Franchise Weekend – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

Director: Andrew Adamson

Writer: Ann Peacock, Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) C.S. Lewis (Book)

Starring: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Williams Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent

 

Plot: Four kids travel through a wardrobe to the land of Narnia and learn of their destiny to free it with the guidance of a mystical lion.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Start to a Franchise

 

Story: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe starts as the Pevensie children Lucy (Henley), Edmund (Keynes), Peter (Moseley) and Susan (Popplewell) are evacuated to the country during World War II.

When the youngest Lucy discovers a wardrobe in the house she finds the magical world of Narnia and Mr Tumnus (McAvoy) who teaches her all about this winter ravished land with the evil White Witch controlling. With Edmund finding his way into Narnia he meets the White Witch (Swinton) who asks him to bring the rest of the children to her kingdom.

When the four children are reunited, they learn they must fight alongside Aslan the lion in a battle against the evil Witch in an adventure they could never imagine.

 

Thoughts on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

 

Characters/PerformanceLucy, Edmund, Peter and Susan are thee four children, they all have their difference but most of all they work together to succeed on their mission. They must look after each other through the human war and the fantasy war they find themselves fighting in. thee White Witch is a character that works on the villainous side of the story and with her deceiving white image we can get misled to her true nature. With any extra characters being the different fantasy creatures the children meet along the way we know the world we find ourselves in.

Performances now, the four children all do a good job in their roles showing each of the character’s strengths and weakness. Tilda Swinton always makes for a great villain with McAvoy giving us a good supporting performance.

StoryStory wise this plays into the idea of what children could find themselves doing when they have escaped from a war-torn country. I do understand that this is meant to be a real adventure they find themselves on but the reality is it can be looked at as an escape. The idea of a battle between good and evil is all fine and needed for this film as it is the start of a bigger set of stories to come.

Adventure/Fantasy/FamilyThe adventure is massive for these children as they find themselves in a fantasy world they could never imagine, this is one the whole family could find themselves enjoying.

SettingsThe settings all come off very well for this film as we see the bleakness of the world the children find themselves escaping from and the wonder of the fantasy world they find themselves entering.

Special EffectsMost of the special effects here are brilliant, we do have a lot of CGI which in the most part in flawless it would only be the voice acting for some of the creatures that I would question.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good starter for a franchise, it does go generic with the male children doing the fighting and the female being considered for magic and curing style but this franchise came at the wrong time getting buried by the Harry Potter one.

 

Overall: This is how you start a franchise correctly.

Rating

 

 

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Split (2016)

splitDirector: M Night Shyamalan

Writer: M Night Shyamalan (Screenplay)

Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Betty Buckley

 

Plot: Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, and must try and escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: M Night is Back

 

Story: Split starts as we see outsider Casey (Taylor-Joy) being offered a lift home by her class mates Claire (Richardson) and Marcia (Sula) only to find Dennis (McAvoy) kidnapping them. Waking up they find themselves locked in a room only to find Dennis is just one of the personalities keeping them there.

The film follows how the darker personalities a waiting a beast figure to arrives keep the girls locked up while Barry is still seeing his therapist who has been helping his personality disorder for years. We are left to see just which personality we are going to meet each scene as we learn more about his past as well as learning Casey isn’t as helpless as she looks.

 

Thoughts on Split

 

StoryThe story here comes along to tackle the mental illness and the multiply personality disorder people can suffer from. We do have the kidnapping angle which we have seen many times before but somewhere along the line this film accepts that horror movies exist because the character decisions are based on seeing them. Where this story stands out is in the pure storytelling aspects because we get clues along the way and each scene builds the suspense for the final outcome of the film, which does have a killing twist.

Horror/ThrillerWe have the kidnapping side of the story which is the horror of the unknown purpose but this film really shines on the psychologic thriller side as we are left guessing through every single scene.

Characters/PerformanceI will look at the doctor who I do feel is professional questionable throughout this film and the girls are two basic kidnap victims while the third is the ever popular prepared for this scenario. Now the performances are all good here with Anya Taylor-Joy once against shining in the horror genre.

Now discussion James McAvoy is always going to be a mix of character and performance because he portrays each character with everything the personality requires, be it the intense level of Dennis, the childish mannerisms of Hedwig or the Barry character that seems to be in control. McAvoy gives a performance that could get people talking about why horror never gets considered for awards because this performance could well be in the top by any actor this year and he deserves all the praise he is getting.

