Category Archives: Rebourne

Rebourne: Doctor Sleep (2019)

“Dare to Go Back”

Directed by Mike Flanagan
Starring Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran and Cliff Curtis

The Original

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), an author and recovering alcoholic, is struggling with his next book, as well as the bottle. He takes a job as winter caretaker in the Overlook Hotel, a mountain lodge left empty for the season, hoping to get some writing done and reconnect with his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and son Danny (Danny Lloyd). Unfortunately, the malevolent spirit of the hotel gets its hooks into Jack, intent on destroying Danny and his paranormal abilities, the titular ‘shining’.

The Shining is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest horror movies ever made – critical opinions aside, it contains scenes which have been parodied over and over again, and had a pastiche in a Simpsons ‘Treehouse of Horror’ episode – although not by Stephen King, author of the novel on which it was based. King took issue with director Stanley Kubrik’s treatment of the original story, eventually producing a new adaptation which was a) much more faithful, and b) quite dull. He also wrote a sequel, Doctor Sleep, which eventually got an adaptation of its own.

The Late Sequel

I’ll be honest, Rose the Hat is an effectively creepy villain right up until you start hearing her name sung to the theme tune of the children’s cartoon ‘James the Cat’.

Danny ‘Doc’ Torrance (Roger Dale Floyd) begins to recover from the horrors of the Overlook Hotel when the spirit of hotel cook and fellow Shiner Dick Halloran (Carl Lumbly) teaches him to trap the ghosts that haunt him in boxes in his head. Years later, he has become an alcoholic Ewan McGregor, using booze to numb his abilities, until all-round nice guy Billy Freeman (Curtis) helps him turn his life around and he gets a job as night porter in a hospice, where he becomes known as Doctor Sleep among the patients for his ability to ease them from life when their time comes.

Continue reading Rebourne: Doctor Sleep (2019)

Rebourne – Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

“Welcome to the day after Judgement Day”

Directed by Tim Miller (Deadpool)
Starring Linda Hamilton (The Terminator), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator 2: Judgement Day), Mackenzie Davis (The Martian), Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna and Diego Boneta (Rock of Ages)

The Original

In 1984, a Terminator, a cyborg assassin, was sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor, the future mother of the future leader of the human resistance against the AI, Skynet. A single soldier was sent back to protect her.

In 1995, a second Terminator was sent to kill John while he as still a young boy. A reprogrammed Terminator was sent to protect him, alongside his mother, who was now hard as nails.

The Franchise

Since 1991’s Terminator 2, there have been four on-screen continuations of the story, and who knows how many comics and tie-ins.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was kind of like T2, but with boob jokes and depressing fatalism.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles skipped to the small screen and jumped over the timeline of Rise of the Machines, before racing into a slightly baffling final act when it was cancelled after two series.

Terminator: Salvation eschewed time travel in favour of the post-apocalyptic adventures of a super-miserable miserable and oddly British John Connor.

And Terminator: Genisys saw Skynet trying to secure its existence by getting into the console market, or something.

The Late(st) Sequel

In the aftermath of the events of T2, John Connor is killed by one of a number of redundant Terminators sent back by Skynet before its existence was negated.

Twenty-two years later, a ‘Rev-9’ Terminator (Luna) and a soldier named Grace (Davis) are sent back in time, the one to kill Dani Ramos (Reyes), a factory worker and fledgling labour organiser, and the other to protect her. The Rev-9 kills Dani’s father and brother (Boneta), but she and Grace are saved by the intercession of Sarah Connor (Hamilton).

Continue reading Rebourne – Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

Rebourne – Downton Abbey (2019)

“The Movie Event of the Year” – which is a bold claim in any year, never mind up against, say, the culmination of a twelve year superhero franchise

Directed by Michael Engler
Starring Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton, Allen Leech, Jim Carter, Robert James-Collier, Phyllis Logan, Brendan Coyle, Joanne Froggatt, Lesley Nichol, Kevin Doyle, Sophie McShera, Raquel Cassidy, Michael C. Fox, Matthew Goode, Harry Hadden-Paton, Geraldine James, Simon Jones, Max Brown, Tuppence Middleton, Stephen Campbell-Moore, David Haig and Imelda Staunton

