Tommy Lee Jones Weekend – Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)

Director: Irvin Kershner

Writer: John Carpenter, David Zelag Goodman (Screenplay)

Starring: Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Dourif, Rene Auberjonois, Raul Julia, Frank Adonis, Lisa Taylor

 

Plot: A famous fashion photographer develops a disturbing ability to see through the eyes of a killer.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Lil-Murder Mystery

 

Story: Eyes of Laura Mars starts as we meet fashion photographer Laura Mars (Dunaway) who is on top of the world with her work taking over the city, but her life is about to change when she seems to get visions of murders.

When she comes forward believing she saw the latest murder, detective John Neville (Jones) takes the case only to learn that Laura’s photos are strikingly similar to recent murders. When Laura starts to become paranoid about her visions she teams up with Neville to uncover the truth.

 

Thoughts on Eyes of Laura Mars

 

Characters/PerformanceLaura Mars is one of the most famous fashion photographers in the business, taking things to a new risky level. She finds herself seeing murders of her friends and must deal with trying to solve. John Neville is the nonsense detective that is working on the case and one of the few people that comes to understand what is happening to Laura.

Performance wise, Dunaway and Jones both show their full talents here showing how they can capture everything in their emotions through the different situations they are put through.

StoryThe story gives us a good mystery to solve as we only see the crimes committed through the eyes of our lead Laura Mars, we are left to guess who it could be as we are introduced to plenty of different suspects, while also diving into a potential morale question about how the fashion industry can be over sexualising the models.

Mystery/ThrillerWe are left on edge trying to figure out who the murderer is, we are given plenty of suspects which all could be the villain which is all we want from a mystery thriller.

SettingsThe big city is always a great setting for a murder mystery which is great but in the modern era of cinema would be very difficult to get the body count they do.

Special EffectsThe effects are all good through the film, whether it be the kills which are the main attraction for this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good thriller that has a mystery you just get drawn into trying to solve.

 

Overall: This is a film that should be watched by all the mystery fans.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Jaws 2 (1978)

Director: Jeannot Szwarc

Writer: Carl Gottlieb, Howard Sackler (Screenplay)

Starring: Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Joseph Mascolo, Jeffrey Kramer

 

Plot: Police chief Brody must protect the citizens of Amity after a second monstrous shark begins terrorizing the waters.


Tagline – Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks the Tension

 

Story: Jaws 2 starts with Brody (Scheider) having to go back to the basic problems in the town again, noise complaints being the hardest part of his day, or the wife Ellen (Gary) who is happy their eldest son still doesn’t have a job.

When a string of unusual shark attack along the coastline start happening again, Brody must once again go against the orders of Mayor Vaughn (Hamilton) to stop people getting killed, but this becomes more difficult when his own son goes against his request and takes to the ocean in his boat.

 

Thoughts on Jaws 2

 

Characters – Brody is now open to going out to sea in search for any sharks, when things start to look clear again, he finds himself questioning attacks in the area, which leads him getting into trouble and losing his job, this time he must fight the shark alone, but to save teenagers, which include his own children stranded in the ocean. Ellen is the wife of Brody, she works for the town which only adds to the confliction between the two when Brody starts panicking too early. Mayor Vaughn keeps his same stance through everything and that is about his character. We have a lot of annoying teenagers breaking the rules and boating.

PerformancesRoy Scheider is the highlight of the performances here, he carries every scene he is in and you generally switch off when he isn’t on camera. The rest of the performances are average while most of the teenager characters and performances just annoy you.

StoryThe story does feel like more of the same, all is calm now, but Brody won’t rest and when the shark returns he must rescue stranded teenagers which include his own children. This story does seem to have increased peril but does have decreased tension level because you don’t find yourself caring about the teenagers in peril and lose the colourful characters we had in the first film.

Adventure/HorrorThe adventure does side of things doesn’t connect enough, while the horror could be more intense.

SettingsWe are out at sea for longer point of the film, but it doesn’t help the film because it is just calm, attack, panic, calm, attack, panic calm on repeat.

Special EffectsThe effects are good for the time, but seeing the shark more takes away from the tension of the first film.


Scene of the Movie –
Brody versus the shark

That Moment That Annoyed Me The kids are annoying and stupid and I hate them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weaker sequel to much loved first film, it is carried by Roy Scheider while the rest of the cast struggle, but the final battle with the shark is a lot of fun.

 

Overall: Weaker sequel, but maybe not the worst.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – W – Watership Down (1978)

Director: Martin Rosen

Writer: Martin Rosen (Screenplay) Richard Adams (Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) John Hurt, Richard Briers, Michael Graham Cox, John Bennett, Ralph Richardson, Simon Cadell

 

Plot: A group of rabbits flee their doomed warren and face many dangers to find and protect their new home.


Tagline – All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and when they catch you, they will kill you… but first they must catch you.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disturbing Animation

 

Story: Watership Down starts when young rabbits Hazel and Fiver start to believe something is wrong with their warren a danger coming that will kill them all. Wanting to warm the warren, they see the chief rabbit, who dismisses their claims, forcing the rabbits to abandon the warren going against the traditions.

Hazel leads a group of rabbits across the English countryside in search for a new warren, where they must face enemies in nearly every turn in their journey.

 

Thoughts on Watership Down

 

Characters – Hazel is our brave leader rabbit, he knows how to handle the different rabbits in the warren and will always look after his little brother and follow his belief danger is coming to the warren. He is our reluctant hero of the story. Fiver is the rut of the litter, he sees danger coming to the warren wanting to leave and guide his fellow rabbits to safety. He is a nervous member of the group, with his belief guiding the rabbits to safety. Bigwig is the only authority in the rabbit council that will listen to Hazel, risking his own life to help them escape.