SettingsThe film does seem to be set within just a few locations with the kidnapped arena if you like, the doctor’s office and Casey’s memories. This does help us understand the direction of the film and what leads to everything that goes on through the film.

Special EffectsWe only have a few moments of special effects but they all work for how the film unfolds and not turning to them for the important final act.

Final ThoughtsThe Visit bought M Night back in the right direction but this proves that this guy can give us a fantastic horror thriller that makes every single scene mean something once you know all the pieces.

 

Overall: This is a fantastic thriller that people are going to love and hate but I feel this is one we should be seeing if you are a fan of M Night more popular work.

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X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

casting cardDirector: Bryan Singer

Writer: Simon Kinberg (Screenplay) Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris (Story)

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Oscar Isaac, Rose Byrne, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Luca Till, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Hardy

 

Plot: With the emergence of the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappoint Sequel

 

Story: X-Men: Apocalypse starts as we see a fail ritual to bring Apocalypse alive in ancient Egyptian, move forward to 1981 we get to meet our fresh set of mutants with Scott Summers/ Cyclops (Sheridan), Nightcrawler (Smit-McPhee), Angel (Hardy), Jean Grey (Turner) and Storm (Shipp). Scott being the brother of Havok (Till) gets enrolled in Professor Xavier’s (McAvoy) school while Magneto (Fassbender) is living a normal life back in Poland.

It isn’t long until Apocalypse is being raised from the dead with the higher power mutants being able to sense him rising. With Magneto driven to the man he didn’t want to live anymore he unleashes his rage, while Professor Xavier seeks an old friend Moira Mactaggert (Byrne) for answers to the rising of Apocalypse.

Apocalypse builds himself an army of mutants with increased powers as he searches for the most powerful mutants to help him reclaim the Earth that was once his with Magneto, Storm, Angel and Psylocke (Munn) by his side. It is up to Professor Xavier to take his student into battle to stop the end of the world.

X-Men: Apocalypse is yet another restart timeline X-Men movie that for some reason tries to reference future outings but also erasing other moments. This just confuses the timelines but as for it being a solo story you do need to have seen the previous films to understand certain moments. The introducing of younger versions of the mutants we have known in previous films but they all seem suddenly powerful enough to handle themselves in a fight. We get the same odd Professor X and Magneto dealing with what they want without agreeing. In fairness this is just another wildly over the top X-Men movie that can be enjoy from a casual point of view but for story telling it’s just not up to the standard we are used to.

 

Actor Review

 

James McAvoy: Professor Charles Xavier is now just trying to just teach the young mutants to deal with their mutant powers trying to keep peace between the two kinds. He ends up having to come face to face with an enemy that is controlling his closest friend/enemy Magneto. James is solid but just doesn’t give us the character we fully enjoy.

Michael Fassbender: Magneto is now trying to live a normal life in Poland, he has started a family but when his identity becomes apparent tragedy strikes and we see Magneto want vengeance against the human race as he stands next to Apocalypse. This is the best and most tragic back story Magneto has ever had making him the best youngster version we have seen before. Michael is one of the stars of the show with his performance but the character does seem to get forgotten in the second half of the movie.

Jennifer Lawrence: Mystique is now a lone soldier trying to help mutants from around the world, she isn’t being bad just continuing to want to make sure all mutants get treated equal. Jennifer continues her paycheck franchise performances here never really being stand-out.

Oscar Isaac: Apocalypse is the first mutant and the all-powerful one at that, he has the ability to enhance the powers of other mutants. He wants to destroy the world bringing it back to the place where people respected and worshiped him, he puts together a team of what he sees as the strongest mutants to make this happen. Oscar is solid in this role but it could be fair to say anyone could have had this role.

Support Cast: X-Men: Apocalypse has a massive supporting cast with Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Evan Peters and Kodi Smit-McPhee all gives us good performance but most of the rest struggle to make an impact with a lot playing the younger versions of the pre-existing characters and simply not hitting the levels of the previous outings.

Director Review: Bryan SingerBryan goes bigger yet again with this outing with more characters and more timelines to pull together but I do feel this goes one step too far.

 

Action: X-Men: Apocalypse has plenty of wild over the top action moments but the destruction just seems too much and unnecessary.

Adventure: X-Men: Apocalypse throws our characters into an adventure defend the world like we have seen before.

