The Haunting of Sharon Tate (2019)

Director: Daniel Farrands

Writer: Daniel Farrands (Screenplay)

Starring: Hilary Duff, Jonathan Bennett, Lydia Hearst, Pawel Szajda, Ryan Cargill, Bella Popa

 

Plot: Pregnant with director Roman Polanski’s child and awaiting his return from Europe, 26-year-old Hollywood actress Sharon Tate becomes plagued by visions of her imminent death.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tasteless and Exploitative

 

Story: The Haunting of Sharon Tate starts by showing us a news report of the Sharon Tate murders, along with the four guests at the house, this is one of the most famous acts of violence committed in Hollywood and made The Mansion Family famous. We flashback to three days before the events of the murders, when an 8-month pregnant Sharon Tate (Duff) returns to her Hollywood home with guests Jay Sebring (Bennett), Abigail Folger (Hearst) and Wojciech Frykowski (Szajda) to prepare for her new baby.

The next couple of nights strange things start to happen around the house, as the Mansion Family starts to visit, getting closer until they find themselves committing the acts that shocked the world, even if it was in Sharon’s dreams first.

 

Thoughts on The Haunting of Sharon Tate

 

Characters – The characters in this film are based on the real victims of the tragic and shocking crimes. Sharon Tate is an actress married to Roman Polanski expecting their first child, she heads home to prepare and soon starts suffering horrific nightmares of the friends being murdered. When we meet the friends, we don’t get to learn much about them, Wojciech is a stylist, while the rest are just friend male and friend female seemingly.

PerformancesHilary Duff, that’s a name we haven’t heard about for a while, she does struggling playing the famous young actress, the scare reaction just doesn’t feel authentic in anyway, this poor performance style continues through the supporting cast who just don’t get going in this film in anyway.

StoryThe story here follows the three days leading up to the murder of Sharon Tate and her friends by the Mansion Family. First we must respect that this is a real event which happened and we shouldn’t be making entertainment out of these events. We do play into the idea that Sharon had vision of nightmare which involved big death in her life, this was a fact, she gave interviews about her vision before too. The problem with this story comes to use the idea of Intruders coming into the home, only as this is based on the real crimes, it feels even more uncomfortable to watch because we know what really happened.

HorrorThe horror side of this film comes from the idea of where the group of people are being pestered at first by the family, it is mostly a home invasion movie, mixed with nightmare visions.

SettingsThe whole film is set in the one location, the house which the murders happen, it shows how the family can take advantage of people being away from help.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are weak be it the weak blood splatter or weird camera usages for the dream.


Scene of the Movie –
It was hard to find one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The usage of the real murders seems too much.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor attempt of bring us a home invasion movie that is forced to use the real life murders to try and cash in on the Mansion Family actions.

 

Overall: No Haunting, Invasion we know the outcome off.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – V – Van Wilder: Freshman Year (2009)

Director: Harvey Glazer

Writer: Todd McCullough (Screenplay) Brent Goldberg, David Wagner (Characters)

Starring: Jonathan Bennett, Kristin Cavallari, Kurt Fuller, Steve Talley, Nestor Aaron Absera, Nick Nicotera, Jerry Shea

 

Plot: Van Wilder starts his freshman year at Coolidge College and embarks on an adventure to land the campus hottie and liberate his school from sexual oppression and party dysfunction.


Tagline – The man. The myth. The beginning.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Forced Prequel

 

Story: Van Wilder: Freshman Year starts with Van (Bennett) heading off to Coolidge college to follow in his family’s footsteps before graduating to work with his father. Arrive at the college Van learns that Dean Charles Reardon (Fuller) has it in for the family, the guys have been pushed into a military plan and the girls are religious.

Van joined by stoner Farley (Absera) and Yu Dum Fok (Shea) to turn the college around to become what Van is expecting and we learn how he become the iconic legend of the Coolidge.

