Paul Newman Weekend – The Color of Money (1986)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Richard Price (Screenplay) Walter Tevis (Novel)

Starring: Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver, John Turturro, Bill Cobbs, Forest Whitaker

 

Plot: Fast Eddie Felson teaches a cocky but immensely talented protégé the ropes of pool hustling, which in turn inspires him to make an unlikely comeback.


Tagline – The Hustler isn’t what he used to be, but he has the next best thing. A kid who is.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Smart Sequel

 

Story: The Colour of Money starts when cocky young pool player Vincent Lauria (Cruise) arrives in Fast Eddie Felson (Newman) bar hustling pool against his best player Julian (Turturro). Eddie takes a shine to Vincent and talks his girlfriend Carmen (Mastrantonio) into going on the road to hustle teaching him the ropes.

As Eddie and Carmen try to control Vincent, Eddie learns that Vincent’s flare will keep taking over as he constantly wants to show off, the game has changed too, but this does give Eddie the desire to make a comeback.

 

Thoughts on The Colour of Money

 

Characters – Fast Eddie Felson is now out of the pool game and moved onto the liquor business, when he see Vincent in a bar he wants to take him under his wing and show him the art of the hustle, he is strict with his instructions and gets dreams of a comeback one day, to a life he walked away. Vincent Lauria is the hot shot young pool player that shines in the 9-ball game, he is overly confident and doesn’t follow instructions given to him with his own decisions being his downfall at making the big money early on. Carmen is the girlfriend of Vincent, she understands the rules of the hustle and needs to learn to control Vincent to achieve the highest return on the investments.

PerformancesPaul Newman returns to the character of Fast Eddie Felson, he returns with a bang and shines from the opening scene to the closing as we see his character go through retirement to getting obsessed with a game that nearly ruined his life. Tom Cruise is great as the overly confident player, we see that he is going to be a big star with this role. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is great too, we see how the she can control her player and stand up and be counted in the mostly male world.

StoryThe story follows the return to Fast Eddie Felson, a man we met in The Hustler, we see how he is out of the game now and still making money in his field as a salesman. We see how he sees potential in a new player to help him get back on the road and hustle again, maybe not the playing side, but the investing side. We get to focus on a veteran returning to the sport he loved to prove he is still the best, proving at any age you can return to the sport you love. Seeing how the game has changed from the straight pool style we knew to the 9-ball is the biggest change.

SportsThe table is the same, the game has changed, the pool is now 9-ball a faster version of pool, one that is a lot harder to hustle in because of the increased lucky involved at times, this doesn’t get addressed enough for me because I know how this game can play out and I will admit there is skill involved, this isn’t as skilful as the straight pool we saw in the first film.

SettingsThe film shows us the different styles of pool halls where Eddie tries to teach Vincent, we get the feeling everyone is a local in the hall too.


Scene of the Movie –
The tournament.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Which I know more money can come from hustling, I never understood why Eddie doesn’t go pro.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great sequel to one of the best films of all time, Paul Newman showed us all that he will always be one of the coolest and best actors we ever had, while Cruise makes the big impact.

 

Overall: Strikes the right buttons all game long.

Rating

 

 

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Classic Franchise Month – Psycho III (1986)

Director: Anthony Perkins

Writer: Charles Edward Pogue (Screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Perkins, Diana Scarwid, Jeff Fahey, Roberta Maxwell, Hugh Gillin, Lee Garlington

 

Plot: Norman Bates falls in love with a fallen nun who stays at the Bates Motel alongside a drifter and a curious reporter. Meanwhile, “mother” is still watching.


Tagline – Norman Bates is back to normal. But Mother’s off her rocker again!

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Decline Has Started

 

Story: Psycho III starts when nun Maureen (Scarwid) is involved in a terrible accident at the monastery, forcing her on the run receiving a lift from drifter Duane (Fahey). Duane ends up at the Bates Motel getting a job from Norman Bates (Perkins) whose latest guest ends up being Maureen.

When Norman starts seeing Marion Crane in Maureen, he starts to battle his nightmares once again and sees his chance to redeem himself after saving her life, but Mother is always watching him.

 

Thoughts on Psycho III

 

Characters – Norman Bates has the Motel open and is looking for support, the town has accepted he has done his time, but he still battles his demons and his mother in his head. His latest guest brings back the memories of Marion Crane and the battle in his mind becomes the toughest since his release. Maureen is a nun that is on the verge of suicide, this leads to a death on the monastery she is part of and her going on the run, ending up at the Bates Motel becoming friends with Norman, little does she know she is similar to Marion Crane.

