James Bond Month – The Living Daylights (1987)

Director: John Glen

Writer: Richard Maibaum, Michael G Wilson (Screenplay)

Starring: Timothy Dalton, Maryam d’Abo, Jeroen Krabbe, Joe Don Baker, John Rhys Davies, Art Malik

 

Plot: James Bond is living on the edge to stop an evil arms dealer from starting another world war. Bond crosses all seven continents in order to stop the evil Whitaker and General Koskov.


Tagline – Licensed to thrill

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: New Direction, Improvements Made

 

Story: Living Daylights starts when James Bond (Dalton) must help General Georgi Koskov (Krabbe) defect from the KGB which leads him to get him back to England, until a daring rescue attempt from the Russians embarrasses the English.

Koskov wants the English including Bond to eliminate Genera Leonid Pushkin (Rhys-Davies) who he claims in turning into a psychotic leader. Only for Bond to learn the truth and need to take on Koskov and his partner Brad Whitaker (Baker) an arms dealer.

 

Thoughts on Living Daylights

 

Characters – James Bond is back with a new look, this time he must use his connections to see how to trust, using his instinct against his orders, he travels through Russia before going on his latest mission against a general looking for his arms deal that could create a new world war. Kara Molovy is a celloist that is planted to be involved in the assassination of Koskov, she knows her part, which sees Bond track her around in search for her, she must learn just which side she wants to be on. General Georgi Koskov pretends to defect from the KGB, only for his plan to be to get Bond to start a new war against the Russians. Brad Whitaker is an American arms dealer that is trying to make a deal with Koskov to make them both even richer.

PerformancesTimothy Dalton brings us his version of Bond, a new version, one that isn’t as cheesy as Moore, not as sexy as Connery, but one that feels like it is more what the idea would have been, he doesn’t do anything wrong and had a lot to live up to, which is what he does well. Maryam d’Abo is your typical Bond girl, she doesn’t bring anything new other than to play the damsel in distress. The villainous characters do feel more interesting, though they performers don’t seem to make a character that should be iconic, iconic.

StoryThe story here takes Bond into his latest mission, this time involving the KGB as he must use his instincts to figure out who to trust instead of following the by the book orders he has been given. This does feel like one of the better stories in the Bond universe, only it isn’t the best told one, it does have different sides trying to get ahead of each other which does keep us guessing throughout the film. the story does have the serious tone which is better than the tongue and cheek ones we have recently be experiencing, which does make this feel like one the biggest missed opportunities in the Bond franchise.

Action/AdventureThe action does create big moments, we have seen other franchise use these ideas too including a plane sequence which we have seen in massive franchises in the future. The adventure side of the film takes James around the world on his latest mission.

SettingsThe film takes us through Russia, Afghanistan and Austria for the locations which shows how global the ideas the villains are trying to create.


Scene of the Movie –
Plane sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not making the most of the story given to us.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that didn’t get to use all the potential it should have, because it felt like the strongest story we have seen in years for the franchise.

 

Overall: Great Potential, not Execution.

Rating

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – R – Raising Arizona (1987)

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, holly Hunter, Trey Wilson, John Goodman, William Forsythe, Sam McMurray, Frances McDormand

 

Plot: When a childless couple of an ex-con and an ex-cop decide to help themselves to one of another family’s quintuplets, their lives become more complicated than they anticipated.


Tagline – Their lawless years are behind them. Their child-rearing years lay ahead.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Comedy

 

Story: Raising Arizona starts as we meet H.I. McDunnough (Cage) a petty thieve that has a habit of robbing convenience stores, he falls for police officer Ed (Hunter) and after his third spell in prison he decides to settle down with Ed and hope to start a family.

When the couple learn they can’t have children, their lives take a turn for the worse until rich businessman Nathan Arizona Sr (Wilson) has 5 babies, believing they can help, they steal one of the babies and the events of the film follows them trying to keep the baby and avoid the law.

 

Thoughts on Raising Arizona

 

Characters – H.I. McDunnough has been in and out of prison for the last decade each time getting closer to the arresting officer, deciding he wants to go clean he gets married and plans to start a family, only for his past to come back and haunt him forcing him to return to the life of crime. He is a character that has fallen into the life of crime and just can’t get out of it. Ed is a police officer that hasn’t had the best life, she falls for H.I. getting married and wanting to start a family. She learns she can’t have child, turning to a life of crime to get her own child. Nathan Arizona Sr is the father of the five babies willing to pay anything to get his son back legally or not. Gale is one half of criminal buddies pairing of H.I. that after breaking out of prison turns to his friend for help.