 

Thoughts on Van Wilder: Freshman Year

 

Characters – Van Wilder was a character we met in 2002, this time we learn how he did in his first year at college, we see how he was always the quick witty that was willing to put himself out there to help people find themselves. We can let him off certain mistakes and differences from the later version of Van, but this one never seems to have the true confidence the high school implies he has. Kaitlin is the daughter of a military man, who is trying to follow in her father’s footsteps, everything else about her is just a carbon copy of the Tara Reid character first time around, dating a bad guy Van teaches her there is more to life. Dean Charles Reardon has been waiting for a Wilder to join the college to get revenge, he wages war on Van along with LT Dirk Arnold who is the bad boyfriend out to keep his woman and believes he is the best part of the military college.

PerformancesJonathan Bennett just doesn’t have the same charisma as Ryan Reynolds, he doesn’t have the same ability to be quick witted and you just don’t believe that his filled with that same natural confidence. Kristin Cavallari is trying her best, but as the character is basically just meant to be Tara Reid again we lack giving her a chance to make herself anything original. Kurt Fuller does his best with the material and could well be the best performer in the film. we get typical college level character performances here.

StoryThe story here brings us Van Wilder’s first year at college, now we get a few winks at where he character will end up and certain lines he uses in everyday life. The problems with this come from the fact it is exactly the same story, Van meets girl that is dating a bad guy and spends his time trying to win her heart making a rival, we have the foreign student who wants to learn the way of love and the Dean who doesn’t like a Wilder. This lacks any originality to the story, just wants to do the winks about the original, like look here this is where we got that from. We get the same grossed out comedy moments that are mostly just trying to keep one step ahead of the rest.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film is mostly grossed out humour, for me personally it misses a lot, but if this is what you like you will enjoy this. The romance is rinse repeat from the original and not that important to what we see.

SettingsThe film is set at the same college Coolidge, only in the prequel it is a military college, which seems strange because it was always meant to be a basic college with parties and classes.


Scene of the Movie –
Massage time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me College is never going to be like this.

Final ThoughtsThis is a forced prequel we didn’t really ask for let alone need, it has poor versions of the characters we did enjoy in the first one and just repeats the jokes from the original.

 

Overall: Pointless prequel.

Rating

 

 

The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time (2018)

Director: Anthony C Ferrante

Writer: Scotty Mullen (Screenplay) Thunder Levin (Characters)

Starring: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Cassandra Scerbo, Vivica A Fox, Jonathan Bennett, Judah Friedlander

 

Plot: Fin has to go back in time to rejoin his shark-battling friends to stop the first Sharknado and save humanity.


Tagline – History’s biggest disaster comes to an end.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Really Does Jump the Shark

 

Story: The Last Sharknado: It’s About time starts right where the last film finished, Fin (Ziering) travels back in time to destroy the first Sharknado, leading him to rich the dinosaur era, meeting old friends April (Reid), Nova (Scerbo) and Bryan (Friedlander), the friends learn they much go through time to save the world, including reaching Merlin’s castle, the American Revolution and the Wild West.

Through each time period the group must get through a critical moment in history to save the world from Sharknadoes once and for all.

 

Thoughts on The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time

 

Characters – Fin is our hero once again, leading the team in the fight against the Sharknadoes. He will do anything to keep his friends safe a stop the future being changed given a second chance to help his loved ones los in the past. April returns in human form this time where she must help Fin travel through time to save the world, Nova returns once again only this time she gets to have a moment that could change her own reason for fighting sharks, while kicking ass again. Skye is a character we lost in the second outing only to become part of the tour through history.

PerformancesThe performances are being measured compared to the previous films because we know the returning performers are enjoying these roles now. Ian Ziering is good in leading role which gets us given the wildly over the top leading man. Cassandra Scerbo is the standout of the supporting performers while dealing the most through the film.

StoryThe story continues our saga of Sharknadoes, this time we get complete time travel through big moments in history, the one thing you will say, is that is does commit to what it is doing. We know the story is wildly over the top and you wouldn’t expect anything less this far along into the franchise. On the negative we don’t get enough focus on the Sharknadoes which do feel like they have suddenly taken the back burner to the bigger story. we do get plenty of big quotes from popular movies that will get thrown in your face, though if you don’t understand them you might not get what we are doing with the story. This is meant to be the final chapter in the saga and I do feel the story rounds things off nicely.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action in the film gives us a chance to see how different eras would battle a Sharknado which adds to the adventure we are going through with the time travel element adding to the sci-fi chapters which are heavily borrowed from over films. The film does have a comic tone throughout which is enjoyable to watch work.