PerformancesAnthony Perkins does keep his performance strong where you can believe how creepy he does feel in each scene, though stepping behind the camera didn’t help keep the focus on his character. Diana Scarwid is good for the most part even if her screaming doesn’t feel as real as it should. Jeff Fahey makes for a good drifter character knowing just how sleezy to make his character.

StoryThe story here follows the events of Psycho II as we see where Norman is after what happens at the end of that film, Norman is still balancing his new life with his battle of his mind about his mother as the lost souls find themselves in the motel. The story feels strange when connecting together because we have part romance, part loss of control and neither connect on a level we would enjoy and everything just turns into chaos. For the most part this tries to address the idea of being part of the public again when Norman is clearly unstable. There is a lot of material which tries to balance the idea of the murders happening again only this time Norman believes it might be him.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film comes from the additional body count happening, there is no suspense before the murders though, the mystery comes from just whether Norman is in fact killing again or is it in his mind.

SettingsThe film does take us back to the Bates Motel which does look creepy still, but is never shown in the fear filled atmosphere of the previous films.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do feel weaker too, as we don’t get to see enough of what is happening to the characters during the murders.


Scene of the Movie –
The opening sequence is the stand out scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The screaming is never believable.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weaker addition to the franchise, it doesn’t have enough to make it feel worthy of the franchise and shows the decline we have taken.

 

Overall: Poor sequel that didn’t even cash grab well.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Karate Kid Part II (1986)

Director: John G Avildsen

Writer: Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay)

Starring: Pat Morita, Ralph Macchio, Yuji Okumoto, Danny Kamekona, Tamlyn Tomita, Nobu McCarthy

 

Plot: Daniel accompanies his mentor, Mr. Miyagi, to Miyagi’s childhood home in Okinawa. Miyagi visits his dying father and confronts his old rival, while Daniel falls in love and inadvertently makes a new rival of his own.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Sequel

 

Story: The Karate Kid Part II starts 6 months after Daniel’s (Macchio) big competition win, his girlfriend has left him and now he must get ready to move once again only for Mr Miyagi (Morita) taking Daniel in. when Miyagi receives a note about his father being very ill, he takes Daniel to Okinawa to return to the past where Miyagi left a loved one behind to be with his best friend Sato (Kamekona) who become his biggest rival.

When Miyagi returns to his home village he learns things have changed but Yukie (McCarthy) never married, where Daniel strikes up a relationship with Kumiko (Tomita) which causes a new rivalry in the village.

 

Thoughts on The Karate Kid Part II

 

Characters – Daniel now lives with Miyagi, his girlfriend has left him and his mm has moved for work, he gets to experience a new culture when he goes to Okinawa, the home of Miyagi and soon finds himself in the middle of a battle while also falling in love again. Miyagi takes Daniel in, but when his father is dying he returns home where he must face his old love, his old friend and now sworn enemy Sato, as we learn about his past. Sato is the old rival of Miyagi who has been waiting for a chance to prove his honour against Miyagi, he lets him have the honour of mourning his father’s death before demanding the fight. Chozen is the hot-headed nephew of Sato that takes an instant dislike to Daniel, he has learnt the hate to reach levels higher than Sato

PerformanceRalph Macchio continues from where he left of as the excitable teenager learning the calmer style of karate. Pat Morita is again great as Mr Miyagi showing his characters calm and grace through each situation. Danny Kamekona and Yuji Okumoto both make for goo enemies for our heroes too.

StoryThe story continues to show the relationship between Daniel and Miyagi, even though they just write out Daniel’s girlfriend and mother in one sentence. Moving the action to Japan works because it helps us learn more about Miyagi’s past where he has rivals waiting for him, loves left behind but his beliefs will keep calm even through the toughest situations. This does continue the story well, it opens new doors without closing them either.

Action/Family/RomanceThe action is restrained this time, we don’t get many fights and the ones we get are very short lived. The family side of the film will hopefully teach the value of family and honour, the romance side of the film has the idea of dealing with lost love and the start of a new love with someone from a different culture, which was nice to see.

SettingsMoving the story to Japan gives us a new prospective on everything, it helps Daniel learn about new cultures too.

Scene of the Movie – Final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It hits at more fights then we get.

Tagline – This time, the combat is real.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good sequel to a much-loved original film, which is something that we would like to see more often, it builds on the world and the mystery about Miyagi.

