St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)

Director: Joel Schumacher

Writer: Joel Schumacher, Carl Kurlander (Screenplay)

Starring: Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Jud Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Mare Winningham

 

Plot: A group of friends, just out of college, struggle with adulthood.


Tagline – The passion burns deep.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Look at Growing Up

 

Story: St. Elmo’s Fire starts as we meet the seven college friends Kirby (Estevez), Billy (Lowe), Kevin (McCarthy), Jules (Moore), Alec (Nelson), Leslie (Sheedy) and Wendy (Winningham) who are freshly done with college now working normal jobs and needing to learn life lessons.

The problems they face including getting used to a daily job, added responsibility, personal addictions, find their place in life and pressure placed on them from parent.

 

Thoughts on St. Elmo’s Fire

 

Characters – Kirby is the qualified lawyer still working in the local bar and hangout of the group of friends, he wants to impress a girl that he once took on a date. Billy is the musician that still wishes he was back at college with the party every night, struggle to find a job and stay sober. Kevin is secretly gay and in love with Alec, Jules sees it in him and he now faces a difficult moment in life about whether to come out or not, this character is way before its time and addresses the taboo subject in the mid-80s very well, even if it shouldn’t have been. Jules is the party animal that all the guys want a night with, she is building debt even with her job where she is dating her boss, planning to use the relationship to make the most of a future. Alec is the confident one of the group planning to marry Leslie even though he is womaniser and is there to try and help Billy find a job. Leslie is the one waiting before deciding whether to agree to marry Alec, she wants to go further with her career first. Wendy is from a successful family and is being forced into marrying well off to continue the family line, nervous through most encounters.

PerformancesThe performances from this cast are wonderful, we have a collect group of young actors that rose to fame in 80s each giving us great performances and it doesn’t feel fair to comment on just one or two of them by saying the same line over and over.

StoryThe story here shows the struggles that seven friends have with life and remaining friends after the ups and downs through life, career or personal issues. We do address important issues as the time unfolds, addictions, secrets and finding yourself. There was one storyline they were taking on which was big, but they pulled this one away for a safer outcome. The story does show how hard life can be after college and how things change suddenly which is always hard to get through.

RomanceThe romance in the film shows us how love can be hard with the drama of life mixing up in the middle, it shows how love can come from anywhere when you least expect it.

SettingsThe film keeps the friends in the same town where they have their local bar, opportunities in life and memories which will stick with them forever.


Scene of the Movie –
The rooftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not going through with the important story angle.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful film that shows how hard growing up can be when entering the real world after college, friends being tested and life catching up with you.

 

Overall: Essential 80s viewing.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – L – Lifeforce (1985)

Director: Tobe Hooper

Writer: Dan O’Bannon, Don Jakoby (Screenplay) Colin Wilson (Novel)

Starring: Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart, Michael Gothard

 

Plot: A race of space vampires arrive in London and infect the populace.


Tagline – In the blink of an eye, the terror begins.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Clever Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Lifeforce starts when an international space mission to research Halley’s comet finds a mysterious artificial object, they investigate finding three human like bodies around bats, bringing the bodies back Dr Bukovsky (Gothard) unintentionally lets the female space girl (May) escape the facility.

With the girl on the loose and bodies starting to pile up Col Caine (Firth) and returning from space Col Carlsen (Railsback) must race to stop her spreading the infection around London.

 

Thoughts on Lifeforce

 

Characters – Col Carlsen is one of the astronauts that located the strange vessel in space, the lone survivor from the mission and tormented by the events, though eager to make sure he stops what she has spreading. Col Caine is bought into finding out what is going on and cleaning it up before it is too late, he must work with Carlsen which shows the difference between the two as he is calmer in the investigation. Dr Fallada and Dr Bukovsky are both trying to solve the case from a medical standpoint both learning from each incident that happens. The Space Girl is the gorgeous woman from space that uses her beauty to seduce the men into giving them her lifeforce.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are good throughout, Steve Railsback shows the panic required and Peter Firth keeps everything looking calm through the film. Mathilda May looks stunning in her role which mostly revolves around her walking around naked for most of her screen time. An early role from Patrick Stewart is nice to see here too.

