ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – L – The Lovely Bones (2009)

Director: Peter Jackson

Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson (Screenplay) Alice Sebold (Novel)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli, Saoirse Ronan

 

Plot: Centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family – and her killer – from purgatory. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Fantasy Elements Throughout

 

Story: The Lovely Bones starts as Susie (Ronan) introduces us to her family, father Jack (Wahlberg), mother Abigail (Weisz), sister Lindsey, brother Buckley and Grandma Lynn (Sarandon), Susie tells us about her memories, dreams and that she was murdered by George Harvey (Tucci).

Susie trapped in purgatory wants to show her family who the murderer was as she watches over her family, her family are dealing with her loss in different ways, Jack is trying to solve who would have done it, while Abigail is grieving silently.

As Susie watches her family she does see the healing happening but when Lindsey catches the eye of George, she makes it her mission to protect her sister from the same fate she suffered.

 

Thoughts on The Lovely Bones

 

Characters – Susie is our victim, she is also our narrator telling us her feels towards her family before and after she is murdered. She is the light in the darkest places, a teenager that never experienced those life moments she dreamt off. Jack is Susie’s father that never gives up on finder the person responsible but this only makes him crazy pushing Abigail away from him as she is parent that needs to get away from everything to recover. George Harvey is the man that killed Susie, he lives in the street waiting for his moment to take advantage of any of his victims. Grandma Lynn tries to help bring peace to the family and mostly the children.

PerformanceSaoirse Ronan showed us here once again that she was one of the best actresses of her generation, being able to tell the story for the eyes. Wahlberg gives us a solid performance through the film while Weisz does all she can with what she gets, she does have a couple of powerful moments though. Susan Sarandon enjoys the grandmother role but it Stanley Tucci that gives us the most haunting performance of his career to date.

StoryThe story brings a fresh spin on the idea of a murder in suburban neighbourhood, we have had the ones where it could be someone in the area, we have had the parent searching for the killer, we have had the ghost haunting but to have the spirit watching over the people they loved and the one that killed them brings a unique way of looking at the whole murder and solving it. For a story this may well be from a novel of the same name and it is good watch throughout.

Fantasy/ThrillerThe idea of the fantasy side of the film comes from the purgatory that Susie finds herself in, it is a visual treat at times in this world.

SettingsThe settings bring us to a small suburban neighbourhood where everyone believes they know everyone, where the sudden disappearance of Susie brings the family to start pointing fingers shows how a neighbourhood can come together to put this behind them.

Special EffectsThe effects for the purgatory looks fantastic throughout the film showing us the imagination of Susie at work.

Scene of the Movie – Bottle smashing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does come off longer than it needs to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a visual treat and good spin on the murder movie, it is well worth watching to see how the lives of the people effected by the disappearance.

 

Overall: Good fantasy crime movie.

Rating

 

 

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The Frighteners (1996)

logoDirector: Peter Jackson

Writer: Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael J Fox, Trini Alvarado, Peter Dobson, John Astin, Jeffrey Combs, Dee Wallace, Jake Busey, Chi McBride

Plot: After a tragic car accident that killed his wife, a man discovers he can communicate with the dead to con people but when a demonic spirit appears, he may be the only one who can stop it from killing the living and the dead.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Great Ghost Story Thriller

Story: The Frighteners starts with Patricia Ann Bradley (Wallace) being hunted around her house by a ghost before we cut away to learn about a string heart attacks happening around the small community. We meet Frank Bannister (Fox) trying to lurk around a funeral before he crashes into Ray Lynskey (Dobson) garden. Following on from that event we see Ray’s wife Lucy (Alvarado) as she gets to give treatment to Patricia. Upon learning about the history of Patricia and her lover Johnny Bartlett (Busey) who went on a killing spree before being executed. This has nearly everything put together early on but when The Lynskey start getting haunted they call Bannister a paranormal investigator to clean on the house of the ghost.

We learn that Bannister has been working with three ghosts The Judge (Astin), Cyrus (McBride) and Stuart (Fyfe) to create paranormal activity but now Bannister maybe about to face something new when he sees a number carved into Ray’s head. When Ray ends up dead he goes to Bannister for help after missing the light to the afterlife. When the next victim turns gets killed leaving Bannister the prime suspect but also the only person who could save the town even with FBI agent Milton Dammers (Combs) trying to stop Bannister we can only wait and see why the grim reaper has decided to hit this town.

