ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – K – Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Director: Robert Benton

Writer: Robert Benton (Screenplay) Avery Corman (Novel)

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander, Justin Henry, Howard Duff, George Coe


Plot: Ted Kramer’s wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple’s son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.

Tagline – There are three sides to this love story!

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Masterclass


Story: Kramer vs Kramer starts as Joanna Kramer (Streep) walks out on her businessman husband Ted (Hoffman) leaving him to raise their child Billy (Henry). Ted must learn how to be a single parent while also keeping his career on path because he is on the verge of one of his biggest moments of his career.

15 months later Joanna reappears in the Ted’s life wanting custody which leads to a heated custody battle between the parents while Ted must deal with his own career problems.


Thoughts on Kramer vs. Kramer


Characters – Ted Kramer is a busy marketing man whose wife walks out on him leaving him to raise his child alone, the added responsibility of raising his son, his work starts to get comprised but it is when his wife returns, where Ted must fight for full custody of his own son. Joanna is the wife that walks out on the family, when she returns she wants to have custody of her son again, we don’t learn much else about her during the time which disappoints. Margaret is the neighbour that is there for Ted during his tough times. Billy is the child that finds himself in the middle of the custody battle after 15 months with just his father.

PerformancesDustin Hoffman gives us an acting masterclass here showing he can give us an Oscar worthy performance given the right material. Meryl Streep is fantastic in the supporting role showing us just how good her talent was going to be. Justin Henry gives on of the best child actors performances too in this film.

StoryThe story follows one man needing to learn to be a better father once he is left alone with his son, before turning into a custody battle, which has become an all too often event in the modern world. Seeing how the custody battle unfolds brings us into the reality of how difficult a job being a single parent holding down the job on demanding success level can be. We learn how wrong the system appears to be in one of the most powerful films you will see.

SettingsThe New York setting shows how busy the lives of the people involved would be.

Scene of the Movie –
The aftermath of the case in the park.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel we could have learnt a lot more about Joanna’s motivation during the 15-months too.

Award Wins: Won 5 Oscars

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most powerful, perfectly acted movies you will ever see, the emotions you will feel will leave you broken for what is one of the best films ever made.


Overall: Easily one of the greatest films of all time.





Vintage Franchise – Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

Director: Robert Wise

Writer: Harold Livingston, Alan Dean Foster (Screenplay) Gene Roddenberry (Characters)

Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Majel Barrett, Walter Koenig


Plot: When an alien spacecraft of enormous power is spotted approaching Earth, Admiral Kirk resumes command of the Starship Enterprise in order to intercept, examine and hopefully stop the intruder.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun For Star Trek Fans


Story: Star Trek: The Motion Picture starts with a new unknown enemy heading toward Earth, a ship that consumes other ships, the only starship that can defend Earth is the Enterprise and the most experienced captain is admiral Kirk (Shatner) who returns to the ship he once captained. Kirk brings back his old friend Dr McCoy ‘Bones’ (Kelley) to be his head doctor as he must deal with a crew of old friends and fellow crew members that want their chance in the captain’s chair.

When Spock (Nimoy) joins the mission after being drawn towards the thought patterns coming from the unknown enemy, this reunites the team once again. This time what thee Enterprise discovers is something new, with technology they didn’t believe was capable for a solo ship but what are they searching for in intergalactic journey.


Thoughts on Star Trek: The Motion Picture


Characters – Admiral Kirk has been away from the Enterprise for a couple of years but when a new threat is heading to Earth he uses his power and experience to take the captaincy back. He now must deal with a new ship, new crew and old faces that are all offering him advice when it comes to dealing with this enemy. Spock gives up his Vulcan test to head towards the threat believe he has a connection to the power, joining his old crew he becomes an important part of the mission. Dr McCoy is forced into return for this mission by Kirk and he is as bitter as ever about being on the ship again.

PerformanceThe fans of the original show will see good performances throughout the film from that cast, the additional members of the cast are also good throughout the film too.

StoryThe story here shows how the calm mindset the Enterprise crew must have when dealing with an unknown enemy. We get the calm look at how the crew use their abilities to communicate with an unknown enemy but also deal with the pros and cons from each move, this might not be all action but is more about how we could communicate with a new threat.

