Shocker (1989)

casting card

 

Plot: After being sent to the electric chair, a serial killer uses electricity to come back from the dead and carry out his vengeance on the football player who turned him in to the police.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Idea

 

Story: Shocker starts as we see high school football player Jonathan Parker (Berg) a young man that could have anything in the game but is easily distracted by the woman and Alison (Cooper) being the most notable. As Jonathan doesn’t go home he learns the terrible news his mother and sisters are killed by serial killer Horace Pinker (Pileggi) who is mocking his father LT Don Parker (Murphy) the man on his tale.

When Jonathan continues to learn of the whereabouts of Horace through dreams he helps the police finally capture him but not before losing Alison at the hands of the killer. After his execution doesn’t go well he continues to kill from beyond the grave with the Parker family being his main target.

Shocker brings us another twist that only Wes Craven can bring to the horror, while parts of this are just another take on Nightmare on Elm Street with the killer coming back from beyond the grave the side of the story that isn’t all work for the film. What if we did have a killer that could jump between bodies while trying to kill people well that is what this offers. It would be too hard not to see the moments that are the same to Nightmare though which is the reason this doesn’t get the love that one does.

 

Actor Review

 

Michael Murphy: LT Don Parker has been on the trail of the killer for his whole spree and becomes the target once the killer takes out his family. He has to work with his son to find the killer and bring him to justice, but he simply won’t die. Michael is good in this role as your generic cop like figure.

Peter Berg: Jonathan Parker is a young high school football player with all the potential in the world, when his family are killed by the killer he has dream about the man and what his next kill will be making it possible to finally track the man down. When the killer is executed he finds himself the target of the man. Peter is good in this role as the leading character trying to make

Cami Cooper: Alison is the girlfriend of Jonathan who helps him after a sporting injury which is why he wasn’t there when his family was killed. She becomes one of the victims in an attempt at revenge against Jonathan after he learns of Horace’s location. Cami is solid but doesn’t get enough screen time for supporting lead.

Mitch Pileggi: Horace Pinker is a serial killer that has been killing families for years and now he has targeted the office after him. Once he gets caught he shows the powers he has come to control as he continues to kill from beyond the grave. Mitch makes for an intense but never too menacing villain but one you would be afraid to run into.

Support Cast: Shocker has a supporting cast which are mostly victims for the killer to take out with only a few making more than a couple of scenes.

Director Review: Wes CravenWes gives us a horror that does come off original with good elements being used throughout.

 

Comedy: Shocker has elements of comedy but I do think this works better as a serious film.

Horror: Shocker has a good mix of horror being used with a serial killer and one that doesn’t just stay dead.

Thriller: Shocker tries to keep us on edge through the whole film but doesn’t quite pull us to the edge.

Settings: Shocker doesn’t create any iconic settings which I feel is something Craven is always great at.
Special Effects
: Shocker has effects I feel were good at the time but have dated as the times have moved on.

Suggestion: Shocker is one I feel all the Craven fans will enjoy even if it isn’t his best. (Craven Fans)

 

Best Part: The concept is very interesting.

Worst Part: The special effects have dated.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

Tagline: Mass murderer Horace pinker was put to death. Then he really got mad.

Trivia: Was originally intended to be the beginning of a three part trilogy much like “A Nightmare on Elm street” but after the lukewarm box office reception the idea was dropped. 

 

Overall: Solid addition to the Craven film collection that isn’t his best but showed his skills.

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Taylor Kitsch Weekend – Battleship (2012)

battleshipDirector: Peter Berg

Writer: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber (Screenplay)

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson

 

Plot: A fleet of ships is forced to do battle with an armada of unknown origins in order to discover and thwart their destructive goals.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Easy to Watch Nonsense Action Film

 

Story: Battleship starts as we learn the we have found a planet in space that could have life form and we try to communicate with them. We move on to meet flaky Alex Hopper (Kitsch) who is spending his birthday with his brother from the Navy Stone Hopper (Skarsgard), Stone always tries to talk Alex into joining him in the Navy but when Alex screws up he forces him into joining the Navy.

Years pass by and Alex has reached the level of Lieutenant and Stone is at the level of Commander. Alex is also involved with Sam (Decker) the Admiral’s (Neeson) daughter. Alex has always shown his skills but his attitude is about to get him kicked out of the Navy. During the Navy war games, the signal gets answered as they find themselves having to battle the unknown alien invaders where the Navy gets to prove all their skills.

Battleship is one of the easiest action movies to watch, it is based on the toys and follows the Transformers trend. We get the over the top action spectacle which makes us forget the weak story. The story is very generic with a reluctant hero that needed to do the right thing for once. We get the idea of opposites working together and nearly all the characters get to prove themselves by the end. The story is weak, the film is fun just sit back and enjoy.

