Franchise Weekend – Urban Legend (1998)

Director: Jamie Blanks

Writer: Silvio Horta (Screenplay)

Starring: Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, Michael Rosenbaum, Loretta Devine, Joshua Jackson, Tara Reid, Robert Englund

 

Plot: A college student suspects a series of bizarre deaths are connected to certain urban legends.


Tagline – Never Talk To Strangers, Never Answer The Phone, Never Flash Your Lights, Never Leave The Car, And Always Believe, What You’re Told

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun Slasher

 

Story: Urban Legend starts as we meet our college students Natalie (Witt) Paul (Leto), Brenda (Gayheart), Parker (Rosenbaum), Damon (Jackson) and Sasha (Reid) who are all studying in a class where Professor William Wexler (Englund) teaches them about the origins of urban legends.

When Natalie sees Damon killed in the myth of an urban legend she starts to believe there is a serial killer on campus and it is up to campus security officer Reese Wilson (Devine) to keep everyone safe, while Natalie tries to get to the bottom of everything.

 

Thoughts on Urban Legend

 

Characters – Natalie is our leading student, it is her old friend that is the first victim with the next couple of killings are people close to her, she is determined to learn the truth believing there is an Urban Legend serial killer taking advantage of the anniversary of a tragedy on campus. Paul works for the campus newspaper and with the murders starting on campus he gets big stories even if the Dean is trying to spin them into nothing, he helps Natalie investigate the truth even though he knows each murder could have an answer. Brenda is the best friend of Natalie’s who helps her through her time of need being the most frightened about the Urban Legends. Reese is the head of security that idolises Pam Grier and wants to keep the student safe no matter what.

PerformancesThis cast is filled with young actors that only went onto bigger projects, Alicia Witt in the leading role is good throughout, the innocent slasher style final girl figure. Jared Leto shows us that he is mostly likely the best performer of the students, Rebecca Gayheart is good at the typical best friend figure which again helps fill the generic roles the film painfully uses. Loretta Devine is the potential show stealer here with her character getting the best lines while trying to solve the crime. As I was saying most of the characters are generic with each performer getting their parts done very well.

StoryThe story here brings us to a slasher horror movie which makes the killer select different Urban Legends to kill their victims. This does bring an original twist to how the kills are being completed, until things just turn into a slasher generic movie for the later kills, lets all be honest, we know slasher movies don’t need the most intense stories and you generally will follow the traits of the genre. One big plus point for this movie is that we get plenty of suspects, just when you think it is one person, things take a twist a throw another suspect in the prime position, this happens plenty of times which is a huge plus for any movie.

Horror/MysteryFor a horror movie this gives us the generic characters, mistakes that we know too, the kills start being unique with the urban legend style behind them and the mystery comes from just who is behind the murders with plenty of different characters with motivations.

SettingsThe film takes place on a college campus, this give our characters reason to not be able to just run with the Dead believing things are pranks and good reasons behind other deaths. The one negative about this location is that these kids are all stupid enough to believe urban legends are real in the first place.

Special EffectsThe effects are used for the kills which are simple and never needing to be over the top either.


Scene of the Movie –
Urban Legends kills.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Understanding American laws, partial spoiler, but how did the girls not get prison time?

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most enjoyable and original slasher movies, it has a unique idea that makes it standout with a wonderfully talent young cast.

 

Overall: Slasher that stands out.

Rating

 

 

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Edward Norton Weekend – Fight Club (1999)

Director: David Fincher

Writer: Jim Uhls (Screenplay) Chuck Palahniuk (Novel)

Starring: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Meat Loaf, Helena Bonham Carter, Jared Leto, Zach Grenier, Richmond Arquette

 

Plot: An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a devil-may-care soapmaker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.


Tagline – How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?

Runtime: 2 Hours 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Modern Classic

 

Story: Fight Club starts as we meet the insomniac known only as the Narrator (Norton) an office worker that starts crashing support groups to help him feel which brings his back his ability to sleep. Here he meets Robert Paulsen (Meatloaf) who is suffering from cancer before learning Marla Singer (Carter) is also treating the supporting group as a cure for her own problems.

This puts Narrator in a position of needing to find something new and here he meets soap salesman Tyler Durden (Pitt) and between them they start a secret underground fight club. As the club gains a following it starts to branch out and the Narrator finds himself in the middle of a much more dangerous world.

 

Thoughts on Fight Club

 

Characters – The Narrator starts his story at the end explaining how his own struggles with insomnia starts turning him into a support group junkie and co-founder of the Fight Club, the more involved in the fighting world he gets the bolder his moves become as he comes out of his shell. Tyler Durden is the outgoing soap salesman, full of confidence and knowledge that starts the Fight Club with the narrator. Bob is one of the men that the Narrator meets at one of the support groups and once he joins the fight club it gives him the new lease on life. Marla is the woman that the Narrator meets doing the same thing as him, crashing the support groups, she is struggling too and sees the escape with the Narrator and Tyler.

