Franchise Weekend – From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Writer: Quentin Tarantino (Screenplay) Robert Kurtzman (Story)

Starring: George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo

 

Plot: Two criminals and their hostages unknowingly seek temporary refuge in a truck stop populated by vampires, with chaotic results.


Tagline – How far can Too Far go?

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Blood Splattered Blast

 

Story: From Dusk till Dawn starts after Seth Gecko (Clooney) is broken out of prison by his brother Richard (Tarantino) before they commit a daring daylight robbery as they race towards the Mexican border. They have a hostage which Richard soon kills, meaning they must find another one. The brothers pick a family the Fuller family, whose loss of faith priest father Jacob (Keitel) and his children Kate (Lewis) and Scott (Liu) are just travelling.

Once across the border the five head to a bar known as the Titty Twister for bikers and truckers alike, but soon they must put their differences aside when it turns out to be a vampire hideout, where they must fight to daylight.

 

Thoughts on From Dusk till Dawn

 

Characters – Seth Gecko has just been sprung from prison by his brother, he wants to get across the border to complete a deal which would see them both have freedom, he is the one that remains in control wanting to keep everything calm, which would mean not leaving a pile of bodies behind them. He does deliver the threats which would see them as a danger, though he does just want things to be simple. Richard or Ritchie is must more of a loose cannon, he is paranoid and this makes him more dangerous, as he will kill people putting their safety at risk. He is protected by his brother, as he doesn’t seem like he is capable of putting a plan together himself. Jacob was a priest that has lost his faith after his wife’s death, he I taking his family on a vacation and gets forced into helping the brothers, he wants to keep them safe, willing to risk his own life to make this happen. Kate and Scott are his children, they are dealing with their own loss the best way they know how to and being supportive to their father. Santanico is the beautiful dancer that will stop a bar with her dance, she is one of the leaders of the vampires who has been waiting for the food in human form.

PerformancesGeorge Clooney is great to see in this role, after this we only usually see him in smooth talking roles, rather than a rough criminal, showing he could become any role offered to him. Tarantino in this film is creepy and putting himself in the supporting role does hide any restrictions he might have as an actor. Harvey Keitel is great showing a character that is meant to be hating his life choice, but remaining strong for his children. Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu are both solid enough in the supporting roles without getting too much more to work with, while Salma Hayek turns heads with her performance.

StoryThe story here follows two criminals trying to get to Mexico, the family they force to help them across the border and the bar they find, filled with vampires that they must fight to survive the night. Where this story stands up on its own, is by making it a criminal tory to start with, having no hints of horror or vampires involved, as we just watch the two loose cannons trying to get to safety, by pulling the rug out from under us to thrown us into the horror idea is genius switch of pace for the story. we do have themes going on especially with the Jacob character needing to find his lost faith which finding it will become the big part in fight the vampires. The story also exists in a world where vampire stories do exist, which gives them ideas on how to fight back, which was the main attraction to the 90’s horror stories.

Action/HorrorThe action in the film involves the fighting with the vampires, we get to take everything to a new level for this side of the genre, with the blood splatter in the action, which the horror gives us because we vampires which are a staple of horror, but we do focus on the action over the scares.

SettingsThe film uses the getting to the location setting of the camper van which does show us the road trip feel to the film, but it is the bar that will be one that is always going to be hard to forget, being a run down biker and trucker bar.

Special EffectsThe special effects are some of the best you will see in the vampire genre, it shows that you can get plenty done with practical effects, with the only weakness come from the human to vampire transformations, which look CGI and have dated.


Scene of the Movie –
The battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The transformations have dated badly.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most fun vampire movies you will ever see, it has plenty of blood flying around the screen and will keep you entertained from start to finish.

 

Overall: Purely entertaining vampire movie.

Rating

 

 

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Abigail Breslin Weekend – August: Osage County (2013)

osageDirector: John Wells

Writer: Tracy Letts (Screenplay)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, Sam Shepard, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch

 

Plot: A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Actors Dream

 

Story: August: Osage County starts when Beverly (Shepard) goes missing causing his cancer striken wife Violet (Streep) to get the family back together to help find him, this brings Barbara (Roberts), Bill (McGregor), Jean (Breslin), Charlie (Cooper), Mattie Fae (Martindale) and Ivy (Nicholson) which helps expose all the problems between the family.

When Beverly’s body is discovered the rest of the family Karen (Lewis) her new boyfriend Steve (Mulroney) and Little Charles (Cumberbatch) return home for the funeral as more of the family secret come out

 

Thoughts on August: Osage County

 

Characters/PerformanceThe characters in this film are all different aged members of one big dysfunctional family with their own problems, they all have their own secrets that will be getting exposed through the time together.

The acting performances in this film are all top notch with the stars all giving brilliant performances where they can all show their abilities throughout.stars

StoryThe story is about how the family are forced to go through the good and bad moments from life that get exposed over one week from the moment the father goes missing, through the funeral and the aftermath. There are plenty of stories going on through the film which draw you into want to know what is happening with this family.

