The Rocketeer (1991)

Director: Joe Johnston

Writer: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, William Dear (Screenplay) Dave Stevens (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino, Terry O’Quinn, Ed Lauter, James Handy

 

Plot: A young pilot stumbles onto a prototype jetpack that allows him to become a high flying masked hero.


Tagline – Three years before the United States declares war, Cliff Secord leads America’s first battle against the Nazis.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Adventure Film

 

Story: The Rocketeer starts in 1938 as young pilot Cliff (Campbell) and his engineer Peevy (Arkin) find a mysterious jetpack in one of their planes after a group of mobsters crash in their airstrip. Neville Sinclair (Dalton) wants the rocket and has Eddie Valentine (Sorvino) and his men try to retrieve it.

With Neville turning out to be one of the biggest stars in an emerging Hollywood, Cliff’s girlfriend Jenny (Connelly) has a part in his latest movie, which brings him to the attention of Neville and his goons, once he uses the jetpack to save a friend.

 

Thoughts on The Rocketeer

 

Characters – Cliff is a quiet, shy and clumsy pilot, well clumsy on land, he has a blossoming romance with aspiring actress, he is always trying to prove he is the best in the sky and when he gets his hands on a jetpack he becomes the Rocketeer. Jenny is the aspiring actress that has only been getting small roles and only wishes Cliff would support her dreams more. Peevy is the engineer that can fix anything for Cliff, he watches him risk his life and knows he can handle himself. Neville Sinclair is a big-name actor in Hollywood, he wants to get his hands on the jetpack and will use his goons to get his hands on it.

PerformancesBilly Campbell is good in this leading role, you can see the innocent reactions in his eyes. Jennifer Connelly is good even if she is just mainly the damsel to Cliff’s character. Alan Arkin does get to have fun in his role, while Timothy Dalton works well as the primary villain in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that suddenly gets the equipment to make him superhuman with the addition of the jetpack, though the mob are also after the jetpack and he must protect his friends from his secret. This is adapted from a graphic novel and you can see this as it is mostly an origin story about how Cliff became the Rocketeer. When it comes to the villains we get cliched mob figures throughout which is fine, but soon becomes tiresome with their reactions to everything going on. This is however a fun story that can be enjoyed throughout.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action in the film is a lot of fun because it is wildly over the top and fits the comic book ideas we are now used too. The adventure takes Cliff from a small time role of a pilot to one of the most wanted men in Hollywood and not for the good reasons. The sci-fi elements from the film come from the inclusion of the jetpack and how it comes from the mind of Howard Hughes.

SettingsThe film is set in Hollywood where we have the rise of mobsters in the corrupt on the early stages of Hollywood are shown through the use of the settings.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are good for the most part, the flying sequences are a step forward from the old school Superman films and have dated when it comes to modern film stylings.


Scene of the Movie –
First time with the Rocket.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The mobsters feel too cliched.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice fun film that can be enjoyed, it has dated in places but for a time when comic book movies didn’t come along that often this shows you can make them fun without them being connected.

 

Overall: Fun from start to finish.

Rating

 

 

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Weekend – Raw Deal (1986)

raw dealDirector: John Irvin

Writer: Gary DeVore, Norman Wexler (Screenplay) Lucian Vincenzoni, Sergio Donati (Story)

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathryn Harrold, Sam Wanamaker, Paul Shenar, Robert Davi, Ed Lauter, Darren McGavin, Joe Regalbuto

 

Plot: A former FBI agent turned small-town sheriff agrees to help the FBI chief infiltrate the Chicago mafia when the FBI chief’s son is killed by them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Action Film

 

Story: Raw Deal starts as we see the mob take down a witness protection post killing the son of Harry Shannon (McGavin). We move on to meet Mark Kaminsky (Schwarzenegger) a small town sheriff that was forced to leave the FBI with him and his wife struggling with this quiet existence.

With a phone call from Harry gives Mark a chance to regain his FBI status by going undercover in the Patrovita (Wanamaker) organisation with the promises of getting his old job back. Mark’s new identity is Joseph P Brenner and it doesn’t take long for him to start getting noticed and welcomed into the crime organisation.

