Trumbo (2015)

trumboDirector: Jay Roach

Writer: John McNamara (Screenplay) Bruce Cook (Book)

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Michael Stuhlbarg, David Maldonado, John Getz, Laura Flannery, David James Elliott, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Alan Tudyk, John Goodman, Stephen Root, Roger Bart, Ellie Fanning


Plot: In 1947, Dalton Trumbo was Hollywood’s top screenwriter, until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Good History Lesson


Story: Trumbo starts with Dalton Trumbo (Cranston) a registered communist who classing with other people in Hollywood including heavyweights John Wayne (Elliott) on his beliefs that that the government shouldn’t be able to look into everything the American people do. Even with these beliefs Dalton gets one of the biggest deals any writers have ever been offered in Hollywood.

The government decides to take on the communists in Hollywood believing they are trying to use movies to pull in the audience to join them. Gossip writer Hedda Hopper (Mirren) wants to use her column to expose the communists while leaning on the head of studios to fire all the communists involved in the infamous Hollywood 10 as they look to defend themselves.

After being sent to prison for his beliefs he ends up having to rebuild his career and he turns to Frank King (Goodman) who can’t pay the writers the same level but he and the blacklist writers all work to get their screenplays around Hollywood.

Trumbo gives us a look at the Americans and how they treated the people involved. I never personally understood what all this communist un-America talk really was and still don’t know enough to true judge how well this film portrays it all. I did like the story being re-told in a good way showing how even when people bring people down they won’t stay down however hard it is on the family. This really just more on a history lesson but is important.


Actor Review


Bryan Cranston: Dalton Trumbo was one of the most respected writers in Hollywood who was a communist, he gets charged for his crimes ending up in prison. Once released he ends up leading the fellow blacklisted writers in a movement to get themselves recognized in Hollywood once more. Bryan is brilliant in this role fully becoming the character.charaacer

Diane Lane: Cleo Trumbo is the wife of Dalton she tries to keep the family together while Dalton stands up for his beliefs, she stands up to him when needed without coming off over demanding. Diane is good in the supporting role but doesn’t get too much screen time.

Helen Mirren: Hedda Hopper is the gossip writer who along with John Wayne tries to out all the communist employees in Hollywood, she goes out her away against Dalton even when he starts trying to make a comeback. Helen is good but we don’t see enough of her to learn enough about her character.

Support Cast: Trumbo has great supporting characters who are all names the fans of Hollywood would enjoy watching.

Director Review: Jay RoachJay gives us a good and important story that we would need to know to see the struggles of the people who were outed as communists.


Biographical: Trumbo gives us a great look at one of the most important screenwriters of all time.

Settings: Trumbo re-creates the settings to make everything look like we are part of the time period.

Suggestion: Trumbo is one to try, I do think some people will find it difficult to watch but it is a good lesson. (Try It)


Best Part: Cranston is brilliant.

Worst Part: We don’t learn enough about Hedde.


Believability: Based on the real story of Dalton and the communist time period.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Awards: Nominated for 2 Golden Globes

Oscar Chances: Could easily get nominations

Runtime: 2 Hour 4 Minutes

Tagline: When they tried to silence him, he made the world listen.


Overall: Brilliant story even if we only see one side of it all


Hercules (1997)

logoDirector: Ron Clements, John Musker

Writer: Ron Clements, John Musker, Don McEnery, Bob Shaw, Irene Mecchi (Screenplay) Kaan Kalyon, Kelly Wightman, Randy Cartwright, John Ramirez, Jeff Snow, Vance Gerry, Kirk Hanson, Francis Glebas, Mark Kennedy, Bruce Morris, Don Dougherty, Thom Enriquez (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Tate Donovan, Josh Keaton, Roger Bart, Danny DeVito, James Woods, Susan Egan, Bobcat Goldthwait, Matt Frewer, Rip Torn


Plot: The son of the Greek Gods Zeus and Hera is stripped of his immortality as an infant and must become a true hero in order to reclaim it.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Disney’s Weaker Years


Story: Hercules starts with narration of the legacy of Hercules before taking us back to the beginning of the Hercules legend. We see Zeus throwing a party of his baby Hercules giving his first present Pegasus before Hades interrupts the party from the underworld. Hades not content with ruling the underworld wants to rule everything and consults the all-seeing future where he learns that when Hercules enters into battle with him he will lose. Hades sends his two slaves Panic and Pain to take Hercules and take away his immortality before killing him. They do remove his immortality but fail to remove his strength or kill him leaving him with a normal family to grow up as a normal kid.

