REVIEW: REDBELT

CAST

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange)
Tim Allen (Last Man Standing)
Alice Braga (I Am Legend)
Rodrigo Santoro (Westworld)
Jose Pablo Cantillo (The Walking Dead)
Randy Couture (The Scorpian King 2)
Caroline Correa (Go Big)
Ricky Jay (Mystery Men)
Joe Mantegna (The Rat Pack)
Max Martini (The Town)
Emily Mortimer (Lars and the Real Girl)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing)
Ed O’Neill (Modern Family)

While closing his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu studio one evening, martial arts teacher Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is approached by attorney Laura Black (Emily Mortimer), who is seeking the owner of the vehicle she accidentally sideswiped. Off-duty police officer Joe Collins (Max Martini), who was receiving a private lesson from Mike, sees that Laura is distressed and tries to take her coat. Startled, Laura grabs Joe’s gun and it goes off, shattering the studio’s front window. To avoid having Laura charged with attempted murder, Mike and Joe agree to conceal the event.Mike’s insurance, however, will not cover his act of God claim that the window was broken by a strong wind. Mike’s wife Sondra (Alice Braga), whose fashion business profits are the only thing keeping the struggling studio afloat, requests that Mike ask for a loan from her brother Ricardo (John Machado), a mixed martial arts champion. At Ricardo’s nightclub, Mike meets with Sondra’s other brother, Bruno (Rodrigo Santoro), and learns that Joe quit as the club’s bouncer because Bruno never paid him. Mike confronts Bruno about the situation but is rebuffed. Mike then declines Bruno’s offer to fight on the undercard of an upcoming match between Ricardo and Japanese legend Morisaki (Enson Inoue), which could potentially pay out $50,000. Mike believes competitions with money as the incentive are not honorable and weaken the fighter.Meanwhile, aging Hollywood action star Chet Frank (Tim Allen) enters the nightclub without security and is accosted by a man with a broken bottle. Mike intervenes and subdues three men in the process. The following day, Mike receives an expensive watch and an invitation to dinner from Chet. Mike gives the watch to Joe to pawn in lieu of his unpaid salary at the nightclub. At the dinner party, Chet’s wife Zena (Rebecca Pidgeon) arranges an informal business deal to buy a large amount of dresses from Sondra’s company. Chet, impressed by Mike, invites him to the set of his current film. As Mike and Sondra leave the dinner, Mike explains his unique training method to Chet’s business associate Jerry Weiss (Joe Mantegna). Before a sparring match, each fighter must draw one of three marbles, two white and one black; whoever draws a black marble has to fight with a handicap.Mike uses his military experience to answer a few technical questions for Chet on the film set and is offered the role of co-producer. That evening, Mike faxes the details of his training methods to Jerry so they can be used in the film. Joe arrives at the studio and informs Mike that he was suspended from duty for pawning the watch, which turned out to be stolen. During their dinner that evening, Mike relays the information to Jerry who excuses himself to handle the matter, but never returns. At home, Mike learns that the phone numbers that Zena gave Sondra have been disconnected. Sondra is panicky, having borrowed $30,000 from a loan shark to order the fabric for the dresses. As he meets with the loan shark to discuss an extension, Mike notices Bruno and Marty Brown (Ricky Jay) on television using Mike’s marble-drawing method as a promotional gimmick for the undercard fights of Ricardo’s match.Mike hires Laura to sue, but Marty’s lawyer threatens that if they do not drop the lawsuit, he will give the police an empty shell casing with Laura’s fingerprints, as proof that she attempted to kill an off-duty cop. He also threatens Mike as a witness who covered up the crime by bribing the cop with a stolen watch. When told of the situation, Joe feels responsible and kills himself. Mike feels obligated to help Joe’s financially struggling wife and, in desperate need of money himself, decides to compete as an undercard fighter in the upcoming competition. At the arena, Mike discovers the fights are being fixed via a magician (Cyril Takayama) using sleight of hand to surreptitiously switch the white and black marbles. Disgusted by this revelation, Mike confronts the conspirators: Marty, Jerry and Bruno who confirm that unknown to the competitors, the fights are handicapped by the fight promoters so as to ensure winning bets. They also reveal that Ricardo is intentionally losing the fight to Morisaki so they can make money on the rematch. Jerry tells Mike that Sondra is the one who told them about Laura shooting the window and Bruno justifies her betrayal by explaining that his sister is too smart to stay with someone who cannot provide for her.As Mike is exiting the arena, he meets Laura. Their conversation is not audible, but it ends with Laura slapping Mike. Mike then re-enters the arena. He incapacitates several security guards trying to stop him and is ultimately engaged by Ricardo. The audience and camera crews take notice as Mike and Ricardo face off in the arena’s corridors. Inspired by the Professor (Dan Inosanto), an elderly martial arts master attending the match, Mike manages to slip a difficult choke hold and defeats Ricardo, making it onto the ring to speak to the Professor personally. He is approached by Morisaki, who offers Mike his ivory-studded belt, previously referred to as a Japanese national treasure, as a sign of respect. He is then approached by the Professor himself, who proceeds to award the coveted red belt to an incredulous Mike, and embraces him, acknowledging his dedication to the art.Red Belt doesn’t fail at being an action flick; it just succeeds more so at being an entertaining drama with an MMA theme. This is an easy movie to recommend.

