Franchise Weekend – The Ring 2 (2005)

Director: Hideo Nakata

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

Starring: Naomi Watts, Simon Baker, David Dorfman, Elizabeth Perkins, Gary Cole, Sissy Spacek, Ryan Merriman

 

Plot: 6 months after the incidents involving the lethal videotape, new clues prove that there is a new evil lurking in the darkness.


Tagline – Fear comes full circle.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Weaker Sequel

 

Story: The Ring 2 starts as Rachel (Watts) and her son Aidan (Dorfman) have set up to start a new life after the events of the first film, Rachel in a small paper, while Aidan has taken after his father, with his love of photography.

When the town has its own video tape going around, killing people, Rachel decides to burn the tape, which only draws the attention of Samara again, as she sees her son targeted by Samara, with Rachel needing to get to the bottom of the tape once again.

 

Thoughts on The Ring 2

 

Characters – Rachel has moved her child to a smaller town to start a new life away from the pain of the previous one. she gets a new job, only for the first day on the job, Samara takes her next victim. Wanting to stop the spread of the curse in this new town, Rachel destroys the video tape, only to see herself become the target once again of Samara. Rachel will need to continue the investigation into who Samara was and why she is still haunting the world. Max is one of the co-workers at the newspaper, he isn’t trying to hit on Rachel, but does become the only person that Rachel can turn too. Aidan is the son that has started to take after his father with his love of photography, he does become the target of Samara, we see two different sides to David in this film. Dr Temple is trying to figure out what has been happening to Aidan, first seeing that it could be child abuse, she needs to make sure the child is safe before anything else.

PerformancesNaomi Watts is still strong in the leading role, we need her to show extra motherly emotions in the film this time around. Simon Baker doesn’t get a chance to get going in this film, while David Dorfman does make a big improvement because of the extra additions to his character. The supporting cast are not the strongest either with most getting left to limited screen time.

StoryThe story here continues to see Rachel haunted by Samara needing to continue to unlock the truth about Samara to save her own son from her curse. Now this is a confusing as for a story because everything felt pretty wrapped up at the end of the film, this did end up just putting a forced sequel out there which tries to build more on the Samara legacy. Where this falls short in the story as by giving us weak supporting characters, having the events literally start the day Rachel arrives in the new town and going against certain things that happen in the first film.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film does give us basic moments of scares, though dream sequences a hoping the same jumps can worked in the first film. the mystery continues to look at the mystery about Samara and why she has continued to haunt people.

SettingsThe film was moved to a smaller location, while returning to certain other locations with them being an extra clue involved in the film.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film have dated already, you can see certain green screens being used, which were meant for uneasy scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
The bath surprise.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The dated effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weaker sequel that tries to build up on the original legacy, only to dive further into something we didn’t need to get more about what is happening.

 

Overall: Simple and weak sequel.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

Naomi Watts Weekend – King Kong (2005)

Director: Peter Jackson

Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson (Screenplay) Merian C Cooper, Edgar Wallace (Story)

Starring: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks, Andy Serkis, Evan Parke, Jamie Bell

 

Plot: In 1933 New York, an overly ambitious movie producer coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to the mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter Kong, a giant ape who is immediately smitten with leading lady Ann Darrow.


Tagline – The eighth wonder of the world.

Runtime: 3 Hours 7 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Epic Remake

 

Story: King Kong starts when struggling actress Ann Darrow (Watts) loses her latest job in the packed city of New York, she gets lucky when she meets disgraced director Carl Denham (Black) who is rushing to find a leading lady, taking Ann for his latest film, with his screenwriter Jack Driscoll (Brody), the every man Ann wants to work with.

Escaping New York before Carl gets arrested, he sets out searching for the mysterious Skull Island, which he wants as his backdrop for his movie, a place nobody has ever set foot on. Once on the island the crew get attacked by a tribe who take Ann to feed to their feared leader King Kong.

With the crew going in search of Ann, they discover the island is crawling with animals they have never seen, with Carl continue to shoot his picture, the desire to hunt down Kong for display being the biggest attraction in New York.

