Soylent Green (1973)

Director: Richard Fleischer

Writer: Stanley R Greenberg (Screenplay) Harry Harrison (Novel)

Starring: Charlton Heston, Leigh Taylor-Young, Chuck Connors, Joseph Cotton, Brock Peters, Paula Kelly

 

Plot: In the world ravaged by the greenhouse effect and overpopulation, an NYPD detective investigates the murder of a big company CEO.

 

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shocking

 

Story: Soylent Green starts in the year 2022 where Soylent Red and Yellow have been the main food source for the over-populated New York City that has people sleeping in stairs, barely any space to move and huge unemployment. There is now a new product called Soylent Green from the deepest part of the ocean offering everything the human body needs for an affordable price.

When the rich socialite William Simonson (Cotten) is murdered, Detective Thorn (Heston) is assigned to solve the murder with the Furniture a woman that comes with the apartment named Shirl (Taylor-Young) being one of the main suspects, along with the bodyguard Tab Fielding (Connors).

As Thorn continues his investigation he learns that this murder seems to be more of an assassination and the deeper he digs the more shocking the truth is that he discovers.

 

Thoughts on Soylent Green

 

Characters/PerformanceDetective Thorn is assigned to solve the murder of one of the richest men in New York City. He is poor but does just about have his own apartment, whenever he visits one of the high sociality people he takes the luxuries he doesn’t have, he won’t give up on solving the case however big the cover up he is taking on. Shirl is the ‘Furniture’ that lives in the apartment of the victim, she services the owners needs whenever the desire and come as part of the apartment, she becomes the love interest for Thorn. The rest of the characters are involved in what could be the cover-up, work with Thorn or know it is better to keep their mouths shut.

Performance wise, Charlton Heston is great in the leading role, we all know he was a dominating force for the time and this is no different. Leigh Taylor-Young is good as Shirl but mostly is just used for bit of eye candy. The rest of the cast are all good even if there are a couple of overacted fight sequences.

StoryThe story focuses on the future where people have over-populated the world, food supplies run low and the rich still stay well above the poor. The social side of the film is brilliant seeing how the rich believe they can get away with anything to make sure they stay rich even stepping on the poor. The ending is one most people will know now but must be considered as one of the most shocking of the time as well as playing out as a warning to the ever-increasing number people living on the planet.

Crime/Mystery/Sci-FiThe crime side of the film is the murder and potential cover up being exposed, this also plays into the mystery of the film. the sci-fi side of everything shows us just how bleak a potential future could become.

SettingsNew York City is always known for the crowds of people, this film uses this as the setting to show us just how bad it could get it the population boom never slowed down.

Final ThoughtsThe ending is what made this film so famous even today, you can see why too because this does have a shocking ending that will leave in shock even to this day.

 

Overall: One of the most shocking sci-fi films ever made.

Rating

 

 

Christopher Lee Weekend – The Wicker Man (1973)

wickerDirector: Robin Hardy

Writer: Anthony Shaffer (Screenplay)

Starring: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, Lindsay Kemp, Rseell Waters

 

Plot: A police sergeant is sent to a Scottish island village in search of a missing girl whom the townsfolk claim never existed. Stranger still are the rites that take place there.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Classic

 

Story: The Wicker Man starts as Sergeant Howie (Woodward) flies to Summerisle a remote island of the coast of Scotland to investigate the case of a missing child Rowan Morrison. Howie finds the island to be very strange and not the most welcoming to strangers but they understand he is the law. While Howie continues to see the strange events on the island Lord Summerisle comes to the inn to see Willow (Eklund) the Goddess of love.

Howie meeting the Lord discovers that the island has created its own beliefs against any Christian ones he has with the belief that the Pagan way of life is no longer respected the way the island follows it.

Finding himself stranded on the island Howie gets to experience the May Day festival which would give him all the answers to what happened to the missing girl.

The Wicker Man is considered one of the greatest horror movies of all time and watching it you can see why. The horror comes from how a cult can have such a belief in something that they could become the most dangerous group imaginable. The story does a very good balance between religion beliefs and how they can cause the difference between people which we see in the shocking finale which will forever go down as one of the most shocking in horror.

Woodward is great as the detective with the Christian belief that is trying his hardest to do everything by the book. Christopher Lee gives one of his most terrifying performances as the lord of this cult staying calm and fully believing everything his character is doing is correct. The rest of the cast are all great without being anything truly stand out apart from Eklund who plays the very seductive character with the famous dancing scene.

 

Overall: One of the boldest and bravest horrors ever made.

Ratingcard

 

 

Don’t Look Now (1973)

casting card

 

Plot: A married couple grieving the recent death of their little daughter are in Venice when they encounter two elderly sisters, one of whom is psychic and brings a warning from beyond.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Wow

 

Story: Don’t Look Now starts as we see the Baxter family Laura (Christie), John (Sutherland) and children Johnny (Salter) & Christine (Williams) around the everyday home life before tragedy strikes as Christine drowns in the pond.

Trying to move on with their lives they move back to work in Italy as John is a historical restorer. When the two have a dinner two strange sisters Heather (Mason) and Wendy (Matania) claim to be able to see Christine sitting between them. We see the couple dealing with the loss in their own way while Laura wants to communicate John doesn’t believe any of this supernatural side of the story.

When Laura talks John into at least trying to communicate with Christine through Heather and Wendy who predict that John’s life is in danger while in Venice and when their son gets hurt back in England Laura returns home leaving John alone in Venice but when he sees his wife with the sisters still in Venice he starts investigating himself but is he ready for the truth?