Adventure/Mystery/Sci-FiThe adventure takes out characters into a mystery to communicating with an unknown enemy in space, this is mixed well because are not thrown into pointless action rather than a tactical discussion. The sci-fi side of everything is dealing with new threats in space in a smart manner.

SettingsThe film is set in space which is what you all know, but the visual look of the cloud they are investigating is beautiful, mesmerising through each moment we enter it.

Special EffectsThe effects have dated in places but the reality it they do all fit Star Trek and what the fans have come to expect.

Scene of the Movie – First Warp Speed, while dated it does seem to make the film feel edge of the seat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me When I walk into a film like this I would be expecting an action side to everything, while I did enjoy, it can’t help but feel like it is missing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart sci-fi film that shows us sci-fi films in space don’t need to be big over the top action spectacles but can be thinking about how to communicate.


Overall: Star Trek fans will say this is a good addition and even now it feels like an enjoyable and smart sci-fi film.




Franchise Weekend – Mad Max (1979)

maDirector: George Miller

Writer: James McCausland, George Miller (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns, Roger Ward, Lisa Aldenhoven


Plot: In a self-destructing world, a vengeful Australian policeman sets out to stop a violent motorcycle gang.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Classic


Story: Mad Max starts in the near future from now which would be the past for us watching I guess as we have police of this world chasing down criminal in their flashy yellow pursuit vehicles. We see how hapless the two first pursuit vehicles and motorcycle were but the criminals had no idea the Max (Gibson) was waiting for them.

When Max learns the people, who supporting the man he killed are after him he just laughs it off like nothing but the gang led by Toecutter (Keays-Byrne) comes for revenge by causing trouble causing Max to respond but when the case is thrown out Max’s partner flips but the pursuit team get can do what you want on the streets from their sergeant.

When the gang make things, personal Max becomes Mad Max and goes on a bloody mission of vengeance against the whole biker gang leaving bodies in his path.


Thoughts on Mad Max


StoryThe story behind Mad Max comes off as a simple revenge story as we follow a police officer who loses everything he has to a gang of criminals and goes on his own mission to kill them all. This work on so many levels because we are introduced to one of the icons of action cinema. I do think a lot of the scenes are shot to feel like a bloody version of Batman which adds light hearted comedy to what is going on.

Action/ThrillerThe action going on through this film are all over the top car chases with explosive consequences on each one, we are told this is in the future but it just doesn’t feel like the dystopian world it is advertised to be in the later chapters. The car chases do keep you on the edge of your seat throughout though.

Characters/PerformanceMel Gibson becomes the overnight sensation with his performance and this character becomes one of the popular action heroes of cinema. When it comes from the rest of the cast we don’t get too much special going on with the villain being slightly out there but never a true threat and the rest of the performances being good enough for the film.

SettingsThe Australian outback is perfect for the setting for this film as we get to see the open roads for the chase scenes and they show how they can go on for miles with no safety.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all great for the budget behind the film making everything work for the world created by the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is the beginning of the film franchise following the adventures of Mad Max but this film is actually a very slow build to meet him for the origin story because his quest for vengeance doesn’t start till well over the hour mark and is over within the hour and half run time. I did find this disappointing but great for what it is.


Overall: Never dated, never dull often misleading though.




The Warriors (1979)

warriorsDirector: Walter Hill

Writer: David Shaber, Walter Hill (Screenplay) Sol Yurick (Novel)

Starring: Michael Beck, James Remar, Dorsey Wright, Brian Tyler, David Harris, Tom McKitterick, Marcelino Sanchez


Plot: In the near future, a charismatic leader summons the street gangs of New York City in a bid to take it over. When he is killed, The Warriors are falsely blamed and now must fight their way home while every other gang is hunting them down.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: True Cult Classic


Story: The Warriors starts in New York City where the Warriors a gang get called for a meeting with Cyrus who wants to unite the gangs, the meeting must go down unarmed and the Warriors are not the only gang called on for this meeting.