 

 

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REVIEW: SPECTRAL

CAST

James Badge Dale (Iron Man 3)
Stephen Root (Dodgeball)
Emily Mortimer (Lars and The real Girl)
Max Martini (The Town)
Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek)
Clayne Crawford (Lethal Weapon TV)
Cory Hardrict (Battle: Los Angeles)
Louis Ozawa Changchien (Predators)
Jimmy Akingbola (Anansi)

DARPA researcher Dr. Mark Clyne is flown to Moldova, where the US military is currently deployed in the ongoing Moldovan War, as his expertise is required regarding a line of hyperspectral imaging goggles of his design that have been issued to troops there. After arriving at a US Military Air Base on the outskirts of Chișinău, he meets with General Orland and CIA officer Fran Madison. He is shown footage captured by the troops’ goggles of a mysterious, translucent, humanoid apparition that kills almost instantly. Knowing it is not interference, Orland wants Clyne’s expert opinion before forwarding the findings and footage to his superiors. Conversely, Madison believes the sightings to be members of the insurgency wearing an advanced form of active camouflage and has orders from her superiors to retrieve a sample.To get a clearer shot of the anomalies and identify them, both Clyne and Madison are sent into the field with a team of Delta Force operators, who are being sent to find Utah team, who went missing the day before. To capture a better image of the apparitions, Clyne mounts a large version of the hyper spectral camera onto one of the armoured personnel carriers. Upon arriving at the location and discovering all of Utah team has been killed, they are ambushed by the apparitions, who, being impervious to small arms fire and explosives, inflict heavy casualties before the soldiers retreat. When their vehicles are rendered inoperable by landmines, the group takes cover in an abandoned factory, where they find two children barricaded. The apparitions attempt to follow them but are stopped by a barrier of iron shavings. The children share that their father scattered the shavings to protect his children before he was killed. The survivors make contact with the air base and a rendezvous is set up. Clyne modifies the hyper spectral camera, turning it into a large searchlight, which enables the group to see the apparitions without the need for goggles. Later, he supplies the unit with IEDs laced with iron shavings. Fortified with these new weapons, the group sets out for the rendezvous point, about a half-mile away from the factory.After exiting the factory, the group is chased by apparitions, who are slowed but not destroyed by the iron explosives. The group is met by reinforcements and a helicopter evac at a large abandoned plaza. However, they are ambushed by the apparitions and are barely able to escape as the figures proceed to destroy the tanks and kill the soldiers sent as backup. In the air, they receive word from Orland the apparitions have overrun the Air Base, so they are redirected to a civilian bunker controlled by the allied Moldovan military. Clyne theorises the apparitions are likely man-made and are made of Bose-Einstein condensate, which explains their ability to move through walls, freeze people to death, and why they are halted by iron shavings and ceramic materials (hence their inability to enter tanks). Working overnight with Orland and surviving military engineers, he constructs several makeshift pulse weapons capable of breaking down the condensate. The next morning, the remaining American soldiers are armed with the weapons and sent to a power plant in the center of the city, as Clyne believes it is the only facility capable of generating the power needed to create the condensate.While the soldiers mount an offensive on the roof of the plant, Clyne and Madison discover a recently abandoned laboratory inside. They deduce that scientists, working in weapons research for the former regime, were scanning humans on a molecular level and utilising advanced 3D printing to replicate them in condensate form. The human test subjects’ brains and central nervous systems were then removed and hooked up to a central machine which keeps the condensate copies (or “apparitions”) alive. Before the apparitions emerge victorious in their battle with the soldiers, Clyne activates a failsafe system, which deactivates the condensate apparitions. Believing that whatever level of consciousness remaining is in pain, he unplugs the human remains from the machine, finally giving them peace.With the apparitions gone, the US and Allied Moldovan military work to continue to take control of the city from the insurgents, and a Department of Defense extraction team is to be sent back to the plant with the Delta Force operators to take the machinery apart and potentially utilise it for their own purposes. Saying goodbye to Madison and General Orland, Clyne boards an aircraft to be taken back home to Virginia.The pace of the film is perfect and there’s never a reason to lose interest, especially as our cast delve deeper into the mystery of what’s going on and how to deal with it. The tension themes were similar to Darkest Hour & FF:SW insofar as you never quite knew where the threats were going to come from at any given time, despite the countermeasures in place. Some people have compared the story with those two titles pre-release, and after watching you can see how it could be inspired by them, but only as much as other themes in cinema inspire each other; the story itself is very original. If you like your action with an original story and extremely well- polished, then you’ll probably enjoy this.