Don’t Look Now is a film that I had heard so much great about and usually when I go into films that have been hyped up I feel slightly disappointed. With this one I was on the edge of my seat from start until finish just wanting to know what would happen next, the story does make you think from start to finish which is very important and after the final act you are left going wait I need to see this again. This is how to make a horror film and it still stands the test of time nearly 50 years later.

 

Actor Review

 

Julie Christie: Laura is the wife and mother that is suffering after the loss of their daughter, she is in Venice with her husband trying her best to get over the tragedy. She meets to strange sisters that offer her a chance to communicate with her lost daughter in what becomes her believe anything they say. Julie is great in this role being the paranoid mother trying to find that final chance to say goodbye.

Donald Sutherland: John is a historical restorer that gets a strange feeling something is wrong with his daughter only to be too late to save her. Returning to work in Venice he tries to bury himself in his work but when Laura starts believing he is in danger he is having none of it until he is alone in Venice and things start happening. Donald is great in this role as you feel his frustration and depression about what has happened in this life.

Hilary Mason: Heather is the blind one of the two sisters who claims to be able to communicate with the dead, she also claims to be able to see the dead who send out warnings to their loved ones. Hilary is great in this role working with Clelia perfectly.

Clelia Matania: Wendy is the other sister that is the seeing eyes for the pair, she approaches Laura to offer her a chance to know Christine is still with them but also warning they are not entertainers. Clelia is great with her work with Hilary making a very creepy pairing.

Support Cast: Don’t Look Now has a supporting cast which mostly Italians that only speak slight English that never get subtitles.

Director Review: Nicolas RoegNicolas gives us a horror with brilliant shots that give each and every scene an element of fear.

 

Horror: Don’t Look Now is filled with suspense filled horror that is in every single scene making us want to see what will happen.

Thriller: Don’t Look Now keeps us one edge through the whole film wonder where it will go.

Settings: Don’t Look Now uses the Venice settings wonderfully as we see the tight streets with the echo filled footsteps.
Special Effects
: Don’t Look Now isn’t a film that turns to effects much but when it does it all seems to come off well.

Suggestion: Don’t Look Now is one I think all horror fans should watch at least once mostly due to the tension it creates through each scene. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Final act.

Worst Part: No subtitles for the Italian talking, so not sure if anything was important or not.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Won a BAFTA for Cinematography as well as nominated for Best Film, Actress and Direction.

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $1,5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

Tagline: A psychic thriller.

Trivia: In the UK the film was released to theaters on double feature with The Wicker Man (1973).

 

Overall: Amazing suspenseful horror film.

Ratingcard

 

 

The Sting (1973)

rob challengeRob’s picked for me to watch is the multi Oscar winning The Sting, let’s see what I thought.

 sting

Director: George Roy Hill

Writer: David S Ward (Screenplay)

Starring: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw, Charles Durning, Ray Walston, Harold Gould, Eileen Brennan

 

Plot: In Chicago in September 1936, a young con man seeking revenge for his murdered partner teams up with a master of the big con to win a fortune from a criminal banker.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bit of a Drag

 

Story: The Sting starts when young con artist Johnny Hooker (Redford) steals from the mob leading to his long-time partner and mentor to be killed. Johnny has to turn to experienced Henry Gondorff (Newman) to work the one big con against ruthless crime boss Doyle Lonnegan (Shaw).

We follow as the bog con unfolds and Henry and Johnny put together a team on fellow con artists for the bigger score of their lives.

The Sting is a heist movie that follows just one long play against one man in an act of revenge, just think it pretty much does what Ocean’s Eleven does by walking us through the whole con step by step. I will have to say the film does go on for too long for my liking and it all seems to just repeat itself with each tip given to Lonnegan. Add in the hapless police officer trying to catch Johnny and it all just seems to come off too long, repetitive and lacks the impact in the final pay off.

 

Actor Review

 

Paul Newman: Henry is the experienced con artist who Johnny turns to when he wants revenge for a friend’s death, he ends up putting the con together to make it al happen with his smooth talking style. Paul gives us a good performance in the role where he out smarts the villain.

 

Robert Redford: Johnny is the slick young con artist who ends up biting off more than he can chew when he takes money from a gangster. He must avenge his partner’s death with the help of the best in the business. Robert gives us a good performance from start to finish and is the star of the show.

 

Robert Shaw: Doyle is the mobster running the town and when he has money stolen from him he needs to make up for it but ends up becoming the target of the con artist who are out for their own form of revenge. Robert does a good job in this role shining against the flair characters.

 

Charles Durning: LT Snyder is the hapless detective trying to track down Johnny but always seems to lose him just when he thought he had him caught. Charles is the only remotely funny character in this film.

 

Support Cast: The Sting has a large supporting cast that all show the different side of the con people are and how ready each member is to deal with the consequences.

 

Director Review: George Roy HillGeorge does a good job directing this film that will be remember for years to come as it paved the way for the heist movie.

 

Comedy: The Sting doesn’t really have many laughs and it leaves me wondering how it is considered a comedy.

Crime: The Sting has a great heist element filling in the crime side of the story nicely.

Settings: The Sting has good settings being used making everything look like it would be the underworld of crime.

Suggestion: The Sting is on to try but if you don’t like older films you will struggle to enjoy this one. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Poker game.

Worst Part: Too long

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won 7 Oscars

Box Office: $159 Million

Budget: $5.5 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

Tagline: all it takes is a little Confidence.

Trivia: The movie was filmed on the backlot of Universal studios and the diner in which Hooker meets Lonnegan is the same diner interior used in Back to the Future (1985) in which Marty McFly first meets his father and calls Doc Brown.

 

Overall: Long heist film that all shows basic storytelling with the one heist going on.

Ratingcard