Kurt Russell Weekend – Backdraft (1991)

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Gregory Widen (Screenplay)

Starring: Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Robert De Niro, Donald Sutherland, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Scott Glen, Rebecca De Mornay

 

Plot: Two Chicago firefighter brothers who don’t get along must work together while a dangerous arsonist is on the loose.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Slow

 

Story: Backdraft starts when a young Brian McCaffrey witness his firefighter father killed putting out the fire. 20 years later Brian (Baldwin) is desperate to follow in his father’s footsteps much like his brother Stephen (Russell). Passing his tests Brian joins Stephen’s unit, the strictest in town.

As the number of fires increase, the number of firefighters are being cut and with each fire brings the investigator Donald Rimgale (De Niro) who uses slow methods but gets results. When Brian becomes worried about the safety of his brother’s actions he agrees to work with Donald to track down an arsonist operating within the city.

 

Thoughts on Backdraft

 

Characters/PerformanceStephen is the tough firefighter who enjoys the job knowing he and his team can save as many lives as possible. Brian is the brother of Stephen, son of a firefighter who became the photo of a generation after witnessing his father’s death at a young age. He wants to follow in his father’s footsteps but finds himself having to turn on his brother to investigate arson rather than fight the fires. Donald is a grizzled veteran who has seen the worst in fighting fire, he now leads the investigations into the fires, he works with Brian to locate the arsonist and reckless behaviour being portrayed by the firefighters. The rest of the characters fill the loyal unit, the ex-wife and potential lover without being a major part in the film.

Performance wise, Russell is solid but never reaches the levels we know he can. Baldwin just doesn’t capture the level of performance you would see from other members of the family while De Niro is good in the supporting role.

StoryThe story shows the life of firefighters struggling with the demands placed upon them by dwindling resources, the lives get put at risk. We get to see the investigation into an arsonist but sadly this isn’t the focus of the story. the focus is on the broken relationship between the two brothers who have gone in different paths when it comes to following in their father’s footsteps. The story is fine but too long in my opinion.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe firefighting scenes are brilliant action set pieces without a doubt but the crime side which should be a major side just doesn’t get the focus required. The mystery also suffers because of this too.

SettingsThe settings are used wonderfully to show the intensity of the fires for the firefighters while outside the fires it just feels like a normal city which could be any.

Special EffectsThe special effects are stunning for the creating of the fires, using mostly practical effects which still look amazing today.

Final ThoughtsThe special effects in this movie do save it from being awful but in the end the story is just too flat for my liking.

 

Overall: Flat story, too long but amazing effects.

Rating

 

 

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Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Director: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

Writer: Linda Woolverton (Screenplay) Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (Original Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Robby Benson, Jesse Corti, Rex Everhart, Angela Lansbury, Paige O’Hara, Jerry Orbach

 

Plot: A young woman whose father has been imprisoned by a terrifying beast offers herself in his place, unaware that her captor is actually a prince, physically altered by a magic spell.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Classic Disney

 

Story: Beauty and the Beast starts as we learn the curse placed upon the Beast, who must wait until love can be felt before he can return to human form. In the small French town Belle is different to all the other girls, she enjoys reading and thinking for herself and lives with her inventor father. Belle has caught the attention of the town stud Gaston, the self-centred man that other woman dive at the feet off, but Belle is just not interested.

When Belle’s father goes missing she goes in search of him finding the Beast castle and being kept captive by the Beast and his living furniture. To escape the castle Belle must fall in love with the Beast but back home Gaston leads an attempted rescue for her. Can the fairy tale be cured and love found in an unlikely place?

 

Thoughts on Beauty and the Beast

 

Characters Belle is the typical strong lead female that wants to be independent unlike most of the other women she knows but only to find herself falling in love with the man kept her hostage. The Beast finds himself transformed in this form after not being accepting to other people, he is aggressive, grumpy and short tempered but once he opens up to Belle he could lift the curse. Gaston is the man all the women love and he believes he can have anything he wants and isn’t used to women rejecting him like Belle does, he is always planning to make it happen.

StoryThe story is about love, it is about love coming from a place you least expect it in fairy tale form. It would be fair to say there is a huge questionable flaw in this story because keeping a woman captive who then falls in love with you is creepy to say the least, but for the younger audience the story is perfect about finding a happy ending while being the strong independent woman.

Family/Musical/RomanceThe family can all enjoy this together because of the catchy musical numbers and the simple romance story.

SettingsEach setting shows us the different worlds Belle came from to be with the Beast showing the small-town girl could end up in a castle.

AnimationThe animation looks fantastic which adds to the fantasy animation you saw in the Disney films during the 90s.

Final ThoughtsThis is one film that the princess lovers will always love because it is about a normal girl that gets to be treated like a princess.

 

Overall: Wonderful fantasy romance film.

Rating

 

 

Vintage Franchise – Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

Director: Nicholas Meyer

Writer: Leonard Nimoy, Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal (Screenplay) Gene Roddenberry (Characters)

Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Kim Cattrall, Christopher Plummer

 

Plot: On the eve of retirement, Kirk and McCoy are charged with assassinating the Klingon High Chancellor and imprisoned. The Enterprise crew must help them escape to thwart a conspiracy aimed at sabotaging the last best hope for peace.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Addition to Franchise

 

Story: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country starts as the Klingon race is facing extinction after a mining accident, Spock (Nimoy) and the federation have looked at options to create a peace agreement and Spock suggests the near retirement Kirk (Shatner) to escort the Chief in Command of the Klingons for negotiations.

When the escort goes wrong all clues point to the Enterprise attacking and members of the crew boarding the ship to assassinate the Chief in Command, this leads to Kirk and McCoy (Kelley) being arrested for the assassination, leaving Spock to uncover the truth during this delicate time between the space races.

