Sarah Polley Weekend – Splice (2009)

splicDirector: Vincenzo Natali

Writer: Vincenzo Natali, Antoinette Terry Bryant, Doug Taylor (Screenplay) Vincenzo Natali, Antoinette Terry Bryant (Story)

Starring: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphin Chaneac, Brandon McGibbon, Simona Maicaneascu, David Hewlett, Abigail Chu

 

Plot: Genetic engineers Clive Nicoli and Elsa Kast hope to achieve fame by successfully splicing together the DNA of different animals to create new hybrid animals for medical use.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Morale Questions

 

Story: Splice starts as we meet genetic scientists Clive (Brody) and Elsa (Polley) as they are trying to splice DNA from different species as they look for cures to the illnesses. When their work gets shut down for a backwards step they decide to continue on their research in private. When the creation is born the pair have to face the morale question of what to do next with the first of its species that would an unknown threat for the humans.

The pair keep the creature known a DREN to witness its lifespan studying how different elements are stronger than others, but with this new creation comes a new threat once Dren (Chaneac) reaches a form close to human but with all the evolutionary traits of the species she is spliced from.

Splice gives us the morale question about what is too far for science when it comes to genetic engineering. We do get echoes of the Frankenstein story but we don’t have the creator giving up on their creation. We do get to see change on both sides of the fence as Clive starts by not wanting to keep the creation but then wanting to keep her and Elsa wanting to keep before changing her mind. I do know the story is all about challenge the scientific idea behind the story and creation.

 

Actor Review

 

Adrien Brody: Clive is the brilliant geneticist who is working on creating a species that could help with the worlds illnesses, when his work is halted he continues the work with his partner and creates Dren a species the world has never seen before. At first he wants to get rid of the creation but once he seen how remarkable she is he wants to keep her and study her. Adrien gives a good performance in this role which includes being part of one awkward sex scenes.clive

Sarah Polley: Elsa is the partner of Clive both in work and love, she pushes Clive into taking their research rogue and by making a new creation. She treats Dren like a daughter giving her the motherhood see isn’t ready for, but when Dren starts thinking for herself she becomes to controlling. Sarah does well in this role as we get to see the complete change in her character from start to finish.elsa

Delphine Chaneac: Dren is the creature created filled with specimens of many different species, she is a slow learner at first but soon picks up things at a remarkable pace. She wants to fit in but knows she can’t as her evolution becomes a threat to all mankind. Delphine gives the best performance of the film in which she comes off believable in such a difficult position.dren

Brandon McGibbon: Gavin is the brother of Clive who also works in the genetics lab, he learns about the experiment where he warns them of the consequences but pushes them out of the lab. Brandon gives a solid supporting performance but doesn’t get much screen time.

 

Support Cast: Splice really only has a couple more cast member who is their boss and boss’s boss. They show that science is really about money.

Director Review: Vincenzo NataliVincenzo gives us a film that gives plenty of questions about what is right or wrong through science which is always a good thing.

 

Horror: Splice gives us a horror element from the creature being unpredictable but the best horror scenes don’t happen until the final act.

Sci-Fi: Splice gives us plenty of science fiction when it comes to looking into the idea being created by the scientist.

Settings: Splice uses the science lab and the abandoned farm as the two location we see, very little else is used which works for the film.
Special Effects
: Splice has great effects showing the creature effects not just with Dren but the previous creations.

Suggestion: Splice is one to try, I do think people might get put off by the lack of horror early in the film. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Dren is a brilliant created character for this film.

Worst Part: We needed a little extra horror in the first half of the film.

 

Believability: You never know what the scientists are doing.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $26 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

Tagline: She Is Not Supposed To Exist

Trivia: The highest grossing English-language Canadian film of 2010.

 

Overall: A interesting science based film that leaves you wondering where you would stand upon these creations.

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Sarah Polley Weekend – The I Inside (2004)

insideDirector: Roland Suso Richter

Writer: Michael Cooney, Timothy Scott Bogart (Screenplay) Michael Cooney (Play ‘Point of Death’)

Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Sarah Polley, Piper Perabo, Robert Sean Leonard, Peter Egan, Stephen Lang, Rakie Ayloa, Stephen Graham, Stephen Rea

 

Plot: An amnesiac discovers himself leaping through time between 2000 and 2002 as his past returns to him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: What is Real?

 

Story: The I Inside starts when Simon Cable (Phillippe) wakes up after a near death experience where he gets the shocking news that two years have passed since he last remembers anything, he is now married to Anna (Perabo), his brother Peter (Leonard) is dead and the year is 2002.