SettingsThe film takes us to different locations in time which lets the location become bigger again after the World tour last time.

Special EffectsThe effects do feel like the lowest in the franchise to date, with less sharks it just doesn’t feel strong enough.


Scene of the Movie –
Deadpool joke.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough sharks.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice finish to the franchise which will keep the fans of the previous ones happy while not going to pull in a new audience.

 

Overall: Nice finish.

Rating

 

 

Memorial Day (2011)

I went into the latest of the challenge with a film I had never heard of but with the utmost respect for James Cromwell I knew I wouldn’t be let down.

rob challengelogoDirector: Samuel Fischer

Writer: Marc Conklin (Screenplay) Jeff Traxler, Marc Conklin (Story)

Starring: Jonathan Bennett, James Cromwell, John Cromwell, Jackson Bond, Mary Kay Fortier-Spalding, Emily Fradenburgh, Charles Hubbell

Plot: Memorial Day, 1993. When 13-year-old Kyle Vogel discovers the World War II footlocker belonging to his grandfather, Bud, everyone tells Kyle to put it back. Luckily, he ignores them. Although Bud has never talked about the war, he finds himself striking a deal with his grandson: Kyle can pick any three souvenirs, and Bud will tell him the stories behind each one. Memorial Day not only takes us on a journey into Bud’s complicated wartime past, but also into Kyle’s wartime future. As the two men share parallel experiences in combat, they come to realize how that magical day on the porch shaped both of their lives.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliant Experience

Story: Memorial Day starts by following SSGT Kyle Vogel (Bennett) running a military mission where he gets injured by a bomb fragment, which he can add to his collection. While recovering in the hospital we Kyle start telling a story about his childhood, the story goes back to his grandfather Bud (James Cromwell) who was a military man himself.

In this trip to his grandparents Kyle (Bond) finds a military trunk and challenges Bud to recount his stories of World War II on Memorial Day. The two strike up a deal that Kyle can ask about three items from the trunk and Bud will tell the story behind them.

Memorial Day brings back memories of my late grandfather who never wanted to discuss his time in the war, we get to see how difficult it was for Bud to remember the war, the things he did, the people he lost and the memories that have scared him for life. The connection between the story tellers is unquestionable brilliant and the moments not overplayed feeling like they could have be real memories any war veteran has. This is a little gem of a film where we could all see our elders telling the stories involved. (8/10)

Actor Review

Jonathan Bennett: SSGT. Kyle Vogel is the soldier telling the story of the story he was told, he is involved in the current time war but he is only there because of the stories of his own grandfather. Jonathan does a good job in this role. (7/10)

James Cromwell: Bud Vogel is the grandfather telling the story to his grandson, he doesn’t talk about the war in normal everyday life but because Kyle challenged him he accepts the challenges to discuss a time he long wants to forget. James shines in this role as you feel you could listen to him tell stories forever. (9/10)

John Cromwell: Lieutenant Bud Vogel is the young version of Bid who is involved in World War II, he shows the same courage and calm that Kyle has learnt in the conflict that was a different time. John does a good job showing the emotion James creates. (8/10)

Support Cast: Memorial Day has supporting cast that includes the military men as well as the rest of the family who witness the story telling from behind a window.

Director Review: Samuel FischerSamuel gives us a great story about staying connected about the hardest times in life. (7/10)

Action: Memorial Day has limited war action sequences. (6/10)

History: Memorial Day shows what it would have been through the war time period. (7/10)

War: Memorial Day creates the two different time periods of war showing how conflict has changed between the generations. (8/10)

Settings: Memorial Day each setting used feels authentic to the moment of the story. (8/10)

Suggestion: Memorial Day is one to check out, I feel most people will enjoy it. (Check it Out)

Best Part: Third story from Bud.

Worst Part: I feel certain people will be disappointed with lack of war moments.

Believability: This could easily be a real connection between grandfather and grandson. (9/10)

Chances of Tears: You could have a few at the end. (5/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $4.2 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: Two generations. Two wars. One story.

Overall: A special little gem of a film.

Rating 80