The Meaning of Life (1983)

Director: Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam

Writer: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin (Screenplay)

Starring: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Carol Cleverland

 

Plot: The comedy team takes a look at life in all its stages in their own uniquely silly way.


Tagline – It took God six days to create the earth, and Monty Python just 90 minutes to screw it up.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One for the Fans

 

Story: The Meaning of Life is a series of different ideas of the meaning of life from point of views, we enter into different class, different religions and different careers. Each chapter connects to the previous which adds to the bigger point in the comedy behind just what is being poked fun at.

 

Thoughts on The Meaning of Life

 

StoryWith this being a series of sketches it doesn’t make it difficult to talk about the story, we have so many different mini stories which are clearly put together to show the different stages of life, from birth to death as the search for the meaning of life is put together. Most of the sketches generally miss which end up feeling flat as they just don’t build up to the moment of comedy required, it has also ended up feeling very dated with the way it handles everything in a not so subtle manor.

ComedyThe comedy in this film is all about taste, if you are not a fan of the Monty Python team, you won’t enjoy the comedy through the film, bit like myself. If you are a fan you will get to laugh more.

SettingsThe film takes us to multiply locations for each sketches, each will become clear for the message trying to be told.


Scene of the Movie –
Catholic and Protestants

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the comedy misses.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sketch movie that tries to play through important moments in history and only feels too forced for anything to really be anything special.

 

Overall: Sketch show comedy.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Amityville 3-D (1983)

Director: Richard Fleischer

Writer: William Wales (Screenplay)

Starring: Tony Roberts, Tess Harper, Robert Joy, Candy Clark, John Beal, Leora Dana, John Harkins, Meg Ryan

 

Plot: A reporter moves into the ominous Long Island house to debunk the recent supernatural events, and finds himself besieged by the evil manifestations which are connected to a hell-spawn demon lurking in the basement.


Tagline – Inside these walls, nothing is impossible …except survival.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Confusing & Messy

 

Story: Amityville 3-D starts when journalist John Baxter (Roberts) and his team Melanie (Clark), Elliot (Joy) expose the truth of the hoaxes going on inside the Amityville home, learning it is for sale, John who is going through a divorce from his wife Nancy (Harper) agrees to purchase the house, knowing there is no such thing as ghosts or demons.

It isn’t long until strange events start happening in the house again, with John needing to get to the bottom of the mystery about the Amityville horror when his daughter starts getting targeted by the spirits of the house.

 

Thoughts on Amityville 3-D

 

Characters – John Baxter has made a career debunking paranormal events, exposing frauds and this time he proves people are using the Amityville house for profit, he buys the house with plans to move in and write his book, he soon learns that the house inn hiding a paranormal spirit which he must escape from before it takes his daughter. Nancy is the soon to be ex-wife of John’s she doesn’t like his choice to move into that house believing in the events which have caused the home to have the reputation is has. Elliot is the man that can search through the photos that are not being developed in the way they should, he is the best in his field and can’t explain the events shown in the photos. Melanie is the partner of John’s she helps expose the truths only she has now become targeted by the spirits of the house too.

PerformancesTony Roberts is the strongest of a weak cast, he is solid enough with the rest of the leads being weak throughout the film. This film does have one of Meg Ryan’s first roles in film which is amazing when you see how bad this film is to how far she has gone.

StoryThe story here is, we are back in the Amityville house and with an original story that is about a journalist that wants to prove there is nothing haunting in the house. The problems mount up quickly in this film, mostly surrounding the deaths of characters which seem to have no consequences to our main characters, the idea is just lets do the same again, person along spooky goings on, with no scares about them. It is a rinse repeat formulaic story that bring nothing to the film and ends up feeling flat and uninspiring for the audience to get through.

HorrorThe horror in the film is mostly dream sequences, or just blasting the cast with what seems to be a leaf blower, it is slow and not interesting for the horror stand point of the film.

SettingsSet in the same house, we know by now what the haunting is, but for some reason we just keep getting characters who don’t believe, the house still looks scary but that is about it.

Special EffectsRemember when 3D was going to be a thing, well this is a result of those terrible effects that were being bought into movies in the 80s.


Scene of the Movie –
Debunking opening scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The rest.

Final ThoughtsThis is a boring horror film that just seems to bring the same story to the big screen with those terrible 3D effects that simply don’t work, it has only one strong point and that is giving Meg Ryan an early film role.

