Matt Damon ( True Grit ) is a US Politician who meets Emily Blunt , an English ex-pat ballerina in NYC. But a group of supernatural entities (angels in all but name) who can alter reality have been ordered to manipulate his destiny and keep him apart from the woman. They call in Archangel Terence Stamp ( Phantom Menace ), who isn't afraid of using extreme methods.
Each segment is told in a different fashion - melodrama, comedy, action-adventure and so on. The SPFX are incredible, and the make-up (which allows the cast to play different age groups, and even different races) is awesome.
The Cast themselves are incredible. Halle Berry is her Oscar-worthy awesomeness, as always - but the real knockout is Tom Hanks ( Green Mile ). He conveys a series of different characters (or different takes on the same character) that are entirely convincing, and show his incredibly diverse range.
The title character is born with a strange medical defect - he ages backwards. Eventually he looks like Brad Pitt ( Fight Club ), and falls in love with ballerina Cate Blanchett . In real life the actors are about the same age, but here thanks to make-up they age in opposite directions. As time passes in New Orleans and Benjamin is seemingly unchanging, one is reminded of Interview with the Vampire .
Typical of Fitzgerald's work, this is a slow and tedious drama. UK Comic 2000AD covered this idea in a three-page Future-shock This is dragged out to over two hours, in an era when ninety minutes is about average for a film.
Denzel is a dreadful cop. He's so keen on following a suspect that he charges off alone to do what is obviously a two-man job. The result is that he causes multiple traffic pile-ups, involving god knows how many civilian casualties.
Leo DeCaprio ( Titanic ) and Joseph Gordon Levitt ( Looper ) are hi-tech thieves who steal secrets from their victim's head. To do this, they have to enter the person's subconscious and interact with their dreams - a dream within a dream, as Edgar Allen Poe put it.
Our heroes are hired to do the impossible - to plant an idea in a man's mind. Their target is Cillian Murphy ( Batman Begins ). They recruit a team that includes Tom Hardy ( Star Trek: Nemesis ) and Ellen Page (the girl from Juno).
As an added distraction, Leo has the same subplot he did in Shutter Island - he is haunted by the death of his suicidal wife. This time she is played by the French actress who (like Tom Hardy and Gordon Levitt) appeared in Nolan's next Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises ).
As things get more and more convoluted, it becomes obvious how much the writer/director owes to Twin Peaks . Other good news is that this Indie film actually has the courage to let the female cast show their breasts in the sex scenes - unlike The Roommate , a recent dire mainstream Hollywood effort.
Phil finds himself in a time loop. In fact, the concept has become synonymous with this film. However, the idea was previously used - for example, in at least one episode of Star Trek: TNG .
Phil is a big-city man who does not like small-town life. Despite this, he tries to adapt to his new situation. Among other things, he tries to seduce the new Producer. However, despite this rom-com storyline featuring heavily in the original advertising it is really just a minor subplot.
This is really a drama about a man who is driven slowly insane. The original script started on day five thousand of the time loop, which means Phil would have been re-living the day for fifteen years. The final version has a lot more comedy in it, and a small touch of romance, but it is still a depressing drama at its heart.
As with all good Film Noirs, something goes wrong and our protagonist must go on the run. His future self (Bruce Willis, who already did this in Twelve Monkeys ) comes back, on a Terminator -like rampage to kill The Rainmaker and save the future.
The problem with this story is the number of shocking coincidences. Our hero blunders into the families of TWO suspects, both within handy walking distance for him.
The result is a contrived mess full of temporal paradoxes. Unfortunately Time Travel in fiction only works in ways that the writer feels benefit the plot. Nobody cares about getting it to make sense any more. If reading this paragraph gives you a sense of deja-vu, either you are a time traveller or else the facts in it are true of so many Time Travel stories that it tends to get repeated a lot.
The middle section centres around Balthazar Getty ( ), a young man who gets seduced by a femme fatale (also played by Patricia Arquette ). She is the moll of gangster Robert Loggia (best known from a similar role in Scarface).
The problem with this as a film noir is the surreal undertones that confuse matters.
When our hero is not reliving the eight-minute time loop, he is trapped in a capsule - like Ryan Reynolds in Buried, communicating with an Erin Grey lookalike in full military dress uniform via a computer interface.
This is a nice take on time travel - it has some interesting limitations (reminiscent of 7 Days ) and works on a number of levels. There is a love story, a 24-style anti-terrorist plot, and a scifi setting where the science is actually part of the plot. The excellent script is topped off with a competent director and a great cast - there is no weak link.
The girls fantasise that the drafty old Victorian Asylum is a more comfortable prison - a Moulin Rouge-style bordello where they are unjustly imprisoned, and our heroine only has five days to escape. And when she dances ...
