Conspiracy Theory (1997) Movie Review

Director: Richard Donner

Writer: Brian Helgeland (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart, Cylk Cozart, Steve Kahan, Terry Alexander, Alex McArthur

Plot: A man obsessed with conspiracy theories becomes a target after one of his theories turns out to be true. Unfortunately, in order to save himself, he has to figure out which theory it is.


Tagline – Jerry Fletcher sees conspiracies everywhere. One has turned out to be true. Now his enemies want him dead. And she’s the only one he can trust.

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Excellent Mystery

Story: Conspiracy Theory starts as taxi driver and conspiracy theorist spends his day believing the government is out to get him always believing different events in the city are bigger than what the story is being told. He tries to turn to district attorney Alice Sutton (Roberts) about any story he gets, while also having a crush on her, before he is taken by a group of the government where Dr Jonas (Stewart) tries to get him to talk.

With Jerry needing to go on the run, Alice becomes a target too, as they must try to figure out why they have been targeted and which one of Jerry theories is the one that is trying to be covered up.

Thoughts on Conspiracy Theory

Characters – Jerry is a taxi driver in New York City, he also is a conspiracy theorist that believes everything is the government trying to cover something up, while most people to bat him off as crazy person who is just talking nonsense, one of his theories turns out to be true, as the government comes hunting for him, he every nightmare is coming true, only he doesn’t know which one of his ideas is the one that is true. Alice Sutton works in the district attorney office, she is the person Jerry brings his ideas too, while the rest of the office is scared of him, she will help him when he gets targeted, not believing everything she is being told, even after spending most of her time just listening to his ideas. Dr Jonas is the man trying to track down Jerry, he will use all the shady tactics to get his man even if he has the biggest secret about why he is hunting him down.

PerformancesMel Gibson is wonderful in the leading role here, he gets to play the full crazy without looking like he is completely out of his mind, just on edge about everything. Julia Roberts is great to trying to remain calm around the Gibson’s crazy side. Patrick Stewart as the villainous government agent is great to watch too, he knows how to make his character make a big impact on screen.

StoryThe story here follows one man who believes everything in his life is a giant conspiracy and has always gone to one person to tell his theories too, only now he has found out one is real and the government what him silenced, can he expose the truth before it is too late. When it comes to conspiracy theories we can see how people can believe in anything once they have enough information, with this one, we see somebody who does believe in way too many, he just doesn’t know which ones are real or just parts of his mind, seeing how the government wants to cover them up shows just how big the theories can be if people will kill to keep them secret. We do get to see how Alice reacts to the world she is caught up between, never knowing which side to believe through the story, which does add another level to the narrative.

Action/MysteryThe action in the film is a couple of pursuit sequences rather than full blown chases, everything feels calm, even though it is fast paced though, the mystery comes from why Jerry is being targeted this time, he just doesn’t know which one of his theories is being leaked.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which shows us just how many people will just let somebody get away with saying whatever they want and not be considered out of place.


Scene of the Movie – The pizza order.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It could be trimmed down about 20 minutes.

Final Thoughts This is a great mystery thriller that leaves plenty up there with conspiracy theories, showing how plenty can be talked about and the ones that are true could be the ones that cause the most problems.

Overall: Keeps You Guessing.

Gary Oldman Weekend – Air Force One (1997) Movie Review

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: Andrew W Marlowe (Screenplay)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Wendy Crewson, Liesel Matthews, Paul Guilfoyle, Xander Berkeley, William H Macy

Plot: Communist Radicals hijack Air Force One with The U.S. President and his family on board. The Vice President negotiates from Washington D.C., while the President, a Veteran, fights to rescue the hostages on board.


Tagline – Impenetrable. Invincible. In Trouble.

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Classic 90’s Action

Story: Air Force One starts after America has led an attack to bring down one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist, President James Marshall (Ford) gives a stirring speech about not talking to terrorist in Russia. Returning home on Air Force One, the President, his family and his staff on board, find themselves being taken over by a Russian military group led by Ivan Korshunov (Oldman) who wants the terrorist released.

When the President refuses to just escape, he stays aboard to continue his fight against terrorism, with his Vice President Kathryn Bennett (Close) needing to find a solution back in America, going through the political paperwork to find a solution to get the people home safely.

Thoughts on Air Force One

Characters – President James Marshall is a former soldier that has always managed to use his reputation of speaking and acting from the heart lead his actions. He has just declared war on terrorism with a zero tolerance of negotiating with terrorist, when his flight home is hijacked, forcing him into using his skills to save the plane and maintain the new policy bought in by the country. Ivan Korshunov is the terrorist that leads the hijacking on Air Force One, an extremist who wants his leader released, one that will die for the cause if he needs to, he will kill hostages every 30 minutes if he doesn’t get his demands met. Vice President Kathryn Bennett must run the operations from DC with the advice from remaining cabinet members who will do anything to keep the country safe. She must remain strong through the members trying to get their own agenda through. Grace and Alice are the wife and daughter of the President who are left on board the only reason he doesn’t leave, used as pawns in Ivan’s game.

