ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – M – Meteor (1979)

Director: Ronald Neame

Writer: Stanley Mann, Edmund H North (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Connery, Natalie Wood, Karl Malden, Brian Keith, Martin Landau, Trevor Howard, Richard Dysart, Henry Fonda

 

Plot: The USA must join forces with the USSR in order to destroy a gigantic asteroid heading straight for Earth.


Tagline – There’s No Place On Earth To Hide!

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical 70s Disaster Movie

 

Story: Meteor starts when a gigantic asteroid is discovered in space, heading straight to Earth, now Dr Phil Bradley (Connery) is bought in to use his design of Hercules as a defence to eliminate the threat from space, the problems come from the idea the military have turned his idea into a weapon hovering over Russia, which brings the Russians into the mix with Dr Dubov (Keith) needing to work with the Americans to stop the threat.

As the two superpowers start to put their differences behind them, the threat needs to be addressed and the question remains how the world will prepare for any failure in the missions.

 

Thoughts on Meteor

 

Characters – Paul Bradley created the defence operation in space for any potential threats coming from out of space, he isn’t happy they were used to place missiles on enemy countries and now he must fight to get his ideas used the correct way once a threat from space comes to light. Tatiana is the translator between the two nations, she must help build the bridges between the two sides who are aiming for the same thing. Harry Sherwood runs the operations from the American side as he works to help Paul get his ideas out even if it means going against the higher ups want. Dr Dubov is the Russian with his own version of Hercules, he will help even if it means not everything is working for him.

PerformancesSean Connery gives us the performance we would expect from him, he is good without standing out in anyways.  Most of the performances are just fine, there are a lot of military performances we would expect and power struggle needing to be played out.

StoryThe story here shows how the world first started facing the fact their destruction could come from space, while also balance the idea of the superpowers of the world trying to stay ahead of each other even defending the Earth. When it comes to disaster movies, I feel like I have seen them all, the good, the bad and the ugly of the selection the world has given us. If I was to compare this to a more modern one, it would be Deep Impact as they both show the scientific side to defending the Earth and are not afraid to have the destruction from small asteroids. Everything does play out smoothly enough and with the boom in disaster movies it follows the typical clichés previous movies have offered too.

Action/Sci-FiWhen we look at the action the film gives us, we are looking at destruction caused by the falling asteroids, while you can tell most scenes are miniature modals of city, they do come off good when it comes to the destruction where of course its only major locations that get hit. The sci-fi side of the film shows the focus on the idea that an asteroid could come and hit Earth and offers ideas to prepare for it.

SettingsThe film mostly stays in he science facilities only leaving to show us the destruction to the typical location we always see get destroyed in the disaster movies.

Special EffectsThe effects I believe were good for the time, even though they have dated with how they achieve certain destruction sequences.


Scene of the Movie –
The destruction scenes are the best ones to watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The awkward tidal wave scene.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid 70s disaster movie, it checks the boxes well and shows the possibilities Earth could face with an asteroid strike.

 

Overall: 70s Disaster movie 101

Rating

 

 

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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.

Rating

 

 

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.

Rating

 

 

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.

Ratingcard

 

 

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.

Ratingcard