The Killing Fields (1984)

killingDirector: Roland Joffe

Writer: Bruce Robinson (Screenplay)

Starring: Sam Waterston, Haing S Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands, Craig T Nelson, Spalding Gray

 

Plot: A journalist is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot’s bloody “Year Zero” cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million “undesirable” civilians.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Moment in History

 

Story: The Killing Fields starts in Cambodia 1973 when New York reporter Sydney Schanberg (Waterston) arrives in the war-torn country to meet his representative and friend Dith Pran (Ngor) who shows him around the country. When the war gets to a new level of danger the American’s are leaving the country but Sydney wants to stay to cover the atrocities going on in the country but Dith refuses to leave his side even after Sydney gets his family out of the warzone.

Staying behind Sydney, Dith, Al Rockoff (Malkovich) and Jon Swain (Sands) continue to report the atrocities around Cambodia for the news around the world where they will end up having to experience things no one on Earth should ever have to get through.

 

Thoughts on The Killing Fields

 

StoryThe story mostly shows how on local had to survive to get out of the Cambodia before he becomes a victim of the war between Cambodia and Vietnam. We do also have a look at how the reporters are seeing what is going on but they get safe leading to the American’s wanting to help their friends while he survives what is going on. This is shocking story that will leave you in shock, fear and moments of tears in the final outcome.

Biography/History/WarThis film is very important because of what happened in Cambodia and how the people were treated, with this we get to see a time in history which will need to be seen to understand what they went through.

Characters/PerformanceWith each character based on the real people it is hard to look at what we think of the character’s action they take and experiences they must go through. Looking at the performances you can see just how brilliant they all were through the film with Ngor stealing the show.

SettingsEach setting shows us just how horrific the situation in Cambodia was and how if effected anyone involved in the devastation of the war.

Final ThoughtsThis is a hard film to get through because of the subject matter and I can see plenty of people not wanting to see it but this is also essential viewing for any historical film fans.

 

Overall: One of the hardest films to watch but also one of the greatest films to see.

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The Terminator (1984)

terminatorDirector: James Cameron

Writer: James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd (Screenplay)

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen, Rick Rossovich, Bess Motta, Earl Boen, Dick Miller

 

Plot: A human-looking indestructible cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Classic

 

Story: The Terminator starts first by the traditional introduction to our three main characters, first we have the cyborg Terminator (Schwarzenegger) who along with Kyle Reese (Biehn) have both been sent back from the future where robots control the Earth. Both are on a mission to find waitress Sarah Connor (Hamilton) who is key to the resistance against the robot battle.

When the Terminator starts tracking down all the local Sarah Connors he starts merciless killing them while Kyle is out to protect her from the cyborg. Sarah must work with Reese to survive and defeat this Terminator as she learns the truth about her own importance to the future of mankind.

The Terminator is one of the most iconic films from the 80s that has become one of the most talked about film franchises of all time. This role turned the fresh face powerhouse Arnold Schwarzenegger who has only been the good guy taking a cold-hearted killer role which was a huge risk but works to perfection. We get Linda Hamilton being the reluctant hero that evolves through the film to become the kick ass action lead we all know from the second film. We finally get a great action hero performance from Michael Biehn. We see this early film from James Cameron show all his potential to go on to make bigger projects with this still being one of his greatest achieves because of the budget this one had.

The action through this film is great because of how raw it all looks as it feels like it could easily be happening on the streets at any the present time while the special effects still stand the test of time. The concept behind the story comes off feeling so original for the time even if elements of this have been copied in recent years that this truly is one of the classics of the genre and film history.

 

Overall: Easily one of the most icon and brilliant films ever put to film.

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Body Double (1984)

bodyDirector: Brian De Palma

Writer: Brian De Palma, Robert J Avrech (Screenplay) Brian De Palma (Story)

Starring: Craig Wasson, Melanie Griffith, Gregg Henry, Deborah Shelton, Guy Boyd, Dennis Franz

 

Plot: A young actor’s obsession with spying on a beautiful woman who lives nearby leads to a baffling series of events with drastic consequences.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long Thriller

 

Story: Body Double starts when Jake Scully (Wasson) is working on his latest film only to return home finding his partner cheating on him. When Jake meets fellow actor Sam (Henry) he offers him a place to stay as puts his life back together. This new location while only temporary gives him a view into the beautiful Gloria (Shelton) apartment where she puts on these dancing shows every night.

Jake becomes obsessed with Gloria following her around town only to find that she is being stalked by someone else who has a much deadlier motive. When Gloria is murdered Jake discovers the moves to be similar to porn star Holly Body (Griffith). This leads him to investigate what the connection between the two is.