StoryThe story here has a couple of meanings, we can tackle the simple idea of a group of rabbits needing to find a new home because they are in fear of their current one, the journey side of everything it what you would expect and works wonderfully. The second side of this story looks and plays as a warning to humans that are taking wildlife’s homes away from them forcing them into the hostel nature towards each other.

Adventure/Family/ThrillerThe adventure does take our rabbits across the countryside, needing to take on and avoid new enemies waiting to make a meal out of them. The biggest weakness is seeing this as a family film, it is way to violent for the younger kids. It does however leave you on edge of your seats through the peril moments.

SettingsThe settings look at the English countryside which looks beautiful, we do go into the warrens too which shows the lives the rabbits live underground.

AnimationThe animation through the film adds to everything, it looks brilliant for the late 70s and while certain moment are slightly trippy, it is an achievement in film making.


Scene of the Movie –
Bright Eyes

That Moment That Annoyed Me The television version is edited way too much.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that gave me nightmares as a child, it does have an important message to mankind while also having an adventure story that is filled with perils around nearly every corner.

 

Overall: Dark animated movie.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Dawn of the Dead (1978)

dawnDirector: George A Romero

Writer: George A Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H Reinigner, Gaylen Ross, David Crawford, David Early, Richard France

 

Plot: Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Ultimate Classic Zombie Movie

 

Story: Dawn of the Dead starts as we see the panic of the original outbreak of the zombies where Stephen (Emge) trying to arrange Francine (Ross) to join him in getting out of the town. While they plan their escape police units are planning a bust on building where Roger (Reiniger) and Peter (Foree) form an alliance to escape the undead waves.

The four head off in a helicopter as they get to witness the destruction going on across America. Searching for safety the survivors find themselves coming across a new shopping mall, all locked up with few zombies inside.

Finding the mall has everything they need to survive the four survivors plan to clean out the mall before making it their safety zone as they see the number of zombies grow each day outside the mall.

Dawn of the Dead takes a look at the wave of consumers that took over America with the shopping malls being built which drove people to these malls over the small town business. Think of it like them all acting like zombies being pushed in one direction. This is the big political message behind this film which gets see loud and clear now. I do think this is one of the most interesting and best zombie movies ever made with the fact the group find what is an actual safe place and continue to make it safer for their survival. The special effects as terrifying for the time where we see the zombies take literally bites out of the people like they are pieces of cake.

 

Overall: Easily the greatest zombie film ever put to film.

Rating95

 

 

Superman (1978)

supermanDirector: Richard Donner

Writer: Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Robert Benton (Screenplay) Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster (Creator)

Starring: Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, New Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford, Margot Kidder

 

Plot: An alien orphan is sent from his dying planet to Earth, where he grows up to become his adoptive home’s first and greatest superhero.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Best Early Comic Book Film

 

Story: Superman starts when Jor-El (Brando) fears for this species future on Krypton goes against the wishes of the race and sends his baby son to Earth with preparation to understand the reasons in time. Just in time is appears as Krypton is destroyed.

Arriving on Earth the baby, named Clark is adopted by the Kent family who teach him how to hide his talents from the world, but a growing boy only wants to use his skills to impress. When his Earth father dies, Clark goes on his on quest to find himself only to learn the truth about his past.

Now a man Clark (Reeve) works as a journalist for Perry White (Cooper) where he meets Lois Lane (Kidder). With Clark finding his steps in his daily grind we also meet Lex Luthor (Hackman) living below the city planning his crime of the century and the police are not succeeding in stopping him.

By night Clark Kent becomes Superman keeping the city safe from criminals and accidents becomes a hero for the people. When Lex’s gets a strange a strong dislike towards Superman he targets him searching for the one weakness that will kill him so he can complete his master plan.

 

Thoughts on Superman

 

Characters/PerformanceClark Kent is the social awkward journalist but as soon as he becomes Superman he is strong, confident savoir of the American people. Lex Luthor is always considered one of the best villains in superhero films and having a smart human villain against a powered up hero always makes for interesting reading. Lois doesn’t get the full screen time you would like from her character, the support character add comedy to the film but otherwise not too important to the main story.

Performance wise the Reeve’s was really the best Superman we have had to date with Hackman enjoying the villainous role slightly too much. The rest of the performances are all good for the film we are seeing.stars

StoryWe have seen plenty of origin stories in the superhero genre and even though this one is very long, we don’t meet the actual Superman until about an hour into the film, it pulls you in to understand the conflict Clark must face to become the hero the word needs, he starts with the need to help only for his innocent good nature to become his biggest weakness against Lex Luthor. I do feel like this shows how to do an origin story and it should be looked at by all the directors out there who try too hard to make us want to cheer for their new heroes.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is all fine through the film without being over the top with the biggest piece of action being through the final moments which is good, the adventure shows off the way Superman starts to learn about his destiny.

SettingsEach setting is good without being overused for any moment in the film, we get the traditional big city attempted destruction because we would all care slightly more if we knew what was getting destroyed.

Special EffectsIf you look at the special effects now they look bad but for what they were back then they would have been brilliant.genre

Final ThoughtsWhen you look at how many origin stories we get now, we rarely get to see any that meet this level.

 

Overall: Long but truly one of the best superhero films out there.

Ratingrating