The Frighteners gives everything I love in a good ghost investigation type film, I know it is more focuses on a human trying to find the answers but does end up using the supernatural side of things. I like how this is a mix of a serial killer film as well a who dun it which are always my favourite types. I do think this one sometimes gets ignored and I never knew why because it was something that would end up being enjoyed all the way through. (8/10)

Actor Review

Michael J Fox: Frank Bannister is the former architect whose wife gets killed leaving him to gain paranormal powers where he can work with and see ghosts, his life is about to take a turn when he comes up against the grim reaper who just so happens to be the same person who took his wife. Michael uses all his charm in this role which is sadly his last leading role in film. (8/10)frank

Trini Alvarado: Dr Lucy Lynskey is the wife of one of the victims who has to work with Frank to solve the mystery and finish of the grim reaper forever. Trini does well as the damsel in distress teaming up with Frank. (6/10)

Peter Dobson: Ray Lynskey is one of the victims of the grim reaper but he doesn’t go into the light which leads him to go to Frank for help, where he can protect his wife from beyond the grave. Peter does a good job in the supporting role being involved in a lot of the laughs. (7/10)

Jeffrey Combs: Milton Dammers is the FBI agent trying to figure out what is happening h believes it is Frank but due to his real connection we understand why he is slightly eccentric while questioning. Jeffrey brings his style to this film that all works perfectly for his role in the film. (7/10)dammers

Dee Wallace: Patricia Ann Bradley is the former lover of Johnny Bartlett who is being haunted but she does have a secret about who involvement with the killer and his rampage. Dee does a god job in the supporting role showing a range for the character. (7/10)

Jake Busey: Johnny Bartlett is the serial killer who racked up 12 before he was captured and executed but he wasn’t happy with that total as he comes back continuing his killing spree from beyond the grave. Jake is a perfect serial killer character. (7/10)johnny

Support Cast: The Frighteners has a supporting cast that includes the ghosts helping Frank and people trying to decided whether to believe him or not.frightenerrs

Director Review: Peter Jackson Peter has been known for his work in with the massive Lord of the Rings franchise but everyone needs to remember that he started in horror and this was his stepping stone to the very top. (8/10)

Comedy: The Frighteners has good laughs throughout which help get through the serious side of the story. (7/10)

Horror: The Frighteners gives us a good horror villain because what could be scarier than a ghist that literally stops your heart. (9/10)

Settings: The Frighteners keeps all the action inside the small town where the community ends up feeling the effects of the horror. (8/10)
Special Effects: The Frighteners has good effects that still work today nearly 20 years later. (9/10)

Suggestion: The Frighteners is a film I think people should watch, it is a nice mix of horror comedy without just being heavily swayed to one genre. (Watch)

Best Part: The first vision kill is shocking.

Worst Part: Doesn’t have enough comedy for me.

Funniest Scene: The Judge in the museum.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $16 Million

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

Tagline: Frightening, isn’t it?

Trivia: It was during filming this on location in New Zealand that Michael J. Fox made up his mind that he’d had enough of being away from his family making movies and decided to head back to the small screen and star in a new sitcom (Spin City (1996)). This turned out to be his last leading role in a film.

Overall: A personal favourite of mine that really is underrated.

Rating 80

Dead Alive (1992)

logoDirector: Peter Jackson

Writer: Stephen Sinclair, Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson (Screenplay) Stephen Sinclair (Story)

Starring: Timothy Balme, Dian Penalver, Elizabeth Moody, Ian Watkin, Brenda Kendall, Stuart Devenie, Jed Brophy

 

Plot: A young man’s mother is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey. She gets sick and dies, at which time she comes back to life, killing and eating dogs, nurses, friends, and neighbours.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wow, Bloody as Hell

 

Story: Braindead starts on Skull Island as we watch a New Zealand zoo official try and bring a monkey back to the zoo only for him to get bitten and scratched by the monkey leading to him getting killed by the fellow smugglers. The monkey does make it too New Zealand where we meet Roger a delivery man that has got the interest from Paquita (Penalver). Paquita gets pushed away from Roger by her grandparents who talk her into believe that she will meet her dream man sooner than she thinks. Lionel (Balme) just so happens to walk in Paquita’s life the exact way her grandparents prepared her.

Sparks fly between the two when they have their first date at the zoo, but when they come across the monkey enclosure they get a shock when the Simian Raticus (Rat Monkey Sumatra) kills and eat a neighbouring monkey. We see Lionel’s mother (Moody) spying on the young couple before she is bitten by the monkey achieving her goal of breaking up the date. When the bite starts to become infected we start seeing puss and blood coming out of his mother’s body. It isn’t long before Mrs Moody starts gaining the lust for blood before she dies, but she doesn’t stay dead for long and neither do any of her victims. When the undead escape it is up to Lionel to try and protect the town from the walking dead.