After believing someone is trying to kill him Simon wakes up back in 2000 straight after his car accident. Continuing to bounce between the time periods Clair (Polley) comes into his life to make things even more complicated for Simon. Simon must figure out what is happening, did he kill his brother and why nobody else will believe his story.

The I Inside is a film that really does its best to keep us guessing, we find it easy t identify each time period which helps because we have different doctors in each time. The mystery does continue to grow as the film unfolds but sadly in the end we end up getting an ending which does answer the questions but makes everything feel slightly flat.

 

Actor Review

 

Ryan Phillippe: Simon Cable is our leading man who gets stuck between two time periods the year 2000 where he has a car accident and 2002 where he ends up back in the hospital. Simon ends up having to figure out what is happening, what happened and why he is stuck in this loop of time between the two years. Ryan gives us a good leading performance where he constantly looks confused which is important for his character.

Sarah Polley: Clair is the lover of the 2000 Simon who keeps showing up but she just so happens to be the fiancée of his brother Peter. Sarah does a solid job but doesn’t get enough screen time for her character.

Piper Perabo: Anna is the new wife of Simon in 2002 that he doesn’t remember from 2000. She is very different when the two are alone were she has a grip over him that he can’t control. Piper gives us a performance in this role which is very different in each time zone.

Robert Sean Leonard: Peter Cable is Simon’s brother, Clair’s fiancée but he is dead and Simon is accused of killing him over a battle for their family’s estate. Robert gives a solid performance but doesn’t get enough screen time.

 

Support Cast: The I Inside has a supporting that keeps us knowing which time period we are in and which help find the final answer to what is going on.

Director Review: Roland Suso RichterRoland gives us a good mystery about what is happening.

 

Mystery: The I Inside gives us a mystery about what is happening which leave u wondering what is going on and it is the highlight of the film.

Sci-Fi: The I Inside brings us into the time travel element nicely without it being a full blown impact in the film.

Thriller: The I Inside tries to keep us guessing what is going on.

Settings: The I Inside keeps most of the settings inside the hospital which helps make everything feel more contained for the characters.
Special Effects
: The I Inside doesn’t really have too many special effects but the few it uses work well.

Suggestion: The I Inside is a film to try if you love a time travel mystery, but it won’t go down as one of the best of recent years. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The Mystery

Worst Part: Supporting characters don’t get enough time.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $8.8 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: Sometimes it is hard to come back.

 

Overall: Time travel film that keeps you wondering what is happening next.

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Sarah Polley Weekend – Dawn of the Dead (2004)

deadDirector: Zack Snyder

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay) George A Romero (Story)

Starring: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer, Ty Burrell, Michael Kelly, Kevin Zegers, Michael Barry, Lindy Booth

 

Plot: A nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman, and other survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best

 

Story: Dawn of the Dead starts with one of the best opening scenes in zombie movie history, as we follow nurse Ana (Polley) as she finishes work and goes about every week date night with her husband Lewis. All seems normal until the neighbourhood good Vivian turns up in their house, biting Lewis before Ana realizes she has woken up in the Dawn of the Dead as she looks for some form of safety.

Finding the city in complete chaos Ana must find somewhere for safety first by running into cop Kenneth (Rhames) followed closely by Michael (Weber), Andre (Phifer) and Luda (Korobkina). The answer to their problems lies in the shopping mall which security guards CJ (Kelly), Bart (Barry) and Terry (Zegers) have control over.

When more survivors turn up at the mall the group have to put their differences aside to figure out a way to survive once the mall becomes an attraction for all of the undead.

Dawn of the Dead is one of those remakes that works, the first film was incredible popular and this keeps the base story the same but brings the concept into the modern era of horror. No longer are the days of slow moving zombies we get fast paced none stop relentless zombies that become even scarier. There isn’t much to talk about with the story because it really is just about surviving but where this one really shines are in the brave side story with Andre and his bitten pregnant wife. I can’t see a bad thing in this film and it could easily be one of the most perfect zombie horror films of all time.

