs being the doctor we all know and love.

StoryThe story is easy to follow and does explain the reasons for everything to be happening well. We do have slightly too much focus on the marriage between the Price’s and just how much they hate each other but otherwise this is a classic haunted asylum movie where it is who will survive the horrors of the house.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is all good and if you watch too young you can see just how scary certain moments are, when you look at the mystery which does get solved but is surrounding why these people got invited to the house in the first place.

SettingsAfter the introduction to the Price’s the rest of the movie is set within the house on haunted hill and that is great for everything which unfolds.

Special EffectsThe special effects do all go well until the final act where the special effects have dated being it nearly 20 years old now.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror film I do enjoy, it is short, easy to watch and has plenty of good horror moments involved.

 

Overall: Easy to watch fun horror film.

Rating

 

 

Owen Wilson Weekend – I, Spy (2002)

spyDirector: Betty Thomas

Writer: Morton S Fine, David Friedkin (Screenplay) Marianne Wibberley, Cormac Wibberley (Story)

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Famke Janssen, Malcolm McDowell, Gary Cole, Phill Lewis, Viv Leacock, Keith Dallas

 

Plot: A professional athlete has to help a U.S. government agent recover a missing jet.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Buddy Comedy Fail

 

Story: I, Spy starts as we meet clumsy spy Alex (Wilson) who get the information about a missing plane that is in the hands of Gundars (McDowell) before meeting cocky boxing champion Kelly (Murphy) who is about to fight his second fight in a week in Budapest.

The mission puts the two opposite men together working with experience undercover operative Rachel (Janssen) in Budapest to locate Gundars and the missing plane.

I, Spy is a buddy comedy that uses both the comic reliefs and forgets to pull off either in the serious role which is so important to make either of them work. We find ourselves going through the same routines over and over with little to no suspense being built up by the characters. The jokes are very hit or miss throughout with the action being very much bog standard.

Wilson and Murphy just don’t click the way Wilson does with Chan or Murphy did with Nolte and nearly all the scenes come off feeling awkward rather than funny between the two. The supporting cast are all average too with no one sticking out in anyway what so ever.

 

Overall: This is a flat buddy comedy with no laughs.

Ratingcard

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Halloween Midnight Horror – Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

logoDirector: Tommy Wirkola

Writer: Tommy Wirkola (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Pihla Viitala, Derek Mears, Robin Atkin Downes, Ingrid Bolos Berdal, Joanna Kulid, Thomas Mann, Peter Stormare

 

Plot: Hansel & Gretel are bounty hunters who track and kill witches all over the world. As the fabled Blood Moon approaches, the siblings encounter a new form of evil that might hold a secret to their past.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Action Heavy Story Short

 

Story: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters starts with a twist on the known Hansel & Gretel story where as children they were left in the forest by their parents. Hansel & Gretel come upon a candy covered home in search for help but what they find inside is witch but the two handle themselves, deal with the problem and never go back to their parents.

Grown up Hansel (Renner) & Gretel (Arterton) are known as the witch hunters going from town to town to defeat whatever witch is haunting the villagers. Sheriff Berringer (Stormare) is hunting a witch in his town and Hansel & Gretel are bought in by the Mayor to find the witch leading to the instant tension between the two parties. The Sheriff decides to hire his own team to find the witch but she does one better, Muriel (Janssen) finds them and makes quick work of them.

Hansel& Gretel capture one of the witches and discover the plan where Muriel leader of the witches is planning to take 12 children and after they take the 12th Hansel & Gretel become separated. Hansel gets help from a local girl Mina (Viitala) while Gretel receives help from an unlikely source a troll. Hansel & Gretel must face their deadliest enemy to date.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters takes an old story we all have heard before and makes it a all grown up version. I like the idea of see what happened when the pair grew up but sadly that is the only real positive I could find in this film. The fact that the action scenes are nearly all identical with running through the woods or the town followed by Hansel or Gretel getting pretty much battered before pulling of something as a pair to defeat the enemy makes me wonder how they have lasted this long. The witch’s motives seem like a very similar take on what ‘The Brothers Grimm’ film had going on and the attempted twists are easier to read that a Dr Seuss book. I felt very disappointed with the lack of originality in this story because I feel the idea has a lot of potential. (4/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Jeremy Renner: Hansel the brother of the pair who is very much the jump in head first kind of guy, he does spend a lot of time running through the woods but is loyal to Gretel until the end. Jeremy does a solid job and takes his beatings well, but never gets to show any of his acting abilities through this film. (5/10)

 hansel

Gemma Arterton: Gretel the brains of the act who uncovers what is really going on, she is much more patient than Hansel but can handle herself in a fight. Gemma has the look of a sexy witch hunter but really that is all. (4/10)

gertel

Famke Janssen: Muriel the evil witch who is out to become the most powerful indestructible witch of all time. She is already more powerful than anything the two have faced before. Famke does a solid job in the villainous role but really doesn’t get a chance to be as evil as her character requires. (5/10)

 

Support Cast: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters has a supporting cast that includes the fellow witches out to complete the ritual, it also has the towns people who are scared of what is happening.

 

Director Review: Tommy Wirkola – I have to say I like Tommy’s work on the Dead Snow films but this seems like it tries too hard to make something extra happen and forgets to make the simple happen. (4/10)

 

Action: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters has plenty of running, getting beaten up, shooting and missing that it takes over the whole story with all easy action. (6/10)

Fantasy: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters takes us into a fantasy world of witches but tries to keep things real, which doesn’t always work. (6/10)

Horror: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters doesn’t really end up being that much of a horror we have some very good effect used on the kills but nothing truly horror. (4/10)

Settings: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters uses the settings well to put us in the time period the film is set in. (7/10)
Special Effects
: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters uses some good special effects but you did know when it is CGI. (6/10)

Suggestion: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is one to watch late night television when nothing is on and you feel like trying it. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: Certain kills are good.

Worst Part: Lack of story.

Action Scene Of The Film: Attacking the witches.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Open for one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $226 Million

Budget: $50 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

Tagline: Classic Tale New Twist

 

Overall: This is a lacklustre addition to the action horror genre that really doesn’t know which genre it wants to be and falls flat on its face.

Rating 45