Super Hero Franchise – Superman II (1980)

Super Hero Franchise – Superman II (1980)

 Superman II Poster

 

Directors: Richard Lester, Richard Donner (uncredited)

 

Writers: David Newman, Leslie Newman, Mario Puzo

 

Starring: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Terence Stamp, Margot Kidder, Ned Beatty

 

Plot: Superman foregoes his powers to start a relationship with Lois Lane before three Kryptonian super-criminals travel to Earth. They have one thing on their minds: to gain revenge on their jailor by destroying his son, Kal-El, aka Superman.

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the decade’s finer sequels

 

Story: Three Kryptonian criminals had long been sentenced to the Phantom Zone by Superman’s father, Jor-El. When Superman hurls a hydrogen bomb into space to avoid it exploding in Paris and killing Lois Lane (as well as millions of others), it breaks the chains binding the criminals. Seeing as they possess otherwordly powers, there is only one “man” who can stop them.

In the meantime, Superman has give up his powers so that he can live as a mortal with his beloved Lois Lane. Oh, and Lex Luthor has promised the criminals, led by General Zod, to take them to the Man of Steel so that they can destroy the Man of Steel.  There is only one thing that Superman’s arch-nemesis has asked for in return: Australia.

In 1980, those seeking entertainment were limited to the cinema, four TV channels and video (remember Betamax, anyone?). Now we have access to a wealth of movies from Sky, as well as online providers, such as Netflix delivering an extensive catalogue of movies and TV shows. The internet as a whole now provides us with seemingly endless entertainment we could previously only access offline, including gaming and sports betting. As added bonuses to our digital life, there are even numerous promotions, such as the offer to “beat the dealer” on the 21st of every month on 888casino… We’d fancy our chances of beating the dealer more than we would taking on three interplanetary bad guys any day of the week.

 

Thoughts on:

 

Characters/Performance: Christopher Reeve shows us just how comfortably he has learned to slip into the dual role of Clark Kent and Superman. Delivering a sympathetic performance as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent, he is strong and suave any time he feels compelled to remove his glasses and don the hero’s cape.

 


Gene Hackman / Christopher Reeve – Filmi” (CC BY 2.0) by PSParrot

 

Gene Hackman comes close to stealing every scene in which he appears as criminal mastermind Lex Luthor.

Adventure/Mystery/Sci-Fi: Just how Clark Kent can regain his powers and save Earth from being conquered by the villains is the greater mystery and keeps us on the edge of our seats.

Offering us further insight into Planet Krypton, through the three super-villains, the interaction between humans and Kryptonians is one of the film’s more intriguing aspects.

Settings: The contrast between Earth and Krypton is visually appealing and works well as a contrast to the regular big-city world we see in Metropolis.

Special Effects: The effects may not be much to look at now but they were a visual feast at the time.

Director: This is a complicated one, as it began with Richard Donner at the helm before he was replaced due to cost overruns. Taking over was Richard Lester, who went on to direct Superman 111. For anyone interested, Donner’s cut was released to DVD in 2006.

 


S is for Superman” (CC BY 2.0) by Xurble

 

Final Thoughts: While the first movie in the franchise takes time to find its rhythm, Superman 11 takes us straight into the action, delivering a darker, albeit occasionally humorous, superhero fest.

Overall: The most compelling of the series.

 

Rating: 8.8/10

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Gene Wilder Weekend – Stir Crazy (1980)

Director: Sidney Poitier

Writer: Bruce Jay Friedman (Screenplay)

Starring: Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor, Georg Stanford Brown, JoBeth Williams, Miguel Angel Suarez, Craig T Nelson

 

Plot: Set up and wrongfully accused, two best friends will be sent to prison for a crime they didn’t commit, however, no prison cell can keep them locked in.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre Comedy

 

Story: Stir Crazy starts as meet Skip Donahue (Wilder) and Harry Monroe (Pryor) two New Yorkers that find themselves out of work and decide to move to LA to start over. This plan goes wrong when the two’s first paying gig involves being mascot like figures, but when they are on a break they get framed for a bank robbery.

As the two misfits find themselves in prison for 30 years they must learn the ways of prison, find a way out and use their skills to stay alive and change their ways inside.

 

Thoughts on Stir Crazy

 

Characters/PerformanceSkip is the overly friendly man who believes a conversation can solve any conflict, he can find himself in trouble because of this but can also look to solve problems when they come up. Harry is Skip’s best friend and the one that looks at the smarter ways to survive.

Performance wise, Wilder and Pryor have a brilliant reputation as a comedy duo, I can see the chemistry they have and the two are good in this film without being a great comedy performance.

StoryThe story of two wrongfully convicted criminals needing to survive in prison and find a way to escape, this is a simple formula and works for the comedy of the film.

Crime/ComedyWe get moments of comedy through this film where it would be fair to say is designed as a vehicle for Wilder and Pryor to show off their skills rather than create the best jokes.

SettingsWith the film set in prison which does help try to build the comedy up but I can’t help but think they miss moments they could use.