DramaThis is a drama through and through where we see how the family have been through all sorts through the years with everything getting exposed in one week when they are bought back together.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in and around the one house where the family must return too, we get to see how the memories come back for the characters involved.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is an actors dream to watch, you get fine performance from everyone but this isn’t going to be for the casual film fans.

 

Overall: A film for aspiring actors to watch.

Ratingrating

 

 

Harvey Keitel Weekend – From Dusk till Dawn (1996)

fromDirector: Robert Rodriguez

Writer: Quentin Tarantino (Screenplay) Robert Kurtzman (Story)

Starring: George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin

 

Plot: Two criminals and their hostages unknowingly seek temporary refuge in an establishment populated by vampires, with chaotic results.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Vampire Movies Ever

 

Story: From Dusk till Dawn starts as we meet the Gecko Brothers Set (Clooney) and Richard (Tarantino) who are on the run after a bank robbery on the run to Mexico and safe haven. Also on the road is a priest Jacob (Keitel) who has lost his faith travelling with his children Kate (Lewis) and Scott (Liu) who are on the road after their mother and wife’s death.

When the Gecko’s lose their latest hostage, they find themselves take Jacob and his family hostage as they make it over the border into Mexico to the biker bar known as the Titty Twister where the Gecko’s have arrange to have their meet but they group have to spend the night in this bar with seductive dances and dangerous bikers.

The night takes a twist for the worse when they learn the club is filled with bloodthirsty vampires and all the customers are just their latest victims.

 

Thoughts on From Dusk till Dawn

 

StoryWhen you go into a vampire movie the story doesn’t always need to be all gothic sometimes it can be wildly over the top. This story keeps everything simple by having thieves on the run and a religious man who has lost faith ending up in a shady bar having to spend one night fighting vampires. There isn’t much more to this and that is why it is all so enjoyable.

Action/HorrorWe have plenty of over the top action in the second half of this movie as the survivors take on the new image from horror in the vampires. We can enjoy the action horror throughout this film.

Characters/PerformanceThe Gecko Brothers are strong anti-hero characters and having Jacob as the faithless priest suits the vampire genre. We do get a scene stealing moment from a sexy dancer who becomes one of the vampires.

When you look at the performances Clooney does shine and is one of the most different he ever took on in his career. Keitel is also a good in this role but with the weak point as often is Tarantino’s acting which doesn’t reach the levels of the rest of the cast.

SettingsThe settings are used very well with the travelling sequences in the first half but the Titty Twister bar has become one of the most iconic bar in film history and having the characters trapped there also helps them must work together against the vampires.

Special EffectsThe special effects here are great as you believe each and every one of the kills, fights and attacks the vampires are involved in.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most fun you will have with any vampire movie because when it was released it took the vampire genre in a new direction.

 

Overall: Enjoy the bloody filled vampire classic.

Ratingcard

 

 

Leonardo DiCaprio Weekend – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

whatsDirector: Lasse Hallstrom

Writer: Peter Hedges (Screenplay) Peter Hedges (Novel)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis, Mary Steenburgen, Darlene Cates, Laura Harrington, Mary Kate Schellhardt, John C Reilly, Crispin Glover

 

Plot: After his father’s death, Gilbert has to care for his mentally disabled brother, Arnie, and his morbidly obese mother, which is suddenly challenged when love walks into his life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant

 

Story: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape starts by taking us to the small American town of Endora where we meet the Grape family oldest brother Gilbert (Depp) mentally challenged Arnie (DiCaprio) sisters Amy (Harrington) and Ellen (Schellhardt) and mother Bonnie (Cates).

With Gilbert needing to spend every day looking after his family and most Arnie he finds himself only dreaming of leaving this small town but when he meets traveller Becky (Lewis) he starts with something he never saw coming but is left with the dilemma of can he leave his family.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape gives us a story of a struggling family in America with all of their own problems but the leader of the household is very reluctant but knows he has to stay to hold everything together. The film shows how you need to love the ones closest to you however difficult it could be and it also shows how you can’t let your life be controlled or ever held back.

 

Actor Review

 

Johnny Depp: Gilbert Grape has to look after his family after his father’s suicide, he finds himself stuck in this small town facing a life where he could spend his whole life there. He is well respected through the town but his good nature is what is holding him back because his love for his mentally ill brother shines through his character. Johnny gives us a great performance where he has to keep everything subtle without stealing anyone else spotlight.

Leonardo DiCaprio: Arnie Grape is the mentally ill teenager on the verge of turning 18, he can’t handle the simple day interactions and is always needed to be watched over by Gilbert. The older he is getting the harder he is getting to control but Arnie just doesn’t understand the problems he is causing. Leonardo gives a performance which puts his name firmly on the map and one that gave him his first Oscar nomination.

Juliette Lewis: Becky is a traveller who is passing through only to breakdown in this small town. She shows Gilbert he could have if he didn’t have Arnie in his life giving him the glimpse into the life he could on dream off. Juliette is good in this role coming off like a natural character in this movie.

Mary Steenburgen: Betty Carver is a local lady who has been using Gilbert for an affair, she always asks for him to do deliveries but becomes increasingly jealous when Becky turns up in town. Mary is good in this role but is the only one that has moments where she could look out of place.