REVIEW: HUGO

CAST

Asa Butterfield (Ender’s Game)
Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Ben Kinglsey (Iron Man 3)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Ray Winston (Elfie Hopkins)
Emily Mortimer (Lars and The Real Girl)
Helen McCrory (The Woman In Black 2)
Jude Law (Spy)
Michael Stuhlbarg (Men In Black 3)
Christopher Lee (The Hobbit)
Frances de la Tour (The Lady In The Van)
Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter)
Michael Pitt (Murder By Numbers)

In 1931, 12-year-old Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) lives in Paris with his father (Jude Law), a widowed, but kind clockmaker who also works at a museum. One day his father finds a broken automaton, a mechanical man designed to write with a pen, at the museum, and he and Hugo try to repair it, his father documenting the automaton in a notebook. When his father is killed by a fire at the museum, Hugo is forced to live with his resentful, alcoholic uncle Claude (Ray Winstone), and made to learn how to maintain the clocks at the railway station of Gare Montparnasse. When Claude goes missing for several days, Hugo continues to maintain the clocks, fearing that he would be sent away as an orphan by the vindictive Station Inspector Gustave (Sacha Baron Cohen) if Claude’s absence is discovered. Hugo attempts to repair the automaton with stolen parts, believing it contains a message from his father, but the machine still requires a heart-shaped key that his father could not find.Hugo is caught when stealing from the toy store owner Georges (Ben Kingsley), who looks through his father’s notebook and threatens to destroy it. Hugo encounters Georges’ goddaughter Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz) who offers to help get the notebook back. Hugo learns Georges has forbidden Isabelle from going to the cinema, and introduces the medium to her as his father had done for him. As their friendship grows, he shows her the automaton, and is surprised when Isabelle inadvertently reveals she wears the key as a necklace given to her by Georges. When started, the machine draws out a scene that Hugo recognizes from his father’s description of the film A Trip to the Moon. Isabelle identifies the signature, that of a “Georges Méliès”, as her godfather. She sneaks Hugo into her home, where they find a hidden cache of more imaginative drawings of Méliès, but are caught by Georges, who banishes Hugo from his home.Hugo and Isabelle go to the Film Academy Library and find a book about the history of cinema that praises Méliès’ contributions. They meet the book’s author, René Tabard (Michael Stuhlbarg), a film expert who is surprised to hear that Méliès may still be alive, as he had disappeared after World War I along with nearly all copies of his films. Excited at the chance to meet him, René agrees to meet Isabelle and Hugo at Georges’ home to show his copy of A Trip to the Moon, hoping it will invigorate Georges. On the scheduled night, Georges’ wife Jeanne (Helen McCrory) tries to turn them away, but René compliments Jeanne as Jeanne d’Alcy, an actress in many of Méliès’ films, and she allows them to continue. As the film plays, Georges wakes up at the sight, and Jeanne finally convinces him to cherish his accomplishments rather than regret his lost dream. Georges recounts that as a stage magician, he had been fascinated by motion pictures and used the medium to create imaginative works through his Star Film Company, but was forced into bankruptcy following the War, closing his studio and selling his films to be turned into raw materials. He laments that even an automaton he made that he donated to a museum was lost. Hugo recognizes this is the same automaton he has, and races to the station to retrieve it. He is caught by Gustave, who has learned that Claude’s body was found some time ago, and threatens to take Hugo to the orphanage. Georges arrives and tells Gustave that he will now see to Hugo, adopting him as his son.Some time later, Georges is named a professor at the Film Academy, and is paid tribute through a showcase of his films recovered by René. Hugo joins in with his new family as they celebrate, while Isabelle starts to write down Hugo’s story.Martin Scorcese’s Hugo is one of the best cinematic experience, I’ve had in years.  The visual effects, cinematography, art direction, just technically superb. Finally a smart, awe-aspiring family film, which are really rare nowadays. A definite surprise coming from legendary director, Martin Scorcese, who’s known for movies with a lot of swears, violence, drugs and other adult-themed subjects.

