Horror Franchise – Scream 2 (1997) Revisited

Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Kevin Williamson (Screenplay)

Starring: David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jamie Kennedy, Jerry O’Connell, Jada Pinkett, Liev Schreiber, Elise Neal, Joshua Jackson, Timothy Olyphant

 

Plot: Two years after the first series of murders, a new psychopath dons the Ghostface costume and a new string of killings begins.


Tagline – Someone has taken their love of sequels one step too far

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Smart Sequel

 

Story: Scream 2 starts a couple of years after the events in the first film, a motion picture called ‘Stab’ is just being released from the Gale Weathers (Cox) book about the events, at the premier two teenagers are murdered. We pick up with Sidney (Campbell) at college still dealing with prank phone calls.

We get to see old faces in Randy (Kennedy) Gale, Dewey (Arquette) along with new friends Cici (Gellar), Mickey (Olyphant), new boyfriend Derek (O’Connell) and roommate Hallie (Neal) who bring us a brand new selection of suspects and potential victims, add Cotton Weary (Schreiber) the man who did time for a crime he never committed to the picture we will be kept guessing through this one.

 

Thoughts on Scream 2

 

Characters – Sidney is back studying a college and over the events of the first film, she has moved on with a new boyfriend and new friends, that is until the ‘Stab’ movie is released. Sidney becomes the primary target of the killer and must use the experience with surviving a massacre before to make it out alive. Dewey still suffering the effects of his injuries in the first film, he is no longer a cop and with the events occurring he arrives back in Sidney’s life to try and help before the killer can get near her. Gale wrote the book on the murders, the one that the movie is based on, she is still trying to get a story, but does start to learn the errors in her way when she deals with other reporters. Cotton Weary does have a bigger part this time, as he is trying to piece his life back together after the wrongful accusations. Randy returns to give us the rules needed to make a sequel which an important part of the original. Of our new characters we get the new boyfriend in Derek who seems to be the best part of Sidney’s new life. Cici is the best friend at the college that is the more popular one at the college. This movie does have a larger cast than the first film which doesn’t always give the characters enough screen time.

PerformancesNeve Campbell is still good in her role, she does make us believe she is the everyday student that is being tormented by the killer. Courteney Cox and David Arquette continue their good work in the supporting roles, where this film struggles to get the best of the of the supporting cast is by introducing too many characters, with Sarah Michelle Gellar seemingly filling the Drew Barrymore type role, where we expect to see her more in the film.

StoryThe story picks up in a universe following the events of the first film where Hollywood makes movies on massacres, with this release we get to see the darker side of Hollywood taking advantage of real-life murders and how the innocent victims and survivor can be painted differently to cinematic purposes, well that seems to be the message I picked up on in this one. when it comes to the slasher side of things we get to watch the victims getting picked off by the killer, this does feel the same as before, while the references through this film focus on the idea of the sequels that Hollywood makes, and how they always story to improve on the last, though we do step away from the horror discussion this time.

Horror/MysteryThe horror side of the film comes from the ideas that people can take advantage of tragic stories for a bigger story, reflecting the events of the film, the mystery can keep us guessing to just who could be behind it this time around with plenty of potential suspects.

SettingsThis time the film is set in a college that show us just where Sidney is now in her life which is important as she has moved on, but the event will always be part of her life.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film once again show us how blood and gore can be achieved without going over the top.


Scene of the Movie –
The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many supporting characters this time around.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sequel that is well worth the watch, it shows progression in the horror genre with a sequel that does make sense to how an everyday person would be moving on with their life after the events in the first one, while still having the tragedy on their shoulder.

 

Overall: Good fun sequel.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – T – This is Where I Leave You (2014)

Director: Shawn Levy

Writer: Jonathan Tropper (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant

 

Plot: When their father passes away, four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Must Watch

 

Story: This is Where I Leave You starts as the father of the house passes away, his dying wish is that his family respect Shiva which means the family must spend the week under one roof. This brings Judd (Bateman), Wendy (Fey), Phillip (Driver) and Paul (Stoll) to live with their mother Hillary (Fonda).