 

Overall: Poor and messy franchise killer.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – R – The Right Stuff (1983)

Director: Philip Kaufman

Writer: Philip Kaufman (Screenplay) Tom Wolfe (Book)

Starring: Sam Shepard, Scott Glen, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey, Kim Stanley, Veronica Cartwright

 

Plot: The story of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and their macho, seat-of-the-pants approach to the space program.


Tagline – The spectacular story of America’s first astronauts

Runtime: 3 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Story, Too Long a Film

 

Story: The Right Stuff starts as America is trying to break the sound barrier and not having much success with their men crashing, they turn to Chuck Yeager (Shepard) who excels behind the stick of the plane, soon fellow pilots Gordon Cooper (Quaid) and Gus Grissom (Ward) prove they can hang with Chuck.

When Russia make it into space, the program changes with celebrity pilot John Glenn (Harris) and hot shot pilot Alan Shepard (Glenn) joining forces to take on the race to space as the men from different backgrounds try to prove they are the right men for the mission.

 

Thoughts on The Right Stuff

 

Characters – Chuck Yeager is the pilot that breaks the sound barrier for the first time, he is always going to try to beat any records that are being beaten, though he doesn’t go into the Mercury 7 program. He may well be the best of all of the pilots involved in this story. Alan Shepard is the military man through and through, he likes to take things lighter than the rest and is the first to be selected to go in the test flight. John Glenn is the celebrity pilot that is the clear candidate for the first mission into space, he has the best experience with dealing with press, he is by the books and doesn’t want to take things as lightly as the rest of the candidates. Gordon Cooper is the youngest of the candidates he has always go out his way to improve himself, even if his wife doesn’t like the idea of his job. Guy Grissom completes our main pilot group as the one who wants to use his new position to get more attention and is involved in one of the most unexplained errors o the missions. We do get to meet the wives who have to deal with the press invading their privacy through each mission and in constant worry about their husbands.

PerformancesWe have a brilliant cast here, with Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid and Fred Ward all showing us both sides of the pilots turned astronauts as they were willing to go through the punishment and personal difficulties to become the men history will remember.

StoryThe Space Race was a story that took over America in the 60s it is easily one of the most interesting moments in modern history because of the extremes people were going to go to, to make this happen. We follow the training that the men went through, the risks that were put up to make history and the frustration of the Russians beating them over nearly accomplishment. This is easily one that will appeal to anybody who is a fan of the space race, this will give you a story you will know, but will get to enjoy unfold, if you didn’t know it, you will learn the sacrifices they took. The only problem with the story is the length of the film being over 3 hours, we don’t need the film to be that long to tell the same story.

Adventure/BiopicThe adventure behind this story comes from the real risks the men went through to become names in history, which give us the biopic side of everything too, we have the two sides working hand in hand to tell us the moment in history that changed the space race.

SettingsThe film shows us the settings which are mostly military bases and labs where the work must take place in, it is the shots from the air which show us just how heavenly space travel could be for the men involved.


Scene of the Movie –
Chuck’s new plane.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too long for the story it is telling.

Final ThoughtsThis is an incredible story of what these men went through, it shows us just how intense the space race was and the powerhouse performances helps, the only weakness is the length of the film.

 

Overall: Space Race fans must watch.

Rating

 

 

Classic Franchise Month – Psycho II (1983)

Director: Richard Franklin

Writer: Tom Holland (Screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Meg Tilly, Robert Loggia, Dennis Franz, Hugh Gillin, Claudia Bryar

 

Plot: After twenty-two years of psychiatric care, Norman Bates attempts to return to a life of solitude, but the specters of his crimes – and his mother – continue to haunt him.


Tagline – Norman Bates is back. Coming home was a bad mistake!

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Sequel

 

Story: Psycho II starts when Norman Bates (Perkins) gets released after 22-years in psychiatric care against the wishes of Lila (Miles), returning to his home overlooking the Bates Motel, taking a job in the local diner and opening his door to waitress Mary (Tilly) after she breaks up with her boyfriend.

It isn’t long before Norman starts believing he is seeing his mother and receiving phone calls and notes from people, even with him trying to put his life back together by reopening the motel to the public. Can he keep everything together or is he still unstable to the public?

