Classic Franchise Month – Psycho II (1983)

Director: Richard Franklin

Writer: Tom Holland (Screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Meg Tilly, Robert Loggia, Dennis Franz, Hugh Gillin, Claudia Bryar

 

Plot: After twenty-two years of psychiatric care, Norman Bates attempts to return to a life of solitude, but the specters of his crimes – and his mother – continue to haunt him.


Tagline – Norman Bates is back. Coming home was a bad mistake!

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Sequel

 

Story: Psycho II starts when Norman Bates (Perkins) gets released after 22-years in psychiatric care against the wishes of Lila (Miles), returning to his home overlooking the Bates Motel, taking a job in the local diner and opening his door to waitress Mary (Tilly) after she breaks up with her boyfriend.

It isn’t long before Norman starts believing he is seeing his mother and receiving phone calls and notes from people, even with him trying to put his life back together by reopening the motel to the public. Can he keep everything together or is he still unstable to the public?

 

Thoughts on Psycho II

 

Characters – Norman Bates is now out of hospital trying to return to his normal life, he seems fully recovered, but it doesn’t take long before he starts to question his own sanity believing his mother has returned to him or being made to play the victim to someone else’s game. Lila is against Norman being released and she will do anything to stop him from living a normal life. Mary is the waitress that is offered a room by Norman believing he has been cured and now she starts to see the good in him, though she isn’t completely what she seems to be.

PerformancesAnthony Perkins is good in this leading role showing the unstable side of his character when needed. Vera Miles is good in her role but doesn’t get too much to do. Meg Tilly is a good addition to the cast, she is strong throughout the film keeping her character a mystery.

StoryThe story here follows the release of Norman Bates after years locked away as he must come to terms with re-entering society while people still don’t want him released. This is an interesting spin on the idea of the villain from a previous film returning, because it is the time required in hospital before released served and does deal with the idea that being let back into society isn’t going to be accepted by all. Having Norman questioning his own sanity helps us along the way and the twist that comes through the film makes everything tie together nicely.

Crime/Horror/MysteryThe criminal has been released back into normal life which shows us just what it would be like as both sides can argue the point, the horror comes from where the new list of bodies starting to pile up with the mystery being who is behind the killing spree.

SettingsThe film does take us back to the iconic Bates Motel which gives us the best scenes, every time we leave we are left feeling out of place though.

Special EffectsThe effects do try to use the less is more technique only for it not to come off on the level of the original.


Scene of the Movie –
The final twist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me IMDB ruins a big twist in the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good sequel to the classic, it builds on the ideas of Norman Bates being released after serving his time and now we see the next chapter of the story.

 

Overall: Sequel well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Romance – H – How I Live Now (2013)

Director: Kevin Macdonald

Writer: Jeremy Brock, Penelope Skinner, Tony Grisoni (Screenplay) Meg Rosoff (Novel)

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, George MacKay, Harley Bird, Danny McEvoy, Anna Chancellor

 

Plot: An American girl, sent to the English countryside to stay with relatives, finds love and purpose while fighting for her survival as war envelops the world around her.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Surprisingly Good

 

Story: How I Live Now starts as American girl Elizabeth who wants to be known as Daisy (Ronan) heads to England for the summer with her cousins Isaac (Holland), Eddie (MacKay), Joe (McEvoy) and Piper (Bird) in their countryside home but busy Aunt Penn (Chancellor) who does have her hands tied with a potential new world war.

When the unthinkable happens and the war starts with a bombing in London the kids are left alone and Daisy must decide whether to take her ticket home or stay and look after her cousins with Eddie.

 

Thoughts on How I Live Now

 

Characters – Daisy starts off like your typical rebellious teenager from America, music loud, wanting to be alone, not wanting to have come to England or deal with younger cousins. When she learns to love the countryside, she finds herself needing to step up and look after the younger cousins when the war starts. Eddie is the next-door neighbour of the cousins that spends most of the time with the family, striking up a relationship with Daisy. He does look to take up the responsibilities once the war starts. Isaac is the eldest of the cousins living on the farm and is happy with the idea of living on the farm until the war comes to them where he gets taken with Eddie.

