Tim Burton Weekend – Ed Wood (1994)

Director: Tim Burton

Writer: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski (Screenplay) Rudolph Grey (Book)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Jeffrey Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio, Bill Murray

 

Plot: Ambitious but troubled movie director Edward D. Wood Jr. tries his best to fulfill his dreams, despite his lack of support.


Tagline – Movies were his passion. Women were his inspiration. Angora sweaters were his weakness.

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful

 

Story: Ed Wood starts as we meet Edward D Wood Jr (Depp) an aspiring director in Hollywood, with his work making the stage for now, when he learns of a story of a transvestite, he jumps at the chance to get his big break in Hollywood. Once Ed Wood makes friends with aging Hollywood icon Bela Lugosi (Landau) he gets given the chance to direct.

When his film gets completely panned, Ed Wood becomes an outcast in Hollywood and sets out to makes his own movies with Bela Lugosi in tow, become the cult favourite in the industry.

 

Thoughts on Ed Wood

 

Characters – Ed Wood was the aspiring director that has crazy ideas in his head, after his first studio produced film is panned, he must set up to make his own movies for limited budget with his new friend Bela Lugosi, Ed Wood also enjoys dressing up in women’s clothes which puts him out on the different in a time when that wasn’t considered acceptable. Bela Lugosi was once one of the most famous men in Hollywood after his role in Dracula, now he is older and mostly forgotten by the fans that once loved him. He befriends Ed Wood and starts to return to acting and hopefully see him kick his drug habits. Dolores is the long-suffering girlfriend of Ed Wood who stars in his pictures, even though she doesn’t like his lifestyle. Kathy O’Hara is a woman that Ed Wood meets that brings new meaning to his life. We meet other characters who are involved in the life and Ed Wood and the films he makes.

PerformancesJohnny Depp is fantastic in this leading role, he showed how he was carving out his career by taking chances against his typecast of a pretty boy. Martin Landau went on to win an Oscar for his supporting performance, this is easily one of the greatest portrays of an actor you will ever see. We do have a host of talents in the supporting roles with Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette and Bill Murray who are good through the film.

StoryThe story follows the career of Ed Wood as he was trying to make his name in Hollywood and is only known for bad films which have their own cult following now. Seeing how he went about making this happen is very interesting and the friendship he struck up with Bela Lugosi is what we know with fellow directors and actors in modern film making. Any film that tells a story about Hollywood and the movie making process is one to be checking out.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of the film comes from where we find Ed Wood and Bela Lugosi friendship and the eventually production of Plan 9. The comedy comes from just how the movie was made with the reactions of the people involved.

SettingsThe film is set in the 50s Hollywood and from start to finish you will feel like you are part of this era in time.


Scene of the Movie –
When Ed Wood snaps on set.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Orson Wells scene because the dubbing was bad.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful look the movie making process behind one of the most infamously bad movies in the history of the business, we have two performances that are simply brilliant and is easily one of the best moving making movies ever made.

 

Overall: Wonderful movie making movie.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – F – Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Writer: Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr, Gustav Hasford (Screenplay) Gustav Hasford (Novel)

Starring: Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D’Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Dorian Harewood, Kevyn Major Howard

 

Plot: A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.


Tagline – An Epic Story of the Vietnam War

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Epic We Know

 

Story: Full Metal Jacket starts as we follow the Marine training under the brutally strict Gny. Sgt, Hartman (Ermey) who puts the recruits through intense training, Pvt Joker (Modine) is one of these marines, it is Pvt Leonard ‘Gomer Pyle’ Lawrence (D’Onofrio) that takes the highest level of abuse from Hartman. Upon graduation Gomer has reached his limits and is ready to snap, showing just how far the training can drive someone.

Joker goes to Vietnam to be part of the journalist side reporting on the war as a soldier, his unit are meant to be writing stories to inspire the soldiers to continue the fight. Joker takes Rafterman (Howard) to write a story where they end up with Animal Mother (Baldwin) and his unit showing the horrors of war.

 

Thoughts on Full Metal Jacket

 

Characters – Private Joker is the one telling us the story, from training to the front in Vietnam as a journalist soldier, he barely sees combat until his latest story where he final gets to experience the war first hand. Animal Mother is one of the marines that Joker meets along the way, he doesn’t like the happy-go-lucky personality that Joker shows because he knows the true horror of war. Private Leonard ‘Gomer Pyle’ Lawrence is the biggest victim of the abuse from the drill instructor, he gets alienated from the rest of the trainees reaching his limit before snapping, showing us that the training methods can destroy a soldier before he even steps foot in war. Gny Sgt Hartman is the drill instructor for the marines, he is brutal in his techniques which causes Leonard to go too far. He does possess some of the greatest insults in any military movies.