 

Thoughts on Psycho II

 

Characters – Norman Bates is now out of hospital trying to return to his normal life, he seems fully recovered, but it doesn’t take long before he starts to question his own sanity believing his mother has returned to him or being made to play the victim to someone else’s game. Lila is against Norman being released and she will do anything to stop him from living a normal life. Mary is the waitress that is offered a room by Norman believing he has been cured and now she starts to see the good in him, though she isn’t completely what she seems to be.

PerformancesAnthony Perkins is good in this leading role showing the unstable side of his character when needed. Vera Miles is good in her role but doesn’t get too much to do. Meg Tilly is a good addition to the cast, she is strong throughout the film keeping her character a mystery.

StoryThe story here follows the release of Norman Bates after years locked away as he must come to terms with re-entering society while people still don’t want him released. This is an interesting spin on the idea of the villain from a previous film returning, because it is the time required in hospital before released served and does deal with the idea that being let back into society isn’t going to be accepted by all. Having Norman questioning his own sanity helps us along the way and the twist that comes through the film makes everything tie together nicely.

Crime/Horror/MysteryThe criminal has been released back into normal life which shows us just what it would be like as both sides can argue the point, the horror comes from where the new list of bodies starting to pile up with the mystery being who is behind the killing spree.

SettingsThe film does take us back to the iconic Bates Motel which gives us the best scenes, every time we leave we are left feeling out of place though.

Special EffectsThe effects do try to use the less is more technique only for it not to come off on the level of the original.


Scene of the Movie –
The final twist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me IMDB ruins a big twist in the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good sequel to the classic, it builds on the ideas of Norman Bates being released after serving his time and now we see the next chapter of the story.

 

Overall: Sequel well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Jaws 3D (1983)

Director: Joe Alves

Writer: Richard Matheson, Carl Gottlieb (Screenplay) Guerdon Trueblood (Story)

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Bess Armstrong, Simon MacCorkindale, Louis Gossett Jr, John Putch, Lea Thompson

 

Plot: The sons of police chief Brody must protect customers at a SeaWorld theme park after a thirty-five-foot shark becomes trapped in the park with them.


Tagline – The third dimension is terror

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: They Can’t Get Worse

 

Story: Jaws 3 starts as we follow the sons of Chief Brody, Mike (Quaid) who works at sea world with his girlfriend Dr Kathryn Morgan (Armstrong) as they receive a visit from Sean (Putch) who has followed in his father’s footsteps by being afraid of the water. With Seaworld getting a visit from celebrity Philip FitzRoyce (MacCorkindale) everything is ready for a new stamp of approval.

When it turns out that a great white shark has taken up home in the lagoon Kay wants to capture it for good reasons, while Philip wants to turn into a sport and kill it, can they find a safe solution?

 

Thoughts on Jaws 3

 

Characters – Mike Brody is the son of the Chief in the first two films, now grown up, he builds the worlds for Seaworld alongside his girlfriend who works with the animals, he is on the verge of a big transfer which will make serious money and his career, now he must work to save the park much like his father did, fighting a shark. Kay is girlfriend of Mike, she works with the wildlife in the park, wanting to do the best for the shark that appears there. Philip FitzRoyce is here to help with press as he knows how to add the crowds to the audience.

PerformancesDennis Quaid is ok in this movie, he doesn’t reach the levels we know he can reach, Bess Armstrong is the strongest part of the film because you can understand both her and her characters reactions. The rest of the cast are fine to poor, they are not as annoying as the kids in the last film.

StoryThe story has jumped a few years now, following the kids does make sense, we follow of a Seaworld that gets an uninvited guest in sharks move into the lagoon. The team must get them out, this is the story as the ambitious money hunger park owner puts lives at risk and a guy named Brody must try to save the day. There is nothing overly new here, it doesn’t build on the scale of the original two films and just feels almost a waste in the most part.

Adventure/HorrorThis doesn’t have the feel of an adventure and sadly it doesn’t come off scary in anyway, this just turns out to be bland.

SettingsHaving the film set in a Seaworld environment is something we wouldn’t see anymore because of the hatred towards them, but this setting almost plays out like a marketing campaign for them,

Special EffectsThis film tried to do 3D, it failed.


Scene of the Movie –
Watching someone get eaten.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Those effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weaker sequel that just ends up being boring for the most part, it doesn’t build on the legacy in anyway either.

 

Overall: Just bad all around.

Rating