The heroine goes into a deeper fantasy, a dream within a dream - like Inception ! This is a World War One analogy, there the girls dress like Japanese school-girls embracing girl-power (think Kill Bill meets DOA: Dead Or Alive ) must slaughter armies of steampunk zombies, and stray orcs left over from Lord of the Rings ... Like 300 , but with girl-power.
But is it anti-Feminist? Every female character is powerful and positive - the only dangers are fantasies, remember? (or are they?) The male characters are negative - with the exception of the mentor (Scott Glenn - Silence of the Lambs ) and a cop at the end (Ian Tracey). But the males are supporting characters, functionaries. This movie more than passes the infamous Bechdel test. But it shows that female empowerment is a male fantasy. And that seems to have created a negative backlash.
In short, this is a love-it-or-hate-it film. In this reviewer's opinion ... watch it yourself, make your own mind up!
Rachel McAdams is the title character, wife to Mr Bana. She sticks with him through a dozen miscarriages, because his offspring time-jump in the womb. Can they successfully carry a child to term?
The other problem is, because she can see flashes of his life in a non-chronological sequence, she sees him bleeding from a lethal-looking gunshot. But he cannot change his fate, so he is doomed to live out the inevitable.
The first twenty minutes of the story is spent setting everything up for the 1950s. Conveniently for Marty, every middle-aged person spent the entire day telling him what they did in the EXACT WEEK he gets sent back to. All he has to do is not interfere with the timeline. Can he do that? Well, he ends up having to play matchmaker with his own parents ( Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover - Charlie’s Angels ) or he will disappear from history, and can never go Back to the Future.
This is a wonderful piece of film-making that works well on every level. Yes, the exposition-filled First Act seems clunky - but this is a comedy-drama, it should not be taken too seriously. What seems amazing is that the 1980s Marty would fit in so well almost thirty years later, while by travelling thirty years into the past he is completely a fish out of water. The 1950s is as foreign to him as it would be to us. In all fairness, Life on Mars did that with the 1970s. But it still makes the mind boggle.
Once Marty and Doc are together again, the duo must re-enact the events of the first film, but in the wild west instead of the 1950s. Also, instead of Marty trying to discourage his own mother's romantic attentions, Dr Brown starts a burgeoning romance with schoolteacher Mary Steenburgen .
There are plenty of references to the previous films. Marty meets his ancestor, who looks just like him - and for some strange reason his wife looks like Lea Thompson ... meaning Marty's parents were cousins! Marty poses as Clint Eastwood, and re-enacts one of the most famous scenes from the spaghetti Western series.
There is an element of character development in this installment. Marty always gets riled when bullies insult him or challenge him - will he mellow out into a more Nineties type, and prevent the terrible personal future that awaits him in Back to the Future II ?
A scientist investigates a farmer's claim that aliens and cultists inhabit a mountain near his remote farmhouse. He is completely genre-blind, making every cliched mistake in the book. But Lovecraft's works are probably the SOURCE for most of the cliches, so we have to give it a bit of leeway. The execution is excellent, taking us from suspense to a dramatic climax that grows effortlessly from Lovecraft's premature ending.
An American OAP goes missing. His son goes to Germany to find him. A German OAP tells him an incredible story ...
Back in the 1930s a meteorite hit a remote farm. The rock from space dissolves into the ground, mysterious, creepy and suspenseful descent into insanity and horror.
The film was shot in black and white, which works well since the story is set in the 1930s. Also, since the story is about an alien - imperceptible - colour, we cannot expect to actually see it.
The climax - the colour itself finally appears - involves great SPFX. But it is too in-your-face to fit in with the relatively low-key film. The script is good enough, though - the confusions are tied up in a nice little twist.
This is yet another Stephen King piece, ruined by dumbing-down for the mainstream audience.
This is a remake of the classic 1970s film by Brian DePalma . The new Director ( Kimberly Pierce ) is one of the few females to helm such a large-scale project. Although the story was written by a man ( Stephen King ), the main five roles are all female. The male roles (originally played by William Katt and John Travolta) are held by new faces.
Moretz has to carry the film, and delivers a great performance as always. But she already covered this ground in Kick-Ass 2 , where she played a High School outsider persecuted by Mean Girls who delivers a violent reprisal.
A Graphic Novelist (John Cusack - Hot Tub Time Machine ) is at Boston Airport when it is site of an apparent terrorist attack. Someone sends a pulse through the cell-phone network that fries the brains of everyone who listens on their mobile phone. The main advantage is that anyone who tries to phone for help will automatically become infected too. The infected people become Fast Zombies, and attack the un-infected.