StoryThe story follows the idea that man had been enter space and never knowing what was out there, this plays into the horrors of what we could find in space, a virus, an infection and species that could take over our lives. We ask the question, ‘what would happen if we bought it back?’ this obviously shows the worst case scenario and one scientist would warn people about. The story keeps everything feeling interesting as the truth comes out and by the end of the film you will also be happy to have the conversation about space travel.

Action/Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe action in the film comes from the chaos caused trying to contain the spread, which is military style. The horror comes from what the vampires do when they suck the lifeforce out of their victims, this is a wonderful set of scenes to watch. The mystery keeps us guessing to what the main intentions the vampire shave by coming to Earth, we watch as this is getting solve through the film. the sci-fi side of the film explores the ideas that we could find unknown threats in space that cause chaos back on Earth as we continue to learn about the space around us.

SettingsThe film is set in and around London which is nice for the horror scene, we see iconic location destroyed too.

Special EffectsThe practical effects are wonderful as they look like a blink of an eye to where things go, the CGI moments are not the best though.


Scene of the Movie –
The effects between the mummified sides.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end does feel rushed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a clever sci-fi movie that shows the weaknesses in going into space which could bring horrors to Earth, the effects are wonderful, and the acting is strong throughout.

 

Overall: Sci-Fi film for fans of the genre.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – B – The Black Cauldron (1985)

Director: Ted Berman, Richard Rich

Writer: David Jonas, Vance Gerry, Ted Berman, Richard Rich, Al Wilson, Roy Morita, Peter Young, Art Stevens, Joe Hale (Screenplay) Lloyd Alexander (Novel)

Starring: (voice talents) Grant Bardsley, Susan Sheridan, Freddie Jones, Nigel Hawthorne, Arthur Malet, John Byner

 

Plot: A young boy and a bunch of misfit friends embark on a quest to find a dark magic item of ultimate power before a diabolical tyrant can.


Tagline – Magic twelve years in the making. Magic that will live forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dark Fantasy Animation

 

Story: The Black Cauldron starts as we meet young pig farmer Taran, who has been getting trained to take over the care of Hen Wen a pig that is the only creature on Earth that knows the location of the Black Cauldron, the place where the evil Horned King can regain his power.

When the King learns that Hen Wen knows the locations he goes in search of the pig, which leads Taran to go on an adventure across the fantasy world to stop the Horned King regaining his power and bringing a new era of terror across the land.

 

Thoughts on The Black Cauldron

 

Characters – Taran is the traditional Disney reluctantly hero, he was a small pig farmer that goes on an adventure to fulfil his destiny by stopping the evil and bringing together a group off unlikely characters. Eilonwy is the princess that joins the adventure, her care free attitude helps along the way and makes for a strong character than we think. The Horned King is the ruler trying to gain his power to take over the land and will do anything to make sure he has this power. These characters are the by the book for this genre and don’t becoming anything overly memorable.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely hero that goes on an adventure to hopeful save the fantasy world from an evil ruler. This does follow the idea of bringing unlikely friends together on the adventure and does become very dark for a Disney movie, but does follow the whole traditional ideas we have come to know.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/HorrorThe action goes hand in hand with the adventure as we see how the characters must work together to win and battles with the use of the fantasy world, there are elements of horror too because of certain chase sequences and events that happen around the Cauldron.

SettingsThe settings take us on the adventure fantasy world that you could see in any of these movies, which is fine for me.

AnimationThe time this movie was made, you would think this is good high standard for the time.


Scene of the Movie –
Final moments.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too dark for a Disney animation.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good fantasy adventure that follows everything you need it to, but will be too dark for the younger audience.

 

Overall: Very dark animation from the Disney brand.

Rating

 

 

Chorus Line (1985)

This is a movie I got to watch from a special Park Circus Cinema showing in my local theatre.

Director: Richard Attenborough

Writer: Arnold Schulman (Screenplay) James Kirkwood Jr, Nicholas Dante (Book)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Terrence Mann, Michael Blevins

 

Plot: Hopefuls try out before a demanding director for a part in a new musical.