Body Double is a thriller that tries to create a mystery thriller but takes way too long to get going. Think Read Window just done in a much slower method with a few extra twists along the way. This is really a thriller that is a murder based film trying to figure what happened while trying to clear his own name along the way. My big question would really be how did it take slow long to Holly who is meant to be one of the top billed stars of the film? The stalking scenes are easy to ready giving the film no suspense on them because Jake pretty much stands next to the girl. This is a thriller that really has dated and doesn’t capture the suspense needed for the style of film.

 

Actor Review

 

Craig Wasson: Jake Scully is a struggling actor down on his luck who is giving a luxury place to look after while he gets back on his feet. While in this house he starts to watch a beautiful neighbour who enjoys an explicit dance every night, becoming obsessed with this lady he finds himself in the middle on a murder case where only a porn star can help him get to the truth. Craig is good in this role but never convince in the leading role.jake

Melanie Griffith: Holly Body is a porn star that Jake notices has the same moves as the girl across the way, Jake tracks her down to figure out how she fits into the picture of the murder. Melanie is good once she turns up but I think we would have liked to have met her character sooner.

Gregg Henry: Sam is the man who gives Jake the house to stay in, he also points out about the neighbour but what is his real motives about placing Jake in the house. Gregg is important to final outcome but doesn’t get enough time.

Deborah Shelton: Gloria is the beautiful lady across the way from the house Jake is staying in, she is being followed by someone and Jake wants to figure out who it is while she becomes the victim of her own stalker. Deborah is good in this role.

Support Cast: Body Double has a supporting cast which mostly involves typical Hollywood members.

Director Review: Brian De PalmaBrian gives us a thriller that is slowly paced which doesn’t reach all of its potential.

 

Crime: Body Double gives us a good crime story but doesn’t give us enough on it.

Mystery: Body Double leaves us wondering what is going on once the first home invasion angle.

Thriller: Body Double does try to try to keep us guessing from start to finish.

Settings: Body Double puts us into a setting of Hollywood where we see a darker side.
Special Effects
: Body Double has good effects throughout whenever needed.

Suggestion: Body Double is on to try its slow pace might turn people off. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Good idea.

Worst Part: Too long.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Yes

 

Awards: Nominated for a Golden Globe

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

Tagline: You can’t believe everything you see.

 

Overall: Slightly too slow for my liking but solid thriller never the less.

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John Hurt – Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)

1984Director: Michael Radford

Writer: Michael Radford (Screenplay) George Orwell (Novel)

Starring: John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton, Cyril Cusack, Gregor Fisher, James Walker, Andrew Wilde

 

Plot: George Orwell’s novel of a totalitarian future society in which a man whose daily work is rewriting history tries to rebel by falling in love.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bleak Futures All Around

 

Story: Nineteen Eighty-Four starts in the dystopia world where Winton Smith (Hurt) is part of the Big Brother world the human race now lives in, they are routine in every part of the day being watched over by O’Brien (Burton) the saviour of their kind.

Winston is tired of the way of life and could easily be considered a ‘Thought Criminal’. Once he meets Julia (Hamilton) he starts having a romance which is highly against anything allowed within the city. As their romance because more about having a chance to show their feelings the world around them starts to go into a new war against anyone going against their beliefs which makes them both targets.

Nineteen Eighty-Four brings us into bleak futures which is an element of sci-fi that everyone loves, it shows how the world could look under one big brother. We do get to see slowly one person trying to change but we also get to see the consequences of it all. I do like how this story is all about dealing with a future we are not being told time the truth and are left be almost being sheep forcing to them to believe.

 

Actor Review

 

John Hurt: Winston Smith is our leading man who is slowly starting to want to feel and think on his own, which is a crime in this world. When he keeps taking continuing to think he becomes an enemy having to be forced to go through re-habitation to prove he can return back. John gives one of his best performance of his career here.

Richard Burton: O’Brien is the man that has to control and test the members of the society. He gets to push the people as far as he wants which leads to him to clash with Winston. Richard is great in this performance throughout.

Suzanna Hamilton: Julia is the romantic and fellow free thinking with Winston as they end up having to have a whirlwind romance but only when they are available to have free time. Suzanna gives a good performance in this role.

Support Cast: Nineteen Eighty-Four has a supporting cast all in the world but they all seem in line, we don’t really meet too many of them as we focus on the main three.

Director Review: Michael RadfordMichael gives us a brilliant directed movie that keeps us interested in the bleak world our characters in.