Cusack flees to the subway, where he teams up with Tom the train driver (Samuel L Jackson - Deep Blue Sea ). Together with a third survivor, a neighbour of Cusack's named Alice ( ), they try to walk across the post-Apocalyptic landscape in search of safety.
The trio meet up with a school headmaster (Stacey Keach - Weather Wars ), who provides some exposition. In exchange, he wants their help in exterminating a football field worth of the infected.
As the survivors continue on their quest, they discover a few things. The entity in charge, a man in a red hoodie, telepathically inserts himself in their dreams. He is called the President of the Internet, and he is waiting for Cusack's character to confront him. Most puzzling of all, Cusack dreamed about him before the apocalypse and used him as the template for a villain in his graphic novel.
The protagonist ( Dee Wallace ) has a husband and a sickly child, but she also has a boyfriend Steve Kemp (Christopher Stone). Ironically, Wallace later married Stone and became Dee Wallaxe-Stone in the Lassie TV show. One would have thought that, after this, she would have had enough of dogs.
The protagonist takes her car to the local hillbilly mechanic, Joe Camber (Ed Lauter - ), to get it fixed on the cheap. Unfortunately the mechanic's dog is an enormous st bernard named Cujo, after one of the Symbionese Liberation Army terrorists who kidnapped Patty Hearst. Worse than a strange choice of name, the dog has also been bitten by rabid bats. It goes on a killing spree, which leaves the woman and sickly son trapped in their car. They are stuck ther for days, in blistering heat without a water supply.
When the husband returns from his business trip, he discovers his wife and son missing. The police detective, Masen (Jerry Hardin - The X-Files ), is not very much use.
The otherworld in this case seems to be a commentary on modern-day American politics. Villainous Texan good-ole-boy Matthew McConaghy ( Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4 ) harrasses a couple of African-American men in Union blue - the Gunslinger (Idris Elba - 28 Weeks Later ) and his father (Dennis Haysbert - Buck Rogers in the 25th Century ). It turns out that in their reality, the generic term Gunslinger now means a specific kind of soldier - just like the term Huntsman was re-defined in the film Huntsman: Winter's War . However, this one has superpowers - and his revolvers were made from the melted down sword Excalibur!
This movie is less than a hundred minutes long, but is comprised of a series of books that connects all the novels in the Stephen King universe. As a result, there is quite a lot of unexplained back-story. Strangely, none of this seems to matter. The story, simplistic as it is, has been told many times before and is easy to understand. There are good guys and bad guys, and beyond that everyone's motivation is irrelevant because they are all defined by their actions.
The boy teams up with the gunslinger, just like the protagonist in The Last Action Hero became sidekick to Arnold Schwartzenegger's character.
In the end, nothing is explained but everything is tied up. No six-movie series, this appears to be a stand-alone.
In New Jersey, 2011, Danny has grown up to be Ewan MacGregor ( Star Wars: Phantom Menace (1999) ). His life consists of drinking and fighting and screwing. To get a change of scenery he takes a bus to a small town, where he befriends Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis - Fear the Walking Dead ) and joins an AA group run by a doctor (Bruce Greenwood - Gerald's Game (2017) ).
Rose and her friends, the Knott, are still on the prowl for victims. Snakebite Andi ( Emily Alyn Lind ) catches their attention. Instead of sacrificing her on the spot, they offer to recruit her.
When the Knott sacrifice a young boy (Jacob Tremblay - The Predator (2018) ), this attracts the psychic attention of Danny and a young girl he has befriended - like a psychic pen-pal. She is a super-powerful telepath, and the Knott want her as their next meal.
Rose travels by astral projection, while her clan drive around the USA in a convoy of winnebagos. Meanwhile, the good guys can somehow travel at far greater speeds just in order to service the plot.
At the climax, Danny takes the girl to the one place he knows they can ambush Rose – at the remains of the Overlook Hotel in Colorado. This takes Danny's personal story full circle, as he confronts the ghost of his father and tries to finish what was started in the original film.
This movie is set in 1989, but it seems like the setting is anachronistic. After all, the original novel was set in the 1950s and that is what this feels like. For example, this is set in a small town that is murder capital of the world. The number of dead and missing is even greater than that of Cabot Cove in Murder She Wrote. Even in the 1980s this would have come to the attention of the State Police and the FBI. However, in this film the only law enforcement is a tin-badge sheriff who can barely keep control of his own son - a vicious schoolyard bully.
This story is about a group of children that hang out together in the summer of 1989. They are a bunch of outsiders, not easily defined like the group in The Breakfast Club. No, they are more like The Goonies , or the boys in King's other story The Body (AKA Stand By Me). The difference is that they are more diverse - there is a jewish boy, a black kid and a token girl. The bullies that harrass them are white trash, the kind that might grow up to become a Trump voter.