 

Thoughts on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

 

Characters – Kirk is on the verge of retirement and reluctantly accepts an escort mission searching for a chance of peace even against his own dislike towards the Klingons after their hand in his son’s death. Kirk is framed for the assassination of the Klingon leader and joins McCoy in a mining prison hoping his crew could turn around the conviction. Spock is the one trying to put together peace treaty and must take control of the Enterprise after the assassination and the investigation from within the ship to who was really behind it all. Chang is the Klingon general that believes himself and Kirk are both great warriors and he also isn’t supporting the peace talks, he is quick to point the finger at Kirk for the assassination.

PerformanceBy now we what performances we are going to get from the crew, with Shatner and Nimoy both doing what we expect now. Christopher Plummer is the biggest addition to this cast and he does well even though you could question an actor as respected as him joining in this late in the franchise.

StoryThe story shows the point of the Federation, looking for peace between all races but the crew must deal with the few extremists that don’t want the peace in the galaxy. This does play out as a strategical part of the series as we learn more sides to the overall battle which makes everything feel a lot more interesting. If you are going into this looking for big battles you won’t get that one though.

Adventure/Mystery/Sci-FiThe adventure does take a step back in this story as we are left to focus on the mystery behind who is against the peace talks.

SettingsThe mostly just spend the time on the ships which is fine because this story focuses on the idea of peace in the galaxy over a battle there.

Special EffectsThe effects are good without being great through this film.

Scene of the Movie – The assassination looks great.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lack of use of the supporting crew.

Final ThoughtsThis is another nice addition to the Star Trek franchise which shows even after 6 films you can still enjoy the film.

 

Overall: This is a nicely built up film in the franchise.

Rating

 

 

 

New Jack City (1991)

Director: Mario Van Peebles

Writer: Thomas Lee Wright, Barry Michael Cooper (Screenplay)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Allen Payne, Chris Rock, Mario Van Peebles, Michael Michele, Bill Nunn, Judd Nelson

 

Plot: A crime lord ascends to power and becomes megalomaniacal while a maverick police detective vows to stop him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Addition to Gangster Genre

 

Story: New Jack City starts in New York City as the drug war is sky high with drug maverick Nino Brown (Snipes) has a plan to dominate the cities drug trafficking process. When Nino gets complete control over an apartment building where he produces the product holding the resident’s prisoners.

Two years have passed and now Detective Stone (Peebles) wants Appleton (Ice-T) and Nick Peretti (Nelson) to lead an investigation to take down Nino. Hiring former dealer Pookie (Rock) to go undercover due to his tight connection with Nino we are left to see how they plan on taking down Nino.

 

Thoughts on New Jack City

 

Characters/PerformanceNino is what you would call a brilliant drug kingpin that fully controls the operation and a threat to the city, he will kill anyone that gets in his way. Scotty is the cop that pushes the limits too often making this battle against drugs personal. Nick is the disgraced cop from another town but doesn’t fit into the neighbourhood but is also just as committed to bringing down Nino.

Performance wise, Snipes does shine in this leading role getting to have a lot of fun with his performance, Ice-T is good but not as convincing to this world, with Judd Nelson giving us as good supporting role. Chris Rock should get praise for his performance which I believe was one of his first roles.

StoryThe story bottles down to the rise and fall of Nino Brown or any other generic crime boss, this is because we have him start his operation and facing enemies from police and other drug bosses. This isn’t the most original story but is a good watch for anyone who is a fan of the genre.

Action/CrimeThe action when needed is mostly wild gun battles that show the chaos the drug wars can cause. The crime side of the story comes from the idea that we are dealing with drugs circulating around the big city.

SettingsNew York City is a great choice for the setting because it shows the different sides of the tracks the people can all come from in this war.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to the drug related films I am not the biggest fan but this one is an easy watch for the fans of the genre.

 

Overall: This is a good addition to the genre that has its place in the gangster history.

Rating

 

 

The Addams Family (1991)

addamDirector: Barry Sonnenfeld

Writer: Caroline Thompson, Larry Wilson (Screenplay) Charles Addams (Characters)

Starring: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Dan Hedaya, Elizabeth Wilson, Judith Malina, Carel Struycken, Dana Ivey, Paul Benedict, Christina Ricci, Jimmy Workman

 

Plot: Con artists plan to fleece an eccentric family using an accomplice who claims to be their long-lost uncle.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Family Comedy

 

Story: The Addams Family starts as we meet the family Morticia (Huston), Gomez (Julia), Lurch (Struycken), Wednesday (Ricci), Pugsley (Workman) and Thing (Hart) who have been trying to contact Uncle Fester after his disppearnce years before. Bring in Tully Alford (Hedaya) and his wife Margaret (Ivey) who want the Addams family fortune.

Tully and Abigail Craven (Wilson) use her son Gordon (Lloyd) to pretend to be Uncle Fester as he enters the house to find his share of the fortune but his adventure are nothing like he would expect as he has to deal with the unusual behaviour of the Addams family. It isn’t long before the family starts to question this Uncle Fester and soon begin to love the strange character even if he isn’t the man they thought he was.

The Addams Family is one of the true classic family comedy fantasy film that shows just how different we can see each person in our own family to be different. The interactions between the family are all twisted in a loving way where we could see others question while the interaction with the people outside the family all come off slightly awkward which sums up the family perfectly.

The con-artist side of the story comes off nicely as we can see how naïve a family can be but even with love people can change. The performances are all great with Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston have perfect chemistry as the father and mother of the family. The rest of the cast all give great performances that you can believe from start to finish with the uniqueness given to each character.

 

Overall: Underrated classic that hits on all of the unique style needed to make it truly stand out.

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