PerformancesNicolas Cage is wonderful in the leading role, where we see him show moments of his crazy level while giving a performance you will remember. Holly Hunter is great too where we see her create a performance where you feel for the pain and confliction her character goes through. When we look at the supporting cast we do get good performances from everyone that will give us enough to enjoy what we saw.

StoryThe story here follows an unlikely couple that decide to take a child because they couldn’t have one of their own. We follow the build up to their relationship and focus on how the couple’s life had the ups and downs before the incident.  By using a very real situation people could go through by not being able to have children and showing the fact the adoption process isn’t the fairest on the people that would offer a good home is important for the film. the hapless events the couple go through adds to the story and as with most of the Coen bothers movies we get lots of arcs that come together to add up to a final act which pts everything together.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in the film comes from the events that the couple must go through, usually coming from H.I. actions in what is a crime world where he is a petty criminal taking any advantages he can.

SettingsThe film takes us to the open America where money would be tight leading to the mistakes being made by the people who are just desperate for anything to come their way.


Scene of the Movie –
The diaper chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The baby forgetting scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a classic crime comedy that shows us just how talented the Coen Brothers are, we get to see the best of Cage and a story which can be enjoyed by all.

 

Overall: Crime Comedy that is a must watch.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – U – The Untouchables (1987)

Director: Brian De Palma

Writer: David Mamet (Screenplay) Oscar Fraley, Eliot Ness (Book)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Charles Martin Smith, Andy Garcia, Robert De Niro, Richard Bradford, Jack Kehoe

 

Plot: During the era of Prohibition in the United States, federal agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop ruthless Chicago gangster Al Capone, and because of rampant corruption, assembles a small, hand-picked team to help him.


Tagline – The Chicago Dream is that big 

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Crime Classic

 

Story: The Untouchables starts in the prohibition era America, Al Capone (De Niro) has risen to the top of Chicago controlling everything, even with a war between the gangs going on. Eliot Ness (Costner) a federal officer bought into try and tackle the problems.

Learning quickly, he can’t trust anyone on the force, he must make his own team with experienced beat cop Jim Malone (Connery), accountant Oscar Wallace (Smith) and straight out of the academy George Stone (Garcia) fill this roles, as the team look like they have started to put the pressure on Al Capone.

 

Thoughts on The Untouchables

 

Characters – Eliot Ness is from the Federal treasury office to try and tackle the illegal affairs involving alcohol being bought into Chicago. He puts together his own team knowing who he can trust, but he also puts his own family’s lives at risk. Jim Malone is the seasoned veteran that is still just an honest beat cop, he gets recruited to the team because Eliot sees him as one of the few he could trust on the force. He knows the ins and outs of what is going on, using his information to help with the investigation. Oscar is an accountant that joins the team, he knows the best way to get Capone would be to investigate his finances. George Stone comes straight out of the academy to join the team, they know they can trust him because he hasn’t been put in a position to become corrupted yet. Al Capone is the legendry gangster ruling over Chicago with his alcohol trafficking, he will do anything to stay on top in this business, killing anyone that gets in his way.

PerformancesWe have an amazing cast here, with Kevin Costner in the leading role shining through the film, Sean Connery taking the supporting role comes up with one of his career best performances. Andy Garcia showed everything the talent he had with his role in the film and Robert De Niro was still in the prime of his career as one of the best, if not the best gangster character actors in the industry.

StoryThe story follows the events of the prohibition era America when agent Eliot Ness attempts to take down Al Capone and his organisation. We see how the police force must overcome their own corruption to try and stay ahead of the bootleggers and how Capone will just pull the trigger on eliminating anybody that tries to stop his business. We do learn from how the four man team have all come from different backgrounds and will be risking their lives to take down Capone. This does fit into learning about the history of the events and how people will always be looking to profit from somebody else.

CrimeThe crime world we enter sees how the prohibition era America became one of the most dangerous with gangs at war trying to gain control of the situation, how the cops tried to take them down and just how far they would go to keep business booming.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago with the recreation of the 1930s looking wonderful and like we are part of each and every scene.


Scene of the Movie –
The lobby scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Crash landing is a cheesy scene.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant crime classic that will still be the one getting talked about in the modern era of cinema as one of the best.

 

Overall: Must watch crime classic.

Rating

 

 

Angel Heart (1987)

Director: Alan Parker

Writer: Alan Parker (Screenplay) William Hjortsberg (Novel)

Starring: Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, Lisa Bonet, Charlotte Rampling, Stocker Fontelieu

 

Plot: Harry Angel is a private investigator. He is hired by a man who calls himself Louis Cyphre to track down a singer called Johnny Favorite. But the investigation takes an unexpected and somber turn.