Sci-Fi: X-Men: Apocalypse has all of the different mutant powers to give us the fight we are sitting through.

Settings: X-Men: Apocalypse has the dam setting for one setting which is good connecting back to previous films but otherwise it is jut cities randomly being destroyed.
Special Effects
: X-Men: Apocalypse is filled with the special effects you would expect without being anything really fresh.

Suggestion: X-Men: Apocalypse is one for the fans of the series to watch, this isn’t one you can just pick up without knowing previous version of the film. (Franchise Fans)

 

Best Part: Quicksilver, give this guy his own movie.

Worst Part: Poor young casting of the popular characters.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Most likely.

Post Credits Scene: Yes

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 2 Hour 24 Minutes

Tagline: Only the strong will survive

 

Overall: One sequel too far that is just too much explosions and poor casting.

Ratingcard

 

 

Victor Frankenstein (2015)

victorDirector: Paul McGuigan

Writer: Max Landis (Screenplay) Mary Shelley (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay, Bronson Webb, Daniel Mays, Spencer Wilding, Andrew Scott, Freddie Fox

 

Plot: Told from Igor’s perspective, we see the troubled young assistant’s dark origins, his redemptive friendship with the young medical student Viktor Von Frankenstein, and become eyewitnesses to the emergence of how Frankenstein became the man – and the legend – we know today.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice but Pointless Story

 

Story: Victor Frankenstein starts with Igor (Radcliffe) giving us the known backstory on Victor Frankenstein and how everyone remembers his monster rather than the man. Igor works as a circus where his hunchback is just part of the act as he also plays the part of doctor for the circus. When an accident involving Lorelei (Findlay) the high-wire act leaves Igor a chance to show off his skills to Victor Frankenstein (McAvoy) and a new friendship is born.

When Victor cures Igor’s hunchback we see how Inspector Turpin (Scott) a man of God is trying to track them down. Victor and Igor uses the ideas of bringing the dead back to life working on all the scientific research already gather to make it all a reality, but could they be going too far, as we deal with the morale questions behind their ideas.

Victor Frankenstein is a film I did enjoy the story because too often we see the monster Frankenstein creates instead of focusing on the Victor Frankenstein character. My big question really is do we really want to see the creation and actions on Victor only this time it is told from a the view of Igor. I don’t really know how I feel after this because it really didn’t seem to be slow as I did like looking at how the story was being done but I felt the final act was just forced to remind us what Victor eventually does. In the end we feel we have seen this already without wanting to see it again.

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Radcliffe: Igor is our narrator as he tells his story where he starts as a nameless circus hunchback with a knowledge of science, who on a chance encounter at the circus meets Victor. Victor gives Igor a chance to show all of his potential curing his hunchback as they both enter into the morale questions about how far to go with their science. Daniel does a good job and continues to break away from his Harry Potter character.igor

James McAvoy: Victor Frankenstein is the scientist and doctor we all know from the books, this time he is similar and just as ambitious to achieve his reality of bringing the dead back to life. He dismisses the new life he has given to Igor so he can break all the rules of science. James seems to be very familiar in this role without bringing anything original to the character.victor himsefl

Jessica Brown Findlay: Lorelei is the fellow circus performer whose life Igor and Victor save, she gets out of the circus like Igor where the two start a romance which only frustrates Victor. Jessica doesn’t get enough screen time to really shine in this story.

Andrew Scott: Inspector Turpin is the religious inspector trying to find the two suspects who are going against science. He is smart enough to put together the pieces which leads him to Victor and Igor. Andrew brings us a standard inspector performance.inspecor

Support Cast: Victor Frankenstein has a supporting cast that doesn’t really add too much except stopping or helping Victor.

Director Review: Paul McGuiganPaul gives us a good story being unfolded but doesn’t bring enough original content.

 

Horror: Victor Frankenstein doesn’t really get too many horror aspects in this which really disappoints.

Sci-Fi: Victor Frankenstein does give us the sci-fi side of breaking barriers in science throughout.

Settings: Victor Frankenstein recreates the settings well for the time being used.
Special Effects
: Victor Frankenstein doesn’t have the strongest effects as you can see the CGI throughout.

Suggestion: Victor Frankenstein is a solid retelling of the story but is slightly disappointing for where the story could go. (Try It)

 

Best Part: I like the science idea.

Worst Part: The monster seems forced.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

Tagline: Discover the origin of the monster and his creation.