We move forward to a young Hercules struggling to fit in anywhere, not being acceptable by the locals before being told the truth by his adopted parents. Hercules sets out to make it to the home of the Gods to find out where he really came from and meeting his father who sets him off to meet Phil to be trained as a hero along with his long lost friend Pegasus. We end up with a montage to show the training where Phil sees this chance as one last chance to train a true hero. On his first mission Hercules saves Meg from a creature getting his first glimpse of love.

We learn that Meg is in fact working for Hades and once Hades learns that Hercules is still alive he sets out to finish the job Panic & Pain failed to complete all those years ago. Hades’ attempt to kill Hercules only ends up making him a hero making him the hero Hades was warned about. Can Hercules become the hero he was destine to become or will love stand in his way?

Hercules has 17 writers, really 17 how is this possible? The story really does follow a very typical Disney theme of a son trying to prove himself in his father’s shadow and someone trying to find their place in the world. The ideas of the world Hercules lives in are all nice but as a fan of Greek Mythology I always want to see the Hercules myth told in all its greatness rather than a small segment that is clearly made up for a younger audience. I feel this film is very average and the story offers nothing fresh to the animation idea and is easily one of the more forgettable Disney animations. (4/10)


Character Review


Hercules: Hercules is the son of Zeus who loses his immortality and left on Earth. He grows up a mortal with strength but ends up struggling to fit in before discovering the truth where he must train to become the hero he was always destiny to become. Hercules is a character that we all know but do we really think he has this clumsy tendencies or failure to fit ideas? I don’t think so. (4/10)


Hercules, Phil and Pagesus

Hercules, Phil and Pagesus

Phil: Phil is the half man half goat trainer of Hercules, who sees this as a chance for him to get his last chance to train a real hero. Phil is your very generic trainer who really doesn’t get the laughs he needs. (4/10)


Hades: Hades is the God of the underworld who plans to take over the world but Hercules being alive puts a spanner in the works as Hercules is destiny to stop him. Hades makes for a good villain as he is always turned into the villain when we talk about the ancient Greeks. He is also the highlight of the film. (6/10)


Meg: Meg is the first damsel in distress that Hercules saves, but she is really forced to work for Hades even after she starts to fall in love with Hercules. Meg tries to be the alternative damsel in distress but it all gets lost when we don’t care about which side she plays on. (3/10)


Pain & Panic: These two are the bumbling slaves of Hades who keep messing up the simple ideas but adding comedic moments. These two are meant to be the comic relief but really fail to capture the idea of funny. (4/10)


Pegasus: Hercules’ loyal half horse half bird giving to him as a baby, Pegasus is one friend who is always there for Hercules when he needs him most. Pegasus does what it needs to do adding a protective friend but nothing more. (5/10)


Support Characters: Hercules has plenty of names known for being around at the same time as Hercules but not many that make too much of a difference.


Director Review: Ron Clements, John Musker – I feel these two don’t give us the film we really wanted from the word Hercules but not many do. (4/10)


Animation: Hercules has to get good points for the animation because when the Titans come they are frightening for a young audience. (8/10)

Comedy: Hercules has very few laughs if any throughout. (2/10)

Family: Hercules is one for the family to try to together it has attempted jokes for all ages really. (5/10)

Musical: Hercules has good songs used throughout with only one real memorable one. (6/10)

Romance: Hercules throws in a weak romantic angle which we see too often in Disney films. (3/10)

Settings: Hercules creates the settings Hercules could have fought in. (7/10)

Suggestion: Hercules is one that should be watch with the kids only, it falls to reach the levels other films do with the same style of story. (Try It With The Kids)


Best Part: I can go the distance song.

Worst Part: No comedy.

What Could Have Been Better? – Better sidekick characters.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Turned into a television cartoon.

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Nominated for Best Original Music Score.

Box Office: $252 Million

Budget: $85 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

Tagline: Zero to Hero!


Overall: Hercules feels so much like a complete rip off of nearly every Disney film and never reaches its true potential.