Final ThoughtsThis is a classic pairing but I just feel the comedy doesn’t hit on all the levels it should do.

 

Overall: Easy comedy that I feel needs that little bit more from.

Rating

 

 

Halloween Kingathon – The Shining (1980)

Banner-2logoDirector: Stanley Kubrick

Writer: Stanley Kubrick, Diane Johnson (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, Barry Nelson

Plot: A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: A True Classic

Story: The Shining starts with the Jack Torrance (Nicholson) going to the isolated hotel for an interview for the new caretaker during the off season. Jack has a family with wife Wendy (Duvall) and son Danny (Lloyd) who has the ability to see into the future with his finger named Tony. With the family moving into the Overlook Hotel they get the grand tour from Dick Hallorann (Crothers) who has a connection with Danny through mind reading known as The Shining.

The family now alone in the hotel Jack starts to write his novel and as the days go past we start to see a change in Jack as he becomes more hostile toward his family before going over the edge with the help from the ghosts haunting the hotel.

The Shining will always go down as a true classic and what can I really say that hasn’t been said already? The film uses the isolation idea to a new level that rarely gets used anymore, with brilliant shots throughout and with the horror moments being measured perfectly. Nothing more to be said than the perfect horror thriller. (10/10)

Actor Review

Jack Nicholson: Jack Torrance is the writer who takes the job as the caretaker in an isolated hotel with his family for the winter, it seems like the perfect job but when he starts getting haunted by the hotels ghosts he becomes dangerous to his family as he wants to keep these ghosts happy. Jack gives one of his best performances of his career in this film that will always be remembered for Here’s Johnny. (10/10)jack

Shelley Duvall: Wendy Torrance is the wife of Jack and mother of Danny, she likes the idea of the job which gives the family time to spend away from the busy world, but once she finds out what is happening to Jack she has to fight to save her own and Danny’s lives. While Shelley could be considered to over play this role I think it works great opposite Nicholson’s performance. (8/10)wendy nd danny

Danny Lloyd: Danny is the son of the family who has the ability to talk through minds known as the shining as well as having an imaginary friend Tony that warns him of things happening. Danny does a good job in this early role for the young actor. (7/10)

Support Cast: The Shining doesn’t have much a supporting cast with most being the ghosts haunting the hotel and the cook who connections with Danny.

Director Review: Stanley KubrickStanley brings us one film that could easily be his masterpiece and a stand out for horror. (10/10)

Horror: The Shining builds on every side of horror throughout the film, with wonderful suspense and no need for jump scares. (10/10)

Settings: The Shining keeps nearly the whole film in the hotel creating a real sense of isolation from start to finish. (10/10)

Suggestion: The Shining is one that every single horror fan and film fan in general should see at least once. (Must Watch)

Best Part: Jack coming after family.

Worst Part: There isn’t one.

Favourite Quote: JackHere’s Johnny

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $19 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 24 Minutes

Tagline: The Horror is driving him crazy

Overall: A true masterpiece in the horror genre

Rating 95

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

logo

Director: Irvin Kershner

Writer: Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan (Screenplay) George Lucas (Story)

Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz, Alec Guinness

Plot: After the rebels have been brutally overpowered by the Empire on their newly established base, Luke Skywalker takes advanced Jedi training with Master Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader as part of his plan to capture Luke.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Considered the Best to Most

Story: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back starts by informing us with the story between the films where Darth Vadar is searching for Luke Skywalker (Hamill) the new leader of the rebel army who have relocated to the ice planet Hoth. Han Solo (Ford), Leia (Fisher), Chewbacca (Mayhew) C3PO & R2-D2 are all located. Han plans to leave to re-pay his debts but when Luke goes missing he goes out in search for him against all advice. Han shows his heroic side by saving Luke, but now the empire know where the rebels are hiding sending all their troops to eliminate the rebels.

The rebels and the empire go head to head on the ice planet, where the rebels are have to flea to survive and Luke goes his separate way to the rest as he goes to meet Yoda. We get to see how the Millennium Falcon has to avoid the capture with the whole imperial fleet looking for them, before resorting to an old friend Lando Calrissian (Williams).

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back always gets all of the praise from the original series and I can see why even if I don’t fully agree it is the best. The idea of the almost one continuous battle and escape from the Han Solo and crews side of things would make for a great action side of any story. It is the Skywalker training that really just drags this film down because it take the foot off the gas from the action with slow moving scenes that make your love for Han Solo grow. I am not going to say this film is bad and far from it but I will be saying it is a step down from what the first chapter gave the saga. (8/10)

Actor Review

Mark Hamill: Luke Skywalker is now the leader of the rebels who must continue he Jedi training with the mysterious Yoda. When Luke learns his new skills he will once again face off against Darth Vadar but this time he will learn the truth about what happened to his father. Mark gives a good performance but really doesn’t give us enough to make us care about his character for the most part of this film. (7/10)luke

Harrison Ford: Han Solo is trying to escape the rebel forces so he can go and pay his debts but every time he tries he seems to get pulled back into the fight against the empire. Harrison shines because he takes control of his side of the story that shows his characters development from the original. (9/10)han solo