 

Overall: Yet another retelling of the classic story that falls short

Ratingccard

Welcome to the Punch (2013)

logoDirector: Eran Creevy

Writer: Eran Creevy (Screenplay)

Starring: James McAvoy, Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough, Johnny Harris, Daniel Mays, David Morrissey, Peter Mullan, Natasa Little, Daniel Kaluuya, Ruth Sheen, Jason Flemyng

Plot: When a notorious criminal is forced to return to London, it gives a detective one last chance to take down the man he’s always been after.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical Criminal Film

Story: Welcome to the Punch starts with detective Max Lewinsky (McAvoy) trying desperately to stop criminal Jacob Sternwood (Strong), Max goes against orders to try and capture him ending up shot with Jacob escaping. When the dust has all settled Jacob is out of the country and Max is no longer the popular detective he once was.

Jacob’s son gets injured prompting him to call his father which brings Jacob back to the country. The police know he is going to return and decide to go after him even against Max and his partner Sarah (Riseborough) advice. When the mission goes wrong Jacob escapes yet again and heads back to England to see his son. Max and Sarah come up with the idea of using the son as bait putting him inside a public hospital even against their superiors Nathan (Mays) advice.

What follows is a game of cat and mouse with both Max and Jacob trying to bait each other into making mistakes so they can finish the rivalry, but not everything is what it seems because Jacob is also investigating what happened to his own son. Max also learns of a deeper conspiracy from within the force that he can finally put a stop to but and what cost, he must work with Jacob as they both untangle the conspiracy and discover the truth.

Welcome to the Punch ends up copy all the clichéd ideas that we are used to seeing the criminal film world. We have two enemies having to team up to solve a bigger crime even if they have personal problems with each other. I am going to end up on a rant with I would like to apologise before hand. Why is it we only meet the characters that are on the wrong side of the law, we could have a few false leads with actual good cops. I am tired of only getting introduced to the villainous characters. I have to say I am disappointed with the final film because in the end it just feels like all the rest we have seen before. (/10)

Actor Review

James McAvoy: Max is the detective that has been hunting down criminal Jacob and just when he thinks he has him captured he gets shot letting Jacob escape. Once he has recovered a sudden injury leads to Jacob getting returning to city where Max finally gets a chance to settle the score with Jacob. James continues his dive into the violent movies with this one but ends up give us a solid performance. (6/10)max

Mark Strong: Jacob is the criminal that shots Max as he escapes but when his son is injured he has to return to the country to find out what happened to him. This puts him back n Max’s radar but he also discovers that there is other people out to get him now. Mark fills the villainous role but in the end turning ally, he ends up giving us a performance we know he can give us. (7/10)jacob

Andrea Riseborough: Sarah is Max’s partner who ends up having to work with him to catch Jacob but this could make or break her career in the police department. Andrea does a solid job in the supporting role. (6/10)

Daniel Mays: Nathan is the lead detective who blames Max for the escape even if it means Max might have been right. He doesn’t let Max have a chance to redeem himself but is force to let Max handle the potential return of Jacob. Daniel gives us a performance you would expect from him in a criminal based film. (5/10)

David Morrissey: Thomas is chief of police making the final decisions on any police matter but is running low on patience with the Max over the situation. Why do people cast David in a shady role when we know he will become a villain. (6/10)thomas

Support Cast: Welcome to the Punch has a supporting cast that does end up filling the generic criminal world characters.

Director Review: Eran Creevy Eran gives us a traditional criminal conspiracy world film but never really ends up reach the potential it could have. (5/10)

Action: Welcome to the Punch is filled with over the top gun battles but doesn’t really end up being anything special. (7/10)

Crime: Welcome to the Punch puts us into the criminal world and nearly everyone is on the wrong side of the law. (9/10)

Thriller: Welcome to the Punch tries to keep you guessing but because you meet only villains you don’t have much to work out. (5/10)

Settings: Welcome to the Punch uses London as the main setting which works for the idea because London makes for an iconic setting for a criminal film. (8/10)

Suggestion: Welcome to the Punch is one to try but really wasn’t something I really enjoyed. (Try It)

Best Part: Final shoot out.

Worst Part: Lack of originality involved in the story.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final sequences.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $8.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline:  A Stunning, Intelligent Thriller

Overall: If you want to see just another criminal world film this is for you but nothing new here.

Rating 50