 

 

Thoughts on King Kong

 

Characters – Ann Darrow is a stage actress who has ben performing in an unsuccessful show for years until her theatre gets closed down, she is getting desperate to work with famous play write, only to find herself meeting a film director working with him. Ann jumps at the chance to have a paid gig, only this becomes more than she ever bargained for, when she becomes the object of King Kong affections on Skull Island. Carl Denham is a film director whose latest film isn’t impressing his investors, he decides to run before having the whole projects plug pulled, taking his crew to an unknown island and even after the danger starts, he continues to film his evolving story. Jack Driscoll is the screenwriter that is trying to get back to his stage work, only to find that Carl has tricked him into remaining on the boat, forcing him to work on the screenplay, he starts to fall in love with Ann along the way too, willing to risk his own life to save hers. Kong is the feared ruler of Skull Island, he takes Ann as a sacrifice falling in love with the human on his island, he can fight any threat, including T-Rexes. He is the icon that we know from previous films bought to life once again.

PerformancesNaomi Watts in the role made famous by Fay Wray, brings her own stamp to the role, handling the small comic moments very well through the film too. Jack Black might not have been many people’s first choice for the director role, but he proves a lot of people wrong with his performance, which still remains one of his best. Adrien Brody proves to be a great choice too because he gets to poke fun at the Hollywood stereotypes.

StoryThe story here follows an ambitious director who takes his crew including a desperate young actress to Skull Island, a mysterious uncharted location only to find a land filled with unseen monsters including the king of the island Kong, who becomes friends with Ann the actress. This is the remake of the one of the classic films of the 1930s, it does tell the same story, only builds on everything to new levels, because back then, nobody knew how big movies were going to be, so this time we can look back at the movie building era, showing more of the conflicts between movies and theatre. The island is also much larger in scale with plenty of creatures which add to the story. we do even have small side stories which do work to fill the films lengthy 3 hour plus run time. We do get to see just how destructive the human can be to new worlds too.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is massive, edge of the seat and most importantly brilliant to watch, be it the fights between creatures, monsters and humans, right down to the New York showdown with Kong. The adventure does take us to a new world, where we haven’t seen the creatures before, or at least not this size. It shows the most dangerous side of the explorer’s journeys in the world.

SettingsThe film does use two main settings, first New York which is re-created for the time period perfectly, the second is the island which is filled with the beauty and terror you would have come to expect from an unknown location

Special EffectsThe effects are one of the biggest talking points of this film, first of all Kong looks fantastic, large amounts of the film looks brilliant, but that one chase scene will drag this down because it is such a weak point for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Kong versus the T-Rex.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The canyon chase the CGI looks awful.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the remakes that works because of the improvement in technology, it is epic in scale and manages to capture the true feeling behind what made the original such a memorable movie.

 

Overall: Stunning remake that lives up to the scale of the movie.

Rating

 

 

Naomi Watts Weekend – The Book of Henry (2017)

Director: Colin Trevorrow

Writer: Gregg Hurwitz (Screenplay)

Starring: Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay, Sarah Silverman, Dean Norris, Lee Pace, Maddie Ziegler

 

Plot: With instructions from her genius son’s carefully crafted notebook, a single mother sets out to rescue a young girl from the hands of her abusive stepfather.


Tagline – Never leave things undone.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sweet Little Tale

 

Story: The Book of Henry starts as we meet 12-year-old Henry (Lieberher) who is the brains in the family with his little brother Peter (Tremblay) and single working mother Susan (Watts). Henry is a genius and knows how to support the family with his stock tips.

When Henry starts to suspect his neighbour Glenn Sickleman (Norris) of abusing his stepdaughter Christina (Ziegler) he wants to solve the problem, though none of the adults will listen to him. Henry writes a book on how to save Christina, which Susan finds and goes out to complete his work and save her.

 

Thoughts on The Book of Henry

 

Characters – Susan is the mother of the house, though she doesn’t have the full responsibility in the house as she lets her genius son Henry handle the finances in the home. She is a single working mother that does everything she can to help her kids, enjoys a drink with her best friend Sheila and videos to release the stress, she must go through a difficult process when Henry becomes sick and wants to follow his book to do the right thing. Henry is a genius 12-year-old boy, he keeps his family together while trying to leave his own legacy, he knows how to work the stock market which keeps the family a float and when he sees wrong in the world he wants to help change it, this brings him to write a book to stop the abuse of his neighbour by her stepfather. Peter is the younger brother to Henry, he always looks up to him and wants to help him with his innocent being the only thing that lets Henry have fun.  Sheila is the best friend and work colleague of Susan, she enjoys herself a drink and has great banter with Henry. Glenn is the neighbour and police chief living next door to the Carpenter family, he has a stepdaughter that he is abusing though he position of power makes it nearly impossible for him to get investigated. Dr Daniels is the man that must treat Henry, he must help the family through the difficult decision.

