The Dark Tower (2017)

Director: Nikolaj Arcel

Writer: Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Idris Elba, Tom Taylor, Dennis Haysbert, Claudia Kim, Jackie Earle Haley

Plot: The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Easy to Watch but Forgettable

Story: The Dark Tower starts with Jake (Taylor) a troubled young New York kid who has been suffering from nightmares of a mysterious Man in Black trying to destroy a tower by torturing children. We follow how Jake has suffered his personal loss which most people just see as an excuse for beliefs on the Man in Black and when his mother and step-father try to send him to a hospital for a weekend he escapes after learning about a house that could hold some answers for him.

Entering a forbidden portal Jake finds himself in a new world in search for the last Gunslinger Roland (Elba) who has been hunting the Man in Black Walter (McConaughey) a sorcerer that has been trying to bring down the Dark Tower that holds the universes together. As the adventure unfolds Jake will learn his place in the bigger picture in the universe.

Thoughts on The Dark Tower

Characters – Jake is your normal trouble boy that we need in a style of film like this, he has lost a parent, doesn’t like his step-father, has troubles at school and has been having dreams of a world far away from his reality, as his therapist says his dreams are just a reflection of his reality. He gets to go on the adventure to solve his nightmares but only ends up growing up along the way. Roland is the last Gunslinger that roams the desert in search for Walter who has killed the rest of the Gunslingers. He reluctantly takes Jake on his quest showing his gun skills to hopeful kill his oldest enemy. Walter is the sorcerer that has collecting children from different worlds that can destroy the Dark Tower bring pure evil across all the worlds. He his ruthless side where he kills anyone who gets in his way but for unknown reasons he likes to keep the Gunslinger around to torture him. The rest of the characters only seem to be nameless henchman or villagers that help along the quest.

PerformanceAs for the performances I did want to just watch McConaughey throughout the movie as he is the highlight of the film showing menace even though he is only saying all the cool villainous quotes. Idris Elba does seem to struggle in the leading role but the character of the Gunslinger isn’t developed like he would be able to from the books. Tom Taylor is fine but isn’t taking any awards for best child performance this year.

StoryThe story is an easy to follow as we get the trademark stereotype characters placed into the world, the trouble boy, the evil man in black, the lost hero that all come together for a showdown to save the universe, I feel there is a lot more to be told in this universe which is the biggest disappoint because you can’t get this much information into a 90-minute movie. This is a by the books action fantasy that will be forgotten within a couple of weeks.

Action/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/WesternThe action is all entertaining but now the most original by any means, the fantasy shows the different worlds but I feel we would have like more from this, the sci-fi sides the different worlds that could be out there but again doesn’t get enough time to come through, while the western just feels like the Gunslinger comes from that genre nothing else.

SettingsNew York and a desert are not normal two settings you would put side by side and in a film that could go anywhere this doesn’t offer enough on the visual settings being used.

Special EffectsCertain moments of the special effects do look very rushed and cheap rather than the high quality you would expect from a movie on Stephen King’s work.

Scene of the Movie – The farm invasion slow motion kill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – There is too much untold.

Final Thoughts This film doesn’t give the books enough time to tell the epic story, many scenes feel like the best quotes are taking from the books to make the scenes sound cool.

Overall: Disappointing but not awful.

Rating

Advertisements

Franchise Weekend – Robocop (2014)

casting card

 

Plot: In 2028 Detroit, when Alex Murphy – a loving husband, father and good cop – is critically injured in the line of duty, the multinational conglomerate OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nicely Done

 

Story: Robocop starts with Pat Novak (Jackson) showing off the abilities of a range of different robotic defence systems in other countries and calling for people to follow Raymond Sellars (Keaton) ideas to bring these defences to the street of America and Detroit. We move on to meet hardworking honest cop Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) who has recently got his partner Jake Lewis (Williams) injured as they try to take down local crime boss Antoine Vallon (Garrow).

We see how Raymond if struggling to pass pure robots being used in America so he turns to Dr Dennett Norton (Oldman) who has been working on giving disabled people a new chance. Where Murphy has gained unwanted attention he becomes a target leaving him fighting for life and make him to prime candidate for the first Robocop.

Returning home Murphy enters the streets to tackle to crime and take out all of the people that are responsible for leaving him the way he is.

Robocop is a remake of the classic 1987 movie which is always going to be questioned by fans. This time we get a very similar storyline with badly injured cop gets turned into Robocop while a company is trying it’s hardest to get robotic police onto the streets. The negative for this is lack of overall crime being seen because from what we see nothing seems to threatening unlike how the original depicts the time. Taking that side of the story away the creation side is looked at in a much brighter light as we see how Alex knows what is going on this time which does offer plenty of morale questions. We do get a few throwbacks to the original with the ‘I’ll buy that for a dollar’ and ‘dead or alive your coming with me’ lines. This takes a nice fresh approach to the story without being too far away from the original.

