Broadcast News (1987)

Director: James L Brooks

Writer: James L Brooks (Screenplay)

Starring: William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Holly Hunter, Robert Prosky, Lois Chiles, Joan Cusack, Jack Nicholson

 

Plot: Take two rival TV reporters: one handsome, one talented, both male. Add one producer, female. Mix well and watch the sparks fly.


Tagline – It’s the story of their lives.

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming Throughout

 

Story: Broadcast News starts as we follow the younger versions of Tom, Aaron and Jane who all go onto become members of the broadcast news team, Jane (Hunter) is the hungry ambitious producer who wants to make real news, Aaron (Brooks) has worked hard to become a reporter, while Tom (Hurt) has stumbled his way up the ladder to become a new anchor for Jane’s team, his looks have helped him get the TV time but he does want to better himself and has never been satisfied by getting positions solely on his looks.

As Tom continues to grab the attention his nature draws Jane much like most of the women in his life, while Aaron is looking for his chance knowing he has the stronger knowledge to be one that gets an anchor shot. In the end we see how a broadcast news station is run with its moments of chaos and calm.

 

Thoughts on Broadcast News

 

Characters – Tom is the handsome man that’s looks have gotten him the jobs through the years, this isn’t to his liking as he wants to be taken seriously, but no one seems to give him the time to learn to improve. Aaron is the hard-working member of the team, he wants to be the anchor but loses out to Tom, his reporting skills are top level but once he jealous rises he must express his own feelings for Jane before losing everything he loves. Jane is the producer of the news, she is excellent at her job and knowing how to get the best story but her new attraction for Tom questions everything she stands for.

PerformancesWilliam Hurt, Albert Brooks and Holly Hunter all received Oscar nomination for their roles and you can see why, they are all great throughout the film showing they can play a full range of emotions needed for the world they are in.

StoryThe story follows the crew of the broadcast news team, the three characters we follow are ambitious but to achieve what they want they will need to step over each other, while we never see the rivalry between them or any type of sabotage it does show us how the world can be designed with image. This story shows us the hectic world of the news and the relationships between the people involved.

Comedy/RomanceThere are moments of comedy in this romantic film but neither the sides of the genre become too apparent in the way the storyline unfolds.

SettingsMost of the film is set inside the studio as we see how the lives and relationship collide in the busy world.


Scene of the Movie –
Teaching Aaron.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The last scene with Tom.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting look into the world of broadcast news in the late 80s it shows the chaos behind the scenes, the relationship between the people and the struggle to become a success.

 

Overall: Great look at broadcast news.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – F – Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Writer: Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr, Gustav Hasford (Screenplay) Gustav Hasford (Novel)

Starring: Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D’Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Dorian Harewood, Kevyn Major Howard

 

Plot: A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.


Tagline – An Epic Story of the Vietnam War

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Epic We Know

 

Story: Full Metal Jacket starts as we follow the Marine training under the brutally strict Gny. Sgt, Hartman (Ermey) who puts the recruits through intense training, Pvt Joker (Modine) is one of these marines, it is Pvt Leonard ‘Gomer Pyle’ Lawrence (D’Onofrio) that takes the highest level of abuse from Hartman. Upon graduation Gomer has reached his limits and is ready to snap, showing just how far the training can drive someone.

Joker goes to Vietnam to be part of the journalist side reporting on the war as a soldier, his unit are meant to be writing stories to inspire the soldiers to continue the fight. Joker takes Rafterman (Howard) to write a story where they end up with Animal Mother (Baldwin) and his unit showing the horrors of war.

 

Thoughts on Full Metal Jacket

 

Characters – Private Joker is the one telling us the story, from training to the front in Vietnam as a journalist soldier, he barely sees combat until his latest story where he final gets to experience the war first hand. Animal Mother is one of the marines that Joker meets along the way, he doesn’t like the happy-go-lucky personality that Joker shows because he knows the true horror of war. Private Leonard ‘Gomer Pyle’ Lawrence is the biggest victim of the abuse from the drill instructor, he gets alienated from the rest of the trainees reaching his limit before snapping, showing us that the training methods can destroy a soldier before he even steps foot in war. Gny Sgt Hartman is the drill instructor for the marines, he is brutal in his techniques which causes Leonard to go too far. He does possess some of the greatest insults in any military movies.

PerformancesMatthew Modine is great in this role, he shows the light-hearted attitude towards war as well as the horror when he ends up in the middle of it. Adam Baldwin does a good job as thee soldier ha wants the highest body count. Vincent D’Onofrio is truly brilliant in his role, you feel like you are understanding his emotional evolution during the film. R Lee Ermey stuns dominating the screen with every single scene he is in, making a big impact on the genre.

