The fantasy film Stardust was released on August 10, 2007. Tristan Thorn (Charlie Cox) vows to bring back a star stone for Victoria (Sienna Miller) as a symbol of his love but discovers the star is a beautiful girl named Yvain (Claire Danes). There are a couple of problems in that the stone is also coveted by an ambitious prince and a trio of witches.
The actors did a great job and the film was improved with several cameos, by such actors as Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Ricky Gervais. The director did a great job but the film could have been edited by at least twenty minutes. It was good as far as a fantasy movie, but the underlying story had a strong romance element. One of the writers was Neil Gaiman who is a British science fiction/fantasy writer and the film did receive five awards (the best known as the Hugo award for science fiction/fantasy).
I really liked this movie except for the above-mentioned elements. Robert DeNiro was fantastic as a stereotypical cross-dressing pirate captain. I give this 4 stars out of 5.
The Canadian thriller The Captive was released on December 12, 2014. When Matthew Lane’s (Ryan Reynolds) 9-year old daughter is kidnapped, he spends the next eight years looking for her and tries to prove that he had nothing to do with it. Rosario Dawson is the head of a task force which tries to find lost kids and Alexia Fast is 18-year old Cass Lane.
All of the actors were excellent. The story was more thriller than bloody action. The soundtrack was on point. The one thing which irritated me about the film was the editing. There were no indications when the scene was from the past or from the present. It would have been less confusing if they had used fade-outs .
Due to the weird editing of this film, I will only give it 4 stars out of 5. It was a good thriller without a lot of blood and thankfully they did not have any sex scenes of the kids.
The British horror film The Forgotten was released in the UK on August 22, 2014. Tommy (Clem Tibber) goes to live with his father (Shawn Dingwall) in a city council flat that is scheduled for demolition. He is shy but manages to befriend Carmen (Elarica Gallacher) who saves him from some bullies. He soon starts to hear noises coming from the abandoned flat next door.
I was a bit disappointed with this movie. The actors were decent although some of their scenes were at a low volume. The audio was all over the place. The story was billed as a teen scream movie, but I didn’t scream once. Just kidding. There were no bloody or gory scenes and the only time there was blood was when the father got beaten up. There wasn’t any foul language, which was a plus although with the audio problem and the accent used, I can’t say for sure.
I’m afraid that with all of these problems, I find it difficult to give this a high rating. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it or watch it again. I give it 2 stars out of 5.
The French comedy Back to School (Le Classe Grande) was released on August 30, 2019. Ludovik Day and Jerome Niel are two friends from grade school who decide to go to a school reunion, mostly to show up the bullies who tormented them as children. Due to a mixup, everyone thinks that Johnathon Pinon (Niel) is Johnathon Lopez, the school’s head bully.
The acting was good even if some of the story line was a bit predictable. The story did have a twist to it at the end. The director was also good. The French have a bizarre sense of humor but it had familiar elements to it. This was dubbed in English for the most part, i.e. a scene with a French song had subtitles. There was a bit of swearing and drinking in the film but it didn’t really distract from the film.
If this were the first movie about reunions that I had ever seen, I probably would have given this 4 stars. The storyline was a bit predictable, but there were some good funny scenes. I give this 3 stars out of 5. BTW, I could not find a trailer for this movie in English, only in French. Watch it if you want to.
The action film First Kill was released on July 21, 2017. Will (Hayden Christensen of Star Wars) takes his wife (Megan Leonard) and son Danny (Ty Shelton) out to the small town he grew up in so he can teach Danny how to hunt. They are made aware by the sheriff (Bruce Willis) of an escaped bank robber that may be in the area.
I enjoyed the story line and actors in this film. The story was engaging, there was some blood and a little gore. Ty Shelton played a lonely boy who has to learn about life very well. He acted just as a kid his age would be expected to. Bruce Willis was interesting as a bad guy. He kept you guessing, was he really bad or just pretending? Hayden Christensen was also believable.
There may have been one or two minor scenes that could have been cut or redone, but I still felt this was a good film. Oh, before I forget, there was some swearing. I give this 5 stars out of 5. It is well-worth watching again.