 

Actor Review

 

Joel Kinnaman: Alex Murphy is the honest cop that tries to take down criminal boss only to find himself the targeted by the men who leave him as good as dead. He gets a second chance by becoming the first Robocop but this time he can keep the emotions but can he control himself when it comes to the men that left him almost dead. Joel is good but never as strong as Peter Weller.

Gary Oldman: Dr Dennett Norton is the man that has been working on giving disabled people their lives back and gets bought in by Raymond to make the first ever Robocop and the subject is Murphy. He does push the boundaries to make this happen but also knows there are limits. Gary is good and going up with and against Keaton we see the two heavyweights doing great scenes.

Michael Keaton: Raymond Sellars is the CEO of OmniCorp that has been pushing the senate to make the use of Robotic cops on the streets without much success. When he teams up with Dennett they create the first Robocop to make the streets safe. Michael is good in this role where he comes off strong in this businessman.

Abbie Cornish: Clara is the wife of Alex who gives permission to allow Alex to be used to create the Robocop but once he is finished she finds herself being pushed away by Alex’ programing. Abbie is solid in this role without being used in the side we need to see her in.

Support Cast: Robocop has a big supporting cast, we do have a couple of twists on original characters but most importantly this time we have strong side characters in the development of Robocop.

Director Review: Jose PadilhaJose gives us a remake that brings a classic into the modern era of cinema that works with modern times of paper work too.

 

Action: Robocop has the action you would expect to see only tamed down with Robocop only Taser people rather than just killing.

Crime: Robocop puts us in a crime heavy world but seems to keep a lot of the story within the science and business ideas of the creation of Robocop.

Sci-Fi: Robocop brings us into the future world where the police would need help from a Robots but have to start with a Robocop.

Settings: Robocop keeps us in Detroit but this time does travel around the world which does take away part of the originals best moments.
Special Effects
: Robocop has very good effects being used to create Robocop especially when we see the deconstruction of his real self.

Suggestion: Robocop is one you really should give a go even if you are a fan of the original. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Oldman v Keaton is great to see.

Worst Part: Not dark enough.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $100 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

Tagline: We’ve got the future under control.

 

Overall: Solid remake that could be given more time than it got.

Ratingcard

 

 

Daniel Day-Lewis Weekend – Lincoln (2012)

lincoln posterDirector: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Tony Kushner (Screenplay) Doris Kearns Goodwin (Book)

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, Tommy Lee James, John Hawkes, Jackie Earle Haley

 

Plot: As the Civil War continues to rage, America’s president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful History Lesson

 

Story: Lincoln starts as President Lincoln (Day-Lewis) had just been re-elected as the Civil War was entering its four year. Lincoln wants to push a new constitution through congress which is abolishing slavery he must work with fellow members that have difference in opinions on the matter and we follow Lincoln through the meetings.

We follow as all the different sides of the argument try to put their points forward for and against the idea of the 13th amendment with Thaddeus Stevens (Jones) being the stand out campaigner in favour of the amendment. With the Secretary of State William Seward (Strathairn) pushing through the votes for the undecided.

Lincoln really comes off as a history lesson about one of the greatest leaders in American history. This is a slow moving film but it is also very interesting if you want to learn about President Lincoln. There are a lot of courtroom scenes that comes off slow because you want to see Lincoln giving speeches because each one draws you in. overall this really is just a history lesson that will help you learn more about the great man.

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Day-Lewis: President Abraham Lincoln is the man who fought to campaign for equal rights for all slaves, he is running the country with his speeches and is happy to let his men make things fall into place. Lincoln is arguable the most famous of all Presidents of America and what he achieved will forever be the greatest achievement of any of them. Daniel is incredible in this role where he won his third Oscar.linconl

Sally Field: Mary Todd Lincoln is the wife of Abraham who is still suffering from their lost child as she always wants to stand next to her husband and protect their remaining child. Sally is great in this supporting rolemary

David Strathairn: William Seward is the secretary of defence who has been working with Lincoln to get the votes needed to make the amendment pass. He will stand up to Lincoln when needed showing his strength against the great leader. David is great in this supporting role showing this is what he should be doing in film.

Tommy Lee Jones: Thaddeus Stevens is the one man from the south that agrees with Lincoln, he will stand up in court against any odds for what he believes in to make sure this amendment gets passed. Tommy got himself an Oscar nod in this brilliant supporting performance.ddy

Support Cast: Lincoln has a massive supporting cast that all play different characters that were real people for the time period.