PerformancesMatthew Modine is great in this role, he shows the light-hearted attitude towards war as well as the horror when he ends up in the middle of it. Adam Baldwin does a good job as thee soldier ha wants the highest body count. Vincent D’Onofrio is truly brilliant in his role, you feel like you are understanding his emotional evolution during the film. R Lee Ermey stuns dominating the screen with every single scene he is in, making a big impact on the genre.

StoryThe story shows the intense training before heading into Vietnam, it goes onto show how the soldiers would need to learn to think on their feet, while remaining united against the enemies ahead during the horrors of war. The training side of the film is the highlight of everything because it is a non-stop intense display of how the training happens. Once in Vietnam it does feel just like most war dramas, following the unit through the different war scenarios they must deal with. The story will remain up there with the very best without a doubt.

War The genre is always a difficult watch, we know the war was real, we know millions lost their lives in conflict which ever war we talk about, this was Vietnam and was just like the rest shocking and disturbing to the people in the middle of it as well as fighting in it.

SettingsThe settings put us in the middle of the war and the training, you can’t fault the settings which come off perfectly.


Scene of the Movie –
Leonard pushed too far.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Is there one? No.

Final ThoughtsThis is considered one of the greatest movies of all time and you can see why, it is flawless in how every scene unfolds, has the most brutal training regime you will ever see and shows the horrors of war.

 

Overall: Powerful Masterpiece from the master.

Rating

 

 

Original v Remake Weekend – The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Nic Pizzolato, Richard Wenk (Screenplay) Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard

 

Plot: Seven gunmen in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Remake

 

Story: The Magnificent Seven starts as we see how Bartholomew Bogue (Sarsgaard) is terrorising a small village that he wants to mine for gold, the residents have 3-weeks to pay his demands. Emma Cullen (Bennett) leaves her town in search for men to help the town fight back, first port of call is warrant officer Chisolm (Washington) who looks to port together men.

The men recruited include hustler Josh Faraday (Pratt), outlaw Vasquez (Garcia-Rulfo), quick shot Billy Rocks (Lee), Goodnight Robicheaux (Hawke) veteran soldier Jack Horne (D’Onofrio) and lone native American Red Harvest (Sensmeier). The men arrive in town and look to train the villagers for battle as they look to shut down Bartholomew’s group once and for all.

 

Thoughts on The Magnificent Seven

 

Characters – Chisolm is a warrant collector that gets recruited to protect the small town, we see how he can bring together the group of different backgrounds to unite them to fight for the right thing. Faraday is the hustler and usually the one ready for a joke. Goodnight Robicheaux is the legend in the field an expert marksman but still dealing with the consequences of what happened in the war. Jack Horne is the experienced soldier that will surprise his enemies. Billy Rocks is the knives expert that will kill you with a knife before you can get a shot off. Vasquez is the outlaw on the run but gets Chisolm off his back to join the tea, Red Harvest is a native American joining the team giving him a purpose in life after going away from his tribe. The seven don’t get too much character development outside of Chisolm, Faraday and Goodnight. Bartholomew Bogue is the villain of the piece, he will take what he wants not caring who he steps on to get rich.

PerformanceGoing into the performance we will only look at the bigger names, Denzel is as always, a great lead for any movie and fits his role, Chris Pratt is likewise because we all know he can be a joker. Ethan Hawke gets his reunion with Washington and the two show they have great screen chemistry together. Peter Sarsgaard does seem to be a go to guy for a villain role and you can believe him even if what we get is nothing overly fresh. The performances throughout the film are good from everyone involved.

StoryThe story is one that we know has been told before, be it in the original of the same name or even the original before that in Seven Samurai. Small village must recruit fighters to take on savages, that is the core of the story, I did like how this time we seem to get men from different backgrounds bringing their own styles to the fight. I did also find this one easier to follow than the 60’s one but I also don’t think this story goes quite as deep.

Action/Adventure/WesternThe action is everything you have come to know about the action side of a western movie, plenty of shoot outs, while this is main just one giant one that last about 45 minutes, the adventure side comes from the training the characters in the village go through and how the 7 strangers unite to protect the town.

SettingsEach setting looks great and makes you feel like you are part of this world, without feeling out of place.

Scene of the Movie – One-eyed Jacks.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I do feel the villain did better development.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to remakes we always get that one debate, did we need it? The answer I feel here is yes, the film need a makeover with a modern all-star cast with different cultural backgrounds and that all works here.