Tagline – One singular sensation

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Musical

 

Story: Chorus Line starts as the latest Broadway musical is casting the chorus line, director Zach (Douglas) and his choreographer Larry (Mann) have 100s of hopefuls that want this big break. We see scores of auditions going on with the numbers whittled down to 16 hopefuls, 8 women and 8 men, with former star of the show Cassie (Reed) trying to get Zach to give her a chance to audition.

We watch how the hopefuls must prove their quality to Zach so they can be in this latest show, we see how they have come from different backgrounds with their own motives for going into this field.

 

Thoughts on Chorus Line

 

Characters – Zach is the director of the show, he needs perfection and knows what he is looking for, he pushes the auditions to the limits, but gives them the motivation they need to improve for their next audition. Larry plays the nice guy, he will put his arm around anyone that needs help, to deal with the short tempered Zach, he has worked with people like this for years and knows the weakness they can hold. Cassie was once Zack’s top dancer, when things have changed she wants to return to be just one of the chorus line, a direction Zack doesn’t believe she should go in.

PerformancesMichael Douglas is now the biggest name in this movie, he does stand out because of his role as the director showing the calmness when looking out for the dancers, but the strictness while putting them back in their place. Terrence Mann is strong in this role too, we see just how important this is to his character. When it comes to the dancers they are all great through the film too.

StoryThe story shows us the routine a group of dancers must go through to try and make an impact on Broadway, we see how they have come from different background with a common dream to break the moulds of what is the normal. The whole film takes place over the one day of auditions which show how the process must go through to be selected and we are left to feel their stories and desperation to make an impact.

MusicalThe musical numbers are enjoyable through the film, with a number of the performers having their own song to make them stand out.

SettingsThe film takes place on just the Broadway location, where we see the performers on the stage, this is nice because we clearly see how this could be a live performance too.


Scene of the Movie –
Paul’s story.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We have slightly too many performers to whittle down for duration.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good musical, that translates well to screen and to the stage, we have good performance and good songs too.

 

Overall: Musical for all the fans of the genre.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Cocoon (1985)

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Tom Benedek (Screenplay) David Saperstein (Story)

Starring: Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Brian Dennehy, Jack Gilford, Steve Guttenberg, Maureen Stapleton

 

Plot: When a group of trespassing seniors swim in a pool containing alien cocoons, they find themselves energized with youthful vigour.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Cocoon starts as we enter the retirement home where Art (Ameche), Ben (Brimley), Joe (Cronyn) and Bernie (Gilford) like to sneak off to the neighbouring abandoned property for swimming, but when Walter (Dennehy) and his cousins rent the property they lose their hide away.

When it turns out Walter and his family are aliens, the guys from the retirement home get to continue using the swimming pool which seems to cure their illness and making them young once again giving them a new lease for life but how long can this last.

 

Thoughts on Cocoon

 

Characters – Art, Ben and Joe are the three retirement home guests that enjoy breaking the rules swimming in the neighbour’s pool but when new neighbours rent the place they start to become younger again leading to their friendship being tested as they need to learn to keep the secret. Walter is the leader of the aliens that is trying to save the few that we left behind all those years ago, he wants peace and quiet but is willing to let the guys use the pool.

PerformanceThe performances from the whole cast are great, be it the retirement home guys, the aliens or younger folk. The whole cast comes together to make this a film about uniting as one.

StoryThe story here shows us how elderly people in retirement homes do want to continue their lives like how they used too, we also see how not all aliens are bad they just come in peace. We do get to see how people can get affected by being given a chance at the fountain of youth and how this gives people the wrong idea of how to act if they were given this chance. overall the story shows us that people are going to take advantage of a chance to youth or death they will get carried away.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi side of this film brings us the into the world where aliens do exist but in peace which is a nice swap for what we are used too.

SettingsThe retirement home setting takes us to a location we don’t see often in this genre, it shows us the unity between the residents as they take their risks to remain young.

Special EffectsThe effects for the time were fantastic and to be honest they have barely aged a day while watching for the first time in 2017.

Scene of the Movie – The full breakout.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The carers are a bit shit.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the all time classic sci-fi films, it has heart, aliens and a story that shows how people should be treating each other.

 

Overall: Wonderful sci-fi experience.

Rating