Big (1988)

Director: Penny Marshall

Writer: Gary Ross, Anne Spielberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard, Jared Rushton, David Moscow, Jon Lovitz

 

Plot: After wishing to be made big, a teenage boy wakes the next morning to find himself mysteriously in the body of an adult.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Family Comedy

 

Story: Big as teenager Josh (Moscow) is tired of the rules he must face, not being considered big enough to ride fairground rides and not being noticed by the girl he has a crush on. Josh goes to a wish granting machine wishing he could become big.

The next Josh (Hanks) wakes up as a 30-year old man, needing to hide from his parents. Josh moves to New York getting himself a job in a toy company where he gets promoted after befriending the boss MacMillan but deep down he is waiting for information about the machine which could bring him back to his original age. This gives Josh a chance to grew as a person and learn about himself too.

 

Thoughts on Big

 

Characters – Josh is the teenager that grows up overnight, he must learn to be an adult where his innocent charm helps his rise through the toy industry as the adults learn from him not to take things too serious. Susan is one of the co-workers also high up in the company, she learns the most from Josh about relaxing and enjoying life over the stress filled life she had been living. MacMillan is the boss of the toy company that takes a shining to Josh believing he can help continue to make the profits and making the toys fun once again.

PerformanceTom Hanks is fantastic through the whole film showing that he always had the ability to handle comedy and carries this movie throughout. Elizabeth Perkins is good in her role as is Robert Loggia as the friendly boss.

StoryThe story shows us what would happen if a teenager became an adult overnight and having to learn about an adult life. The idea of this must have felt fresh for the time and with the first boom of technology it also works because the teenager would have been just as good with computers as a lot of the workforce. This is a feel good story about growing up fast and not taking life too seriously at times.

Comedy/FamilyThe comedy being played out in the film works because it isn’t this wild over the top which we have seen from the genre before and it is one the whole family could enjoy.

SettingsPutting the teenager as an adult in New York City needing to learn about grown up life.

Scene of the Movie – Piano scene, because it has become an iconic scene in cinema.

That Moment That Annoyed Me As I saw Elf first, I just felt like I was watching the inspiration for that film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a classic comedy that could and should be placed inside Tom Hanks’ top 5 of all time.

 

Overall: One of the all time classics.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Cocoon: The Return (1988)

Director: Daniel Petrie

Writer: Stephen McPherson, Elizabeth Bradley (Screenplay) David Saperstein (Characters)

Starring: Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Courteney Cox, Hume Cronyn, Jack Gilford, Steve Guttenberg

 

Plot: The old age pensioners that left at the end of the first film come back to earth to visit their relatives. Will they all decide to go back to the planet where no-one grows old, or will they be tempted to stay back on earth?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Forced Sequel

 

Story: Cocoon: The Return starts as the residents who left in the first film return, Art (Ameche), Ben (Brimley) and Joe (Cronyn) get to reunite with old friends and family that believed they had died, but the aliens are back for their own reasons, to rescue the cocoons that they left at the bottom of the ocean that has been disturbed following an earthquake.

As the for resident spend their time on Earth they start to fall back into old ways be it sickness or mentoring roles being left with the question of whether they want to stay or not. The aliens must find a way to rescue one of their own that has been found by scientists led by Sara (Cox).

 

Thoughts on Cocoon: The Return

 

Characters – Art, Ben and Joe all return to Earth where they get to meet old friends and family, Joe gets caught up in needing to battle his old illness, Ben wants to help his grandson who is struggling with growing up and Art finds his wife pregnant at her age. The three get to look at the life they have missed for the last 5 years and need to make the decision whether to stay or not. Sara is one of the scientists which discovers the cocoons and works with the alien inside even though the rest of the government want to take him away. We do have plenty of other characters in this film but they do seem to take away any focus on enough characters.

PerformanceThe performances do feel like a step back from the first film, the older actors do seem to have a lot of fun with their roles.

StoryThe story does feel like a forced sequel, it brings the aliens back to Earth to rescue the ones they left behind with the elderly characters getting to look at the life they left behind. It does go against what we learnt in the first film with the elderly characters now facing the same question of can they stay or not because of what they missed. The alien side of things does fall into every single one we have seen, the government finds one and what to learn more about it now.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery side of this film comes from the idea of the aliens returning and what the humans will do with the ones they have discovered.

SettingsThe settings do feel the same which is fine but we do have the additional inclusion of the science base working on things.

Special EffectsThe effects here do feel like a step back too where we clearly see any addition used in the film.

Scene of the Movie – Basketball.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact it makes no sense transporting the cocoons after the first film made a point that they couldn’t.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very forced sequel that doesn’t accept the points it made in the first film, the effects are weaker and the performances are just not on the same level.

 

Overall: Disappoint sequel that was forced.

Rating

 

 

Mississippi Burning (1988)

Director: Alan Parker

Writer: Chris Gerolmo (Screenplay)

Starring: Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif, R Lee Ermey, Gailard Sartain, Michael Rooker

 

Plot: Two FBI agents with wildly different styles arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of some civil rights activists.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Difficult to Watch but Brilliant Thriller

 

Story: Mississippi Burning starts by taking us to 1964 Mississippi where we see a group of civil rights activates executed on the road. Agent Rupert Anderson (Hackman) and Agent Alan Ward (Dafoe) get assigned to the case where they must work with local Sheriff Ray Stuckey (Sartain).

In the middle of the racial tension the colour divide is still strong here with the Ku Klux Klan ruling the neighbourhood, Agent Ward is open to anyone for information, race isn’t an issue for him, Agent Anderson is similar but also knows how to handle the tension by being more discreet. When the agents find themselves targeted the inexperience Ward calls for more agents starting a full task force in the town as they search for the missing civil rights activists.