 

Actor Review

 

Sarah Polley: Ana is a nurse before the outbreak, she is the only character we got to meet before the outbreak but becomes a leading member of the group of survivors as her medical skills and human side shine through the animal like behave of the rest of the group. Sarah gives us a true nonsense performance in the leading role.ana

Ving Rhames: Kenneth is the cop that help Ana get to the mall, he only wants to get to his brother but finds himself being distant from the rest of the survivors but only so he can deal with things his own way. He is the toughest of all of the survivors and the most valuable member in combat. Ving is great in this role where he easily the most realistic in the zombie outbreak idea.kenneth

Jake Weber: Michael becomes the reluctant leader of the group, he hasn’t achieved much in his life but sees this as a chance to make up for his mistakes. Jake is good in this role as the reluctant hero showing anyone can lead when time calls for it.jake

Mekhi Phifer: Andre along with his pregnant wife find themselves in the mall, he keeps his wife hidden from the rest of the group because he knows the truth about her but still wants to have the baby. Mekhi gives us one of the most fascinating supporting characters in zombie films.andre

Michael Kelly: CJ is one of the security guards at the mall, he wants it to himself and the other guards, when the rest of the survivors turn up he sees them as a threat. After he gets taught that they are all after one thing and strength in numbers he becomes the go to guy for solutions with his knowledge of the mall. Michael gives a great performance in a role unlike most you will know him for.cj

Support Cast: Dawn of the Dead has a good supporting cast that are all very interesting characters to add to the zombie survival film.

Director Review: Zack SnyderZack shows that he was going to be one of the most popular directors around with this brilliant reimaging of a classic.

 

Action: Dawn of the Dead is filled with non-stop zombie killing action.

Horror: Dawn of the Dead brings a brand new look at terror through the zombie being fast and a new level of frightening.

Thriller: Dawn of the Dead keeps you wonder just where things will go, who will die and how they will make it out from start to finish.

Settings: Dawn of the Dead using the mall does work because you would have nearly everything you need there.
Special Effects
: Dawn of the Dead has brilliant special effects from start to finish making you feel like you are part of the world.

Suggestion: Dawn of the Dead is a must watch for all horror fans out there even if you love the original you will love this one. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Pregnant side story.

Worst Part: One thing I noticed that I didn’t like was that one moment the zombies almost pause and wait to pounce, which doesn’t make sense.

Action Scene Of The Film: Rescue Andy.

Kill Of The Film: Chainsaw.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: This doesn’t have a sequel.

Post Credits Scene: During the credits there is a scene.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $59 Million

Budget: $26 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: 36 billion people have died since the reign of humanity. For the new Dawn, there’s a reunion.

Trivia: Although he had strong reservations about some elements, George A. Romero professed to be surprisingly impressed with the film.

 

Overall: Breath taking roller coaster ride of a horror film.

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eXistenZ (1999)

logoDirector: David Cronenberg

Writer: David Cronenberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law, Ian Holm, Willem Dafoe, Don McKellar, Callum Keith Rennie, Christopher Eccleston, Sarah Polley

 

Plot: A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: What is Real?

 

Story: eXistenZ starts by bringing us to a seminar where we learn that Allegra Geller (Leigh) is one of the best in the business and is the guest talker. We learn about eXistenZ and how it is new to the business of the game, we see how 12 lucky members get a chance to experience the new gaming experience with Allegra. After a gun man enters the seminar he shots Allegra while in the virtual reality world, leading to a shootout and Ted Pikul (Law) have to go on the run with her.

On the run Ted wants to call for help while Allegra wants to stay on the run, wanting to get back into the reality world Allegra was in. she has to find someone who will install a bio-port into Ted so he can join her and Gas (Dafoe) is just the man to do that. After getting locked out of her game it appears Allegra has a target on her back and she doesn’t know who to trust. To find out who is after her both Allegra and Ted go into her game where Ted enters a new reality he has never been into before.

eXistenZ is a film where you see who is directing and already know you are in for something different and slightly confusing. You don’t get let down and just like many of his others films we are left to questions reality and what is actually real. The film isn’t afraid to try and stick its middle finger up at you with its final moments making most of the film almost pointless but then brings it all back to being relevant again. This will test your mind and also play along to the inner gamer inside of you but if you are not a fan of Cronenberg’s work don’t even try to understand what happened. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Jennifer Jason Leigh: Allegra Geller genius game designer whose new game is wanted by everyone, while people want to kill her before it gets released. She goes on the run with Ted before entering into the game to discover the truth. Jennifer gives a solid lead performance where we get a female lead in a male world. (7/10)

 jason

Jude Law: Ted Pikul trainee marketer who ends up playing the bodyguard for Allegra. He has never entered the virtual reality world before and once he does he has to help Allegra figure out what is going on. Jude does a solid job in the supporting role and really fits into the unknown role of virtual reality. (7/10)

 jude

Support Cast: eXistenZ has a supporting cast that all help the story unfold little by little.