Support Cast: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape has a supporting cast which includes the rest of the Grape family with all their flaws and the locals who all have a built in friendship with Gilbert. Each member of the supporting cast shows us how this film all comes off feeling like a natural story.

Director Review: Lasse HallstromLasse is a director you can always trust to give you a touching story and handle all of the characters so well.

 

Drama: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape gives us the drama where we get to see the struggles in a small town America and a family with their own problems.

Romance: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape keeps the romance very simple as we see Gilbert learn that he will need to leave this town to every understand true love.

Settings: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape has the whole film set in the small town in America which helps the story shine through.
Suggestion
: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is one I do think everyone should have watched at least once because the story is so powerful. (Watch)

 

Best Part: DiCaprio and Depp show their star quality in simple roles.

Worst Part: It is hard to find one.

 

Believability: The problems the characters go through could all be considered real problems but this story is fictional.

Chances of Tears: Maybe.

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for One Oscar.

Budget: $11 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

Tagline: Arnie knows a secret. His big brother Gilbert is the greatest person on the planet.

 

Overall: One of the simplest and charming movies you will ever see.

Ratingcard

 

 

Strange Days (1995)

logoDirector: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: James Cameron, Jay Cocks (Screenplay) James Cameron (Story)

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Michael Wincott, Vincent D’Onofrio, Glenn Plummer, William Fichtner

 

Plot: A former cop turned street-hustler accidentally uncovers a police conspiracy in 1999 Los Angeles.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Story In Future World

 

Story: Strange Days starts by giving us a form on found footage robbery. This only is an introduction to our protagonist Lenny (Fiennes) who deals in these memories that people can buy to experience moments they wouldn’t be able too. We are introduced to the world of 1999 where the world is starting to go downhill with armed police on the streets. We follow Lenny around while he works seeing the different types of recordings he sells. We watch as police officers Burton Steckler (D’Onofrio) and Dwayne Engelman (Fichtner) chase down one of Lenny recorders, before we see how Lenny looks back on his own memories with Faith (Lewis). With the millennium approaching the world is getting slightly paranoid by the idea of 2k and movement leader Jeriko One (Plummer) warns people before getting assassinated.

Lenny’s final night of the millennium gets intense when he receives a mystery recording which turns into the rape and murder of one of his very own clients. He now has to team up with Mace (Bassett) and former police partner Max (Sizemore) to try and figure out who was responsible. Lenny can’t go to the police and tries to protect his old flame Faith whose new lover Philo Gant (Wincott) could have involvement. With the police after them they are stuck trying to figure out what is going on with new clues within each recording Lenny picks up.

Strange Days has a very basic story looking at the idea of police corruption with a base look America on the edge of riots. We do get a nice look at adding future elements with the technology to pass around memories to let people feel what others feel. I do feel it goes on a little bit too long and takes too long to get into the main story but thanks to Ralph Fiennes it just about gets away with it. The idea of the future where police cause riots because of their over the top policing is actually a reality which could happen and we have seen in real time. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Ralph Fiennes: Lenny Nero the lead salesman on the black market of the memories of other people, he is the best in the business and goes out to always find the next level without looking into snuff ones. Ralph gives a great performance with his constant attempts to try and talk his way out of things keeping your attention together throughout. (8/10)

 ralph

Angela Bassett: Lornette ‘Mace’ Mason loyal friend of Lenny’s who met during his time working for the LAPD who ends up working with Lenny to bring out the truth. Angela gives a good performance as nonsense lady. (8/10)

angela

Juliette Lewis: Faith Justin old flame of Lenny’s who is now with one of the men who is trying to cover up everything. Juliette gives a solid performance but is out of the picture too much as we only learn of her involvement. (6/10)

 

Tom Sizemore: Max Peltier a friend of Lenny who used to work with him on the police force but goes undercover close to Gant. Tom showed that he was always a top supporting star before his legal troubles. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Strange Days has a support cast that keeps us guessing with one group after our heroes and another who is out to help them uncover the truth. They all help the story flow having impact on the story’s final outcome.

 

Director Review: Kathryn Bigelow – Kathryn does a good job turning what could be a very simple idea and making it very complex. (8/10)

 

Action: Strange Days has a couple of action moments which move the story forward but doesn’t rely on its action. (7/10)

Sci-Fi: Strange Days uses the technology as its sci-fi element which is very interesting concept. (8/10)

Thriller: Strange Days keeps you guessing on what will happen throughout the film not giving too much away and only letting us learn as much as our protagonist. (8/10)

Settings: Strange Days creates a slightly dark world we live in now, but it all comes off very nicely. (7/10)

Suggestion: Strange Days is one to be trying, even though the story seems simple it doesn’t come off as simple as it should for the most causal viewer. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Technology idea is how found footage should be done without being a found footage film.

Worst Part: Slightly too long.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Won Best Actress and Best Director at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror.

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $8 Million

Budget: $42 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 19 Minutes

Tagline: Strange days are coming

 

Overall: Good Sci-Fi Thriller

Rating 76