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

 

 

Meryl Streep Weekend – The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Director: David Frankel

Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna (Screenplay) Lauren Weisberger (Novel)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, Simon Baker, Arian Grenier, Tracie Thoms

 

Plot: A smart but sensible new graduate lands a job as an assistant to Miranda Priestly, the demanding editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine.


Tagline – Hell On Heels.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funny Comedy

 

Story: The Devil Wears Prada starts as newly graduated journalist Andy Sachs (Hathaway) gets a chance to work as the second assistant to editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly (Streep) at a high fashion magazine. Andy is one of many applicates only she doesn’t have the knowledge of the fashion world, unlike the first assistant Emily (Blunt).

Andy must learn to get through the cold nature of Miranda who always looks down on her and everybody, to get through a year which could put her in a position in the journalist world she has always been dreaming off.

 

Thoughts on The Devil Wears Prada

 

Characters – Miranda Priestly is the feared editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine, her presence makes her employees dress to impress, everybody in the industry respects her opinion and for some reason she decides to take on Andy, she pushes Andy to the limits to see if she is good enough to work or her, like all the employees. Andy Sachs is a journalist graduate who is looking to a job in any publication, she doesn’t understand the fashion industry with this job being her gateway to her dream job, but she must learn fast or face being eaten alive in this industry. Her time in the job sees her change who she once was, pushing her friends and boyfriend away. This one-year job could see her future open, but her friendships vanish. Emily is the first assistant under Miranda, she knows the ins and outs of the business and has been waiting for this role for years. She doesn’t like Andy because she doesn’t have the same desire in the fashion industry. Nigel is the only person in the office that Andy gets along with, he does help put her on the right track for success under Miranda.

PerformancesMeryl Streep is fantastic in this leading role, she brings a horrible boss to life, without making her seem like a truly horrible person, just somebody career driven. Anne Hathaway is wonderful too, to start with it seemed weird that she wasn’t considered the right body shape for position in the fashion world, but it does make perfect sense with how this world is working. Emily Blunt brings what should be a small role, to be one of the most interesting and entertaining part of the film. Stanley Tucci is a delight in the supporting role being the moral compass for the Andy character.

StoryThe story follows a recent graduated journalist that takes a job working under one of the most notoriously difficult editors in the industry, here she must learn the industry to stand a chance to above water in this world, while gaining the experience she requires for her own success. This story first shows how difficult finding the first job for experience could be for any former student trying to get int the industry, it shows how fast the learning curve could be, how you can be looked upon as a replacement for others job too. It shows us how careers can take over lives if you let them which is important for how Andy changes through the story. most importantly it shows us just how you should never forget where you came from and the people that were there for you when you needed them. You will also get to have a laugh at how the fashion industry is considered to operate at the pace which could make or break careers in no time.

ComedyThe comedy in this film come from seeing how the world operates, seeing Andy needing to learn fast, the relationship with Emily and just how everyone can act over the top about the smallest detail.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in New York, it shows how the business lives can move at such a pace it would be hard to keep up.


Scene of the Movie –
Andy sees a real side of Miranda.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understand brand names.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable comedy with wonderful performances from the whole cast.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Land of the Dead (2005)

landDirector: George A Romero

Writer: George A Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, Robert Joy, Eugene Clark, Joanne Boland, Tony Nappo, Jennifer Baxter

 

Plot: The living dead have taken over the world, and the last humans live in a walled city to protect themselves as they come to grips with the situation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Addition to Franchise

 

Story: Land of the Dead starts us to a world where the zombies now control as we meet Riley (Baker), Charlie (Joy) and Cholo (Leguizamo) who go out at night to find supplies for the rich in the safely guarded city. On their nights out collecting supplies the humans uses Sky Flowers (fireworks) to distract zombies but one Big Daddy (Clark) has stopped being distracted and has started to lead the zombies in a new life with fragments of their previous one.

Riley has kept his nose to the ground to get his freedom from the runs while Cholo is always looking for a way to buy his freedom which means putting others at risk. The man they are both looking to for attention is Kaufman (Hopper) leader of the rich in the highest tower in the island.

