1997 Movie Review: SCREAM 2, 1997 (dir. Wes Craven)

 

AWAY WE GO MOVIE POSTER
SCREAM 2, 1997
Movie Reviews

Directed by Wes Craven
Starring: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Jada Pinkett Smith, Omar Epps, Liev Schreiber, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jamie Kennedy, Jerry O’Connell, Laurie Metcalf
Review by Matthew Toffolo

SYNOPSIS:

It has been two years since the tragic events at Woodsboro. Sidney Prescott and Randy Meeks are trying to get on with their lives, and are currently both students at Windsor College. Cotton Weary is out of prison, and is trying to cash in on his unfortunate incarceration. Gale Weathers has written a bestseller, “The Woodsboro Murders,” which has been turned into the film, “Stab,” starring Tori Spelling as Sidney. As the film’s play date approaches, the cycle of death begins anew. Dewey Riley immediately flies out of Woodsboro to try to protect Sidney, his “surrogate sister.” But in this sequel to the 1996 horror film, the number of suspects only goes down as the body count slowly goes up!

 

REVIEW:

TRIVIA: Scream 2 actually beat Titanic at the weekend box office when it opened in December 1997. Titanic then went on to go #1 at the box office everyday for straight 5 months and eventually became the biggest grossing film of all-time. But, Scream 2 can say that it topped it when it went head to head.

Going back and watching this Scream sequel really got me very nostalgic. I remember sitting in the theater with my friends and really giving live play by play commentary of the film while it was happening. This is just one of those films. Of course now I hate it when others do this at it happened to me during a screening of My Bloody Valentine as people were talking so much, I couldn’t pay attention to the movie. But when you’re in your early 20s, you tend to be a little selfish. So I apologize to all the people who were sitting around us during the screening. We were jerks.

Scream 2 is one of those films that is probably more suited for a home viewing than watching it in the theater. It’s a campy film and you really can’t take it all that seriously. That said, the storytelling and characters are done well so you are definitely into the ‘what’s going to happen next’ feeling. You are definitely emotionally involved while you also get many of the wink-wink jokes during the climatic moments. The original Superman films are like this too. One moment of action leads to another moment campy comedy. Someone getting killed leads to people sitting around and chatting about horror films and their cliches. This is a film that is many things to many people. It’s a horror, a thriller, a crime movie, a mystery and most definitely a comedy. A hard thing to pull off but director Wes Craven really found the original tone that was in the script and put it on screen. Him and writer Kevin Williamson created a new movie recipe and they succeeded all the way to the bank.

When watching this film I was also surprised of all the actors who are household names or actors I respect that I completely forgot was in the film. Jada Pinkett Smith and Omar Epps play the two characters that ‘open’ the film like Drew Barrymore did in the first film. They play up how Horror films are a white man’s genre and you never see black people in the movie. As soon as you see then on screen, you know they are doomed. Craven and Williamson were pointing out to the world that they are not prejustice and even blacks can get killed in the movies. And they aren’t the killers.

Heather Graham, Luke Wilson and Tori Spelling play the ‘movie’ versions of the characters in Scream. A great campy plot as we jump into a film within a film. Luke Wilson especially was hilarious to see as at the time he was just an actor starting out and had only one credit on his resume.

Sarah Michelle Gellar, who was just getting going in her Buffy TV show, appears as well in a great ‘stab’ scene. So does pre-Dawson Creek’s Joshua Jackson who was also just starting out in the biz. Portia de Rossi and Rebecca Gayheart play the sexy sorority sisters. Jerry O’Connell plays Sidney’s boyfriend (who has an extremely awkward Top Gunish music scene in the school cafeteria) who could be the killer. And Liev Schreiber, who really only had a cameo role in the first Scream film, plays the obnoxious but charming Cotton Weary. You can tell in this role that Schreiber had something unique as he could change from sexy to scary in one emotional beat. And was an actor who definitely had a big future ahead of him.

And then there’s Timothy Olyphant. An actor I had no idea was in the film. I loved Olyphant in his role in the HBO series Deadwood. When he’s not donning a mustache, he’s a very creepy looking character. And because of that he sort of tips the hat of the film’s conclusion. Or perhaps not because he seems to be the obvious killer.