PerformanceSaoirse Ronan is great in the leading role, she looks distant from the family but by the end of the film we see how she wants to be part of it. George MacKay does a great job in the eldest of the kids role where he shows the care needed for the leading role while Tom Holland gives us a glimpse at the talent he was to give us in the years to come.

StoryThe story starts off in what you feel is going to be a generic girl goes to stay somewhere she doesn’t but soon becomes happy to stay there, this would be fine but the story stands out here because we then have the idea of war breaking out leave her to need to become the protector of the youngest cousin. This shows how the children, the innocent parts of war will face the hardest struggle to survive it.

Romance/ThrillerThe romance is teenage love, which is at times comes off rather annoying but for the sake of the story this is everything you expect it to be. The thrilling side of the story comes from not knowing what has gone on outside of the world we find Daisy in.

SettingsThe countryside is the setting for most of this film as we see the calm before the war, the chaos with the war and the peace away from the big cities that are fighting.

Scene of the Movie – The first bomb because it changes the tone of the whole movie.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I know the point is to not know, but it would be nice to have known who the enemy was.

Final ThoughtsThis was a film I didn’t expect too much of going in, but by the end of the film every ounce of my attention was drawn to finding out which ones of the kids will make it home, it what is a drawn out but impactful look at the consequences of war.

 

Overall: This is an impressively strong addition to the post-apocalyptic genre.

Rating

 

 

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Writer:Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Jim Starlin, George Perez, Ron Lim, Steve Ditko, Joe Simon (Characters)

Starring: Josh Brolin, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Chadwick Boseman, Karen Gillan, Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana, Sebastian Stan, Pom Klementieff, Letitia Wright, Tom Holland, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Pratt, Idris Elba, Benedict Cumberbatch, Danai Gurira, Dave Bautista, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Bettany, Benedict Wong, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle

 

Plot: The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe


Tagline – An entire universe. Once and for all.

Runtime: 2 Hours 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly a Game Changer

 

Story: Avengers: Infinity War starts as we see the power of Thanos (Brolin) collecting his second infinity stone leaving a path of destruction, with his power growing the Avengers must unit to fight and stop him getting the remaining Infinity Stones that will give him the power to eliminate half of any population with the click of his fingers.

The battle will take place in space, on distant planets and back home on Earth where we get to see unseen team ups and reunions between friends.

 

Thoughts on Avengers: Infinity Way

 

Characters – When we dive into characters we have so many to talk about, I will spend time talking Thanos because has been a villain waiting in the background for many films for, we know his is powerful and this is how you make a villain the powerful force we know and will remember because what he does in this film will make you remember within the first five minutes, but we do also see what drives him and that he has true belief in his cause. In the rest of the characters we know what we are getting from most, I was impressed with Doctor Strange as I wasn’t too interested in the solo film, Thor has a brilliant story arc that keeps his character in the tone we got in Ragnarok and the father son dynamic between Tony and Peter is still here. Drax gets the most laughs once more, while everyone around Steve Rogers is the more serious side of the film. the only negatives on the characters we meet would be the generals for Thanos, who are largely forgettable.

PerformancesThe performances like the characters we have way too many to talk about, Josh Brolin being the new comer makes a massive impact easily becoming the best villain in the MCU. The talent on the Avengers is fantastic and the people that stood out for me were Benedict Cumberbatch, Dave Bautista and Chris Hemsworth, while I don’t think anybody is close to being bad, I felt the actors on the Earth battle weren’t given enough to do to get to their best abilities.  

StoryThe story here is the build up for 18 movies, we have developed our heroes while learning little about the villain, this story shows just what Thanos is fighting for, what he will do to get it and what the heroes will need to do to stop him. For me this is the game changer in superhero movies, we manage to handle seeing separate groups work together to fight on different worlds in groupings you wouldn’t put together, this does however mean certain characters don’t meet in this story which might disappoint fans. The story also balances comedy with the Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy mostly and the serious side of what is coming with Captain America. This is easily what we as fans have deserved, but you might not get everything if you haven’t seen the other films.