The kids discover that their town is cursed. They all have nightmare visions of the things that terrify them, and at the heart of it is always ... Pennywise the dancing clown. Of course, we are half way through the movie before they actually tell each other about it.
In the end the evil is defeated, albeit temporarily. The children bond emotionally with an exchange of bodily fluids. After all, the best way to defeat fear is with love.
However, the monster has only gone back to sleep for another 27 years. There is a sequel movie, to come out the next year.
Since Pennywise is back, the Losers are summoned home to face him. The TBG stayed in town, while the rest all escaped and forgot about it. The girl has become Jessica Chastain , and when she returns she ends up in a love triangle with the writer (James McEvoy - Atomic Blonde ) and the formerly fat kid ( Beauty and the Beast ).
To get their memories back, the Losers have to split up and recover their memories individually. This might have been done in order to accommodate shooting schedules, but it simply seems a contrived way to weaken the group.
Pennywise's powers seem somewhat indistinct. He is not just a psychic emination that feeds on the fear of the victims, because he affects adults who do not believe in him. When he breaks the town's psychopath out of the mental asylum, he does so by resurrecting the psycho's dead buddy as a zombie. This is reminiscent of The Grudge , which uses ghosts of its victims as avatars. At least Pennywise can only operate within the town limits.
Detective Ted Levine ( Silence of the Lambs ) investigates an accidental death at a commercial laundry run by crippled old Robert Englund ( Nightmare on Elm Street ). Someone got pulled into a massive laundry press, and squished to a pulp. It turns out this is not the first time someone has been killed or mutilated by that particular machine.
Thomas Jane ( Deep Blue Sea ) is an artist who creates posters for movies. His wall includes John Carpenter's The Thing , while his current masterpiece is The Dark Tower (the obligatory Stephen King reference). However, his domestic bliss is ruined by bad weather. An overnight storm is followed by a strange mist that blows in from the direction of a secret US Military lab.
Our hero and his pre-teen son end up trapped in the local supermarket with a variety of townies, including three familiar faces from The Walking Dead - Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn and Melissa McBride.
What raises this above the usual monster movie is the fact that it is basically an ensemble piece, a character-based drama with a cast of stars. The supermarket worker (Toby Jones Wayward Pines ) is the insightful voice of reason, while the redneck (William Sadler Roswell ) is a slave to his emotions. The Lawyer (Andre Braugher - Andromeda Strain (2008) ) is a rational thinker who assumes the others are only joking about monsters in the mist. The check-out girl ( Alexa Davalos ) just wants to spend quality time with her boyfriend (Sam Witwer - Being Human USA ), and he in turn is a military man who knows more about the mist than he is letting on.
The worst of all, worse even than the monsters in the mist, is the bible-thumper ( Marcia Gay Harden ). She thinks it is the Day of Judgement from the Bible, and tries to convince the others that she is a prophet so she can infect them with her own religion-inspired perjudices. Our protagonist soon learns that the last place you want to be is trapped in a confined space with a gang of bible-thumping rednecks.
What makes this film controversial is the ending. While the original story is open-ended, Darabont gave this a definite conclusion. This is a love-it-or-hate-it scene, and if you read a negative review of this film then the ending is probably the reason. Watch the movie for yourself, and make your own mind up.
A doctor (Dale Midkiff - Time Trax ), his wife ( Denise Crosby ) and their two young children move into a house in small-town USA. The neighbour (Fred Gwynne - The Munsters ) delivers the necessary exposition about a nearby place that local children use to bury their dead pets.
The doctor has nightmares about the spirits of the dead, as if they are trying to warn him. Interestingly, his daughter also has predictive dreams - what a different expositionary character might call The Shining . Perhaps it is hereditary.
The family cat gets killed in a road traffic accident. Luckily the friendly neighbour shows the doctor how to bring the cat back to life. Unfortunately the cat seems to be homicidally insane, although the doctor is the only one who can see its eyes are strangely glowing. His own behaviour is as strange as the cat's - despite being medical doctor and thus a supposed man of science, he is in no way curious about how a cat can be resurrected from death.
The doctor's young son is later killed in another road traffic accident. The stress of this is unbearable, so the doctor does the unthinkable.
Sheriff Gus (Clancy Brown - Highlander (1985) ) is a bit of a jerk, to say the least. He turns out to be the major antagonist of the story.
This was directed by Mary Lambert , who was also responsible for the original film. As a result, this may only have a few references to the original but it more or less has the same feel. That said, it can be watched as a stand-alone film.
This is basically a scene-for-scene remake of the original Stephen King adaptation back in 1989. There are a few minor tweaks, and there is more diversity among the undead. The spirit guide is now African-American, and the murderous smart zombie is a female. Other than that it really has little new to offer anyone who has seen the original.