 

Romance: Nineteen Eighty-Four gives us a forbidden romance angle which works nicely.

Sci-Fi: Nineteen Eighty-Four enters us into a dystopia world of a future we could one day face.

Thriller: Nineteen Eighty-Four does keep you wondering but not at the edge of your seat.

Settings: Nineteen Eighty-Four has a dark world for our film to take place where we see everything happen in.
Special Effects
: Nineteen Eighty-Four uses the effects for certain parts but only when needed.

Suggestion: Nineteen Eighty-Four is one that should have been watch at least once by all to see how these dystopia world films work. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Future world.

Worst Part: Slightly to bleak though.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances:

Box Office: $8.4 Million

Budget: £3 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

Tagline: 2+2=5

 

Overall: Brilliantly dark bleak dystopia film that still stands the test of time.

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Amadeus (1984)

amadeusDirector: Milos Forman

Writer: Peter Shaffer (Screenplay) Peter Shaffer (Stage Play)

Starring: F Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Roy Dotrice, Simon Callow, Christine Ebersole, Jeffrey Jones

 

Plot: The incredible story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, told by his peer and secret rival Antonio Salieri – now confined to an insane asylum.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Biographical Story

 

Story: Amadeus starts as an elderly Antonio Salieri (Abraham) admitting that he killed Mozart, leading to him getting taken to the insane asylum. Salieri recounts his story of his small town beginnings dreaming of being a composer and after a moment of fate he ends up in a position where he can learn music leading to him job as head conductor to the king of Austria. Mozart (Hulce) is the world renowned composer that has taken the notice of all around him with Salieri dreaming of one day being as good as Mozart.

We see how Mozart constantly ends up out shinning Salieri with his music leading to the rivalry between the two, with Salieri serious look on life and Mozart’s flamboyant style of just getting through each moment. Salieri moves into the position of being the connection to the Emperor to get his unique work out there but he is really just building him up for failure trying to break him down with criticize of his work.

Amadeus gives us a brilliant look at one of the greatest musical minds in the history of man. We know the basic idea of what happened to him but now we get to see it through the eyes of one of his closest friends even if he is filled with envy for him. What starts as envy is filled with respect and seeing how a talented person can get used by all the people close to him which will drive him into his bad ways. Overall this really is a brilliant drama that is told in a way we can just enjoy.

 

Actor Review

 

F Murray Abraham: Antonio Salieri admits that he killed Mozart, but now he is confessing to how he believes he was responsible for the death from inside an insane asylum. We watch how he got his dreams of working with music and constantly found himself lacking the complete flair and natural ability of Mozart leading to jealous and planning to bring him down slowly. F Murray gives us a brilliant and well deserved Oscar winning performance in this role.seleir

Tom Hulce: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is the flamboyant and brilliant composer who lives life on the edge spending every penny he ever received for his work, he pushes the boundaries to what is accepted even if his work is loved. He gains inspiration from his personal stories which will gain him enemies from his own confident in the government. Tom gives a performance that could easily have won him an Oscar too.morzart

Elizabeth Berridge: Constanze Mozart is the wife of Wolfgang, she supports him in all the work he does but just wants him to actually get paid for the work so they can look after the family, even after she lives him she feels guilty. Elizabeth does a good job in this role.

Roy Dotrice: Leopold Mozart is the overbearing father who pushed Amadeus into this career path making him the puppet when he was younger as he was leading him to become the biggest name in music of his time. After his death we learn about the control he had over Amadeus. Roy is good in this supporting role.

Support Cast: Amadeus has a well performed supporting cast that each hold their own in the characters they are playing.

Director Review: Milos FormanMilos gives us one of the best biographical films of all time.

 

Biographical: Amadeus shows the troubles of the great man and how it was his eventual downfall.

Music: Amadeus uses all the music of the great man and how it would have look on stage for the fans witnessing it all.

Settings: Amadeus recreates all the settings that would have been used during the time the film is set.

Suggestion: Amadeus is one that could have been watched by anyone to learn about a part of history. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The performances are brilliant.

Worst Part: If you are not a fan of classical music you will struggle.

 

Believability: Yes

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won 8 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actor, Director and Writing also nominated for a further 3.

Box Office: $51 Million

Budget: $18 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 40 Minutes

Tagline: Everything you’ve heard is true.

Trivia: When the movie won Best Picture at The 57th Annual Academy Awards (1985), Sir Laurence Olivier was presenting the award. He went up to the podium, opened the envelope and said “Amadeus.” The problem was he forgot to read the nominees first.

 

Overall: Brilliant drama about one of the greatest musicians of all time

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