PerformancesEdward Norton continued to make his big impact on Hollywood in the mid to late 90s, he shines once again in this role which is one of the memorable leading roles. Brad Pitt is fantastic too, the performance he gives us shows just how twisted the character is and the confidence he shows makes him stand out in every scene. Helena Bonham Carter is great in her role as are the men in the fight club.

StoryThe story follows one man who is bored of everyday life and struggles to get through everyday life, he uses support groups for help before befriending a stranger who wants to help start a new revolution against the system with a Fight Club. This is a story that has the major twist in the final act which surprised the audience at the time and gives us something to look out for in repeat viewing. This shows us how difficult processing everyday life can be for certain people and shows us how they try to cope with extremes moments coming from his mind.

SettingsThe film shows us just where the Narrator goes from his quiet simple life to his much more darker one where the secret fight clubs take place in, the locations show us his descent into madness.


Scene of the Movie –
The Narrators true identity.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is a tad long.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the modern classic movies out there, it has such a big reputation that it deserves if only the twist hadn’t been revealed so often because the first viewing for anyone will not be enjoyed as much if you know the twist.

 

Overall: Modern Classic Filled with Brutality.

Rating

 

 

Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Director: James Mangold

Writer: James Mangold, Lisa Loomer, Anna Hamilton Phelan (Screenplay) Susanna Kaysen (Book)

Starring: Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Clea DuVall, Brittany Murphy, Elisabeth Moss, Jared Leto, Jeffrey Tambor, Vanessa Redgrave

 

Plot: Based on writer Susanna Kaysen’s account of her 18-month stay at a mental hospital in the 1960s.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Drama

 

Story: Girl, Interrupted starts as Susanna (Ryder) reluctantly accepts an offer to head to a mental hospital to help her deal with her drinking and drug problems which leave her in a depressive state in the 60s. In the hospital Susanna meets the fellow patients Lisa (Jolie), Georgina (DuVall), Daisy (Murphy), Polly (Moss) Janet (Bettis) and others each with their own problems.

Over her 18-months in the hospital, Susanna experiences the ups and downs she is struggling with but see that people have worse problems than she does and doing the right thing to help people can be a cure for anyone.

 

Thoughts on Girl, Interrupted

 

Characters – Susanna has recently tried to kill herself which has put her inside a mental hospital, she must deal with her own personal depression but finds hope in a place filled with people with their own problems. Lisa is the loud patient that always becomes the centre of attention in the ward as well as becoming Susanna’s closest friend through the time, she is a bad example but is always trying to help in the long run. Georgina is the roommate of Susanna that comes off the most normal of all the women in the ward. Valerie is the nurse that tries to give the time to all the girls knowing the struggle she had to overcome to be where she is in the 60s but will try to guide them all. We have the string of different patients in the ward with their own problems.

PerformanceWinona Ryder is brilliant in the leading role here showing us just how she was on top of her game at this time. Angelina Jolie showed the world just what she can do with a performance that won her an Oscar and you can see why. Whoopi Goldberg is great in her supporting role and looking through the cast you get great performances from the whole cast including Clea DuVall, Brittany Murphy, Elisabeth Moss, Jared Leto and Jeffrey Tambor and many more.

StoryThe story follows how one woman struggles with her own mentality issues over an 18-month period. We see how she needs to learn about herself, her strengths and weaknesses as well as not wanting to follow the traditional go to college route the high school friends did, her own decisions must be made to escape the world she finds herself in. This is an important story for people who do suffer from their own depressive issues to see because it will show the strength you can get from yourself.

BiographyThis 18-months of Susanna’s life helped pave the way for this story, they are personal moments that show how important this story can be.

SettingsMost of the film is set within the mental home which is what you need to see for the best moments of the film.

Scene of the Movie – Last night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There was nothing told about what happened to the rest of the women.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily on the par with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, it shows the importance of understand mental illness.

 

Overall: A must watch for anyone that has suffered from mental illness.

Rating

 

 

The Outsider (2018)

Director: Martin Zandvliet

Writer: Andrew Baldwin (Screenplay) John Linson (Idea)

Starring: Jared Leto, Tadanobu Asano, Kippei Shina, Shioli Kutsuna, Emile Hirsch, Rory Cocharne

 

Plot: An epic set in post-WWII Japan and centered on an American former G.I. who joins the yakuza.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Drag

 

Story: The Outsider starts in 1954 Osaka, Nick Lowell (Leto) fresh out of prison there after helping Yakuza member Kiyoshi (Asano) gets offered a job in the notorious gang, giving him the outsider tag, he becomes an enforcer for them getting his hands dirty whenever they need someone given a message or eliminated.

Watching from within Nick sees how the two rival bosses look to try and stay ahead of each other while taking in the culture.