REVIEW: THE 51st STATE

CAST
Samuel L. Jackson (Black Snake Moan)
Robert Carlyle (Stargate Universe)
Emily Mortimer (Lars and The Real Girl)
Meat Loaf (Fight Club)
Sean Pertwee (Gotham)
Ricky Tomlinson (Mike Bassett: England Manager)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man)
In 1971, a policeman catches Elmo McElroy, a recent college graduate with a degree in pharmacology, smoking marijuana. Because of his arrest and conviction, he is unable to find work as a pharmacologist. In the present day, a drug lord called “the Lizard” calls a meeting of his organisation, hoping to sell a brand new substance invented by Elmo. The meeting goes badly when Elmo, in a bid to escape from the Lizard’s control, blows up the building, killing everyone but the Lizard. Vengeful, the Lizard contacts Dakota, a contract killer, who previously killed the only witness in a case against the Lizard. Dakota initially refuses the hit, but accepts when the Lizard offers to clear her gambling debts and give her a $250,000 bonus. Elmo leaves for Liverpool, England, where he meets Felix DeSouza, a local “fixer” who has been sent by Leopold Durant, head of a local criminal organisation, in exchange for two football tickets to a sold-out game. At the meeting, Elmo pitches POS 51, a synthetic drug that can be produced with minimal facilities and is 51 times as potent as other drugs. A second opinion from Pudsey, Durant’s chemist, confirms Elmo’s claims, and Durant gives him over a million dollars in bonds. Since it is $18 million short of the agreed payment, Elmo threatens to leave.
In a room across the street, Dakota is about to take a shot at Elmo’s head when the Lizard calls cancelling the hit; not wanting to kill Elmo until he has the formula. Instead of killing Elmo, she is to kill anyone who meets with him. She switches rifles to an automatic weapon and kills everyone but Elmo and Felix, who is shot in the buttocks. As Elmo and Felix leave the hotel, a gang of skinheads who seek the drug attack them. Elmo protects them with a golf club. Detective Virgil Kane arrives on the scene and gives a chase. He is soon lured into a game of chicken by Elmo, who escapes. Kane returns to the crime scene and demands 50% of Durant’s deal with McElroy. A miscommunication leads to Durant’s death.
 Felix contacts a gun dealing club owner and drug distributor named Iki, promising him the formula for £20 million. As Elmo and Felix acquire the ingredients necessary for the drug’s manufacture, all of which are over-the-counter products, the now-armed skinheads capture them. Elmo is unflustered, as the skinheads claim they have a lab, though it turns out to be a broken-into animal testing facility. Elmo makes two batches of the drug; one blue and one red. He claims that the red pill is the stronger version, and after he takes one, the skinheads try it. While they are partying, waiting for the effect of the drug, in the next room Elmo spits out his red pill. He tells Felix it is a powerful laxative; Elmo and Felix leave after throwing rolls of toilet paper to the incapacitated skinheads.
At Iki’s rave club, Elmo initiates his deal and delivers the drug to the waiting crowd. Kane and the police interrupt the deal and arrest Felix. When Dakota appears, she reveals that her real name is Dawn and that she and Felix were romantically involved. She captures Elmo and leaves with him via the roof. Elmo gets the upper hand, suspending her over the edge of the roof. Having no choice, she strikes a deal with him and they escape from Kane. Meanwhile, Kane blackmails Felix during a police interrogation and forces himself into the deal with Iki, which Felix sets up for him.
 Felix, Elmo and Dawn meet Iki in a private viewing box at the football game at Anfield. This time, the deal is interrupted by the Lizard, who shoots Iki and demands the formula to POS 51. The Lizard celebrates with a drink, as Elmo reveals that the drug is a placebo and POS stands for Power of Suggestion. Kane interrupts them as Elmo’s cocktail, an explosive ingested by the Lizard, takes effect. Kane is knocked unconscious and arrested, and the others escape. Dawn and Felix give their relationship another chance, and Elmo purchases a castle once owned by the man who owned his ancestors.
 I’m not surprised this film did a whole lot better this side of the Atlantic than it did back in the USA. With the majority of the action based in England, Jackson and Meat Load being the only Americans and a whole plethora of wonderful British character actors that are a complete joy it’s small wonder it was lapped up by British audiences

