American Graffiti (1973) Movie Review

Director: George Lucas

Writer: George Lucas, Gloria Katz, Willard Huyck (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips

Plot: A couple of high school grads spend one final night cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun 70’s Comedy

Story: American Graffiti starts in the final day of summer vacation, Curt (Dreyfuss), Steve (Howard), John (Le Mat) and Terry (Smith) are all about to start the next stage of their lives, so before they do they want to spend one last night on the strip of their own town.

Over the night Curt must decide whether he wants to follow through with his college plans, Steve is caught up trying to keep his relationship with Laurie (Williams) together or call it quits before the move, John is facing the reality he isn’t ready to face the future without his friend and Terry is trying to find his cool after getting to look after Steve’s car, trying his luck with the ladies after years of rejection.

Thoughts on American Graffiti

Characters – Curt has always enjoyed his time on the strip, he knows everybody and is one of the most popular guys around, he was due to head of the college, but hasn’t made his mind up yet, despite it needing to be read for his next day, he ends up trying to spend his time chasing a mysterious woman around town all night. Steve has always planned his life out, he is going off to college and he is ready to make his relationship more open while they are separated, here he gets to learn about his relationship even if his best friend might not be joining him in college. John is the friend that has always been known for his ability with cars, he has a reputation around town with the police following him around and now he is starting to see the future where his friends are doing a lot more than him and gets stuck with a younger girl for the night, where he starts to see a brighter side to his future. Terry has always been the butt of most of the jokes between the friends, now he gets Steve’s car to look after he spends the night trying to find himself a woman and impress her with his lines.

PerformancesWhen we look at the cast, Richard Dreyfuss is great through the film showing us a character that can get plenty of laughs and is quick on his feet. Ron Howard brings the character we know him for is always going to be easy for him to play. Paul Le Mat brings the typical bad boy to life that does show how he bought us a level of sympathy to the character. Charles Martin Smith brings the geeky sounding character out which become one of the most popular characters in these teen comedies for years to come.

StoryThe story here follows four friends on the last day of summer before college is due to start, we see how the four have a different adventure on this night, which will help them discover what they want next in their lives. This is a story that shows just how difficult life is when you take the next step, leaving school is one of the first and biggest anybody will take, with the uncertainty being there for everybody involved, part of you will want to stay close to what you already had, while other sides of this will see you wanting to see what is next. This story mixes all of this together through the film with little effort and makes you believe these people could be real, while certain aspects will have dated here, with a new generation, back n the 1970s this would have been the idea of the house party in the 80s or 90s and wild adventure the modern youth would be having.

Comedy The comedy in this film would be right up there with any teen comedies, it would have gotten more laughs for when it was released, rather than the ones you would expect to see now.

SettingsThe film is set in one hang out location known as the strip, this will be the location where we get all the hang outs you would expect for teens in this generation.

Scene of the Movie – Terry’s attempts to get boozes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The world involved does seem to have dated.

Final Thoughts This is a wonderful look at teenage life in the 70s it shows us just how close the friendships were, how hard the changes coming were and just what was left for the people in life.

Overall: Beautiful Look at the 70s.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – O – Olympus Has Fallen (2013) Movie Review

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt (Screenplay)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Rick Yune, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Dylan McDermott, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell

Plot: Disgraced Secret Service agent (and former presidential guard) Mike Banning finds himself trapped inside the White House in the wake of a terrorist attack; using his inside knowledge, Banning works with national security to rescue the President from his kidnappers.

Tagline – When our flag falls our nation will rise. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Action-Packed Thriller

Story: Olympus Has Fallen starts after disgraced secret service agent Mike Banning (Butler) has found an office job near the White House after failing to save President Benjamin Asher’s (Eckhart) wife after an accident. With the President holding talks with the South Korean Prime Minister, Washington comes under attack with the President finding safety is the bunker, only to learn known terrorist Kang (Yune) has been planning this attack for a long time.

Mike Banning finds his way into a battered White House to help save the President’s son first before looking to rescue the President with his only communication being from the current leaders of the country, can he save the day from this ruthless terrorist.

Thoughts on Olympus Has Fallen

Characters – Mike Banning was once the President’s closest friend in the secret service, the one his trust, he lost this trust after an accident sees Mike choosing to save the President over his wife (even though that is his job). He is left disgraced, but always ready to protect his country and his president, which he will have to do today, showing off all of his military training to take on the full army of enemies stood in his way. Mike is clearly designed to be like John McClane too, with how he goes about dealing with the enemies. President Benjamin Asher is a much-loved President, he is looking to help South Korea with the problem they are facing from the North only to find himself held captive, he doesn’t want to see his team injured or killed, forcing them to help give away the codes Kang wants, trying to prove America won’t negotiate with terrorists. Kang is the terrorist that has been known to the world by name, never face, until today, he takes over the White House with his men and wants the President to help him withdraw forces in the oceans around South Korea, he isn’t afraid to kill people to get what he wants and will make the President watch too. Speaker Trumbull takes control of the country with the President and Vice-President held captive, he must help make the difficult decisions which could see people killed.

PerformancesGerard Butler is intense as the action hero, we know he is always going to be strong in these type of films and here is no different. Aaron Eckhart as the president is always going to be a good choice because he does have a calming presence which we saw in places during The Dark Knight. Rick Yune as the villain is strong showing his cold side through the film, while Morgan Freeman does lead a strong cast through the table of power.

StoryThe story here follows a disgraced secret service agent that will get the chance to redeem his name after the President is taken hostage in the White House by a terrorist. This is a pure action film, it does everything that we saw in the likes of Die Hard, with one man needing to do everything he can to save the hostage, which just so happens to be the President. We don’t get many twists or turns along the way, with everything just being what we need to keep us guessing to what will happen next, because we know Mike isn’t going to be losing along the way. The side of the story which does shine, comes from just how deadly the terrorists are by how many people they are willing to kill.

Action The action in the film does include large scale destruction with bodies flying everywhere, we do calm this down with a much more scaled down approach within the walls, but this is still showing us how good Butler is at action.

SettingsThe film is set in the White House, one of the safest places and hardest to break into, this does help show how dangerous this situation has become because the people being held hostage have the power to destroy the world.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the special effects, this could well be the weakest part of the film because we see a clearly CGI attack happening from the outset, which looks like it has dated badly.

Scene of the Movie – The attack might well have CGI issues, but the scale is brilliant.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Seems too easy to pull off.

Final Thoughts This is a pure fun action movie that easily knows what it is, with it being action packed fun, it is one man verses an army which is all we need at times.

Overall: Big action spectacle.