 

Director Review: David Cronenberg – This is what you would expect from David, something confusing but also complete without feeding you the ending. (8/10)

 

Horror: eXistenZ really looks into the mind for its horror leaving us to question the characters reality. (7/10)

Sci-Fi: eXistenZ uses the sci-fi world of virtual reality games for its sci-fi elements very well. (8/10)

Settings: eXistenZ uses each setting to try and create the next level of the game and each one works well to try and throw us off what will happen next. (9/10)
Special Effects
: eXistenZ has a couple of unusual effects that come off well. (7/10)

Suggestion: eXistenZ is one to try, I don’t think it will appeal to everyone but if you are a fan of Cronenberg you will enjoy. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Makes you think.

Worst Part: If you don’t know Cronenberg you will find this too complicated.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $2.9 Million

Budget: $15 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

Tagline: Into your body, under your skin, beyond your senses

 

Overall: Cronenberg’s Matrix

Rating 70

Mr Nobody (2009)

logoDirector: Jaco Van Dormael

Writer: Jaco Van Dormael (Screenplay)

Starring: Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger, Linh Dan Pham, Rhys Ifrans, Daniel Mays, Juno Temple

 

Plot: A boy stands on a station platform as a train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? Infinite possibilities arise from this decision. As long as he doesn’t choose, anything is possible.

 

Verdict: Ambitious to say the least

 

Story: We start by seeing Nemo getting killed over and over in different was, before we meet the older Nemo who is being treated and finds out that he is 118 years old even though he thinks he is only 34. Things continue to get confusing when he flashes between three relationships. He is the last living mortal and he is about to die and the people in the future are trying to figure out his true identity. He starts to tell his story to a young journalist where we learn more about the future world. What follows is a look back at Nemo’s life and all the decisions he takes and wants to change, with him possessing the ability to change what happens in his life. He seems to be able to look at every outcome he wishes he could see.

Well as you can tell from the previous paragraph I really did get confused with this one, but once you get to the end I do believe everything gets wrapped up nicely and actually all makes sense. This is hugely brave idea that will leave plenty of people losing interest because it plays so many different outcomes, lives that our hero lives people will not stay full interested. Though I consider that hard to keep up with everything will make sense and it all is very simple, it really could be something we have all looked at, at some point in our lives. In conclusion I think this is extreme smart film that pushes you in so many different directions to get such a simple message over that is really rewarding. (9/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Jared Leto: Nemo filling both young Nemo and old Nemo we see how the others many different potential lives could have happen mixed with the older Nemo who is looking back at his life trying to figure out the truth about his past. Jared gives a brilliant performance with a full list of different characters. (9/10)

 nemo

Sarah Polley: Elise one of the three women that Nemo falls in love with gets married and has a family with. She isn’t the most stable of the women but offers a look at Nemo as a loving father. Sarah gives a good performance. (7/10)

polley

Diane Kruger: Anna his onetime step sister who he falls in love with even though things don’t always run smoothly in his versions of the relationship. Diane gives good performance but a lot of praise has to go to Juno Temple too for playing the younger version who has more screen time. (8/10)

 diane

Support Cast: Be it the different people he meets through his different lives, his parents and the journalist asking Nemo the questions. All of the support cast help Nemo get to the next stage of his story.

 

Director Review: Jaco Van Dormael – Brilliantly brave idea for a film that really pulls you in however confusing things seem to be but also wraps up the confusion before it all ends. (9/10)

 

Drama: This puts our characters through nearly every emotion possible while the story unfolds. (9/10)

Romance: The look at how Nemo looks for a perfect romantic idea while he always seems to meet the same problems. (9/10)

Sci-Fi: Great look at how things could look in the future. (9/10)

Cinematography: Beautifully shot scenes especially the ones in the conclusion of the film. (9/10)

Music: A string of iconic songs used for montages through the film. (9/10)

Settings: While certain settings are very generic when things start to unfold we get some hugely unique ideas for settings. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Be it the make-up effects used on Jared Leto or the future world created to the space ideas and every special effect scene comes off brilliantly. (10/10)

Suggestion: I will be rating this highly but I really do think it will only appeal to certain people and the more casual fan might find the film both too long and too confusing. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The idea

Worst Part: Comes of overly confusing before the end.

Lessons Learned: Imaginations are limitless.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Opening Credits Rating: With narration from Nemo about the mind-set of a pigeon we get to see how the character will use his look at life. (9/10)

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $47 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

Tagline: If you never make a choice, anything is possible

Trivia: Nemo is Latin for “nobody”. It was the name that Odysseus gave the Cyclops.

 

Overall: Stunning, Brave and Brilliant

Rating 92