REVIEW: LARS AND THE REAL GIRL

CAST

Ryan Gosling (The Ides of March)
Emily Mortimer (Hugo)
Paul Schneider (Water For Elephants)
R.D. Reid (Dawn of The Dead)
Kelli Garner (Horns)
Patricia Clarkson (Easy A)

Lars Lindstrom (Gosling) lives in the converted garage behind the house he and his brother Gus (Schneider) inherited from their late father. Karin (Mortimer) is Lars’s pregnant sister-in-law. Her persistent attempts to lure him into the house for a family meal are usually rebuffed, and on the rare occasions he accepts, their conversation is stilted and he seems eager to leave as soon as he can. The young man avoids social contact, finding it difficult to interact with or relate to his family, co-workers or fellow parishioners in the church he regularly attends. Margo (Garner), Lars’ co-worker, is clearly interested in him, but Lars avoids anything more than brief encounters with her.
One day Lars happily announces to Gus and Karin he has a visitor he met via the Internet, a wheelchair-bound missionary of Brazilian and Danish descent named Bianca. The two are startled to discover Bianca is, in fact, a lifelike doll Lars ordered from an adult website. Concerned about his mental health, they convince Lars to take Bianca to Dagmar (Clarkson), the family doctor who is also a psychologist. Dagmar diagnoses Bianca with low blood pressure and advises Lars to bring her in for weekly treatments. The doctor’s actual intention is to analyze Lars and get to the root of his behavior. She explains to Gus and Karin that this delusion is merely a symptom or manifestation of an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. She urges them to assist with Lars’s therapy by treating Bianca as if she were a real woman.
It is discovered during the course of the film that Lars’s mother died during his birth, causing his father to change dramatically. These issues pushed Gus to leave home as soon as possible, leaving Lars to deal with a distant, heartbroken father alone. This gave Lars an almost debilitating fear of having children, which causes him to refuse any kind of intimacy as well.
As time passes, Lars begins to introduce Bianca as his girlfriend to his co-workers and various townspeople. Due to their care and concern for Lars, everyone treats Bianca as a real person. Lars soon finds himself interacting more with people. During this time, Margo has begun to date another co-worker, which silently bothers Lars. Lars has a conversation with his brother during which he asks when he knew he had become a man and what being a man means. His brother’s explanation seems to reach Lars and his dependence on Bianca immediately seems to shift.
When a co-worker with whom Margo has been playing pranks goes a bit too far, Lars comforts her. During the ensuing conversation, Margo reveals she has broken up with her boyfriend. She invites Lars to go bowling, which he initially declines before reconsidering. The two spend a pleasant evening together along with some other townsfolk. Lars is quick to remind Margo he could never cheat on Bianca. Although obviously disappointed, Margo replies that the thought never crossed her mind. As they part, Lars takes his glove off to shake Margo’s hand.
One morning soon after, Lars announces that Bianca is unresponsive, and she is rushed to the hospital by ambulance. Once there, he tells his family the prognosis is not good and that Bianca would like to be brought home. The news spreads through town, and everyone whose life has been touched by Bianca sends flowers or sits with Lars at the Lindstrom home. Gus and Karin ask Dagmar why this is happening, and she reveals that it reflects a significant shift within Lars’s mind. They suggest that Lars and Bianca join them for a visit to the lake. While the couple is hiking, Lars gives Bianca a very sad farewell kiss. As Gus and Karin make their way back from the hike, they discover despondent Lars in the lake with a ‘dying’ Bianca.
Bianca is given a full-fledged funeral that is well-attended by the townspeople. After Bianca is buried in the local cemetery, Lars and Margo linger at the grave site. When Margo states that she should catch up with everyone else, Lars asks her to take a walk with him instead, to which she happily agrees.
Lars and the Real Girl is a moving story of a man getting over a loss and expressing his grief, learning to reconnect and building a life. Ryan Goslin (Lars) is fantastic taking the role seriously and not going over the top, or hamming it up because of the Bianca character. It is funny in small doses with a very serious message of personal loss, and how people will move on with their lives in many ways.