The case becomes difficult to investigate for the agents as they find themselves being shunned by both races but also needing to investigate the law in the town as they look for the answers to this case.

 

Thoughts on Mississippi Burning

 

Characters/PerformanceAgent Rupert Anderson is an experienced FBI agent that knows how to deal with racial tension in towns and knows how to get people to talk. He gets frustrated having to work under Ward as he feels like he knows how to work this case better. Agent Alan Ward comes into this case with no experience in the field, he is used to everyone being treated equal and takes time to learn that his by the book methods aren’t going to get the answers required. He does learn from Anderson as the case continues and the two make a brilliant team. Mrs Pell is one of the most important witnesses in the case but it is whether she can be honest about her husband’s Deputy Pell’s where about. Nearly all of the white authority characters are suspects in this film, we literally just don’t know who is the leader but they are all single minded in their cause.

Performance wise, Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe are fantastic together in this film, you can see in their performances the difference in characters but not in motives. Frances McDormand is also great through the supporting role and the cast is filled with stars that show their skills.

StoryThe story is based on a real event that happened, so you would have to be sensitive when considering this story too much. The truth is shown to us what the biggest problem in American modern history, the failure of certain states to give up the racial divide. The story is driven by the racial tension which keeps the story on edge from start to finish which makes the story fly by.

Crime/History/MysteryThe crime side of this film is full of all the tension need as we know early on just what has happened but we are left to wonder just how long until the mystery if fully solved. It also shows us the history of these cases that show us just how backwards people’s mindsets were.

SettingsThe film is set in Mississippi which gives us a look at the locations the crimes would have taken place.

Final ThoughtsThis is difficult to watch in places but is also one of the tensest thrillers you will see.

 

Overall: This is a must watch for all thriller fans.

Rating

 

 

Cocktail (1988)

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: Heywood Gould (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Bryan Brown, Elisabeth Shue, Lisa Banes, Laurence Luckinbill, Kelly Lynch, Gina Gershon

 

Plot: A talented New York City bartender takes a job at a bar in Jamaica and falls in love.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Barely Dated a Day

 

Story: Cocktail starts a Brian Flanagan (Cruise) returns from the services and heads to New York looking to walk into a successful job on wall street, he gets rejected everywhere due to his lack of qualifications. Finding a job in a bar as a bartender where he learns the art of the cocktail from Doug Coughlin (Brown). While studying he finds, himself failing once again but his cocktail reputation grows.

When Brian and Doug decide, they want to go into business together and open their own cocktail bar, but their friendship is broken and Brian goes out on his own to Jamaica to make the money to have his own cocktail bar. Falling in love with Jordan (Shue) he decides to let her go to following in Doug’s footsteps and marry a rich woman, but love will have control over him.

 

Thoughts on Cocktail

 

Characters/PerformanceBrian is an ex-service man that finds it hard to get a job without qualification, wow if this isn’t a relatable character or what? Brian finds to make money as a cocktail bartender but his friendship and romantic personality changes his path. Doug is the teacher to Brian, he teaches the tricks of the trade and how to get away with everything. Jordan is the woman that Brian falls for but only finds a way to make a mess of it.

Performance wise, Tom Cruise is good in this leading role showing that he was always going to be a big star for years to come. Bryan Brown is good in his role with Elisabeth Shue doing a good job through the parts of the film she is in.

StoryThe story here isn’t the most important thing going on here as it isn’t the most interesting part of the film. The part of the story that does stick out is the fact we see how hard it is to find a job without qualifications. There is a romantic angle which is fine without being anything stand out in the film and the success the guy faces also works well.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is light in places but nothing fancy, the romantic side is something we have seen before but is mostly about a guy that screws up and gets a second chance somehow.

SettingsThe settings all work for the film showing the New York setting, the Jamaica setting as well as the high life and lower life the characters find themselves in.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun and enjoyable movie that has poor scores everywhere but it is hard to find anyone that doesn’t like it.

 

Overall: Enjoyable film.

Rating

 

 

Red Heat (1988)

redDirector: Walter Hill

Writer: Harry Kleiner, Walter Hill, Troy Kennedy-Martin (Screenplay) Walter Hill (Story)

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Belushi, Peter Boyle, Ed O’Ross, Laurence Fishburne, Gina Gershon

 

Plot: A tough Russian policeman is forced to partner up with a cocky Chicago police detective when he is sent to Chicago to apprehend a Georgian drug lord who killed his partner and fled the country.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Crime Comedy

 

Story: Red Heat starts as we follow Ivan Danko (Schwarzenegger) a Russian police officer trying to crack down on the war of drugs in Russia, but when his partner is killed by Viktor Rostavili (O’Ross), Ivan must travel to America to get his on revenge. Over in America Chicago we meet cocky police officer Art Ridzik (Belushi) who is on his last warning and not helping himself.

The two have to work together to track down Viktor on the streets of Chicago as the two become the unlikely partners with very opposite personalities.

Red Heat is an action crime comedy that follows the traditions of the opposites having to work together to achieve a common goal. It isn’t the most original storyline wise but does the job to the best of its abilities. The settings are all good for Chicago being used with the reputation it has. The comedy misses in places as they don’t let Belushi free to do what he is best at.

As for the acting Schwarzenegger and Belushi do work well with each other even if the accents come of slight strange in places. The villain is pretty much generic performance and the police chief will we all know how they turn up to be the same in these films. The rest of the supporting cast is pretty generic for the genre but again nothing special.

 

Overall: Odd couple action crime comedy that hits in place and misses in others and just doesn’t bring the heat.

Rating

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