 

Thoughts on The Outsider

 

Characters – Nick Lowell is the outsider, an American in Japan that gets offered a job in the Yakuza to become an enforcer, even though not everyone welcomes him. He is a man of few words which helps him blend in at times being the threat to anyone that crosses the boss. Kiyoshi is the man that brings Nick into the Yakuza, he shows him the ropes keeping him in a position of safety. When it comes to the rest of the characters we are left to see how they react to having an American in the mix.

PerformancesJared Leto does the best he can with the material he has, but never gets to the heights we know he is capable off. The rest of the cast are fine, but are not on the levels needed for a gangster movie.

StoryThe story follows an American and his time in the Yakuza after World War II, we have times he is accepted and others when he is frowned upon, this is going on with the battle for the power of the area in Japan between two rival gangs. The story is incredible slow paced which doesn’t bring us into everything going on and ends up feeling flat for the most part.

Action/CrimeThe action is basic at best, there isn’t any strengths or originality in any of the sequences. We do spend the whole film in the crime world though, so if you are a gangster fan you might get more enjoyment from this side of things.

SettingsWe are set in Japan and the time looks correct, but when it comes to the rest, it is just the generic side of things.


Scene of the Movie –
Typewriter time

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story is boring.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t the most entertaining movie, it is slow paced which doesn’t help us as an audience and by the end of the film you will not being going back through the film at any time.

 

Overall: Poor gangster film that just doesn’t interest for long enough.

Rating

 

 

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Writer: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green (Screenplay) Philip K Dick (Characters)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Ana De Armas, Dave Bautista, Barkhad Abdi, Lennie James, Sylvia Hoeks

 

Plot: A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years.

 

Runtime: 2 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Breath-Taking Movie

 

Story: Blade Runner 2049 starts as we learn how the Nexus models of replicants are no more, Niander Wallace (Leto) has developed the new models to continue the slavery needed for humans but these all obey, Officer K (Gosling) is one of the models a new Blade Runner hunting down the original replicants that have been able to survive past their expire dates.

K’s latest case takes him to Sapper Morton (Bautista) living well off the grid as a quiet gardener, but he tells him about a miracle he will never understand. K starts to investigate the mystery with his Lieutenant Joshi (Wright) supporting the investigation but Niander Wallace has his best agent Luv (Hoeks) also looking for truth which involves searching for Rick Deckard (Ford)

 

Thoughts on Blade Runner 2049

 

Characters – Officer K is a replicant upgrade that tracks down the Nexus models, he is the smart figure that we need to see in an investigation movie but in his free time he has a relationship with his artificial life Joi. K gets drawn into an investigation to find the answers to what could be a miracle in the modern world and his cases takes him all over America. Niander Wallace is the man that has been making the new replicants that obey, his genius has saved the planet but when he learns about the miracle he knows it can take his creations to the next level. Luv is the main employee of Niander’s chasing down K looking to take advantage of the miracle, she is deadly killing anyone who gets in her way. Rick Deckard has the answers to what is behind the miracle but we don’t meet him until late into the movie. Joi the artificial intelligence that keeps K company who constantly is looking for a way to become real.

PerformancesRyan Gosling is fantastic in the leading role of this movie showing he can carry a blockbuster just as well as an indie movie. Harrison Ford returning gives us a chance to see him back at his best which is why him returning to his popular films is working in recent years, here to hope for a good Indiana Jones sequel. Jared Leto is great when we see him but I do wish we had more scenes with his character. Sylvia Hoeks is the true surprise package here and she is fantastic in all her scenes and being an actress, I hadn’t heard of before she proves she could be in many leading roles to come. Ana De Armas is also great in her role stepping away from the normal for what I know her for in horror to be the ones that wants to survive. The cast has plenty of big name actors from different years they are all great through this film.

StoryThe story here is an investigation into what happened after the original movie, yes, it is 30 years later but the moments we learn off from the investigation explain how this moment is the answer to the power struggle being played for by this investigation. We can look past just the investigation though because we have K’s quest to understand one of his memories, Joi’s desire to be real and Niander’s mission to hold the key to making replicants in a more efficient way. The positive if that the story is told in a linear pattern because we could have easily jump around the time line for this film but it is simple to follow as you are left to guess just what will be happening next.

Sci-FiIn a world of replicants, other worlds (though we don’t go or see them) where humans have all but destroyed Earth, this movie couldn’t be anymore sci-fi even if it wanted to, a near perfect use of the sci-fi elements.

SettingsThe world created is visually stunning, be it the tight compact living spaces or the open land destroyed by war, each setting will take you breath away with the visual look of everything.

Special EffectsThe special effects are easily the best any film will use this year, they are truly amazing whether it be the world creating or how Joi blends into each scene she is in. this is a treat on the eyes.


Scene of the Movie –
Deckard’s introduction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It feels very long.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best visual movie of the year, it has wonderful performances from everyone involved, a story that keeps you guessing, the only down side is the run time which you do feel even when you are engrossed into the story.

 

Overall: Stunning visual movie that will take your breath away.

Rating