Action/Adventure/Sci-fi/FantasyThe action is massive and takes us to different worlds for the battles which each are filled with peril because we know not everyone will make it out of this one. the adventure takes our characters to places they haven’t been before for their part in the story, which brings the sci-fi sides with large parts of the film being in space and different worlds that only could come from fantasies of comic books.

SettingsEach setting offers our characters a challenge they will need to face in battle, this shows how easily travelling through space can be if you know the ability to do so.

Special EffectsThese fight sequences, action sequences look breath taking and nearly everything is flawless except the routine space creatures in the final battle.


Scene of the Movie –
Thor meeting the Guardians.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We learn why a couple of characters are not in the film, but there are some that just seem missing which frustrates because they were interesting ones you would have liked to have seen fight.

Final ThoughtsThis is the biggest comic book movie of all time, it changes everything going forward and is a must see for anyone who is a fan of the genre.

 

Overall: Must See Brilliance.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Fright Night (2011)

frightDirector: Craig Gillespie

Writer: Marti Noxon (Screenplay) Tom Holland (Story)

Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Toni Collette, David Tennant, Imogen Poots, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Dave Franco

 

Plot: After a new neighbor moved into the house next door, Charley discovers that he is an ancient vampire and goes in search for the help of Peter Vincent, a famous “vampire killer” to save his neighborhood from the creature.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Fun Remake

 

Story: Fright Night starts in small town America, well the locals around Las Vegas where we see an attack on a family before we meet Charley Brewster (Yelchin) a high school student with the perfect girlfriend in Amy (Poots). Charley’s whose old friend Ed (Mintz-Plasse) wants him to investigate the missing students in their school. When Charley and his mother Jane (Collette) welcome their new neighbour Jerry (Farrell) who comes off very shady.

Ed puts the idea into Charley’s head that Jerry is in fact a vampire and it isn’t long before we discover this too. When Ed goes missing Charley tracks down acclaimed supernatural entertainer Peter Vincent (Tennant) to help him and Amy finish off Jerry before he takes over the whole neighbourhood.

 

Thoughts on Fright Night

 

StoryThe story is pretty easy to follow; a family has a vampire move in next door and have to fight to survive when other members of the neighbourhood are going missing. This is a remake and I do feel it can handle the modern world coming off well and not getting to complicated with the original story.

Comedy/HorrorWe have small elements of comedy but I wouldn’t call this a full comedy, the horror does have moments that scare but this also does have moments that feel polished to look glossy over darker side it could be.

Characters/PerformanceCharley is a good leading character because he is in the middle of finding himself in life through his high school time while being positive throughout he has a past he isn’t proud of but a future he can’t wait to see unfold. Amy is your standard girlfriend character who is way out of the league of Charlie. Jerry makes for a great vampire addition with Peter Vincent being the television icon coward you would expect to see, very loud arrogate about his skills.

The performances now are great with Yelchin showing he was always the go to guy for this age range filled with an innocent look. Poots brings the look for this role showing she is making the impact in Hollywood but it is Colin Farrell who is brilliant as this vampire calm, deadly and charming about each scene. David Tennant is also brilliant in the smaller role where he pretty much steals the scenes he is in.stars

SettingsLas Vegas makes for a great setting for a vampire because it is a city where people could go missing for years before an investigation went on. This is mostly in the small towns on the outside of Vegas too.

Special EffectsThe special effects do all come off very impressive especially when you see the first effects of the vampires when it comes to them being in sunlight. We also end up having great effects when it comes to the kills and fights.genre

Final ThoughtsWhen you look for a good remake this one is right up there with one of the better not because the original was bad but it is a story that can work in both times.

 

Overall: Enjoyable vampire flick that can be enjoyed by the fans of the genre.