 

Overall: Good sequel for all to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Vintage Franchise – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

Director: Leonard Nimoy

Writer: Harve Bennett, Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes, Nicholas Meyer (Screenplay) Gene Roddenberry (Characters)

Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig

 

Plot: To save Earth from an alien probe, Admiral James T. Kirk and his fugitive crew go back in time to San Francisco in 1986 to retrieve the only beings who can communicate with it: humpback whales.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Adventure

 

Story: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home starts by picking up where the last film finished, Kirk (Shatner) and his crew are wanted for Star Fleet crimes but when an alien probe starts heading towards Earth trying to communicate, Kirk learns the origin of the signal as the signal are trying to communicate with humpback whales, a species that are extinct in the 23rd century.

Kirk takes his crew back to 1986 San Francisco in search of humpback whales but the clash of the culture makes the mission difficult. Can Kirk and his team overcome the problems to help the future Earth from being destroyed.

 

Thoughts on Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

 

Characters – Kirk is now a fugitive because of his actions in the previous film, returning home to face the consequences he learns of an impending threat to Earth and decides to go back in time to save the day, Kirk seems to be the one that adapts to the 1980s being able to cover the problems which the others do face. Spock is still remembering who he was before his death and rebirth, his logic does get in the way for moments in the past but he is a quick learner. The crew are involved in the mission getting moments of laughs through the film which adds to the film.

PerformanceThe performances throughout do start to add the comical tone the film ends up taking, we do find ourselves getting more from the rest of the cast though who all understand how to make their character work.

StoryThe story here answers the question the fans of the show had, what if the crew were in the present day. This puts the crew in a time travel mission to find whales to save their present day, this all does sound farfetched but it works on an entertainment levels which was all we wanted from the Star Trek movies by now.

Adventure/Mystery/Sci-FiThe adventure brings our characters back in time on a time travel adventure to save the day, the mystery comes from the idea of the mysterious signal threatening Earth and we know the sci-fi side of this by now but adding in time travel too.

SettingsBring the film into the 1980s adds something to the idea of just spaceships and new world planets, it gives us the chance to see the space bound characters in a real present-day world.

Special EffectsThe effects are dropped in places to try and tell a natural story here and when used they are all fine.

Scene of the Movie – Swimming.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact whales are extinct in the future.

Final ThoughtsAfter the last disappointing outing this does turn into a fun enjoyable but never taking itself too serious addition to the Star Trek world.

 

Overall: Nice addition to the Star Trek universe.

Rating

 

Original v Remake Weekend – The Hitcher (1986)

Director: Robert Harmon

Writer: Eric Red (Screenplay)

Starring: Rutger Hauer, C Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jeffrey DeMunn, John M Jackson

 

Plot: A young man who escaped the clutches of a murderous hitch-hiker is subsequently stalked by the hitcher and framed for his crimes.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Thrills

 

Story: The Hitcher starts as student Jim Halsey (Howell) travelling across America to San Diego. Against any warnings, he might have been given he decides to pick up a hitch-hiker John Ryder (Hauer), John promises to kill Jim in the most graphic possible way. Escaping Jim witnesses the path of destruction Ryder has been leaving, this leads to Jim trying to warn people only finding himself as the prime suspect.

Ryder continues leaving bodies including cops in his path as Jim teams up with plucky waitress Nash (Leigh) to clear his name, the problem is the police and Ryder are after Jim in this suspense driven thriller.

 

Thoughts on The Hitcher

 

Characters/PerformanceJim is a young man just looking to get across country to make a new start, he is naïve in how he acts but also desperate to prove his innocence. Ryder is a hitch-hiker with a lust for blood, well killing, it doesn’t matter who you are, your age, sex or reason to be travelling along this road, he will just kill you. His emotionless enjoyment of killing is what makes him stand out. Nash sees a chance to leave this dead-end life she is living by help Jim.

Performance wise, Rutger Hauer is brilliant in this leading role full of terror in every single look he gives us. Howell is good in his role as the determined young man with Leigh giving us a good supporting role.

StoryWhen it comes to the story, this film keeps it all very simple, a young man is chased around the open roads of America by the psychopathic killer as the young man tries his best to prove he is innocent. This is all the film needs to do, keeping everything simple for us the audience to enjoy, but if you want deep character development you need to look somewhere else.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror side of the film comes as we are left wondering how we would act if this happened to us, the thrilling side comes wondering just what Ryder will do next.

SettingsKeeping the film on the open roads shows us just how difficult the situation would be to escape for our character.

Special EffectsThe special effects are only used when needed and the truck tie up scene is brilliant use of them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple idea that reaches all the tension levels need for a thriller film, it keeps you on edge throughout the film and has a psychopath that is genuinely scary.

 

Overall: This is one of the best horror thrillers of the 80’s one that all can enjoy.

Rating