As the family comes together memories of the childhood come out as tensions between the siblings come out, as we see the family dynamics come out, we also get to see how the lives they siblings have been living haven’t gone the way they had planned, but most importantly how much they need the family.

 

Thoughts on This is Where I Leave You

 

Characters/PerformanceJudd is a big city producer who earns his wife has been cheating on him, he must return to his home town to be with his family after his father’s death but now he must look at himself and wondering whether he should take more chances in his life. Wendy is the only sister of the siblings who has been married with children but we see the regret in her life as she always wondered what could have been. Phillip is the youngster sibling that has been the loose cannon mostly acting up about not being able to live up to his elder siblings. Paul is the eldest sibling that has been running the family business and trying to start his own family but having troubles. Hillary is their mother that brings the family back together for the funeral, she has always controlled them but also let them live their own life. We also see loved ones and lost loves coming the lives the siblings have lived or are living.

Performance wise, we do have an all-star cast here with Jason Bateman is in the leading role he shows just how capable of an actor he can be, Tina Fey even steps away from the comedy she is known for very well too, Jane Fonda shows us once again she can never be forgotten just how skilled she is, Adam Driver continues to grow his ever-growing body of work with Corey Stoll continuing to make his move up the film world. We also have wonderful performances from the rest of the cast.

StoryThe story of the family coming back together for their father’s or husband’s funeral is one we have seen before, we get to see the problems the family has been having too. This is one of the good ones that covers everything, sure it does seem to be slightly too much for one family but this is one of the most interesting dynamics between the siblings over the weeklong visit.

Comedy/DramaThe comedy used isn’t about a laugh a minute, it is more about the light-hearted moments in life and the drama involved around it shows the relationships the people have with each other.

SettingsThe hometown setting shows how the people of the world have to come back to where it all started to look at how lives went.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best bringing the family together for a funeral to look at life, the what could have been, the where things are going and is easily one of the most powerful and interesting ones I have seen.

 

Overall: Wonderful family reuniting drama.

Rating

 

 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Weekend – Stop-Loss (2008)

Director: Kimberly Peirce

Writer: Kimberly Peirce, Mark Richard (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Abbie Cornish, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Victor Rasuk, Timothy Olyphant, Ciaran Hinds, Rob Brown

 

Plot: A veteran soldier returns from his completed tour of duty in Iraq, only to find his life turned upside down when he is arbitrarily ordered to return to field duty by the Army.


Tagline – The bravest place to stand is by each other’s side.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Must Watch Movie

 

Story: Stop-Loss starts as we see the army unit that is touring in Iraq, they come under attack losing men, Brandon King (Phillippe) and Steve Shriver (Tatum) return home with their unit for a weekend of leave with Tommy (Gordon-Levitt) and Eyeball (Brown).

The weekend in Texas shows the effects on war has had on the soldiers, Steve becoming a violent drunk, while Tommy is suffering from losing his best friend on that last mission, Brandon tries to keep them in line while he is about to eave himself. Brandon gets stop-loss meaning he must return to Iraq, but he isn’t going to return, going on the run AWOL from the army with Michelle (Cornish), Steve’s girlfriend, as he wants to find a way to leave the army, while also showing the effects of the war on him.

 

Thoughts on Stop-Loss

 

Characters – Brandon King is the squad leader of his unit, he losses men on his latest tour of duty, but believes he is out with this latest tour, he must remain calm for his men back home while clearly suffering from PTSD from the events. He gets ordered to return to Iraq which he isn’t having leading him to go on the run, searching for answers to stop his return to war. Steve is Brandon’s best friend and fellow star of their home town, he returns home to get married, but his suffering is clearer to see and this puts his relationship with Michelle in the air. Michelle is Steve’s girlfriend, they are meant to be getting married, but when Brandon goes on the wrong, she supports him as her relationship with Steve get worse. Tommy is another member of the unit, he loses his best friend on tour and never recovers, he drinks to get through his nightmares which shows the PTSD he is suffering from, only Brandon can get through to him and with him on the run Tommy is a danger to everyone.