 

Actor Review

 

Taylor Kitsch: LT Alex Hooper starts off as a screw up before being forced into the Navy by his brother. Once in the Navy his skills come off brilliant but his attitude continues to get him in trouble, entering into the annual wargames which might be his last Alex finally gets to prove himself to everyone when he must lead his ship in battle against an alien invader. Taylor does a good job in this role.alex

Alexander Skarsgard: Commander Stone Hopper is the responsible brother of Alex, he has been in the Navy for years and wants to take his brother in there to join him and learn responsibility. He is one of the most respected men in the wargames having led his team into winning previous years but this year is his biggest test to date. Alexander is good in this role but we don’t see enough of his character.stone

Rihanna: Petty Officer Weps is one of the toughest officers standing next to LT Hooper, she is deadly with a weapon and loyal till the end. Rihanna fits this role well as the bad ass with the gun.weeps

Liam Neeson: Admiral Shane is running the wargames, he is desperately trying to get inside the alien shields but isn’t willing to waste resources until they can. He is your typical Admiral that hates the guy dating his daughter and expects the best from everyone under his ranks. Liam does a good job in his supporting role we needed to see more of.

Support Cast: Battleship has a large supporting cast that all help make this a good watch as they help fight the aliens in their own ways.

Director Review: Peter BergPeter gives us something very easy to watch and full of entertainment.

 

Action: Battleship has massive action sequences that all help make this a fun watch.

Sci-Fi: Battleship has the alien invasion with technology we can’t fight against all being used well.

Thriller: Battleship does keep us on the edge as we wait to see what will happen next.

Settings: Battleship uses mostly Hawaii as the setting make for good visual looks throughout.
Special Effects
: Battleship has a mix of good and bad effects through the film with the aliens being the bad side.

Suggestion: Battleship is one to sit back and enjoy but only if you’re not looking for something serious. (Brain Off Enjoy)

 

Best Part: The battles look great.

Worst Part: Aliens look terrible

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $209 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes

Tagline: The Battle for Earth Begins at Sea

 

Overall: Over the top action that is easy to watch

Ratingcard

Cop Land (1997)

coplandDirector: James Mangold

Writer: James Mangold (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Peter Berg, Janeane Garofalo, Robert Patrick, Michael Rapaport, Annabella Sciorra, Noah Emmerich

 

Plot: The sheriff of a suburban New Jersey community populated by New York City policemen slowly discovers the town is a front for mob connections and corruption.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Crime Thriller

 

Story: Cop Land starts as we see Jersey Sherriff Freddy Heflin (Stallone) with his own drinking problems but outside the main force. We move to meet hero cop Murray Babitch (Rapaport) find himself involved in a shooting of two unarmed men causing tensions to rise within the force. His uncle Ray (Keitel) loyal partner Jack (Patrick) try to cover up the crime while Moe (De Niro) is investigating what really happened.

Freddy finds his town the location where all of the cops from New York hang out, making the sheriff of Cop Land, the web of lies is tangling under his nose and Moe turns to him for answers that will open the doors to the truth about what Ray is really up to.

Cop Land is a crime thriller that really does keep you guessing from start to finish with twist around nearly every corner. We watch as just as we think we know one answer they go and change the questions. The idea that the cops are both the good and bad guys really helps this film make an impact as we have to look at the very people that are meant to protect us being the ones we can’t trust. I would like to point that if you do miss scenes you will miss where the story is going which is concerning because seeing Stallone makes you think this will just be an action film but this is a lot more serious than any of the action films. This has a much better story than I was expecting and really is one of those underrated crime thrillers.

 

Actor Review

 

Sylvester Stallone: Freddy is the deaf in on eye Sheriff of a small Jersey town where all the cops live and hang out conducting the business they can’t within their own derestriction. When the latest corruption in the force happens in New York the cops find themselves in Frank’s town where he must watch over seeing what is really happened but figuring out who is honest is the hardest task he faces. Sylvester is good in this leading role in a film you wouldn’t be used to seeing him in.freeddy

Harvey Keitel: Ray is a top cop who has a reputation of covering up police crimes, when the latest one happens he has to protect his nephew from the pointing fingers by faking his death but who is really in his pocket and how far will he come to cover himself. Harvey plays the character you would expect to see him play and that is because he is good in this shady cop.

Ray Liotta: Gary is an undercover cop that spends his time around the small Jersey town when not working, he has lost a partner in a previous case with Ray covering something up. The tension rise between the two with this latest one as Gary wants his chance for revenge. Ray is good in this supporting role that you never really know which side of the fence he is on.

