The Amityville Horror (1979)

Director: Stuart Rosenberg

Writer: Sandor Stern (Screenplay) Jay Anson (Book)

Starring: James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger, Don Stroud, Murray Hamilton, John Larch, Natasha Ryan

 

Plot: Newlyweds move into a large house where a mass murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away.


Tagline – The best-selling novel about a haunted house… has become real!

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Chilling Horror

 

Story: The Amityville Horror starts one year after the family is massacred in the house, with George (Brolin) and Kathy (Kidder) moving their family Amy, Greg and Matt into the house which is a dream home for the price for the couple. When the priest Father Delaney (Steiger) gets haunted by his visit to the home, it just seems to be the beginning of the horror the family is going to experience.

As the family spends more time in the house, George starts to change in the eyes of Kathy, Father Delaney believes something is wrong in the house, could there be something more to the previous year’s massacre?

 

Thoughts on The Amityville Horror

 

Characters – George Lutz is the husband and step-father to the children, he has always been kind to those children and supportive to his wife. When inside the house he starts to act differently, short tempered and angry towards the family, it looks like he is starting to believe in the evil in the house. Kathy is the one that starts to see the change in her husband, believing there is something going on within the house, she turns to religion for answers who only offer her warnings. Father Delaney gets forced out of the house on his first visit, he gets sick and hears a voice warning him to leave, he struggles to get the church to believe him as he wants to help the family who he believes is in danger.

PerformancesJames Brolin in the leading role goes through the transformation which is both disturbing and haunting, which makes it one of the best in the era of horror. Margot Kidder is great as the wife and mother seeing her family in danger and see this in her reactions to the haunting events. Rod Steiger is good in his role though it does feel like most other religious figure roles that we have seen.

StoryThe haunting events of the Amityville is one of the most talked about in modern horror events history, it has been put through the ringer more than any other paranormal event. This follows the family as we see their account of the story, the one that most people question, away from just questioning on whether it is real or not, we get to see one man’s transformation as the spirits of the house start to take control of him, much like the events from the year before. We must get through the will power to not get beaten by possession and just how this story took the world with pure shock value. This does slowly build the tension with the effects on the family, we have moments that visitors go through and are left guessing to just where the events will go.

HorrorIf you put any horror event inside the home, you instantly get a much more deeper feeling of fear through the film. the place you feel is the safest becomes the place where the terror attacks.

SettingsThe film keeps a lot of the horror inside the home, the iconic home with the evil looking windows, when we leave we generally only get to visit the church environment following the priest side of the story.

Special EffectsThe effects are great for the time, they are simple and only come into effect when needed to make an impact in certain scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
Out the Window.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story has always been talked about, the line between fact and fiction isn’t nice to judge.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most effective horrors of the late 70’s, it has chilling moments, strong performance and will keep the conversation about the events in the home alive.

 

Overall: Chilling and disturbing horror.

Rating

 

 

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Quadrophenia (1979)

Director: Franc Roddam

Writer: Dave Humphries, Martin Stellman, Franc Roddam (Screenplay)

Starring: Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash, Phil Davis, Mark Wingett, Sting, Ray Winstone, Garry Cooper

 

Plot: Jimmy loathes his job and parents. He seeks solace with his mod clique, scooter riding, and drugs only to be disappointed.


Tagline – The Year Was 1964, and The Battle Was Just Beginning!

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Rebels Without Much Cause

 

Story: Quadrophenia starts as we meet Jimmy (Daniels) a young man with a simple job who spends his time riding his moped, doing drugs and trying to rock along with The Who. Jimmy spends nearly every night out with his best friends Chalky (Davis) and Dave (Wingett) looking for a good time.

With a big trip to Brighton for an event coming up Jimmy gets his supplies ready and along with his crush Steph (Ash) heads of to the event, which goes against the establishment.

 

Thoughts on Quadrophenia

 

Characters – Jimmy is our main character, he is a young man I want to say just about to hit his twenties, he has a dead end job he hates, spends his time riding his moped around London looking for a party and a quick score, he idolises The Who which helps him be the rebel society isn’t ready to accept. We do meet members of his gang though they aren’t that different from each other, we also get to meet the love interest who is busy with another guy.

PerformancesI don’t think we say anything bad about the performances in the film, Phil Daniels does what the character is meant to be while the rest feel like the gangs we are following.

StoryThe story here follows a young man in London who doesn’t like his life when it comes to job and family, only wanting to spend his time partying with his friends and drugs during the boom of the punk era in 1960s England. This story does have historical point to where people could find themselves in this era in time, one that has been addressed for the next generation too. We get the friendship and unity between friends shown strongly here, though Jimmy being mostly unlikable doesn’t help us get sucked into the story. This doesn’t paint the British youth in the best light either which I guess is the point behind this movie.

SettingsLondon and Brighton were two of the big locations for the whole rebel movement from the 1960s which helps make this use of settings one of the best.


Scene of the Movie –
Stage Dive.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Jimmy is so unlikable.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that wants to show us the rebels of the world only to show us the annoying idiots of the world.

 

Overall: Just gang nonsense.

Rating

 

 

1941 (1979)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale (Screenplay) Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, John Milius (Story)

Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, John Belushi, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Christopher Lee, Tim Matheson

 

Plot: Hysterical Californians prepare for a Japanese invasion in the days after Pearl Harbor.


Tagline – As They Roared Into Battle, Only One Thing Was Missing…The Enemy!

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simply Not Good Enough

 

Story: 1941 starts in the aftermath of Pearl Harbour, The Japanese are searching for Hollywood for their latest attack, while the army are planning to create a defence on the Californian coastline, Sgt Frank Tree (Aykroyd) leads his men in preparations while pilot Captain Wild Bill Kelso (Belushi) travels the country to support his troops.

The preparations bring us comical happenings which lead to what is going on between the Americans and the impending Japanese.

 

Thoughts on 1941

 

Characters – We have so many characters in this film it is hard to pick out the main ones, we will though, Sgt Frank Tree tries to keep peace between his soldiers and not letting them fight with the locals. Ward Douglas is the man that sees it has an honour to host the army for prime location for defence. Captain Wild Bill Kelso is a pilot that enjoys a drink, he heads across country to join the battle. Where we have too many characters it is hard to see which one we are meant to be follow the most.

PerformancesThe performances are affected by the mass cast because no one gets to show their best skills, we have the comical actors that want to joke, only for them to miss, then the serious actors not hitting their moments either.

StoryThe story follows the Americans as they plan for a potential next attack on America from the Japanese in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbour attack. The problem I see with this story, it showing us how we make light of a devastating moment in history with the Pearl Harbour attack and shows how America did panic but didn’t seem to take the events serious, well that is what the film gives us.

Action/Comedy/WarThe action plays into the comedy which gets basic laughs but most of the laughs seem to have dated badly and even just give us toilet humour, all with the backdrop of World War II.

SettingsThe film puts us in LA for the events of the film which shows how Hollywoodland would react to the impending war.


Scene of the Movie –
Plane sex.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the biggest misses of Spielberg’s career, it has too many characters and doesn’t manage to balance out the comedy and action well enough.

 

Overall: Disappointing throughout.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

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