Braindead comes down to the very basic dead returning to life story, we get a shady origin that spreads and makes the victims hard to dispose of. All these make simple where this goes to the next level is by not letting any of the known kills get rid of the undead.  The story is paced really nicely because we only get little glimpses of the gore we are going to be getting before by the end it all goes off. I can’t find any real words to describe what I just saw in the end but it has to be seen by a horror fan. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Timothy Balme: Lionel Cosgrove is the social awkward young man who has been controlled by his mother his whole life, but when he meets the beautiful Paquita his life is turned upside down as he ends up having to fight off the undead to survive the night. Timothy does give a good performance because he adds the comedy to the story with his slapstick style but also keeps the serious look throughout. (7/10)

 

Diana Penalver: Paquita is the beautiful shop assistant who falls for Lionel and even after starting to get pushed away she won’t leave him going into his own madness. Diana does give a solid supporting performance. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: Braindead has a support cast that nearly all become the undead and have good comedy how they end up that way.

 

Director Review: Peter Jackson – Peter does a great job giving us one of the most messed up brilliantly entertaining horror films. (8/10)

 

Comedy: Braindead has a great mix of comedy during the horror side of the story as both stories complement each other nicely. (8/10)

Horror: Braindead has to go down as a pure gore fest that will satisfy all the fans out there. (10/10)

Settings: Braindead has nearly all the horror taking place in an house in the middle of a small town but shows the desperate race to keep anything from escaping. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Braindead goes down as one of the best special effects of the era, sure there are some dolls scenes but the rest all great practical effects. (7/10)

Suggestion: Braindead is an absolute must watch for any horror fans out there, simple as that. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Baby zombie appears from inside a woman’s head.

Worst Part: It will be too gory for certain people.

Action Scene Of The Film: Lawnmower.

Funniest Scene: Kick ass priest.

Kill Of The Film: Rita

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $3 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

Tagline: Some things won’t stay down… even after they die.

Trivia: The rental in Sweden (and probably other countries as well) came with supplemental vomit bags.

 

Overall: Braindead is one of the bloodiest horror films I have ever seen, and it is just fun.

Rating 75

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

logoDirector: Peter Jackson

Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro (Screenplay) J.R.R. Tolkien (Novel)

Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Scott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry

 

Plot: Bilbo and Company are forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants and keep the Lonely Mountain from falling into the hands of a rising darkness.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Shortest of the Saga but Still Too Long

 

Story: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies starts with the effects of the previous film with Smaug entering into the town destroying everything in its way. Bilbo (Freeman) and the rest of the dwarfs watch on helplessly while Bard (Evans) tries to be hero the town saving his family along the way. Bard manages to put the beast down saving what is left of the town but away from the destruction we see how Gandalf (McKellen) is still captured.

We see the aftermath of the attack with the towns people ready to turn on each other before the dwarfs going onto their next chapter with Thorin (Armitage) starting to become obsessed with the newly discovered gold. Bard taking control of the town’s people must lead them to safety while Legolas (Bloom) but find out who is going to be interested in the newly discovered gold. The mountain has become the target for all of the powers in middle earth and they all come together for one long battle for the gold.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is based on five pages of a children’s book and turns out to be well over 2 hours long, let’s face it there isn’t much of a story here, nothing happens except a battle that goes on, and on and almost decides to go Fuck it lets put this animal in it see what happens. The opening of the film is confusing because if you forgot what happened last time it doesn’t make any sense and to make things worse the characters are so easily forgettable you don’t care what happens to them. This is simply put a terrible conclusion to a saga that over stayed its welcome. (2/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Ian McKellen: Gandalf is the wizard who seems to have a calming influence on every side but even he can’t stop the battle from going on. Ian is in it but I don’t really know what he does, swings his stick a little and chats to Bilbo, could have had anyone do this really. (3/10)

 

Martin Freeman: Bilbo Baggins is on his biggest adventure and always tries to do the right thing even if it makes enemies of friends. Martin becomes the supporting character in a film about his own adventure but he does a solid job. (5/10)

bilbo

Richard Armitage: Thorin is the dwarf king who is losing control because of his hold over the gold, this is making him isolated from his friends and leaving him making rash decision. Richard does a solid job but is he happy or sad oh wait I don’t know. (5/10)

 rich

Orlando Bloom: Legolas is our returning hero who completes his appearances in all of the sagas with an investigation mission to who is preparing for battle for the mountain. Orlando clearly needed an extra pay day so he can go back to the shit movies he has been making here. (3/10)

 

Luke Evans: Bard is the warrior fighting for his city and saving it from the dragon Smaug before holding everything together trying to find a peaceful conclusion to the gold in the mountain. I personally thought Luke played the most interesting character of the whole film but that was because he got to kick ass at the start. (6/10)

bard

Support Cast: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has so many supporting characters I just didn’t remember the names of it is unbelievable really, none of the made an impact enough to make you care about them.