Carrie Fisher: Princess Leia Organa still allied with the rebels and involved in a flirtatious romantic angle with Han. Carrie continues to be left in the background of most of the scenes. (7/10)liea

David Prowse/ James Earl Jones: Darth Vader is now hunting down Luke sending all the forces he can to find him and the rebel army, he is also about to reveal the biggest surprise line in film history. This version of Vadar works very well because he now feels even more terrifying and shows he real ability in combat too. (8/10)vadar

Anthony Daniels/Kenny Baker: C-3PO & R2 D2 actually get separated in this film with R2-D2 goes with Luke for his training while C3PO stays with the rest of our heroes as the re-group after the empires attack. The two being separated doesn’t help this as both have great chemistry when they are together. (7/10)

Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca is as always the loyal partner of Han Solo who will fight by his side against any opponent. Peter continues to show how much of an important part of the team he is without having to say anything. (8/10)

Frank Oz: Yoda (Voice) is the ancient trainer of Jedis who has to now teach Luke the ways of the force so he can finally stop Darth Vadar. Yoda makes an interesting addition to the series but is on the slower side of the story. (7/10)yoda

Support Cast: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back has a supporting cast that helps our characters in battle but also one that changes our groups situation.

Director Review: Irvin KershnerIrvin gives us what is considered the best in the series, he does keep one side of the story flying but the other side does feel slow. (8/10)

Action: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back has plenty of action sequences involving a land battle, a space battle and an escape shoot out. (9/10)

Adventure: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back does continue to show how our characters are trying to bring peace to the galaxy. (9/10)

Fantasy: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back puts us into a fantasy world where our characters are trying to find peace. (8/10)

Sci-Fi: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back puts us into the galaxy far away that has plenty of different space creatures and planets. (10/10)

Settings: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back creates more iconic settings that the original with the planets used. (10/10)
Special Effects: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back uses great special effects that for the time were ground breaking. (10/10)

Suggestion: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back is still one that has to be watched and is easily part of the biggest franchise trilogy every made. (Must Watch)

Best Part: The fact that the villains come off on top works for a saga of films.

Worst Part: Skywalker side of the storyline well the training part.

Action Scene Of The Film: Opening battle on Hoth.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Middle part of the original trilogy

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: Won 1 Oscar for Best Sound also nominated for anouther 3.

Box Office: $294 Million

Budget: $18 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

Tagline: The Adventure Continues.

Trivia: Han Solo is the only non-Jedi/Sith in the entire original trilogy to ever wield a lightsaber, which he used to cut open the tauntaun’s belly.

Overall: The Perfect middle that leaves everything open for the epic conclussion

Rating 90

The Fog (1980)

logoDirector: John Carpenter

Writer: John Carpenter, Debra Hill (Screenplay)

Starring: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, John Houseman, Tom Atkins, James Canning, Charles Cyphers, Hal Holbrook, George Flower

 

Plot: A Northern California fishing town built 100 years ago over an old leper colony becomes shrouded by a killer fog containing zombie like ghosts seeking revenge for their deaths. DJ Stevie Wayne (Barbeau) tries to keep everyone safe from her lighthouse radio station, while hitchhiker Elizabeth Solley (Curtis) teams up with local Nick Castle (Atkins) to try and solve the curse on the town.

 

The Creatures

The Creatures

Verdict: Suspenseful horror classic

Story: The idea that the next generation will pay for a former generations faults isn’t the most original idea when it comes to film nowadays but this may be one of the first to us it to such a creepy effect. Most of the film relies on what you don’t see leaving it up to your own imagination about what the figures in the fog really look like. This also shows you don’t need endless jumps you just need to make sure you keep the audience at the edge of their seats. (8/10)

 

Actor Review: Adrienne Barbeau – Stevie the radio station manager and DJ who uses the radio to tell everyone where the fog is going. It is a good debut role showing how one ladies desperate measure to save her son and the people she knows can be challenged. Debut Performance Award (8/10)

stevie

Actor Review: Jamie Lee Curtis – Hitchhiker Elizabeth who ends up being one of the characters that seems to kind of get in the way of the locals trying to survive. It is a good performance but I have to question what she really bought to the story. (5/10)

lee

Director Review: John Carpenter – The master himself proves again it’s about the suspense rather than the gore in this great directed film. (9/10)

 

Horror: Very good horror creates a very scary situation. (8/10)

Thriller: Builds and builds up tension making this very edge of your seat. (9/10)

Special Effects: Great special effects used throughout. (9/10)

Believability: Fog can create a very creepy everyday scenario but ghosts in the fog are a bit hard to believe. (4/10)

Chances of Tears: (0/10)

Settings: Small coastal town makes for a great location proving that fog is more than likely to not be considered unusual. (9/10)

Suggestion: I would say all horror fans should have seen this, it is considered a classic and still enjoyable now, much, much better than it remake is. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: The Opening unusual events.

Worst Part: It is short.

Kill Of The Film: Father Malone

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: Never had one but got an awful remake

 

Overall: Vintage horror that has to be seen

Rating 82