PerformancesRyan Phillippe gives his best performance of his career in this role, he shows the strength his character needs while the weaknesses inside are tearing him up. Channing Tatum broke away from the pretty boys roles first with this role and shows that he does have skills. Abbie Cornish is strong in her role through the film and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is fantastic in the supporting role as the PTSD in his character feels the most destructive.

StoryThe story follows the effects of war on three soldiers returning from a tour of duty in Iraq, they are all suffering from different levels of PTSD and shouldn’t be returning to duty, when one gets Stop-loss he goes on the run, ones behaviour stops him going back with this being the only thing he wants and the third who wanted out but decides he wants to return. While the story shows one man trying to get away from his duty, it shows the larger effects of soldiers that are returning with PTSD and how easily they can just break. This is an important story about treating soldiers with respect by not forcing them to return if they are not mentally capable off because of what they have seen, done or been involved in, and how to support them as they try to return to normal lives.

WarThe war side of this film is shown in what happened to these soldiers and the aftermath of what happens when they return without the support required.

SettingsThe settings show both the world they have been living in Iraq and the home back in Texas as they are in desperate search to get on with their life.


Scene of the Movie –
Brothers fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of support the soldiers get.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most impactful movies when it comes to tackle war, it shows how difficult life away from the tours can tear the soldiers apart in a war they didn’t need to be fighting. This has career best performances from the three lead actors and a story which could easily be a reality to any soldier returning from active duty.

 

Overall: Must watch war story.

Rating

 

 

Joseph Gordon Levitt Weekend – Snowden (2016)

snowdenDirector: Oliver Stone

Writer: Kieran Fitzgerald, Oliver Stone (Screenplay) Anatoly Kucherena, Luke Harding (Book)

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nicholas Cage, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Shailene Woodley, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Olyphant, Scott Eastwood, Rhys Ifrans

 

Plot: The NSA’s illegal surveillance techniques are leaked to the public by one of the agency’s employees, Edward Snowden, in the form of thousands of classified documents distributed to the press.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important but Slow True Story

 

Story: Snowden starts as we follow documentary film maker Laura Poitras (Leo) and journalist Glenn Greenwald (Quinto) meet Edward Snowden (Gordon-Levitt) who is a private contractor for the NSA giving his interview to why he did what he did.

The story begins back when Snowden was training to be a soldier only to be discharged on medical grounds and entering a career into the CIA. We see how Snowden meet his love Lindsay (Woodley) but on the other side of this life he gets to see how the minds of different people inside the CIA work leaving him questioning each decision within before he went onto exposing all the secrets from around the world.

Snowden is the story of one of the biggest whistle-blowers in American history, he gave up his whole life to show the secrets of America and other intelligence communities. This is an important part of history we haven’t fully seen the effects of yet which makes this film almost feel too early. The film moves at a steady pace but can get complicated when certain technological talk going on.

Joseph gives his ever-reliable performance as Snowden without ever looking out of place in the role. When it comes to the reporters exposing the story they all come off great without shining or coming off badly. The rest of the government characters all work well too. The truth is no one lets the film down on performances it is another film that can get caught up on tech talk.

 

Overall: This is an interesting look at how one of the biggest leaks in intelligence history happened.

Rating

 card

 

Halloween Kingathon – Dreamcatcher (2003)

Banner-1logoDirector: Lawrence Kasdan

Writer: William Goldman, Lawrence Kasdan (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Damian Lewis, Timothy Olyphant, Tom Sizemore, Donnie Wahlberg

Plot: Friends on a camping trip discover that the town they’re vacationing in is being plagued in an unusual fashion by parasitic aliens from outer space.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Alien Film King Style

Story: Dreamcatcher starts by introducing us to the four friends therapist Henry (Jane) who can read minds but is also suicidal, Jonesy (Lewis) a college teacher who can read body language. We have Pete (Olyphant) a car salesman with the ability to find things and finally Beaver (Lee) a family man who can send out warnings. The four live of the motto SSDD (Same shit different day) and look to spend a weekend away to see Duddits (Wahlberg). When Jonesy is involved in a freak car accident the group move their plans back 6 months.

