Franchise Weekend – The Ring (2002)

Director: Gore Verkinski

Writer: Ehren Kruger (Screenplay) Koji Suzuki (Novel)

Starring: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox, Jane Alexander, Lindsay Frost, Amber Tamblyn

 

Plot: A journalist must investigate a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone one week to the day after they view it.


Tagline – In the well, no one will see.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Scary Horror Mystery

 

Story: The Ring starts when Rachel’s (Watts) niece dies suddenly after giving us the idea of what happens with the mysterious video tape, that if you watch it, you will receive a phone call saying, you will die in seven days.

Rachel being a reporter starts to investigate the mysterious death, which medical personal simply can’t explain, she ends up watching the tape filled with the horrific images, receiving the phone call, facing the seven days to solve the mystery about the tape.

 

Thoughts on The Ring

 

Characters – Rachel is a single mother and reporter that starts investigating the mysterious death of her niece, this leads her to a VHS tape which puts her in the same seven day warning, forcing her to investigate the tape, she uses her connections and skills as a reporter to unlock this truth, while become more desperate after her son watches the same tape. Noah is the ex-partner and father to Aidan, he is still dating college students, which is why they no longer date, he is however an expect on video, which sees him being used to help break down the tape, which does including him watching it, he doesn’t come off like a nice guy, but we get the scene which shows why he is the way he is. Aidan is the son of the two, he seems to be the most grounded of the three, he is always prepared for the day, knowing that his mother will be late, only he watches the video making him one of the targets for the curse within the video. Richard is the adopted father of Samara, his love for the horses as seen his life destroyed even with his connection to Samara being the reason for the curse.

PerformancesNaomi Watts in the leading role is great, she gets to show us just how difficult being a single mother can be, while trying to face a life and death situation with trying to find the answers. Martin Henderson is solid enough in his role which sees him being a bad father that could learn over this week. David Dorfman does give us a creepy kid performance, while Brian Cox in his limited screen time makes a big impact.

StoryThe story here follows a reporter that is investigating the death of a family member that is connecting a video tape which will give any viewer seven days to live. This story is a remake of Ringu and does fall into one of my favourite sub-genres of horror, the ghostly haunting investigation one, which is looking to solve a mystery and isn’t afraid to give us a moment of hauntings to push everything in the right direction. It is strange that part of this film has dated with the technology advances which could see the VHS side of the film going over people’s heads, but away from that seeing just how everything is connected, with glimpses of the video appearing through the film needing to be solved by both the character and audience gives this an interesting element for the audience to get involved in.

Horror/MysteryThe horror comes from the horrific imagines we see on the tape, we also know early on what will happen to anybody that watches the tape, by seeing just how the first opening kill looks. The mystery comes from just what we are seeing in the tape, it is a host of clues which will unlock the truth.

SettingsThe film shows us the settings through the tape, each one has a connection to everything going on and makes us want to know just what the connection is going to be.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are fantastic to watch, with one of the greatest effects scenes in the closing of the film which will shock and wonder how it was done.


Scene of the Movie –
The Horse on the boat is a horrific scene to watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me VHS has dated out now.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the greatest horror remakes, it remains scary through the years along with giving us the time scale everything is going to be revealed.

 

Overall: Wonderful horror remake.

Rating

 

 

The Unborn (2009)

Director: David S Goyer

Writer: David S Goyer (Screenplay)

Starring: Odette Annable, Gary Oldman, Cam Gigandet, Meagen Good, Idris Elba, Jane Alexander

 

Plot: A young woman fights the spirit that is slowly taking possession of her.


Tagline – Evil will do anything to live.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Fast Paced Horror

 

Story: The Unborn starts when young woman Casey (Annable) starts seeing visions and getting warnings about someone wanting to be born, with her best friend Romy (Good) and her boyfriend Mark (Gigandet) Casey starts to investigate and learns that she did in fact have a twin brother who died in the womb.

When Casey turns to a friend of her mother’s she learns about a spirit that is trying to find his way into the real world and she must turn to Rabbi Sendak (Oldman) for answers and a potential cure from the possession.

 

Thoughts on The Unborn

 

Characters – Casey is a young woman that seems to have a normal life until one day she starts seeing visions, getting strange messages, she must research her past to protect her future, a past that is filled with pain and loss as well as a secret she would never be prepared for. We do follow Casey for most part of this film, the problem with her character is that we don’t learn anything about her before the unusual starts happening, is she a good or bad person, we learn nothing, it just starts with her being visited. Rabbi Sendak is the man Casey must turn to for help, he understands how the exorcizing would need to be done while offering the basic advice to Casey before stepping in himself. Mark is the boyfriend, that is about all we learn about him, he isn’t as supportive of the supernatural side of the events. Romy is the best friend, she will help on everything Casey is going through in an attempt to save her friend from the evil haunting her.

PerformancesOdette Annable is the perfect fit for the leading role, she is a beautiful woman whose life is falling apart, she has a good horror scream and you believe it when she is scared. Gary Oldman, well the guy needs to make money, he does bring class to the role even in his limited role. Cam Gigandet is fine without doing too much Meagan Good gives us the only laughs in the film without being anything great in the supporting role.

StoryThe story here follows one young woman that gets starts getting haunted by visions of a young boy and must figure out how to rid herself of this haunting. This story doesn’t take long to start with us going instantly into the first haunting and this pace doesn’t seem to let off, we are constantly going from moment of scares or explanation to what is causing the haunting. This hinders the story because we don’t get a chance to learn anything about the characters we are meant to be supporting, mostly Casey we know nothing about her or what her everyday life is, making it harder to support her. The story follows the horror genre with ease and is saved by a strong twist ending.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film comes from jump scares, well attempted jump scares, most of the horror happens in the dark and is a small child haunting Casey, it does the basics well, though it won’t get the hardcore horror fan to jump. The mystery is more interesting as we must learn the truth about the haunting which goes in direction you wouldn’t see coming.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago which only adds to the horror because of the big city feeling to everything Casey is experience showing that even in the biggest crowd people could suffer possessional activity.