Rating 35

Hostel: Part II (2007)

logoDirector: Eli Roth

Writer: Eli Roth (Screenplay)

Starring: Lauren German, Roger Bart, Heather Matarazzo, Bijou Phillips, Richard Burgi, Vera Jordanova, Jay Hernandez, Jordan Ladd


Plot: Three American college students studying abroad are lured to a Slovakian hostel, and discover the grim reality behind it.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: A Different Perspective


Story: Hostel Part II starts by right where the first film finished with Paxton (Hernandez) being woken up on the train before being taken to hospital and questioned by the police. Paxton recounts his story but only in dream form, we learn that Paxton is back home in America with his girlfriend hiding from the society but he soon finds out they never stop until they get their man.

We move across to meet our new group of friends studying art in Italy we have Beth (German), Lorna (Matarazzo) and Whitney (Phillips) the group are going to Prague for a trip away like all college students. The three are joined on the trip with by nude model Axelle (Jordanova) who talks them into going to Slovakia and we are back at the hostel. Here is where things start to go differently as we follow the staff at the hostel post the photos of the girls where the clients get a chance to bid for them. Todd (Burgi) and Stuart (Bart) win the bidding war and head to Slovakia where they get the best treatment because of their investment.

We watch how the girls have a good time partying around Slovakia while the boys scout the girls they have paid to kill waiting for their chance to take get what they paid for. After Lorna disappears Beth and Whitney enjoy the local spa while we see how sadistic the clients of the club can actually be. When the times comes can the two men kill these girls that is the only question left, but we also have time for a twist in the story.

Hostel Part II actually builds on what the first horror gave us which is always a good sign, we know the victims have been selected and how they get baited, so we don’t need to see another films just about that. We learnt late on how people buy the person to kill and with this we get to watch and learn how the buyers deal with the situation. This alone is why I think this is going in the right direction by letting us see more of the business side to the story. Part two also manages to keep up the idea of non-visual torture letting us only see the tease and the aftermath. I would have to say this could well be on the better sequels in the horror genre with a solid story. (8/10)


Actor Review


Lauren German: Beth the down to Earth of the three girls who may well be rich but really wants to look out for her friends but doesn’t do a very good job. She ends up getting capture to be put into the game where Stuart has paid for her. Lauren gives a good performance with her shining through the final scenes. (7/10)


Roger Bart: Stuart having a present bought for him by his friend Todd, he gets to go and take part in killing someone any means he sees fit. Stuart is kind of forced to go and is always playing the reluctant participant in the murdering. Roger gives a good performance because we get to see the reluctant side to him before he snaps. (7/10)


Heather Matarazzo: Lorna the wimpy of the girls who really just want to go home but after she gets drunk she ends up being the first victim in a way that is very historic even though it is disturbing. Heather does a solid job but never gets a chance to do too much. (5/10)


Bijou Phillips: Whitney the party girl who is enjoying her time too much and ends up having to go through the preparation for the kill. Bijou gives a basic performance and never really gets any screen time. (4/10)


Richard Burgi: Todd cocky guy who buys both the girls for them to kill who thinks this will make them both look like more of men. Richard does a good job and makes out as the ass of the piece very well. (7/10)


Vera Jordanova: Axelle the bait girl who pulls the girls to make the decision of Slovakia but we knew this upfront. Vera makes for good bait girl stepping in where the previous two left off. (6/10)


Support Cast: Hostel Part II has a support cast that shows how the company is run with the guards’ right up to who owns the place.


Director Review: Eli Roth – Eli continues to be able to put shock into his horror and managing multiply genres nicely. (8/10)


Horror: Hostel Part II following on from the first where we don’t see any of the actual torture which is all off camera making the horror that much realer. (8/10)

Settings: Hostel Part II uses the same settings so we know how things will play out. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Hostel Part II uses brilliant practical effects with the highlight being the cannibal killer. (10/10)

Suggestion: Hostel Part II has to be one for all the horror fans to enjoy. (Horror Fans Watch)


Best Part: The potential client’s point of view.

Worst Part: Lack of originally with the girls.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has one more sequel

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $35 Million

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

Trivia: Eli Roth received some criticism from female Hostel (2005) fans over the excessive amount of female nudity in the first movie. Therefore, the first bit of nudity he included in this sequel was a brief shot of a fully naked man.


Overall: Hostel Part II really is just an expansion of what we got first time around, it is just now we are fully inside the twisted world and we see how things are really run.

Rating 75