Ratingrating

 

 

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Director: Jon Watts

Writer: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comic Book)

Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover

 

Plot: Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Easily the Best Spider-Man Movie

 

Story: Spider-Man: Homecoming starts as we learn how Adrian Toomes (Keaton) has be learning to develop the alien technology from the first Avengers battle in New York City, he has learnt how to make highly powerful weapons which he sales on the black market. Peter Parker (Holland) on the other hand must return to his quiet life in Queens after his work fighting Captain America for Tony Stark (Downey Jr), with Happy Hogan (Favreau) reluctantly looking over him.

Peter builds his weapons at school and turns into Spider-Man out of school to fight off small time criminals, when Peter stumbles upon Adrian’s men and weapons he tries to get help but no one would listen to him so he tries to stop him, himself, here is where Peter must learn the responsibility of being a superhero all while trying to get good grades at school.

 

Thoughts on Spider-Man: Homecoming

 

Characters/PerformancePeter Parker is the geeky high school student who has shone through classes, getting heckling like bullying from Flash but is easily a background student. Outside of school he gets all of his excitement fighting crime waiting for the call to be part of the Avengers. Peter has one of the better superhero arcs in recent years he learns about responsibility, friendship and sacrifice to become the masked hero. Adrian Toomes is a man who knows how to make the most of a difficult situation, he takes his demolition/removal men and turns his enterprise into an arms dealership that produces the most high tech weapons on the streets from the alien technology. The best thing about this character is, that he is human, there is no superhero abilities he has just mastered the technology to be the threat, he wants money over destruction which is refreshing. Tony Stark is mostly used as the mentor and is there for all the important decisions Peter must make. Aunt May is younger than before but is mostly used as the concerned parental figure in Peter’s life. Happy is also in like a reluctant guardian role mostly on the other end of the phone. In the school we have Ned the best friend he always puts Peter’s foot in it, Michelle the quiet one that stays out the way, Liz the one Peter has a crush on and Flash the bully like character but it is mostly whittled down to heckling.

Performance wise, Tom Holland is excellent at Peter Parker, his enthusiasm shines through but we also get to see the range of emotions Peter goes through during the film, he does also make a great Spider-Man being original enough after the previous two actors turns at him. Michael Keaton makes a devilish villain and one you can enjoy watching because of the simple desire he has. Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei and Jon Favreau are good through the film giving us the comic timing we need at times but also the serious talks when needed. Jacob Batalon gets the most laughs, Zendaya, Laura Harrier and Tony Revolori also are great in the roles they play.

StoryThis is the third first solo chapter of Spider-Man, we have been introduced to this version in Civil War so, we can skip he got bitten and slowly learn he is mutating which is great. We know have a young superhero (15) that has been giving a glimpse of the battles he could be having, (See Civil War) but must return to a normal high school life. The best way to describe this feeling is traveling to a beautiful country only to need to return to a dead-end job. The story focuses on the growing up process, if you want this is a coming of age superhero film because Peter must learn his place in the world, not every day is going to be battle the save the world and most of all enjoy the youth he currently has. We have strong elements of a high school comedy coming through here and people will all say if John Hughes made a superhero movie, well this would be it.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is good with each battle increasing in size, starting with a small car chase before escalating up to the ferry scene which we saw in the trailer and beyond. The adventure comes from seeing how Peter tries to solve these crimes by himself learning about his enhanced suit. The sci-fi element of the film comes from the idea that Toomes has learnt from the alien technology left from the battles that destroyed the city.

SettingsThe settings are mostly New York but we do also end up in Washington because we need big landmarks for the battle or saving people scenes to take place in.

Special EffectsIt would be hard to fault a single side of the special effects being used in this film, that all make the action sequences look fantastic.

Final ThoughtsThis has been a brilliant year for comic book movies and we seem to have learnt the formula, give a small introduction in an ensemble film before stepping out giving us the solo film instead of origin this origin that. I would say this is know the best Spider-Man film I have seen and I would be happy to suggest people to watch and even watch again myself.

 

Overall: Marvel throws us the best teen comedy superhero movie to date.

Rating