 

Overall: Enjoyable remake that could be enjoyed by the modern audience.

Rating

 

 

Rings (2017)

ringsDirector: F Javier Gutierrez

Writer: David Loucka, Jacob Estes, Akiva Goldsman (Screenplay) Koji Suzuki (Novel)

Starring: Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan

 

Plot: A young woman finds herself on the receiving end of a terrifying curse that threatens to take her life in seven days.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: 30 Second Sigh

 

Story: Rings starts with the latest victim of the tape on a plane when his 7 days are due to be up and the plane crashes. 2 years later Gabriel (Galecki) buys the old video player only to find the tape inside and of course he decides to watch the tape and receives the phone call 7 days.

We go onto meet couple Julia (Lutz) and Holt (Roe) who must go their separate direction with Holt going off to college. When Holt goes missing and Julia receives her own strange phone call she heads to the college to figure out what is going on. What Julia discover is that Gabriel a professor as the university, has been working on unlocking the Samara mystery with the students which is forcing people to watch the tape and spreading the Samara curse through tapes.

When the network starts building Holt finds himself needing to find a solution within the next 12 hours or he will become the latest victim, all for a bigger picture of Gabriel trying to uncover proof of a sole. When Julia takes the curse for Holt it gives them a week to unlock the secrets but Julia’s tape plays something new and can’t be copied, which means the two must investigate the case once more.

 

Thoughts on Rings

 

Characters/PerformanceJulia and Holt are clearly two of the most pointless characters in the leading roles of this film, I feel this way because when it was Naomi Watts’ character she was a reporting and could understand how to investigate a case, these two are just random students. Gabriel on the other hand while coming off like a desperate scientist at least looks at the idea of this curse being a way to prove the existence of a sole after death which I do think adds something to this film, but I do think he should have been more of a asshole professor rather than a studying one.

Performance wise well Lutz and Roe do struggle to make an impact in their roles and Johnny Galecki really can’t shake the Leonard role from Big Bang Theory with this performance.stars

Story*Rant Warning* This story is getting ridiculous, we do have a ghost investigation style story but it is looking at a deeper idea to what was solved in the first films and now nothing makes any sense to what they left us. We have weak characters to follow on the story too. The only good thing in this story is the idea that a professor is trying to figure out how to capture a human sole after death and that gets forgotten quickly too.

HorrorWe get the disturbing video with extra images, yay. We also have endless amounts of bad jumps scares going on making this feel have no scare factor.

SettingsOnce we get to the island/town we look to investigate the mystery once more which doesn’t make sense in the way it should do.

Special EffectsWe have very basic special effects here with most just being well placed horrific attempted images.genre

Final ThoughtsWe have yet another sequel we didn’t need again, we have poor script, average at best acting and just a bad rehash of what was once great.

 

Overall: Something we didn’t need at all.

Rating

 rating

 

The Judge (2014)

judgeDirector: David Dobkin

Writer: Nick Schenk, Bill Dubuque (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard, Leighton Meester, Ken Howard

 

Plot: Big-city lawyer Hank Palmer returns to his childhood home where his father, the town’s judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth and, along the way, reconnects with his estranged family.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pleasant Surprise

 

Story: The Judge starts when big time lawyer Hank Palmer (Downey Jr) has to return home when his mother dies while his own marriage is falling apart. Hank gets to have time with his brother’s Glen (D’Onofrio) and Dale (Strong) while he has to rebuild his broken relationship with his father Judge Palmer (Duvall).

This reunion gets thrown into a direction Hank wasn’t ready for when Judge gets accused of murder and the victim just so happens to be from the only mistake of his career. Now Hank must put aside their differences and let his father pick his own lawyer C.P Kennedy (Shepard) to defend his father against a big time lawyer Dwight Dickham (Thornton) and re-connect with his family. Once the case goes to trial Hank has to defend his father in a case that looks very much against him.

The Judge is a film I covered on my Do we care about the Oscars feature a few months back and I was left wondering if I would be interested in seeing this film at all. What I found was one of the better family dynamic films of recent years as we do follow the men who do struggle to show their emotions with each other few such a difficult time. The case itself does come off all very predictable which I will say does get buried behind the relationship with Hank and his Father which is the driving force of this film. Performance was Duvall and Downey Jr shine in the leading roles while all of the supporting case give wonderful performance not trying to steal the spotlight off anyone.

 

Overall: Enjoyable film that even at over 2 hours flies past without you needing to check the clock.

Rating80