Six seasons…

Downton Abbey was a wildly successful and critically-acclaimed British period drama, created by Julian Fellowes and following the fortunes of the family of the Crawley family, hereditary Earls of Grantham, and their domestic staff between 1912 and 1925, somewhat in the style of the earlier hit Upstairs, Downstairs. The current Earl, Robert Crawley (Bonneville), and his wife Cora (McGovern) – an American heiress – had three daughters – Mary (Dockery), the fabulous one, Edith (Carmichael), the plain one, and Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay), the socially conscious one – and no sons, leading to the co-option into the family of heir presumptive Matthew (Dan Stevens), an upper-middle class solicitor and his mother, Isobel (Wilton). After much humming and hahing and a World War, Mary married Matthew. Sibyl married the Irish Republican chauffeur, Tom (Leech), while Edith had a series of desperately tragic romances. Sibyl and Matthew both died in childbirth (men can do this in Downton, as a result of what I assume to be a family curse which means that every time a baby is born, someone dies,) and Mary later married the dashing Henry Talbot (Goode) after a series of flings, and Edith finally got her happy ending with Bertie Pelham (Hadden-Paton), Marquess of Hexham.

Below stairs, the Butler Carson (Carter) and housekeeper Mrs Hughes (Logan) ran herd on a rotating staff of footmen and maids, including slowly-reforming bastard and future under-butler Barrow (James-Collier) and nice new boy Andy (Fox), older footman Moseley (Doyle) and maid Baxter (Cassidy), will-they-won’t-they personal servants Bates (Coyle), Grantham’s valet, and Anna (Froggatt), Lady Mary’s maid, and the cook Mrs Patmore (Nicol) and her long-suffering, socially-ambitious kitchen maid Daisy (McShera). Bates and Anna got married after being the dumping ground for about 70% of the Abbey’s melodrama (and a rape subplot, because that was apparently necessary,) and Barrow became Butler when Carson retired due to ill-health.

By the final Christmas special, all ended happily, and all under the gimlet gaze of Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham (Smith), she of the acid tongue and the silent ‘bitch’.

…and a movie

Flash forward a mere four years, and they made a movie, at which point half the country went absolutely mad for fear that their favourite happy ending would be scotched, that Barrow would revert to type, or that Edith would be plunged back into the misery she was left in when her past fiance left her pregnant after being murdered by the SA in the Beer Hall Putsch.

Continue reading Rebourne – Downton Abbey (2019)

Rebourne: The Lion King (2019)

“Find your place in the circle of life.”

Directed by Jon Favreau
Starring Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and James Earl Jones

The Original

Touted at the time as Disney’s first original feature film, The Lion King was the fifth film in the Disney Renaissance, and the most successful offering of that period by a substantial margin, as well as playing a substantial role in the spread of major animation studios such as Dreamworks Animation. The film is a coming of age adventure, folowing young lion Simba (Matthew Broderick) as he grows up in exile and returns to face his wicked uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) and avenge the murder of his father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones). It caught a storm of controversy over similarities to Kimba the White Lion, the English language dub of a Japanese anime film called Jungle Emperor Leo, but remains one of the iconic products of the House of Mouse.

The Remake

In 2019, The Lion King became the latest movie from the Disney back-catalogue to receive a ‘live-action’ remake, directed by the man who did the same to The Jungle Book. I use sarcastic quotes because, unlike the 2016 The Jungle Book, there is no human presence, and in fact what we have is almost – or perhaps actually – entirely computer animation.

Simba (JD McCrary) is the son of Mufasa (Jones) and Sarabi (Woodard), the King of the Pridelands and the leader of the lionesses who hunt for and defend the pride. While Mufasa and his adviser the hornbill Zazu (Oliver) try to guide Simba towards a positive model of altruistic monarchy, his brooding uncle Scar (Ejiofor) plots to seize power.

Continue reading Rebourne: The Lion King (2019)

REBOURNE: Men in Black International (2019)

“The world’s not going to save itself.

Directed by F. Gary Gray
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Bourgeois, Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson

The Original

Men in Black was a science-fiction action comedy, made on a modest budget, which became a huge sleeper hit in 1997. Pairing Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as Agents J and K, the newest and oldest field agents for the Men in Black, a secret organisation which polices alien activity on Earth, which is run as a neutral port for galactic refugees and travellers. The combination of Jones’ assured presence and the meteoric rising star of Smith – this was the role, coupled with 1996’s Independence Day, that catapulted him from surprisingly solid rapper and TV actor turned support player to bona fide superstar – with a sharp script and pacy, gonzo plot about a giant cockroach trying to steal the ultimate energy source produced a real standout of nineties SF cinema, and spawned two sequels of… less outstanding quality.