REVIEW: SCREAM 1,2,3 & 4

CAST

Neve Campbell (Wild Things)
Skeet Ulrich (As Good as it Gets)
Courteney Cox (Masters of The Universe)
Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo)
David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks)
Jamie Kennedy (Son of The Mask)
Drew Barrymore (Charles Angels)
Liev Schreiber (The Fifth Wave)
Rose McGowan (Jawbreaker)
W. Earl brown (Bates Motel)
Roger Jackson (The Powerpuff Girls)
Joseph Whipp (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Linda Blair (The Exorcist)
Henry Winkler (Happy Days)

Sidney Prescott isn’t your typical hometown girl… at least, not anymore. She’s been trying to cope with the brutal rape and murder of her mother for almost a year now, but the town of Woodsboro just isn’t willing to let her move on. It’s a small town where hardly anything of interest ever happens, so it didn’t even take a heartbeat’s notice for a small time reporter, Gale Weathers, to start spreading tabloid propaganda about Sid’s mom. More or less, she pegged Mrs. Prescott as the town bicycle that everyone got a chance to ride, and unfortunately, this ongoing story has made it very difficult for Sidney to find peace with the biggest tragedy she’s ever had to face. Not that you can blame the poor girl, what with her mom’s good name and reputation constantly being soured and all. To top things off, her father is always away on business, and she’s catching some flak from her boyfriend for being intimately distant. Sid’s nightmare is about to get worse however, as a killer in a generic five-and-dime Ghostface costume has gutted two of her classmates. It isn’t long before Sid realizes that the timing of the latest deaths in Woodsboro (leading up to the one year anniversary of her mother’s death) isn’t a coincidence. After being put into protective custody by local Deputy Dewey, everyone close to Sidney starts dropping like flies, making it painfully clear that she’s at the center of the killer’s murderous rampage. Finding the killer will unfortunately be no easy feat however, as everyone is seemingly a suspect.
The plot’s implementation in Scream is what really allowed Wes Craven to once again change the face of the genre. Unlike any horror film before its time, the characters in Scream are completely self aware. That is, thanks to the Ghostface killer pretending like he’s the star in some slasher flick, everyone knows they’re playing by the rules of a horror movie – If you don’t want to die, don’t say something to foreshadow your own demise like ‘I’ll be right back’, don’t drink or do drugs, and above all else, you better hope to God that you’re a virgin.

Of course, despite the fact everyone is actually aware of the ‘horror movie as life’ analogy at play, most people dismiss the genre clichés that could potentially save their lives, and inevitably end up meeting their maker anyway. By taking the bold step to often times put the main characters in the very situations they’re attempting to satire. So, without question, Craven and Williamson revitalized the horror scene in 1996 with this film. Not only because it was actually able to deliver legitimate scares and keep the audience guessing who the killer was until the very end, but because it’s genuinely entertaining throughout its entirety.