The science fiction movie Independence Day was released on July 3, 1996. Aliens invade Earth and the President (Bill Pullman) calls upon the services of Captain Steve Hiller (Will Smith). When he is assigned to area 51, Hiller meets a theoreticist (Jeff Goldblum) and a scientist (Brent Spiner) who believes he can communicate with the aliens.
I admit I enjoy a good sci-fi movie and this was very well done. There was plenty of action and some decent acting. The choice of Will Smith, however, as the main character was not exactly the best, but he was considered hot at the time of the film. Brent Spiner was an interesting choice for a nutty scientist since he had just come from StarTrek:The Next Generation television series. I’m a fan of Jeff Goldblum and thought he was very good. Randy Quaid as an eccentric cropduster was also memorable.
The story line flowed very well and the directing was excellent. The CGI was also outstanding. I give this 4.5 stars out of 5.
The horror movie Darkness Rising was released on June 30, 2017. Maddy (Tara Holt) goes back to her abandoned family home with her boyfriend Jake (Bryce Johnson) and her cousin Izzy (Katrina Law). The house was abandoned when Maddy’s mother went insane and murdered her infant daughter.
There was plenty of blood, some jump scares and gore. The only decent actors were a dog, a baby, and a little boy who didn’t have any lines. The storyline was affected by poor editing and the main characters were far from sympathetic. The CGI wasn’t too bad. Despite all of this, the movie had potential that was never realized. The producers seemed to have made some bad decisions as far as actors and editors were concerned.
As much as I really wanted to enjoy this film, I was sorely disappointed. I have to give this a 2 stars out of 5.
The movie Stephanie was released on April 17, 2018. Stephanie (Shree Crooks) is a little girl fending for herself at home. For at least the first thirty minutes of the film she only has her stuffed turtle for a companion. When the parents (Frank Grillo and Anna Torv) do appear, there is something not right in the world.
Shree Crooks did a fantastic job as a girl left to face loneliness and a monster. Frank Grillo was great as Stephanie’s doting father. Anna Torv as the mother was a bit all over the place emotionally. The directing and story line were also good. This was not a blood and guts horror movie, but it was very tense and had a couple of jump scares. The ending had a bit of a twist to it and I was entranced with the action.
There weren’t too many technical flaws that I might have caught so I won’t take anything off for that. This had a small cast so it was fairly easy to review the acting. Although it was very good, I don’t know if I would buy it. I give it 4 stars out of 5.
The supernatural film The Keeping Hours was released on July 24, 2018. Mark (Lee Pace) and Elizabeth (Carrie Coon) are a happy couple until the death of their 5-year old son Jacob (Sander Thomas). Six years later, they are divorced and Mark goes to clean up their former home in order to put it up for sale. This is where the supernatural takes over.
This is not a spooky ghost story, in fact, my friend does not see it as a ghost story in the strict sense of the word. For this reason, I will refer to it as a story about the supernatural. This was an excellent film and the actors all did a fantastic job. The director was also great. The story had a few minor details that raised questions for me but they weren’t enough to distract me from the complete film. I admit that I teared up for most of the movie, but I defy any one, man or woman, not to deny that they wouldn’t also cry.
I did not find anything major to complain about with this movie and gladly rate it 5 stars out of 5. Watch it and have plenty of Kleenex close by.
The made-for-TV movie Zombie Tidal Wave was released on August 17, 2019. Ian Zierling plays a fisherman at a resort town that is hit by an earthquake and a tsunami. These events cause a sunken ship’s cargo of a deadly virus to create a horde of zombies.
The photography was good and the movie has all of the elements of a cult movie. Decent acting is marred by a terrible script. With lines like, “It’s a zombie tsunami!” what can you expect? The film was predictable, the CGI was ridiculous, and the dialogue was trite. For this type of movie there was plenty of bloody scenes and some gore.
The most positive thing I can say about this film is that I am glad I didn’t pay good money to see it. If zombies and gore are your thing, you will probably like this film. The best I can give it is 1 star out of 5.