In 2002, Men in Black II spent a chunk of its runtime undoing the ending of the first movie for the sake of the magic pairing of Smith and Jones, and replaces the pathetically terrifying prospect of an impossibly tough and powerful insect in a rotting Vincent d’Onofrio suit with an alien disguised as an underwear model and trows in some unnecessary backstory and a bunch of poop and boob gags for good measure. It… wasn’t good.

Do not believe that quote.

It was to be another ten years before 2012’s Men in Black 3 added time travel and fourth-wall breaking to the mix, and threw in some more unnecessary back story as an alien supercriminal tried to pre-murder K. By this point the shine was definitely off, and as good as Smith and Jones are, they really didn’t seem to give a shit anymore.

Calls for another sequel were virtually non-existent, but the franchise had just enough juice left for another run to be considered worthwhile. With Smith and Jones unwilling, unavailable, or just because the response to MIB 3 was so disappointing, the studio opted for a soft reboot that would expand the franchise to an international stage and be called… Men in Black International.

The Soft Reboot

In 1996, Molly Wright meets an alien, and sees her parents neuralised by the MIB. Twenty years later, Agents H (Hemsworth) and High T (Neeson) face an attempted invasion by an alien force called the Hive at the gateway to (Tomorrowland) at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Three years after that, Molly (Thompson), having failed to get the FBI or the CIA to recruit her to ‘the department that deals with up there,’ finally manages to track down the MIB in New York, where Agent O (other Thompson) recruits her as a probationary agent with the designation ‘M’.

Continue reading REBOURNE: Men in Black International (2019)

Rebourne: The Predator (2018)

“The Hunt Has Evolved”

Directed by Shane Black
Starring Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Sterling K. Brown and Yvonne Strahovsky

The Original

In 1987’s Predator, an alien hunter comes to Earth and stalks an elite US military rescue team led by Major Dutch Schaeffer (Arnold Schwarzenegger, at the height of his powers.) As in the previous year’s Aliens, it opened with all the trappings of a war movie – muscular action heroes of the 80s breed, mowing down hundreds of nameless enemies without regard to cover or return fire – and then throws these characters up against an unearthly foe that they are utterly unprepared to face. Both embracing and puncturing the machismo of the period, it is rightly remembered as a classic, and was followed by a sequel in 1990 which wasn’t half bad, and did the same thing with a violent action cop movie as Predator did with jungle warfare.

There followed a twenty year gap – I don’t count the Alien vs. Predator movies, because they were a pile of crap, and they didn’t show up until 14 and 17 years after Predator 2 anyway – before Predators in 2010, which pitted a group of abducted hardcases against a trio of bigger, better, faster, more Xtreme Predators on a planet which served as a game run. Predators was produced by Robert Rodriguez, who had plans for further sequels, but they never materialised.

Fast forward eight more years…

The Late Sequel

When a fugitive Predator (Brian A. Prince) crash lands in South America, US sniper Quinn McKenna (Holbrook) loses his unit. Fearing that he will be swept under the rug by the government, McKenna mails the Predator’s mask and wrist computer to a PO box and swallows a cloaking device, only for these to fall into the hands of his son Rory (Tremblay) when the PO box is closed and the package delivered to Rory and his mother, Emily (Strahovsky).

Continue reading Rebourne: The Predator (2018)

Rebourne: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

“The Game Has Evolved”

Directed by Jake Kasdan
Starring Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Nick Jonas and Bobby Cannavale

The Original

Years after a boy is sucked into a mysterious board game, two more children find the game and begin to play. In order to avoid getting trapped themselves, they must play the game to the end, and in the process learn some important lessons about themselves.

The Late Sequel

In 1996 a teenager finds, but sets aside the Jumanji board game. To lure him in, it becomes a computer game. Twenty years later, four mismatched students – nerdy gamer Spencer (Alex Wolff), jock Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), queen bee Bethany (Madison Iseman) and angry young woman Martha (Morgan Turner) – are given detention and tasked with clearing out old papers from the basement. There they find the game, and it pulls them in.

Continue reading Rebourne: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Rebourne: Blade Runner 2049

Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Starring Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, Jared Leto

The Original

1984’s Blade Runner was and is one of the seminal works of cinematic science fiction. It secured the place of Ridley Scott in the roster of great directors, whatever missteps he might take in the future, and alongside fellow class of 84 alumnus Neuromancer it shaped the genre that became known as cyberpunk.

The Late Sequel

Driving with a thousand-yard stare on his face is kind of Gosling’s jam.

