ABC Film Challenge – 80s – W – The Witches of Eastwick (1987) Movie Review

Director: George Miller

Writer: Michael Cristofer (Screenplay) John Updike (Novel)

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer, Veronica Cartwright, Richard Jenkins

Plot: Three single women in a picturesque village have their wishes granted, at a cost, when a mysterious and flamboyant man arrives in their lives.


Tagline – Something wicked this way comes. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Easy Watch

Story: The Witches of Eastwick starts when three single women Alexandra (Cher), Jane (Sarandon) and Sukie (Pfeiffer) discover they can make a wish and things start to happen, with the three having a drink or two, they conjure up a dream man Daryl Van Horne (Nicholson) who arrives in town, turning all their heads.

As Daryl gets alone moments with each of the women, he starts to create a divide between them as they learn just how destructive they can be together with their wishes, needing to fix what they created.

Thoughts on The Witches of Eastwick

Characters – Daryl Van Horne is the man that arrives in town, showing his wealth and turning the heads of the three women, she knows how the charm any women along the way, which sees him having his way with all of them at some point, until he starts to become desperate. Alexandra, Jane and Sukie are the three close friends, all single, all looking for a man in their lives. They discover they have the power to summon their wishes, if they wish together, which sees them all bringing Daryl to the town.

PerformancesJack Nicholson as the womaniser, this is an easy role for him to play, showing the confidence through the film. Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer together are great, with their chemistry as well as showing us the individual problems they are facing.

StoryThe story here follows three single friends that discover they have powers to make their wishes come true, which includes summoning the dream man, one who seduces all of them, with consequences for the whole town. The story here shows that the power of wishes within witches could become dangerous, when dealing with a charming can show the way men could control women, with women needing to get their revenge. This is women versus man deep down.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy comes from seeing just what happens to Daryl along the way, with how the women are getting their revenge on him, while the horror is about who he really is.

SettingsThe film uses the on village setting to show us just how the women are close and need something new in life.


Scene of the Movie – Voodoo.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It jumps in tone so fast.

Final Thoughts This is a fun movie about being in control, with the three women finding what they want only to discover they needs to use their powers for the better.

Overall: Fun Comedy.

ABC Film Challenge – 80’s Movies – U – Masters of the Universe (1987) Movie Review

This is under U because it is about the Universe being saved.

Director: Gary Goddard

Writer: David Odell (Screenplay)

Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Frank Langella, Meg Foster, Billy Barty, Courteney Cox, Robert Duncan McNeill, Jon Cypher

Plot: The heroic warrior He-Man battles against the evil lord Skeletor and his armies of darkness for control of Castle Grayskull.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Cult Classic 101

Story: Masters of the Universe starts as the evil Skeletor (Langella) is looking to gain the power of Grayskull, with only one threat He-Man (Lundgren) needing to stop him before he takes his new power and takes control of the land, which sees the two sides clash and He-Man, Teela (Field), Gwildor (Barty) and Duncan (Cypher) leaving the Eternia world, finding themselves in America.

When Julie (Cox) finds the key to which Skeletor needs, he sends soldiers to retrieve it, which leads her to He-Man that must step up and fight to protect Earth too now.

Thoughts on Masters of the Universe

Characters – He-Man is the fearless warrior that defends Eternia, the good following, the evil want him dead, he is stronger than any other person on the planet and will never back down from a fight no matter what the odds are against him. Skeletor is the evil lord looking to gain complete power of Eternia, he does this by force over anything else, killing anyone that goes against him. Evil-Lyn is the one leading the hunt for the key and He-Man, she has powers which will let her get anything she wants, proving to be an asset for Skeletor to have by his side. Gwildor is one of the soldiers that works with He-Man, he likes what he finds on Earth and is usually used for a laugh along the way.

PerformancesDolph Lundgren in the leading role has the look for the role, which is needed for the film, he looks like he would beat most people in a fight too. Frank Langella as Skeletor is great because his voice adds even more evil to the role. The rest of the cast fit in well, working for the characters they are playing.

StoryThe story here follows the adventures of He-Man as he looks to save the universe from the evil Skeletor who is trying to gain control and take over the universe using force. When superhero style movies weren’t a big thing, this was one that gave us the first live-action version of a comic book character, it is big, it is cheesy, being everything it needs to be for the concept behind the film of good versus evil, with the battle showing how one will always try for more power and the other will always step up to prevent it.

Action/FantasyThe action is big, it is everything you would imagine a live action animated character would have, with the fantasy worlds showing the different mindsets between the characters.

SettingsThe film uses the two main settings, with Eternia and Earth, it shows the different in beliefs and styles when it comes to fighting evil.

Special EffectsBeing made in the 80s this does have effects that work for the large scale style of the film, they add the charm to what makes this one of the cult classics of a generation.


Scene of the Movie – The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The humans are annoying.

Final Thoughts This is a fun over the top 80s movie, it does show how you can bring the larger than life animated characters to life and can enjoy the over the top battles they find themselves in.

Overall: Fun Movie

ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – H – Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) Movie Review

This is under H because of director John Hughes.

Director: John Hughes

Writer: John Hughes (Screenplay)

Starring: Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robins, Michael McKean, Kevin Bacon, Dylan Baker

Plot: A man must struggle to travel home for Thanksgiving with a lovable oaf of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion.


Tagline – Pack in the Laughter! 

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Simple Road Trip Movie

Story: Planes, Trains & Automobiles starts when businessman Neal Page (Martin) who is trying to get home from New York for Thanksgiving, he first misses his taxi with Del Griffith (Candy) taking the cab, and his plane gets diverted to Wichita, where Neal must trust the help of Del to get home.

The unlikely pair clash, with Neal wanting to keep himself to himself, while Del is always wanting to chat, with connections all the way home, only things don’t always go to plan.

Thoughts on Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Characters – Neal is a successful businessman that has to get home for Thanksgiving from New York, he has it planned, but gets caught up in the middle of rush hour traffic, missing his plane home, where he sees his plane is diverted an dis left with mild-mannered happy go lucky Del. He constantly tries to ditch Del, but the two keep meeting and helping him along the journey. Del Griffith is a travelling salesman, he is always smiling through life, which rubs Neal the wrong way. The two constantly clash together. We do meet the colourful characters they meet along the way, who are played more for laughs than anything else.

PerformancesSteve Martin does work well as the stuck up businessman, while John Candy as the ever positive character gets to bounce of Martin well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows one man trying to get from New York to California in time for Thanksgiving, only everything goes wrong along the way and an unlikely friendship starts between him and a travelling salesman. This story does focus too heavily on Neal’s life and what he wants, which does play into his selfish nature, we get the idea that Thanksgiving will bring out the crazy in people who are trying to travelling across country and what it means to get there, while neglecting the big heart that we don’t see until the final act. We seem to focus on a situation for laughs, rather than furthering the story too, which just makes it an simple one to watch too.

ComedyThe comedy is hit or miss really, we have the occasional strong moment, while the rest seems to focus on forced laughs which don’t always come.

SettingsThe film is a road trip movie, so we do see our characters in plenty of different locations, which usually all including somewhere travel related.


Scene of the Movie – I want a car.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It doesn’t get the heart side of the film out enough.

Final Thoughts This is an easy to watch comedy that tries more for laughs than the heart it wants to push to front and centre.

Overall: Average Comedy.

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