PerformancesHarrison Ford in the leading role is great because we know he is a top-level action star, while giving us a President that people could fully support. Gary Oldman as the villain is great for the era, he is completely over the top which works wonders the for film. Glenn Close does a great job keeping her and the situation grounded while the action happens in the sky. Elsewhere we do have a wonderful cast that all work very well for the film.

StoryThe story here follows a group of hijackers that take Air Force One demanding the release of a known terrorist only for the President refusing to go down without a fight. This could easily just be branded Die Hard on Air Force One, which on the outside it can be, only we do get to deal with a lot more deeper because of political outcome of everything. This is an easy to follow action story and will show just how intense the situation will become if the President I caught in the middle of a hijacking situation.

ActionThe action in this film does give us plenty of action on the plane with tight fights or gun fire, only being available on the plane we are on, which each starts to get bigger as the situation escalates.

SettingsThe film uses two key settings, first Air Force One itself, which leaves us watching the helpless people hijacked with no easy rescue, while also showing us the DC side of the events as they look to remain in control.


Scene of the Movie – Get Off My Plane!

That Moment That Annoyed Me – While interesting to see, we don’t get enough of the political side of the events.

Final Thoughts This is a high octane action movie which might well be Die Hard on a Plane, it works wonders for keeping us on the edge of our seats.

Overall: Edge of the Seat Action.

ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – V – Volcano (1997) Movie Review

Director: Mick Jackson

Writer: Jerome Armstrong, Billy Ray (Screenplay) Jerome Armstrong (Story)

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, Gaby Hoffmann, Don Cheadle, Jacqueline Kim, Keith David, John Corbett

Plot: A volcano erupts in downtown Los Angeles, threatening to destroy the city.


Tagline – L.A. Erupts in 1997

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Entertaining Disaster Film

Story: Volcano starts when a small earthquake hits LA, Michael Roarke (Jones) the director of the office of emergency management gives up his holiday with his daughter Kelly (Hoffman) to make sure everything is getting cleaned up without needing his help, with Emmit Reese (Cheadle) trying to cover for him.

Needing an expect Mike turns to Dr Amy Barnes (Heche) who is an expert in geology and earthquake activities as they discover lava under LA and soon it erupts putting the whole city in danger and the race to save as many people as possible is on.

Thoughts on Volcano

Characters – Mike Roark is the director of the office of emergency management in LA, he has been through a messy divorce, giving him less time with his daughter and is a workaholic. He is spending his vacation with his daughter only a small earthquake leads him back to work, putting a strain on his relationship with his daughter, but when things start escalating, he will do everything to protect the city from more chaos, trying to save as many lives as possible. Dr Amy Barnes is a geologist who is used to facing the press, she leads her team in searching for the answers and will fill in the science that Mike isn’t away for. Kelly is the daughter of Mike, she is often a deer in the headlights type of teenager, never understanding how to get away from danger, though she does get to learn quickly when she is helping around the medical area of the disaster. Emmit Reese works under Mike, he secretly wants his job and is planning to take over one day, he learns in this situation that he isn’t ready for this role anytime soon.

PerformancesTommy Lee Jones in the leading role seems like a perfect choice, he is a man that can demand centre stage and needs to in this role, while showing he needs advice to make things right. Anne Heche handles to scientific role very well throughout, not coming off as a know it all character like she could have been made to look like. Gaby Hoffmann as the kid fills the role well, even if she isn’t written as well as they could have done. Don Cheadle is more in a commentary role which he is great to see in.

StoryThe story here follows the emergency services and geologist working together to try and save the city of LA from an unexpected volcano that was laying beneath the city. When we look at the story we get the disaster elements where people need to team up to save the city from disaster, we see how they work together to find solutions with any troubles between people never being more than a little argument, no real human villains does make this feel more natural. It is nice to see a story that doesn’t over complicate anything too.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is big, it comes from the erupts that hit when the people are trying to avoid getting hurt, we get more action from the plans to keep the city safe too. The sci-fi side of the film comes from just seeing how people could have been with science fiction behind it happening.

SettingsThe film is set in LA, a place you wouldn’t expect to see a volcano erupt, it does show the chaos the locals will be going through.

Special EffectsThe effects are wonderful to see just how the destruction happens with the lava not stopping for much.


Scene of the Movie – The sound of silence

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Most of Norman’s scenes.

Final Thoughts This is a fun disaster film that flows at a great pace, showing us just how people could work together to get over a problem they are all facing, with great acting throughout.

Overall: Disaster film that is a joy to watch.

My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) Movie Review

Director: P.J. Hogan

Writer: Ronald Bass (Screenplay)

Starring: Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz, Rupert Everett, Philip Bosco, M Emmet Walsh, Rachel Griffiths

Plot: When a woman’s long-time friend reveals he’s engaged, she realizes she loves him herself and sets out to get him, with only days before the wedding.


Tagline – A comedy about finding your heart and losing your head.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Simple Rom Com

Story: My Best Friend’s Wedding starts when successful author Julianne Potter (Roberts) who learns that her best friend Michael O’Neal (Mulroney) is getting married, which turns the switch in her mind that she is still in love with him. Julianne decides to wants to try and break up the engagement, when she learns Kimberly Wallace (Diaz) is completely aware of the position Julianne will have in Michael’s heart.