When Cholo go goes rogue the city is torn apart by the smarter zombies who don’t get distracted that easily and it is Riley’s chance to be free of the city after making a deal with Kaufman to bring back Cholo and the weapons he has taken.

Land of the Dead is yet another great addition to the series, while it isn’t going to break any boundaries like the original trilogy did but solid action related zombie film. While it does follow the same formula, group of survivors are safe but soon their safe heaven is overrun by zombies leaving few alive we get to see it in a different light when it comes to number involved. The special effects have become a lot more realistic which I find takes away from the horror because the original was terrifying to see. The idea the zombies have continued to evolve is a huge plus because this seems to be the only franchise that accepts the idea that this could happen. On the negative we see the first film without the strong leading lady which has to be consider a step back for a franchise which has always had very strong leading characters both male and female.

 

Overall: Fun action horror film that is easy to watch

Rating70

 

 

The Lodger (2009)

logoDirector: David Ondaatje

Writer: David Ondaatje (Screenplay) Marie Belloc (Book)

Starring: Alfred Molina, Hope Davis, Shane West, Donal Logue, Philip Baker Hall, Rachael Leigh Cook, Rebecca Pidgeon, Simon Baker

 

Plot: A couple rents out a room to a mysterious young man, who may or may not be guilty of a series of grisly neighborhood murders.

 

Verdict: Put Your Detective Hat On

 

Story: We follow two detectives are they try to figure out who killed a hooker and whether it is connected to a previous closed case about a serial killer. We also follow a struggling couple as they rent a room to a mystery stranger who requires privacy. We see how the lead detective’s personally life was put through hell because of the previous case and now things could go bad for him again. He must work with a new detective to figure out the truth before the killer takes more lives.

This one tries to keep you guessing all along with who the killer is, the only problem is, that if the cops are to be the one the lodger storyline is pointless. Just when you think you might have solved it, it throws the theory out the window. It does have small side story that poses the question about whether capital punishment should happen. It uses the idea of a Jack the Ripper copycat well trying suggests the idea that someone could one day happen. This turns into an interesting thriller that keeps you attention but in the end throws out one too many twists. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Alfred Molina: Chandler Manning detective who thought he had solved the crimes seven years before, but now the killer is back and he is left to question everything he did and find the new killer. He also has to battle his own personal demons which happened because of the first case. Solid performance from Alfred, who plays the broken detective very well. (7/10)

 

Hope Davis: Ellen Bunting lonely housewife who spends all her looking after her house, while her husband works and looking after the new lodger. Good performance from Hope. (7/10)

 

Shane West: Street Wilkenson new detective who comes in to work with Chandler and ends up being part of the big case, but he ends up not being sure who he can trust. Good performance letting the other characters do the extra work whiles his studies. (7/10)

 

Donal Logue: Joe Bunting husband to Ellen who spends most of his time out the house making him look like a prime suspect in the murder investigation. Solid performance from Donal. (7/10)

 

Simon Baker: Malcolm the mysterious lodger who comes in the Bunting’s life, he wants to be left alone and only deals with Ellen. Good performance creating the mysterious figure. (7/10)

 

Director Review: David Ondaatje – Solid direction to keep us guessing about what is happening and who the murderer is. (7/10)

 

Crime: Uses the mystery behind a crime to keep the story going. (10/10)

Mystery: Really keeps you wondering who the killer is. (9/10)

Thriller: You do end up wanting to know who the killer is but you have to figure out everything which could be a bit too much. (8/10)

Settings: The settings all come off like regular crime location which doesn’t help the murders stand out. (7/10)

Suggestion: This is one for the crime fans to try, they mind find it too much because there are too many twists and turns, but having multiply suspects helps keep everything interesting. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The mystery.

Worst Part: Final Twist

Believability: Having copycat killers happens but will they be like this? (4/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

Tagline: Everyone Is Suspect

 

Overall: Twists & Turns Galore

Rating 71