Tagline –  It will scare you to your very soul.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dark Mystery Horror

 

Story: Angel Heart starts as private investigator Harry Angel (Rourke) is hired by Louis Cyphre (De Niro) to locate a man Johnny, we follow Harry as he looks to track down this man using his skills along the way.

As the investigation continues Harry finds himself meeting Epiphany (Bonet) a lady that has a connection to the missing man and also deals in voodoo, taking Harry in a direction he never imagined he would go in, but can he solve the mystery before it is too late as everyone he seems to question ends up dead.

 

Thoughts on Angel Heart

 

Characters – Harry Angel is a private investigator, he gets the job done but is a shady in his methods, he gets hired to find a missing person but soon finds himself as the prime suspect in a string of murders with the people that have a connection to the missing man. Louis Cyphre is a mysterious man that hires Harry to search for the missing man but has an air of mystery about him. Epiphany is a young lady that has clues to the whereabouts of the missing man, but gets involved in a race hating state relationship with Harry while also practising voodoo.

PerformancesMickey Rourke does a great job as the private investigator showing the down and out figure needed for the desperate mindset his character ends up in. De Niro shines in the supporting role here giving a chilling performance where we only see him a few times but we are left haunted by his screen time. Lisa Bonet is great too as the young lady that knows some of the answers.

StoryThe story here does start with a standard looking investigation but it soon takes a twist involving different religious beliefs where one man must question his own sanity about what is happening. The investigation side of the film is what you would expect but the change it takes in the final act is the reward you get because things get built up nicely. This is a good mystery thriller that keeps us engaged from the start to the finish.

Horror/MysteryThe horror comes from the truth that comes out in the final act but the mystery we are watching unfold is what drives this film.

SettingsThe settings take us around America at times as we search with Harry about the truth.

Special EffectsThe effects come in the form of practical as we see just how the kills look once the killer has finished with the bodies.


Scene of the Movie –
Final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I wanted more De Niro.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great mystery horror that does keep us guessing and taking us into a direction you wouldn’t see coming.

 

Overall: Enjoyable Mystery horror.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

Director: Joseph Sargent

Writer: Michael De Guzman (Screenplay)

Starring: Lorraine Gary, Lance Guest, Mario Van Peebles, Karen Young, Michael Caine

 

Plot: Chief Brody’s widow believes that her family is deliberately being targeted by another shark in search of revenge.


Tagline – On Friday June 17, man’s deepest fear will rise again

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Bad

 

Story: Jaws 4 The Revenge starts as we head back to Amity Bay, as Sean (Anderson) now works on the police department with Ellen (Gary) carrying on her life after Chief’s death (off camera), when Sean is killed in a shark attack, Michael (Gust) returns to offer as much comfort as he can.

Michael takes his mother of Barbados for a change of scenery with his family wife Carla (Young) and daughter Thea (Barsi), with an island full of characters including pilot Hoagie (Caine) and local Jake (Van Peebles), when a great white appears in research area, Ellen believe the shark is following and hunting down the family.

 

Thoughts on Jaws 4 The Revenge

 

Characters – Ellen Brody has lost her husband and now she has lost her youngest son to a shark attack, she believes the shark is now tracking down the family in an act of revenge, wanting Michael to give up his job in the ocean. She also starts a relationship with pilot Hoagie that shows her a new look on life. Michael is the eldest son of Ellen, he works in the ocean and has his own family in Barbados, he uses the opportunity to study the shark which has never been located in the waters around Barbados. Hoagie is the pilot and gambler living on the island, that starts a relationship with Ellen.

PerformancesLorraine Gary isn’t the strongest in her role, she had been a weaker part of the previous films and making her the lead doesn’t work for the film. Lance Guest is a forgettable with his performance because we don’t see anything fresh. Michael Caine enjoyed his payday here.

StoryThe story plays out like the shark is now following the family and hunting them down in an act of revenge, the family move to Barbados to escape, but it follow them. This is a low key story, that turns funny for the most part of the movie, it has the typical peril moments but never becomes the film you expect it to be.

Adventure/HorrorThe adventure takes us to a new setting, which is fine, but the horror comes from sitting through the film.

SettingsThe Barbados settings was popular for Michael Caine, it does just end up being more water related location which is all you need.

Special EffectsThe effects are terrible and we even see the failure to remove the use of props for the shark.


Scene of the Movie –
Caine the pilot introduction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The rest.

Final ThoughtsThis was a pointless sequel in an era where any movie that made money should only be made cheap so they can be funny bad, rather than big budget disaster.

 

Overall: Bad is being nice.

Rating