Robert De Niro: Moe is investigating the case on the bridge, he knows not everything is what is seems and turns to Freddy for help as he can’t touch any of the officers in Jersey. He just wants the truth to come out and to rid the streets of the corrupt cops. Robert shows that he can be a supporting character even with his reputation and does a good job in this role.

Support Cast: Cop Land has a huge supporting cast that all help the story unfold with us wondering which side of the battle they are on.

Director Review: James MangoldJames gives us a great thriller that really keeps us guessing from start to finish.

 

Crime: Cop Land puts us into the middle of a crime story where the criminals are the cops themselves.

Thriller: Cop Land does keep us guessing to where the story will be going from start to finish.

Settings: Cop Land use the small town for the setting which is filled with cops showing how full of tension throughout.
Special Effects
: Cop Land does use good effects when needed but doesn’t rely on them.

Suggestion: Cop Land is one for all crime thriller fans to enjoy. (Crime Thriller Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Story keeping us guessing.

Worst Part: Slightly too much going on.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

Tagline: No One Is Above The Law

 

Overall: Tense thriller that really does keep you guessing

Ratingcard

Michael Mann Weekend – Collateral (2004)

collertalDirector: Michael Mann

Writer: Stuart Beattie (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Berg, Bruce McGill, Javier Bardem

 

Plot: A cab driver finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in Los Angeles. He must find a way to save both himself and one last victim.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slick Thriller

 

Story: Collateral starts as we see stranger Vincent (Cruise) arriving in Los Angeles for a job. We also meet mild-mannered cab driver Max (Foxx) who knows all the streets in Los Angeles, the two end up on a collision cause as Max gets talked into taking Vincent around Los Angeles for the night, that is until Max learns that Vincent is a hitman.

Vincent forces Max into taking him around town as he completes his missions as he looks to avoid trouble, but also offers him a chance to teach him about standing up for himself and the morals about the murders he is committing. The two end up getting caught up in the middle of a cat and mouse chase around Los Angeles all in one night.

Collateral is a thriller that fills all the cat and mouse we love to see, nothing is overplayed and with everything taking place over one night we get a real feel for the timing side of the story. I do feel the supporting characters do get neglected which does end up working on both scales, we get more time with the leading two but doesn’t make us care about them. Overall this is a good slick story that all works for the genre.

 

Actor Review

 

Tom Cruise: Vincent is the hitman who has come to Los Angeles to complete a job over the course of one night, he ends up using Max as his taxi service for the night. He kills anyone who gets in the way but he also doesn’t want to kill anyone he doesn’t need too. He comes off like a good guy and is always good at his job. Tom gives us a great performance in this role as hitman.vinceent

Jamie Foxx: Max is the mild-mannered taxi driver who knows every single street in Los Angeles, he ends up picking up Vincent who puts him through the middle of the worst night of his life as he had to assist him on his killing spree or be killed. Jamie goes toe to toe with Tom which is always difficult for any big named actor.max

Jada Pinkett Smith: Annie is the hot shot lawyer that happens to be a passenger in Max’s cab before Vincent, the two get flirting and we get the potential love interest for Max in the future. Jada does a solid job but doesn’t get the screen time we would like to see.

Mark Ruffalo: Fanning is one of the cops hot the trail of what is happening on the night when one of his men went missing, he puts things together faster than the rest of the authorities. Mark does well in this supporting role but doesn’t make a big enough impact in the end.fanning

Support Cast: Collateral doesn’t get the supporting cast enough screen time to make much impact in the final outcome.

Director Review: Michael MannMichael brings his style to the hitman film which all works for the final cat and mouse between Max and Vincent.

 

Crime: Collateral has a good crime story going on with the bigger picture to what Vincent is up to.

Thriller: Collateral keeps you on the edge of your seat while you watch all interaction between Max and Vincent.

Settings: Collateral use the one night in Los Angeles for the story which all looks very cinematic throughout.
Special Effects
: Collateral has good effects with the kills but doesn’t turn to them too often.

Suggestion: Collateral is one to watch for all the crime thriller fans out there. (Watch)

 

Best Part: First kill reaction.

Worst Part: Lack of support character time.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 2 Oscars

Budget: $65 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours

Tagline: It started like any other night

Trivia: The seating of the two leads was crucial to certain scenes. For their more intimate exchanges, Cruise would sit directly behind Foxx, out of his peripheral vision and therefore making him more vulnerable and uncertain of his opponent.

 

Overall: Very enjoyable thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat as Cruise shines yet again.

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