Director Review: Steven SpielbergSteven is the always reliable director when it comes to telling the story from history.

 

Biographical: Lincoln takes us to one of the most important moments of Lincoln’s life as he changes history as we know it.

History: Lincoln gives us everything we need to see in a history lesson about the great man.

War: Lincoln is set through the Civil War but we don’t really end up seeing anyone in actual combat.

Settings: Lincoln re-creates the settings to make us look like the time period in question.
Special Effects
: Lincoln has great effects to make everything look authentic through the film.

Suggestion: Lincoln is one film that you should watch just to learn about Lincoln. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Lincoln’s speeches

Worst Part: Courtroom comes off slightly repetitive.

 

Believability: Based on the real people involved.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won 2 Oscars and Nominated for 10 more.

Box Office: $182 Million

Budget: $65 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 30 Minutes

Trivia: Every major character in the film was a real person or at least a composite of real figures and the film strives to reflect the actual actions or thoughts of the historical figures.

 

Overall: Brilliant history lesson but not an easy watch

Ratingcard

 

 

London Has Fallen (2016)

london has fallenDirector: Babak Najafi

Writer: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St John (Screenplay) Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt (Story)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Radha Mitchell, Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo, Morgan Freeman

 

Plot: In London for the Prime Minister’s funeral, Mike Banning discovers a plot to assassinate all the attending world leaders.

 

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: 24 The Movie

 

Story: London Has Fallen starts in Pakistan as we learn that the terrorist movement has grown and the terrorists are planning their next move before being taken out. Move back to meet President Asher (Eckhart) and his chief bodyguard Mike Banning (Butler) as best friends.

When the British Prime Minster dies of natural courses all of the world leaders are heading to London for the funeral including Asher, Mike has to work on the security detail for his best friend.

With the begins of the funeral starting to take place all the world’s leaders have been targeted by a group of terrorists leaving many of them dead. Aamir Barkawi (Aboutboul) is the man behind the attack and al he wants is the President leaving VP Trumbull (Freeman) running the cabinet while Mike has to keep the President alive.

London Has Fallen is a sequel that really has nothing to do with the original other than bring back the characters from the original. The only thing that seems familiar is that we have a foreign terrorist. While watching all I could feel was this is how a 24 movie would go with the one man that will do anything to save president doing that to save him. I do feel it is an easy watch for all the fans out there who want an action film. In the end this is pretty much a standard action film with nothing overly special going on.

 

Actor Review

 

Gerard Butler: Mike Banning is the most trust bodyguard and head of security for the President, he has to travel to London for a state funeral only to discover that he is going to have to race to save the president one more time. Gerard is solid as the action hero but isn’t as strong as he should be.mike

Aaron Eckhart: Benjamin Asher is the President of the United States of America he has to travel to England for the funeral of the Prime Minster which turns into a trap as he must follow Banning to safety against a man who wants him dead. Aaron is basic in this role which I would have liked to see a lot more from him instead of being the almost damsel in distress.president

Morgan Freeman: VP Trumbull is left back home in America and when the attack happens he must work with the rest of the office to make the difficult decisions, to help the President or save the people. Morgan is basic supporting performance without doing too much.

Alon Aboutboul: Aamir Barkawi is the man behind the attacks, he has faked his death and now he uses this as his chance to get revenge on the Western world. Alon is a very generic villain without having to get his hands physical dirty.

Support Cast: London Has Fallen has a big supporting with big names doing very little.

Director Review: Babak NajafiBabak gives us certain great shots but also ends up giving us a very plain story throughout.

 

Action: London Has Fallen has plenty of mindless action sequences without being too much memorable.

Crime: London Has Fallen puts us into a terrorist world where the criminals are trying to take out the world leaders.

Thriller: London Has Fallen doesn’t really put you on edge because we know the two leads will not suffer any peril.

Settings: London Has Fallen is set in London but after the first attack nothing is truly memorable location in town.
Special Effects
: London Has Fallen has poor effects that you can see that CGI is on screen throughout.

Suggestion: London Has Fallen is one for you to switch off your brain and enjoy. (Brain Off Watching)

 

Best Part: Single take down the street.

Worst Part: CGI

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Hopefully not.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $60 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: Prepare for bloody hell.

 

Overall: Sequel that loses the X-factor but is a simple action movie.