CAST

Neve Campbell (Wild Things)
Courteney Cox (Masters of The Universe)
David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks)
Jamie Kennedy (Son of The Mask)
Liev Schreiber (The Fifth Wave)
Jada Pinkett Smith (Gotham)
Laurie Metcalf (The Big Bang Theory)
Omar Epps (House)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Gruel Intentions)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Joshua Jackson (Cursed)
Heather Graham (Killing Me Softly)
Duane Martin (Any Given Sunday)
Rebecca Gayheart (Dead Like Me)
Portia de Rossi (Stigmata)
Roger Jackson (The Powerpuff Girls)
Rebecca McFarland (Two and A Half Men)
Elise Neal (Hustle & Flow)
Lewis Arquette (Tango & CAsh)
Marisol Nichols (Riverdale)
Tori Spelling (Scary Movie 2)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)
David Warner (Tenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2)
Selma Blair (Hellboy)
Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo)

Scream 2 is a surprising success as a film and a sequel, instead of simply trying to play around the rules from the first film, Scream 2 builds a separate story while acknowledging the Rules of Sequels. Again, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson have teamed up to create an entertaining, suspenseful horror film that rises to a cerebral level unparalleled by all the films in the genre except its predecessor.While the film contains an exchange between Dewey (David Arquette) and Randy (Jamie Kennedy) the film’s slasher-fan movie geek about the rules of sequels, an even more impressive exchange is a classroom discussion of sequels and whether they are inherently inferior or if there are sequels which can actually outdo their predecessors. The discussion is an accurate and realistic one that real people, especially film students would have, mentioning such great sequels as “Aliens,” “Terminator 2,” and the Oscar-winning “The Godfather, Part II.”.Another great plot device in the film is the movie within the movie- “Stab”. Based on the events of the first film and starring  Tori Spelling, the film is basically a typical horror flick without ambition or originality. It also brings up the interesting issue of what relationship films, particularly violent films, have with the violence perpetrated by its viewers. Neither “Scream” nor “Scream 2” gets overly preachy on the subject, however, and Craven seems to ultimately reject any direct link.Scream 2 updates the story of Sydney Prescott, now in college and trying to get past her traumatic experiences, who once again hears a familiar voice on the telephone and soon finds her friends and acquaintances turning into victims of a familiar ghost-mask wearing killer. Once again, there are many “red herrings” throughout the film, as the audience must once again figure out who the mysterious killer might be, and Craven does cause the viewer to keep guessing throughout the film. As in Scream, the film is driven by an all-star cast, including the return of most of the principals from Scream, as well as Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jada Pinkett Smith, Laurie Metcalf, Jerry O’Connell and Omar Epps.Although Craven did a great job building suspense in the first film, he does manage to improve upon his efforts in the second film. While some of the killings are shockingly abrupt, the suspense in the film is quite impressive. While Scream will be revered for years as a modern horror classic, “Scream 2” is a worthy successor. While likely not destined to be a classic on its own, it is clear that Williamson and Craven did not rest on their laurels and truly put an impressive effort into this film, which pays off well, and helps to establish the whole trilogy as a landmark in the horror film genre.

CAST

Neve Campbell (Wild Things)
Courteney Cox (Masters of The Universe)
David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks)
Jamie Kennedy (Son of The Mask)
Liev Schreiber (The Fifth Wave)
Kelly Rutherford (Gossip Girl)
Heather Matarazzo (The Princvess Diaries)
Beth Toussaint (Red Eye)
Richamond Arquette (Zodiac)
Patrick Dempsey (Transformers 3)
Scott Foley (Felicity)
Lance Henriksen (Aliens)
Jenny McCarthy (Two and a Half Men)
Emily Mortimer (Hugo)
Parker Posey (Superman Returns)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Patrick Warburton (Family Guy)
Roger Jackson (The Powerpuff Girls)
Kevin Smith (Mallrats)
Jason Mewes (Dogma)

Scream 3 is a fitting end to the Scream trilogy. It contains much of what made the first two films great, lots of frights, a few laughs, a good cast, a few great cameos and a self-awareness of both the horror genre and the first Scream film expressed this time in the filming of “Stab 3” throughout much of the first half of the movie.