Of course this again is Sidney’s (Neve Campbell), Dewey’s (David Arquette) and Gale’s (Courteney Cox) film. Sidney is you classic main character. Strong, determined, vulnerable and haunted by past events. Arquette and Cox have fantastic on-screen chemistry (and off-screen too as they are married) and seeing that in the first film, the creators I’m sure made sure they had a lot of screen time together in the 2nd film. They are almost like a comedy team with a little romance mixed in. The geek and the princess.

Courteney Cox’s roles in these films should be pointed out as she is remarkable. If her performance doesn’t work, then the film doesn’t. We have to view Gale as a bitch with an agenda but also like her a great deal too. Her character too in Scream 2 also has the biggest emotional arcs happening. She’s the one who’s changing the most from the beginning to end.

Campbell’s role could be categorized as almost boring as it’s hard to find a storyline for her that wasn’t done in the first film. She delivers an almost thankless performance because she has after all the only ‘non sexy’ role in the film. She’s sexy but the role she plays is the role of the straightman. She must act in a thriller genre to keep the overall tone of the movie intact while all the other roles get to play it up and be campy. Sidney is the straw the stirs the drink of the movie and these type of roles can get forgotten. But if you don’t have it played well, then you don’t have a film.

Scream 2 also plays up on the sequel film. It asks the question of what sequel was better than the original in movie history. And ‘wink-wink’, is Scream 2 better than the original? Not really but it’s not bad.

SCREAM 2, 1997

Happy Birthday: Jada Pinkett Smith

jadapinkettsmithJada Pinkett Smith

Born: September 18, 1971 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Married to: Will Smith (31 December 1997 – present) (2 children)

Will is a very interesting, unique man, and I’ll tell you why. He makes love like a woman. He loves to touch, massage and feel. He makes love like he’s in touch with himself, who he is. And he’s a very sensual, incredible lovemaker.

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BAD MOMS (USA 2016) ***

bad_momsBAD MOMS (USA 2016) ***

Directors: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore

Stars: Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate

Review by Gilbert Seah

he story centres on a young mother, Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis) who appears to have the perfect family. She has a good mortgage broker husband, two smart over-achieving children and a career. But she is overworked and the husband does not do much except maybe watch porn. She catches him, kicks him out and finally has had it at being a good mom. Teaming with two friends Carla (Kathyrn Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell) who she gets drunk with, she decides, with them to f*** it and become BAD MOMS. Amy does not make breakfast for her kids anymore and stops going to her meaningless job meetings.

The film picks picks up when the three meet the good moms headed by the head of the PTA, Gwendolyn Jones (Christina Applegate). The war starts when Amy decide to run for the post of the head of the PTA.

If the film sound trivial, it actually is. But the script by Lucas and and Moore, treats its subject very seriously. This is the comedy duo that did the successful HANGOVER male raunchy comedies. BAD MOMS does the same for the opposite sex. So expect lots of foul language and lewd humour. The moms here get drunk, laid and stoned. For the most part, the males (husbands) in the film are all idiots (like the black school principal), clueless (Amy’s husband) or sexual objects (sexy latino Jay Hernandez s Amy’s fling). But as the script is written by two guys, some redeeming qualities are written into Amy’s husband’s character as the two do share a moment and hug, after a big quarrel.

One of the best things about BAD MOMS is actress Kathryn Hahn. She has a supporting role as Carla, one of Amy’s best friends who drinks and sleeps her way as a ultra bad mom. Hahn has the ability to do both drama and comedy exceptionally well. In the recent CAPTAIN FANTASTIC, she played the victimized mom at the dinner table. In BAD MOMS she proves she is versatile also as an antagonist, Carla. When not spurring Amy on to do bad things, her character is hounding other victims. Hahn brings the most laughs in the movie, steals very scene and still has the audience wanting for more. It would be difficult to imagine how funny the film would be without her.

The product placements (Arby’s and Bed Bath and Beyond) are a little too obvious. The supermarket sequence where the three go on a drunken shopping spree is simply priceless. Hahn is the funniest of the three. This segment alone is worth the price of the ticket. The film includes two cameos by Martha Stewart (very funny) and Wanda Sykes (not so funny).

BAD MOMS ends up a guilty pleasure for all mothers. There are quite a lot of mothers out there that make up a good target audience number. The film should do for females what The HANGOVER films did for the males. Even the males can sit through and laugh through BAD MOMS.