StoryThe story shows the intense training before heading into Vietnam, it goes onto show how the soldiers would need to learn to think on their feet, while remaining united against the enemies ahead during the horrors of war. The training side of the film is the highlight of everything because it is a non-stop intense display of how the training happens. Once in Vietnam it does feel just like most war dramas, following the unit through the different war scenarios they must deal with. The story will remain up there with the very best without a doubt.

War The genre is always a difficult watch, we know the war was real, we know millions lost their lives in conflict which ever war we talk about, this was Vietnam and was just like the rest shocking and disturbing to the people in the middle of it as well as fighting in it.

SettingsThe settings put us in the middle of the war and the training, you can’t fault the settings which come off perfectly.


Scene of the Movie –
Leonard pushed too far.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Is there one? No.

Final ThoughtsThis is considered one of the greatest movies of all time and you can see why, it is flawless in how every scene unfolds, has the most brutal training regime you will ever see and shows the horrors of war.

 

Overall: Powerful Masterpiece from the master.

Rating

 

 

Near Dark (1987)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: Kathryn Bigelow, Eric Red (Screenplay)

Starring: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, Tim Thomerson

 

Plot: A small-town farmer’s son reluctantly joins a traveling group of vampires after he is turned by a beautiful drifter.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Underrated Vampire Film

 

Story: Near Dark starts as young country man Caleb (Pasdar) meets a beautiful woman Mae (Wright) one night and after spending the night seeing different locations Mae leaves Caleb with a strong hicky.

What Caleb discovers is that Mae is in fact a vampire and she has turned him into on too, joining her group of vampires including Jesse (Henriksen), Severen (Paxton), Diamondback (Goldstein) and Homer (Miller) he finds himself drawn into a world of crime while his family worry about him.

As the group travels around America at night Caleb needs to prove his worth to the group and learn to kill but when he doesn’t he must fight to survive against the vampire while learning the cure for this new disease.

 

Thoughts on Near Dark

 

Characters/PerformanceCaleb is just an everyday small town American young man who spends his nights looking to meet women and this time he meets a woman that will change his life, one that will turn him into a vampire as he must learn to adjust to this new life. Mae is the woman that attracts Caleb who does want out of this life or at least have someone else by her side. Jesse controls the group keeping them all in order not wanting to carry any dead weight. Severen is the character you will remember most because he is over the top and enjoys the kills.

Performance wise, Adrian Pasdar is fine but you can see he isn’t going to make it as a charismatic leading actor, Jenny Wright is also fine but doesn’t pull us into the whole stunning beautiful leading lay, with Lance Henriksen doing what you all know he can, be a good villain. Bill Paxton is the star of the show as we do remember nearly everything he does through the film.

StoryThe story follows one man as he is turned into a vampire as he needs to learn to kill to survive while on the run with a villainous group of vampires. This takes a new approach the vampire genre showing the family feel to a group, a new look at the transformation and even introducing the idea of a full cure. I like this and believe it is fresh feeling to the vampire genre.

Action/Crime/HorrorThe action is very simple and what we have come to expect, with the crime side of the story being how the vampires hunt feels very criminal in style with the horror being with what happens to the vampires meet sunlight.

SettingsThe settings make this feel like a western in places as the group travel from town to town hunting.

Special EffectsThe effects are all practical and they all look great when it comes to how the vampires are being affected by the sunlight.

Final ThoughtsThis may well not be the first film that comes to mind when you think vampires but when you look at the greats this doesn’t come too far off being on their level.

 

Overall: Enjoyable, gritty and dark vampire thriller.

Rating

 

 

Fatal Attraction (1987)

Director: Adrian Lyne

Writer: James Dearden (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Anne Archer, Ellen Latzen, Stuart Pankin, Ellen Foley

 

Plot: A married man’s one-night stand comes back to haunt him when that lover begins to stalk him and his family.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Thriller

 

Story: Fatal Attraction starts as we meet happily married lawyer Dan Gallagher (Douglas) he has a wife in Beth (Archer) and a daughter Ellen (Latzen), but he finds himself frustrated by not being able to have time with just his wife. This changes when he gets a weekend alone.

While alone Dan spends the night with new co-worker Alex Forrest (Close) getting a chance to lift all those frustrations. The one night turns into a long weekend but when Dan explains it was just that, we get to see a darker side of Alex who refuses to accept this response.

When his family returns Dan wants to move back into his everyday routine and follow through on the planes for a new home in the country. Alex on the other hand takes things serious and becomes obsessed with Dan, wanting to make him love her and will go to any means to make this happen.