 

Director Review: Peter Jackson – Peter has finally slipped off the top of the mountain after the success of his first trilogy we get a very complete lacklustre one. (4/10)

 

Adventure: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies doesn’t really have much adventure because no one seems to do any travelling in this one. (0/10)

Fantasy: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies puts us in a fantasy world where they seem to just put any creature they like on screen. (6/10)

Settings: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies have a very CGI world to battle in with location that make for assistance in battle. (5/10)
Special Effects
: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has very poor special effects for the budget the film has. (3/10)

Suggestion: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is one for only the fans to see and even then I think they will feel disappointed with the final product. (Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Opening Dragon attack.

Worst Part: The Rest

Action Scene Of The Film: The Battle looks epic but I don’t know who is who.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 1 Oscar

Box Office: $955 Million

Budget: $250 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 24 Minutes

Tagline: Witness the defining chapter of the Middle-Earth saga

Trivia: In the book, the whole Battle Of The Five Armies takes place in just one chapter, and is described to the reader after the fact. While in the film, the battle takes up nearly half of the running time.

 

Overall: This has to go down as a bad, boring film that really doesn’t have any redeeming qualities.

Rating 30

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

logoDirector: Peter Jackson

Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro (Screenplay) J.R.R. Tolkien (‘The Hobbit’ Novel)

Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Luke Evans, Lee Pace

 

Plot: The Hobbit Bilbo (Freeman), the Wizard Gandalf (McKellen) and 13 dwarfs led by Thorin (Armitage) continue their journey to reclaim the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. Along the way they encounter the skin changer Beorn; giant Spiders of Mirkwood; Wood-elves led by Legolas (Bloom), Tauriel (Lilly) and King Thranduil (Pace); and a mysterious Man named Bard (Evans); who smuggles them into Lake-town. Finally reaching the Lonely Mountain they face their greatest danger – the dragon Smaug (Cumberbatch).

 

Verdict: Adventure Continues

 

Story: The adventure carries on following the heroes as they quest to restore a rightful king. Mixing all the different races together to fight for one common good before darkness takes over the world. This is nothing new to the original Lord of the Rings trilogy and much like them it is way too long to tell what simple story is being told. (6/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Ian McKellen: Gandalf pledges to help the dwarfs on their quest only to go off on his own quest to get ready for battle in the next film. Good performance from McKellen but it is fair to say he isn’t involved as much as people will think. (8/10)

mckellen

Martin Freeman: Bilbo the Hobbit hired to be the gloried burglar for the dwarfs, battles the power of the ring while trying to complete his quest. Good from Martin adding some light hearted comedy to an overly serious film. (8/10)

 bilbo

Richard Armitage: Thorin the rightful dwarf king who is out to reclaim his kingdom. Good determined leader performance fills in very much for the Aragon role from the first trilogy. (9/10)

 kinf dwarf

Orlando Bloom: Legolas the elf archer who protects his people with his superior combat skills. Good for the fight scenes and timing but otherwise seems a bit pointless for the quest. (5/10)

 bloom

Evangeline Lilly: Tauriel elf warrior who has a connection to one of the dwarfs is also good for combat. Good performance with a character that offers more than Legolas. (7/10)

 lilly

Luke Evans: Bard/Girion mysterious stranger who helps the dwarfs get to their next part of their quest but and what cost? Good performance introducing a mystery character to the final chapter. (8/10)

 

Director Review: Peter Jackson – Doesn’t pull you in as much as previous instalments but this comes off more interesting than the first Hobbit. (7/10)

 

Adventure: The adventure the dwarfs go on is very good and you want to see how they get on the whole time. (9/10)

Fantasy: It is all pure fantasy. (10/10)

Settings: Each setting adds much to the overall story. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Some of the effects are brilliant, but too many are so clearly CGI it takes all what the first series had to make it special. (5/10)

Suggestion: This is one for the fans only, no casual fan will enjoy this too much as the characters are all too similar and hard to tell a part. (Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Smaug battle

Worst Part: So long.

Action Scene Of The Film: Smaug battle.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Final chapter out at the end of the year.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 3 Awards

Box Office: $949,946,593

Runtime: 2 Hours 41Minutes

Tagline: Beyond darkness … beyond desolation…lies the greatest danger of all.

 

Overall: Fans Fantasy Adventure Only

Rating 70