Ratingcard

 

Movie Reviews 101 Halloween Midnight Horror – A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

logoDirector: Samuel Bayer

Writer: Wesley Strick, Eric Heisserer (Screenplay) Wesley Strick (Story) Wes Craven (Characters)

Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker, Kellan Lutz, Clancy Brown, Connie Britton

 

Plot: The spectre of a dead child rapist haunts the children of the parents who murdered him, stalking and killing them in their dreams.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Remake Deserves Better Praise

 

Story: A Nightmare on Elm Street starts by taking us back to Springwood and puts us into a nightmare of Dean Russell (Lutz) where he meets Freddy Krueger (Haley) before waking up and introducing to all the characters, Nancy (Mara) working in the diner Kris (Cassidy), Quentin (Gallner) and Jesse (Dekker). Continuing the opening sequence we see Dean fall back asleep and it is here where Freddy takes his first victim.

We start to see the side effects of the death of Dean as Kris starts to try and learn about why she was in photos as a young girl with Dean and never remembers being friends with him at that age. The friends all start having the nightmares about Freddy and the friends have to try and find a way to stay alive. The truth about who Freddy is takes a different turn this time around which brings the connection to him a lot closer to home for our characters.

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a re-imaging of what can only be put as a classic, people slammed this movie right left and centre. I have gone through all of the Elm Street films in a week and I can safely say this remake deserves higher praise that what it got. The film doesn’t waste too much time explaining about Freddy but instead looks into the idea that the children actually have a connection with Freddy before he is killed. I also liked the idea that the story teases the idea that Freddy could have been innocent. On the negative side of this we lose the serial killer side downgrading Freddy to child molester (which I know is still bad but he doesn’t have the same level of threat). We do end up having a couple of similar deaths which doesn’t seem to fit the idea of the re-creation, we also have re-hashed lines that don’t fit the situation. I also hated the final scene but both films use this to make us question everything we have seen. Overall the story does give us new ideas but it is the ideas of repeating older storylines ruining the idea of a re-imagination. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Jackie Earle Haley: Freddy Krueger is the serial killer from our teenager’s dreams he is darker than previous outing but still possess his sinister laugh. We learn what happened to Freddy but what is much more interesting in this outing is we get teased about his potential innocence. Jackie does a good job in the role bringing a new darker style to the icon. (7/10)

 freddy

Kyle Gallner: Quentin Smith is the fellow student who has a crush on Nancy and as Freddy starts taking his victims he ends up working with her to save themselves before it is too late. Kyle does a solid job in the role but doesn’t really shine to the level required. (5/10)

quentin

Rooney Mara: Nancy Holbrook is our leading lady who works with Quentin to try and save herself from Freddy, she digs into the past to learn the terrifying truth about who Freddy really is. Rooney has openly admitted she did this role for the money and you can see in her performance because we all know the potential she has. (5/10)

 nancy

Katie Cassidy: Kris Fowles is the false lead in the film much like the original had who starts getting visions of Freddy but most importantly starts putting together the connection between her and her friends at a younger age. Katie gives a solid performance continuing her horror trend as a victim. (6/10)

 kris

Thomas Dekker: Jesse Braun is the teenager who is left to be responsible for the killing of Kris even though we see he had nothing to do with it. Jesse helps pass on the message about what is happen to Nancy before being killed. Thomas does a solid job but never really gets enough time on screen to make an impact. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: A Nightmare on Elm Street has a supporting cast that includes the parents that are covering up the secret and for the most part that is all we have as extra cast members.

 

Director Review: Samuel Bayer – Samuel does a solid job directing bringing a new approach to a much loved film which works in places but not in others. (6/10)

 

Horror: A Nightmare on Elm Street brings a creepy darker side to the story but struggles to reach any real scare levels. (7/10)

Mystery: A Nightmare on Elm Street adds in a mystery angle about the connection between the children and Freddy. (9/10)

Thriller: A Nightmare on Elm Street keeps you guessing to what the connection is because it goes in a different direction that we have seen previously. (7/10)

Settings: A Nightmare on Elm Street keeps the settings similar to what we would expect to see and have seen before adding to the horror levels. (7/10)
Special Effects
: A Nightmare on Elm Street uses good effects to create the nightmare sequences and Freddy make up. (8/10)

Suggestion: A Nightmare on Elm Street is one to try, I know people love the original and will always compare it but as a stand-alone movie this is actually a solid horror film. (Horror Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Teasing the idea of the innocent Freddy.

Worst Part: Showing us he wasn’t innocent.

Kill Of The Film: Dean because it is the only original one.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $115 Million

Budget: $27 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Tagline: Never Sleep Again.

Trivia: Johnny Depp accompanied his friend Jackie Earle Haley to auditions for A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Instead of Haley being chosen for a role, it was Depp who was spotted by director Wes Craven, who asked him if he would like to read for a part. Depp got a part in that film, Haley didn’t, but Haley would go on to play Freddy in this remake 26 years later.

 

Overall: A brave re-imagination that brings new ideas to the franchise while still using the older ones, better than people give it credit for but no classic.

Rating 75