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

 

 

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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

 

 

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

 

 

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