When Cyrus is assassinated the gangs split and the Warriors are framed forced to run from the police but in the what makes a more dangerous threat, the rest of the gangs in the city are targeting them. Each neighbourhood they enter becomes more dangerous with the gangs building to come after them can this small-time gang make it home and clear their name before it is too late.

The Warrior is an action thriller that follows a very simple idea which is one gang having to survive all the odds to get to safety from all the other gangs. The gangs are all filled with colourful characters that make each gang feel different with their own trademarks. The only bad side is that you don’t really know which ones are good gangs or bad gangs as the Warriors are made out to be the bad ones in the eyes of the rest.

The settings are all great with each location coming off as different gang territory which all again has its own look. The performances are all good from each member of the cast with the gang having a natural feel about their relationship throughout. The fight scenes are al designed well to make us see how united our lead gang really it. Overall this is the cult classic people see it as and one I think everyone can enjoy.


Overall: When you hear the term cult classic this is one of those films that will be the first on anybody’s list.




Rocky Week – Rocky II (1979)

rocky 2Director: Sylvester Stallone

Writer: Sylvester Stallone (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith


Plot: Rocky struggles in family life after his bout with Apollo Creed, while the embarrassed champ insistently goads him to accept a challenge for a rematch.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Great Continuing Story


Story: Rocky II starts right where the last film finished as we see aftermath with Rocky (Stallone) and Apollo (Weathers) both being treated in hospital, continuing their rivalry on camera. Rocky wants to treat his friends and loved ones well with his new wealth which includes marrying Adrian (Shire).

When Rocky starts struggling to make ends meet he tries his hand in different fields but constantly fails, with a pregnant wife Rocky turns to the only thing he knows and that is fighting. When Apollo demands a rematch so he can beat Rocky we are left to watch as he brings all the dirty tricks out there to bring Rocky out of retirement for one last fight.

Rocky II follows on which is a great way to continuing the somewhat incomplete story in the original story. It is great seeing the side effects from sudden rise to fame and how difficult it would be for someone to go back to normal everyday life. We also get to see how pride can get someone into trouble with the problems Apollo is facing after the events in the first one showing how it can take over even the best in a sports stars.


Actor Review


Sylvester Stallone: Rocky fresh off his success and new found fame finds himself struggling with everyday life, he struggles with money and loss of respect from the people who once looked up to him. He finally comes out of retirement to show the world that he wasn’t a one fight wonder. Sylvester gives us a great performance in this role that continues to show he could be a big sports actor.rocky

Talia Shire: Adrian is now married to Rocky and expecting her first child, she has to go back to work to help ends meet as Rocky is struggling to find a job. When she pushes herself too far she finds herself in hospital where she finds herself fighting for her life. Talia gets a bigger role and a much more important role in the film letting her show off her talent in the role.

Burt Young: Paulie is Adrian’s brother who wants to help Rocky through his struggles with his new found success in business thanks to the first fight. Burt unlike Talia really doesn’t get too many scenes in the film.

Carl Weathers: Apollo is embarrassed by how the first fight ended and wants to prove to the world that Rocky was nothing more than a fluke, he goes out to publicly humiliate Rocky until he accepts his challenge for a rematch. Carl gives a better performance in this role where he ends up getting more time to go against Rocky.


Support Cast: Rocky II really continues to just have the standard supporting cast you would expect to see in a sports film.

Director Review: Sylvester StalloneSylvester steps behind the camera for this version of Rocky showing he knows how he wants to tell his story.


Sports: Rocky II has the build up to a big fight which all works for the sports involvement in the story with the boxing looking good too.

Music: Rocky II continues to use the now iconic music being used through the film.

Settings: Rocky II keeps the setting in Philadelphia which shows how one small town man can define the odds.
: Rocky II is one to continue watching the series of films but don’t start with this one. (Franchise Fans)


Best Part: Better story.

Worst Part: Paulie gets a small role.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $85 Million

Budget: $7 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

Tagline: This time he’s fighting not for glory, not for money, but for love…Once again, the Italian Stallion proves he’s got what it takes.


Overall: Great addition to the original story