Special EffectsThe effects have good moments, we the body folding moments being the highlights of the effects which gives us more towards the horror in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Sofi’s last night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning anything about who or what these people do in everyday life.

Final ThoughtsThis is a basic horror that gets the scares done simply, gives us weakly written characters and could pass the time simply enough.

 

Overall: Simple late night horror.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – K – Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Director: Robert Benton

Writer: Robert Benton (Screenplay) Avery Corman (Novel)

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander, Justin Henry, Howard Duff, George Coe

 

Plot: Ted Kramer’s wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple’s son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.


Tagline – There are three sides to this love story!

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Masterclass

 

Story: Kramer vs Kramer starts as Joanna Kramer (Streep) walks out on her businessman husband Ted (Hoffman) leaving him to raise their child Billy (Henry). Ted must learn how to be a single parent while also keeping his career on path because he is on the verge of one of his biggest moments of his career.

15 months later Joanna reappears in the Ted’s life wanting custody which leads to a heated custody battle between the parents while Ted must deal with his own career problems.

 

Thoughts on Kramer vs. Kramer

 

Characters – Ted Kramer is a busy marketing man whose wife walks out on him leaving him to raise his child alone, the added responsibility of raising his son, his work starts to get comprised but it is when his wife returns, where Ted must fight for full custody of his own son. Joanna is the wife that walks out on the family, when she returns she wants to have custody of her son again, we don’t learn much else about her during the time which disappoints. Margaret is the neighbour that is there for Ted during his tough times. Billy is the child that finds himself in the middle of the custody battle after 15 months with just his father.

PerformancesDustin Hoffman gives us an acting masterclass here showing he can give us an Oscar worthy performance given the right material. Meryl Streep is fantastic in the supporting role showing us just how good her talent was going to be. Justin Henry gives on of the best child actors performances too in this film.

StoryThe story follows one man needing to learn to be a better father once he is left alone with his son, before turning into a custody battle, which has become an all too often event in the modern world. Seeing how the custody battle unfolds brings us into the reality of how difficult a job being a single parent holding down the job on demanding success level can be. We learn how wrong the system appears to be in one of the most powerful films you will see.

SettingsThe New York setting shows how busy the lives of the people involved would be.


Scene of the Movie –
The aftermath of the case in the park.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel we could have learnt a lot more about Joanna’s motivation during the 15-months too.

Award Wins: Won 5 Oscars

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most powerful, perfectly acted movies you will ever see, the emotions you will feel will leave you broken for what is one of the best films ever made.

 

Overall: Easily one of the greatest films of all time.

Rating

 

 

Gigantic (2008)

Director: Matt Aselton
Starring: Paul Dano, Zooey Deschanel, John Goodman, Edward Asner, Jane Alexander, Ian Roberts, Robert Stanton, Clarke Peters, Daniel Stewart Sherman, Mary Page Keller, Zach Galifianakis, Brian Avers, Sean Dugan, Frank Harts

Starting with a nice montage leading to the opening scene with the idea of two rats in a water tank one gives up the other doesn’t. Brian Wealthersby (Paul Dano) is visiting his college friend Larry Arbogast (Brian Avers) who is conducting an experiment studying the rathile catching the ferry back to his work place Brian gets attacked by a homeless guy (Zach Galifianakis). The attack is seemingly for no reason but Brian has to give up.

Brian work in a mattress factory sales warehouse with his boss Roger Stovall (Clarke Peters) and Kevin Blue (Daniel Stewart Sherman). Roger is old wise man who seems to be like a mentor for Brian while Kevin is the delivery drive and is a bit on the slow side. On this day Al Lolly (John Goodman) and his assistant Gary (Sean Dugan) come into buy a mattress. Al is very too the point and agrees a price quickly and leaves.

Happy (Zooey Deschanel) comes to pay for the mattress and is shocked at the price but soon falls asleep on it leaving Brian to wait for her to wake up. On the day of the Delivery Kevin’s partner is off sick so Brian goes along to the Lolly residents. Turns out they are rich and have an awkward question to ask Brian. They ask Brian to drive Al to the back doctor as he thinks something is wrong with his back. Happy comes with them and proposes they have sex while they wait. Brian is left wondering what is next for him and what will happen with Happy.

Brian is in the middle of trying to adopted an Chinese from Kenyatta (Frank Harts) and is starting to get impatient with all the delays. His family are supporting him through the process his parents Kirby (Edward Asner) and Barbara (Jane Alexander) also helping him are his brothers John (Ian Roberts), James (Robert Stanton). The guys are out on their yearly tradition weekend in the woods.

With a mixture of colourful characters and to very different families can Brian and Happy have a relationship? Will Brian get his baby? and why is the homeless guy attacking Brian randomly?

This is a nice romantic comedy without any silly laugh out loud moments. Paul Dano plays a very simple role playing an everyday man who seems to be underachieving. Zooey Deschanel plays a quirky lady who seems a little out of each conversation but always wanting to achieve something from her life. Both Paul and Zooey give great performances with all the support cast giving good performances that help build and support the lead characters as the story unfolds.

It’s always good to see an indie comedy as the story is always more important than the laughs. The story has fresh side to it which gives it good value on the originality scale. The soundtrack also gives add to the story being told very well.

My Rating is 83%