Because each of the three movies focuses in large part on who the killer is and there are references to the earlier culprits in this film, one should definitely watch the films in order and not watch Scream 3 first. Those who have seen the first two films however, will enjoy the subtle references made throughout the film to earlier events, particularly those in the original film.


Like the other two films before it, Scream 3 has an enjoyable cast, featuring returning cast members Courtney Cox Arquette, David Arquette, Neve Campbell and Jamie Kennedy and featuring new cast members Scott Foley, Lance Henriksen, Jenny McCarthy, Parker Posey, Emily Mortimer and Patrick Dempsey who does a surprisingly good job as a cop with more than a passing interest in the plight of Sydney Prescott, Neve Campbell’s character as the people she knows and the people playing the people she knows find themselves in grave danger. Also extremely enjoyable in the film are the cameos of Carrie Fisher, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, and in a larger role, Patrick Warburton, (“Puddy” from Seinfeld) Warburton’s use of the word “Aight” is a true high point in the film.


The suspense of the film is quite good and the audience is continually left guessing who the murderer might be. The killing scenes are at times graphic but will often leave viewers on the edge of their seats. Wes Craven unquestionably proves his mettle as a master of horror and suspense and does a good job of crowning off the trilogy with a good film. While many other horror franchises, including Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street have gone on to boast a series of eight or more films, Craven deserves a great amount of credit for making the film into a trilogy and settling there. This film does have a number of parallels with “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare,” the first horror film in the genre to truly deconstruct the genre from within, but even for those who have seen “New Nightmare,” Scream 3 is still a very enjoyable film

CAST

Neve Campbell (Wild Things)
Courteney Cox (Masters of The Universe)
David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars)
Shenae Grimes-Beech (90210)
Anna Paquin (X-Men)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Britt Robertson (The Secret Circle)
Alison Brie (The Lego Movie)
Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica)
Hayden Panettiere (Heroes)
Marley Shelton (Sin City)
Roger Jackson (The Powerpuff Girls)
Rory Culkin (Mean Creek)
Anthony Anderson (Transformers)
Adam Brody (The OC)
Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo)

Scream 4 arrived in 2011 promising new rules for a new decade, suggesting innovation and inspiration provided by the Asian remake craze, torture porn, and reboots. Instead, the best thing about the new film is its insistence on preserving the formula that made it popular in the first place. As they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Once again, the film reunites survivors Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers-Riley (Courteney Cox), and Dewey Riley (David Arquette) in the town of Woodsboro. It’s the last stop on a nationwide tour promoting Sidney’s book about her experiences, but before she can sign a single copy, dead bodies start turning up and all-too-familiar feelings start flooding back. Among the targets: Sidney’s cousin Jill (Emma Roberts), her friends Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) and Olivia (Marielle Jaffe), and local film nerds Robbie (Erik Knudsen) and Charlie (Rory Culkin).

It’s a relief to discover that the screenplay by original writer Kevin Williamson is pointedly focused on Sidney, Gail, and Dewey, and remains refreshingly faithful to the tone and style of the original films. There’s one swipe at torture porn and an even better jab at remakes, but Williamson doesn’t seem that interested in what’s been going on in the genre since Ghostface last graced the silver screen. The script is careful to tread the line between heightened and over-the-top: any horror that has changed as a reaction to older trends is inherently meta, and it’d be easy for looping back even further to become obnoxious. Instead, Williamson saves his poison pen for a wicked, inspired ending.

In terms of direction, Craven brings his A-game. The original Scream made waves for its violence, which holds up even today as excruciatingly brutal. Scream is bloody, no doubt about it, but it’s less the splatter and more the almost sadistic glee with which Craven pummels some of its victims that keeps the original shocking. This new sequel never climbs to the same level of ferociousness, but Craven isn’t pulling his punches, either, splattering bedroom walls with a ridiculous amount of blood.Scream 4 is not only one of the best in the series, but also one of the best slasher movies in at least a decade.