 

Thoughts on Fatal Attraction

 

Characters/PerformanceDan is a high flying lawyer about to hit the next level of his career but finding himself drawn to a new co-worker he finds himself having a weekend long affair. He wants to continue his normal life but now must balance his normal life with the new obsessed shown by Alex. Alex is a co-worker that has the affair with Dan, but she isn’t mentally stable enough to be involved in this type of relationship and spends the next days, weeks and months stalking Dan and his family. Beth is the wife of Dan but the truth is we barely learn too much about her character.

Performance wise, Michael Douglas is great in this leading role because you do have to feel for his character but also understand he isn’t the nicest guy which is what he is always good at playing. Glenn Close is fantastic as this unstable woman that could do anything to get even. The rest of the performances are all good throughout the film.

StoryThe story works on all the levels it needs to, we have one night affair that the husband must pay for, for the rest of his life, be it by hiding his mistake or protecting his family from the truth. This is also about how one person can become unstable once they are involved in an affair putting everything on edge.

ThrillerThis does keep you on edge as you wait to see just what Alex will try to do next to get what she wanted.

SettingsThe settings show us how easy it would have been to have the affair but how difficult it would be to get away from one now.

Special EffectsThe effects all come off great when needed as the film doesn’t turn to them too easily.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that spawned almost yearly attempts to re-tale the story only to fail because this plays out just as it should be.

 

Overall: One of the very best thrillers out there.

Rating

 

 

John Malkovich Weekend – Empire of the Sun (1987)

empireDirector: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Tom Stoppard (Screenplay) J.G. Ballard (Novel)

Starring: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers, Joe Pantoliano, Leslie Phillips

 

Plot: A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant

 

Story: Empire of the Sun starts in 1941 China as we follow an English family the Graham’s Mary (Richard), John (Frazer) and boy Jim (Bale) who find themselves in the middle of the tension between China and Japan. While trying to get out of China during the first invasion Jim finds himself separated where he returns home waiting for his parents to return all while having to fend for himself.

Jim meets American Basie (Malkovich), British couple Mrs Victor (Richardson), Mr Victor (Gale) and Dr Rawlins (Havers) as he has to survive in conditions his privileged lifestyle isn’t used to as a prisoner of war.

Empire of the Sun is a war drama that follows one boy during a war outbreak. This shows his struggle and search for anyone who will help him. I do like how the story decides to stay away from showing the actual conflict of war showing the human effects of what is happening. Also seeing the story from the boy’s point of view helps us understand the struggle he is facing even if he does come off annoying in places. This is one of those films that hasn’t dated at all even though it is reaching the age of 30 this year.

 

Actor Review

 

Christian Bale: Jim is the English boy living in China during the outbreak of World War II, he has lived there for his whole life. He gets separated from his family he has to fend for himself from within a Prisoner of War camp. I will say this character comes off very annoying having been taught nothing by his parents and never knowing when to shut up but that can’t be taken away from Bale’s performance. Christian shows all the shines that he was going to go onto become the star he is now with this brilliant performance.

John Malkovich: Basie is an American wheeler and dealer that reluctantly takes care of Jim during the wartime partly because he knows how to find him a deal, he gives him motivation to carry on while always looking for his own escape. John gives us the performance that is great and shows us he is a main stay of Hollywood.

Miranda Richardson: Mrs Victor is one of the British woman that take care of Jim in the prisoner of war camp, she does get tired of his stories but knows she is trying her best to protect him. Miranda is good in this supporting role without being over used.

Nigel Havers: Dr Rawlins is also at the prisoner of war who offers Jim time within the hospital caring for the sick during the time of war. Nigel much like Miranda is a good supporting without getting enough time to be over used.

Support Cast: Empire of the Sun has a good supporting cast with what I would say the only bad thing is we never feel like anyone is a really bad guy character.

Director Review: Steven SpielbergSteven give us one of the best wartime drama of all time that doesn’t focus on the actual conflict.

 

History: Empire of the Sun shows us what the prisoner of war camps would have been like during World War II filled with sickness and dealing to make it all bearable.

War: Empire of the Sun is a great look at how the children or in this case a single child was effected by the conflict breaking out in a new country.

Settings: Empire of the Sun makes each setting come off realistic be it the cities or the camp to make us see and feel the struggle Jim has to go through.  
Special Effects
: Empire of the Sun uses the effects when need and they all come off very well.

Suggestion: Empire of the Sun is one I do think everyone should watch at least once. (Watch)

 

Best Part: While annoying Bale is brilliant in this role.

Worst Part: Slightly long.

 

Believability: While the story is fictional I do think elements could have been real.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 6 Oscars.

Budget: $35 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 33 Minutes

Tagline: To survive in a world at war, he must find a strength greater than all the events that surround him.

 

Overall: One of Spielberg’s best films.

Ratingcarrd