The weekend is going as planned with memories of how they all meet Duddits but things take a turn when a sick hunter turns up at the cabin, with just Beaver and Jonesy there. To make things worse the animals all seem to be running from something before the army lead by Col Abraham Curtis (Freeman) inform the friends they are part of a quarantine zone.

When Rick dies something is left in the toilet something that Jonesy and Beaver have to fight but nothing had prepared them for what they would have to face as the four friends learn that their meeting with Duddits all those years ago was preparing them for this very moment and the battle against an alien race.

Dreamcatcher brings us King’s idea of an alien storyline, I like how the twist that the friendly looking aliens in just a cover to deal with the deadly side of their character. I also like how the four friends were all given gifts to help them in a battle when it comes. On the bad side we have the typical military look at what is going on which neither helps or hinders the story but almost feels like filler. When you look at how certain moment are filled with King’s style you will like this but as a stand alone alien film this is just very plain. (6/10)

Actor Review

Morgan Freeman: Col. Abraham Curtis is the leader of the military efforts against the alien invaders, he shots first because he knows he can’t let the contagion spread any further. He is on the verge of madness for the most part as he aims to win this war and doesn’t care how many people he kills to do so. Morgan gives us a standard performance that feels out of character for him to play. (5/10)col

Thomas Jane: Henry is the straight and narrow of the group of friends, he always wants to do the right thing even if he is questioning his own life. When his friends start getting picked off by the alien creatures and military force who are out to destroy everything inside the quarantine zone, Henry must fight for what is right using the skills he gained with his connection of Duddits. Thomas does a solid job showing he isn’t just an action star. (7/10)henry

Damian Lewis: Jonesy is the teacher of the group of friends who has his own memory bank but when an alien takes over his body, he must fight the force from inside his head where he keeps one step ahead of the alien. Damian gives us the best performance especially once he gets into the dual roles. (7/10)jonesy

Timothy Olyphant: Pete is the car salesman who has an ability to find things with the twist of his finger, he shows the skill early on and is also a much needed helper for the alien who took over Jonesy mind. Timothy does a good job in this role standing out as the cocky member of the group of friends. (7/10)pete

Support Cast: Dreamcatcher has solid supporting performances from Jason Lee, Tom Sizemore and Donnie Wahlberg who are involved in the final outcome of the story.

Director Review: Lawrence KasdanLawrence brings the King idea to screen in a way that brings King’s style of humour to certain parts of life which works very well but never feels like a true comedy. (6/10)

Horror: Dreamcatcher doesn’t reach the true levels of horror I think we would like to see when it comes to this genre of film. (4/10)

Sci-Fi: Dreamcatcher brings us the alien invasion idea but also brings us into a world where they have become common and we are prepared to fight back. (8/10)

Thriller: Dreamcatcher tries to keep you guessing but never pulls you to the edge of your seat. (5/10)

Settings: Dreamcatcher puts our characters in an isolated setting once the quarantine zone takes over but nothing about the settings becomes truly clear where they are. (4/10)
Special Effects: Dreamcatcher has a get bad marks for the special effects, you can see the CGI all the way through and even see it with fake snow. (2/10)

Suggestion: Dreamcatcher is one for the King fans to watch you can see his ideas through the whole way through but if your not a King fan you may struggle to enjoy this. (King Fans Watch)

Best Part: Damian Lewis steals the film.

Worst Part: CGI

Funniest Scene: Pete asking Jonesy why he sounds like James Bond as we know Damian Lewis is always in the mix for being the next Bond.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $33.6 Million

Budget: $68 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 16 Minutes

Tagline: Four friends hung a dreamcatcher in their cabin. It’s about to catch something it cannot stop.

Trivia: To portray Mr. Grey speaking through Jonesy, Damian Lewis did an impression of actor Malcolm McDowell.

Overall: A Stephen King stamped alien film

Rating 65