As Julianne’s plan to try and win Michael back, things get complicated when her editor George (Everett) comes to support her, which leads to her panicking and claiming they are engaged.

Thoughts on My Best Friend’s Wedding

Characters – Julianne Potter is a successful author, she always put her career ahead of love, which is why her best friend is Michael and not her partner, she learns about his engagement and decides she wants to break them up, she is always planning on trying to stay ahead of the game, though she isn’t brave enough to say how she really feels. She doesn’t come off as likeable, which is the point sometimes selfish and always unsure about wanting to commit to anything. Michael is the best friend that is going to get married, he wants Julianne back to celebrate with him and must decide how to take the next stage of his life. Kimberly Wallace is the woman that is marrying Michael, she knows how important Julianne is to Michael, which will see her trying to watch over her action. George is the editor for Julianne that is trying to give her the best advice during her decision.

PerformancesJulia Roberts in the leading role is solid enough, it does seem to go against the nice woman characters that she is used to playing. Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz and Rupert Everett do a simple enough job in the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that wants to break up her best friend before he gets married and must start to focus on her own life. This story does show how love can come and go, but will always be there, it is about whether you take your chances at the right times or whether you want to become the bad person by trying to take somebody else’s happiness. It shows just how far Julianne would go to make something out her past relationship no caring who she steps on. It doesn’t paint the main character as being very nice, because they are purely selfish.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is basic through the film, it doesn’t get too serious with the laughs. The romance in the film is more about how Julianne believes she loves her friend and will try to fight for his love.

SettingsThe film uses the wedding preparation settings for the backdrop for most of the film, we get to see where the character would be and how they would look to get what they want.


Scene of the Movie – The lesson learned.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Julianne isn’t a likeable character.

Final Thoughts This is a basic rom com, it does show how people can try to make up for their mistakes in love, but in the end, it does end up feeling like nothing much happens.

Overall: Basic stuff.

The Game (1997)

Director: David Fincher

Writer: John Brancato, Michael Ferris (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger, James Rebhorn, Peter Donat, Carroll Baker, Anna Katarina

Plot: After a wealthy banker is given an opportunity to participate in a mysterious game, his life is turned upside down when he becomes unable to distinguish between the game and reality.


Tagline – Players Wanted.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Twist Filled Thriller

Story: The Game starts as wealthy banker Nicholas Van Orton (Douglas) has spent his life working forgetting to have fun, his rebellious brother Conrad (Penn) turns up to celebrate his birthday which sees him giving him a gift, one that would let him take part in a game that will change his life. Nicholas reluctantly decides to go through the process, finding himself involved in the game, which starts to fade his reality.

As the events continue, Nicholas does start to see his very controlled life start to get out of control with only a random waitress Christine (Unger) around for him to trust, can Nicholas unravel the mystery to save his career or will he lose the game.

Thoughts on The Game

Characters – Nicholas Van Orton is a banker that is in complete control of his life, he isn’t friendly to everybody he meets in life and is distant from most of his family, he is excellent at business, he gets a different present from his rebellious brother, which sees him break out of his controlling method of life to play along with an uncontrollable game where he doesn’t know what is or isn’t real, learning to navigate and try to stay one step ahead of the game. Conrad is the rebellious brother that has had personal problems in the past, he gives Nicholas a present, claiming it helped turn his own life around, only for this gift only make his brother’s life more difficult. Christine is a waitress that Nicholas gets fired, he must work with her even if she might in fact be involved in the game herself. Jim Feingold is the man behind the invitation, he has Nicholas give him plenty of information before unleashing everything to get into Nicholas life.

PerformancesMichael Douglas is wonderful in this leading role, he plays the controlling businessman with ease and watching him lose control of his life is a performance you feel was made for Douglas. Sean Penn is wonderful in the supporting role, where we see how his character’s life has been affected by the game. Deborah Kara Unger in her supporting role does shine, with the rest of the supporting cast all working very well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a controlling businessman that decides to step away from his routine to play a game bought to him as a present by his brother, once the game has started he sees his life start to fall apart as he tries to figure out what is real and what is part of the game. This is a story that does keep you on your toes through the film as it does just keep trying to spin on everything going on. We do have an overall message going on which does show the Nicholas needs to become more open in his life, which is the point of the game, trying to teach them how important life is too. The fact that this film just keeps us guessing is what is the most important part of the film, nothing seems like reality, but it could be real, which is why this is such an impressive story.

MysteryThe mystery in this film keeps us wondering whether this is a game or whether there is something more intense going on, the fact we can balance this so effortless makes this one of the best mystery films you will see.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which does show how a successful businessman will operate in a city know or think he knows all the shortcuts to make it through the difficult times.


Scene of the Movie – Rooftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Who took his kids at the zoo?

Final Thoughts This is one of the most intense mystery thrillers ever made, we are truly kept wondering just what will happen next balancing on whether this is real or not.

Overall: Brilliant thriller.

Rating