In 2049, Replicants are made by a new company in an even larger and more opulent pyramidal HQ than that of the Tyrell Corporation. Under the guidance of Niander Wallace (Leto), a new line of obedient Replicants has been produced, including K (Gosling), who works under LAPD Lieutenant Joshi (Wright) as a Blade Runner, retiring the remaining Nexus 8 Replicants who survived an unsuccessful rebellion in 2020.

Continue reading Rebourne: Blade Runner 2049

Rebourne: The Mummy (2017)

“Welcome to a New World of Gods and Monsters”

Directed by Alex Kurtzman
Starring Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Marwan Kenzari, Russell Crowe

The Original

Boris Karlof. Not an Egyptian.

The first Mummy movie – and, as the original Universal Mummy, the direct ancestor of this current version – was The Mummy (1932), starring Boris Karloff as Imhotep, an Egyptian priest, mummified alive for the blasphemy of trying to restore his girlfriend Ankh-es-en-amon. Restored to life by someone carelessly reading aloud from a scroll, Imhotep seeks forthe reincarnation of his love, intending to kill and mummify her, so that Ankh-es-en-amon can be returned as an immortal mummy. In the nick of time, the girl in question remembers enough of her past life to call on Isis, whose statue ends Imhotep’s unlife with a god laser to the magic scroll.

There have been roughly a shit-tonne of mummy movies since, including a Hammer Horror series, beginning with The Mummy in 1959 which featured Christopher Lee as the title character, Kharis.

Ladies.

The Hammer series wrapped up with Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb in 1971, a rather histrionic adaptation of Bram Stoker’s ‘Jewel of the Seven Stars’ which featured a rare instance of a female Mummy (Valerie Leon).

The next major entry – as opposed to direct to video efforts – was Stephen Somers The Mummy, a 1999 super-loose remake of the 1932 film, but bigger, dumber and just… a whole lot of fun. Featuring Brendan Fraser as adventurer Rick O’Connell and Rachael Weisz as librarian Evelyn Carnahan, this version was a rollicking adventure with an emotionally tough heroine who displayed genuine agency. It was followed by the vastly inferior The Mummy Returns (2001) and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), which had an interesting idea, but poor execution and a marked lack of Weisz (Maria Bello stepping into the role with an iffy accent.) It also span off the Scorpion King series, so there’s that to thank it for.

Not going to lie to you; I missed these guys.

The Remake

The new version is the first film in the ‘Dark Universe’, Universal’s somewhat delayed (Dracula Untold was intneded to be the first, but has since been detached from the franchise) attempt to get on the expanded universe gravy train.

In 1197, a group of crusader knights bury their comrade with a significant red gem. In the present day, the tomb is discovered by Crossrail excavation and taken over by a mysterious group of archaeologists in black, led by a man we will later learn to be Dr Henry Jekyll (Crowe), who proceeds to translate and narrate the story of Ahmanet (Boutella), an Egyptian princess of the New Kingdom who responded to being disinherited in favour of her infant brother by murdering her father, stepmother and the baby after making a pact to bring the god Set into the world. Prevented from completing the ritual, she is mummified alive and buried far from Egypt.

Continue reading Rebourne: The Mummy (2017)

Rebourne: Power Rangers (2017)

This understated early poster is pretty cool.

“It’s Morphin’ Time”

Directed by Dean Israelite
Starring Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks

The Original

After astronauts on the Moon open a space dumpster and release the space witch Rita Repulsa, space wizard Zordon and his irritating robot sidekick recruit five ‘teenagers with attitude’ to become the Power Rangers and battle Rita, launching a multi-series franchise which worked by revamping many largely unconnected Japanese super sentai series through a mix of voice dubbing and new footage for the Western market.

Spandex!

The Reboot

On primeval Earth, a team of armoured, alien warriors led by Zordon (Cranston) are killed battling an enemy named Rita (Banks), but drop a rock on her before she can seize the crystal she was pursuing. Millennia after, the town of Angel Grove has grown up over the site. High school football star Jason Scott (Montgomery) wrecks his future by sneaking a cow into a rival school’s locker room then crashing his car while fleeing police. He winds up in long-term detention with disgraced cheerleader Kimberley Hart (Scott) and autistic tinkerer Billy Cranston (Cyler), and the three of them end up at the town’s gold mine at the same time as the rebellious Trini (G) and reckless Zack (Lin) when Billy unearths a wall of volcanic glass from which they remove five medallions which quickly prove to have mysterious powers.

Continue reading Rebourne: Power Rangers (2017)