PerformancesNaomi Watts in the leading role is great through this film, we see how her character needs to develop after what happens to Henry. Jaeden continues to show us he is a fast-rising child star along with Jacob Tremblay who are both going to be talked about as a couple of the best of the current generations. Silverman, Morris and Pace give us good supporting performances throughout the film too.

StoryThe story here follows a genius son that helps run the family to help take the pressure of his single mother, he plans long term and wants to make the world a better place, though when sees abuse he wants to step in and help. He doesn’t expect the short term though, leaving his legacy to his mother to help solve the abuse he sees the neighbour going through. We do have moments that make the children feel like they are in ‘Pay it Forward’ which does have a better message about, doing something to make the world a better place, this story does get that message over and does make you want to help bring calm to the world. if I was being honest with the way the story is told, I feel it would have been nice to mix the planning Henry does with the actual plan rather than showing his plan before the incident.

CrimeThe film does have a crime base to everything going on, we get to see how Henry sees a crime being committed and the only way he can solve it is to have someone commit a crime for him.

SettingsThe film shows us the simple life the Carpenter family are currently living and how Henry is happy with this even though he can make them rich with a blink of an eye, he wants family over anything.


Scene of the Movie –
Take the shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The kids are way to talent in the talent contest.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that has taken a beating by the critics and sure there are a couple of weaknesses in this film, but the core of the story is one of the most interesting ways to show a child genius doing the right thing in life, well-acted and one people should be giving a chance too.

 

Overall: Nice story about leaving a legacy.

Rating

 

 

Bill Murray Weekend – St. Vincent (2014)

Director: Theodore Melfi

Writer: Theodore Melfi (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard, Jaeden Lieberher

 

Plot: A young boy whose parents have just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic war veteran who lives next door.


Tagline – With neighbours like these, who needs family?

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming Comedy

 

Story: St. Vincent starts as we meet Vincent (Murray) a selfish man living in New York city, he has a hooker on call in Daka (Watts), he owes people money, drinks and gamblers. He gets a new neighbour in Maggie (McCarthy) and her young son Oliver (Lieberher) who are going to change his way of life.

With Maggie working to keep Oliver in school and away from her husband, which keeps her working late, giving her needing to turn Vincent to babysit after school, leaving Vincent to teach life lesson, while dealing with his own problems.

 

Thoughts on St. Vincent

 

Characters – Vincent is a lonely figure that drinks, gamblers and spends time with a hooker. He struggles for money and when he meets his new neighbour he ends up with a babysitting job, where he gets to teach life lessons which opens the doors to his own problems in life. Maggie is the single mother trying to keep her son with her as we as working a fulltime job, meaning she must turn to Vincent. Daka is a stripper and hooker that spends time with Vincent, she is also pregnant which has seen her job disappear, but her loyalty to Vincent comes through. Oliver is the young boy that gets taken in by Vincent to help cover for her mother’s work. He is the new kid at his school which he learns from Vincent how to fit in here.

PerformancesBill Murray is wonderful in this role, he must handle a mix of situations which only helps with the carefree style Murray delivers. Melissa McCarthy is always an actress I never have time for, but this is my favourite performance of her career. Naomi Watts never looks out of place in this role with her accent not missing once through the film. Jaeden Leiberher is an actor that has gone onto bigger things, this showed his potential.

StoryThe story shows us that you can meet people in life that are not what the cover seems, it has the idea of one man being down on life, but he has a story that he has never been seen by the people closest to him. A young boy is the person that learns the most as he must learn to grow up quicker than he should. This is a coming of age type of movie for Oliver which is important for him too.

ComedyThis movie does have good comedy coming from each moment that will make you laugh, it also has moments which you need feel.

SettingsThe setting works because it shows us how people in and around New York can live different lives.


Scene of the Movie –
The project.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The debt collector character seems to fade away.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good and enjoyable comedy that shows the important side of life from the people you don’t think will be as big as people believe.

 

Overall: Comedy fans enjoy.

Rating