Raw Deal is what you would call a typical action crime thriller from the 80s, it has nothing truly fresh but can be enjoyed from the casual viewing. We get to see the redemption story but I do feel we should have seen what Mark had done rather just hear about it. We do get a film that continues to grow Schwarzenegger reputation in the action genre.

 

Actor Review

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Mark Kaminsky/Joseph P Brenner, Mark is the former FBI agent turns small town Sheriff because of his rough justice. He lives a boring life where his wife has grown to hate him. Mark gets a chance to get his old job back by going undercover in a criminal organisation against the men which killed his former partner’s son. Arnold shows his action skills without being trying to hard.

Kathryn Harrold: Monique is a lady Mark meets in the club where he strikes up a friendship with her as the two are only ever friends but nothing more. She is trapped under the thumb of the mobsters who are making her do their scouting from the tables. Kathryn is a simple female character that never really offers too much to the main story.

Sam Wanamaker: Luigi Patrovita is the crime boss who has control of the city that Mark has to get close to, he doesn’t let people in easily but if you mess with him you won’t be around much longer. Sam makes for your typical villain in the business man type of role.

Darren McGavin: Harry Shannon is the former partner of Mark in the FBI who secretly funds the undercover mission to get revenge for the death of his son at the hands of the mob. Darren is a solid supporting character one that is typical for 80s films.

Support Cast: Raw Deal doesn’t have the most memorable supporting cast with most just being extra members of the mob for Mark to take out.

Director Review: John IrvinJohn gives us an easy to watch action film that never really tests us.

 

Action: Raw Deal has standard 8os action going on from start finish.

Crime: Raw Deal puts us into a crime world where we get to see one man undercover looking for revenge for a friend.

Thriller: Raw Deal tries to keep us on edge but we all know Arnie is never in danger.

Settings: Raw Deal doesn’t have the most memorable settings being used in the film.
Special Effects
: Raw Deal has typical effects for the time period the film was made in.

Suggestion: Raw Deal is one for a late night TV where you can sit back and relax. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: Arnie is still strong.

Worst Part: Nothing really fresh.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $8.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

Tagline: Nobody gives him a Raw Deal.

 

Overall: Easy to watch action film

Ratingcard

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The French Connection II (1975)

frenchDirector: John Frankenheimer

Writer: Alexander Jacobs, Robert Dillon, Laurie Dillon (Screenplay) Robert Dillon, Laurie Dillon (Story)

Starring: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Bernard Fresson, Philippe Leotard, Ed Lauter, Charles Millot

 

Plot: “Popeye” Doyle travels to Marseille to find Alain Charnier, the drug smuggler who eluded him in New York.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Conclusion to Story

 

Story: The French Connection II starts as Doyle (Hackman) has gone to France to track down Alain Charnier (Rey) who left him looking stupid with his escape from New York. Henri Barthelemy (Fresson) is the connection with the French Police who are happier to push him off the trial leaving Doyle to work on his own in a country he doesn’t understand the language and sticks out like a saw thumb.

After Doyle gets captured by Charnier and his men they force him onto drugs for three weeks before realizing that this is making their operations hard when the police are all over the streets looking for Doyle, could this really have been the first miss-step in Charnier plans that will lead him to get catch.

The French Connection II does end up just continuing the story and how it ended last time around. We do get a much more personal story for Doyle with the drug abuse he is forced to go through. The style feels very similar as we have plenty of foot races through the streets. We do get plenty to look forward to but the base story is just one man chasing down the criminal.

 

Actor Review

 

Gene Hackman: Doyle is the New York police detective that travels to France to try and capture his nemesis Alain Charnier, unwanted by the French police he is giving the corner like desk and followed around the town before he gets captured by Charnier and force into drugs for three weeks before having to go through withdrawal before he can finally take down his enemy. Gene does good returning to this character who has to go through a lot more than his previous outing.

Fernando Rey: Alain Charnier is the man who escaped from Doyle hands in New York, he continues to run his enterprise in France but now the games are on his home soil. He takes things to the next level to get Doyle to leave him alone only to find himself against an even more determined Doyle. Fernando returns as this character but doesn’t feel as strong as previous film.

Bernard Fresson: Barthelemy is the inspector in France who tries to push Doyle away by just letting him do his thing but ends up team up with Doyle to take down Charnier once and for all. Bernard does good job in this role making him good supporting character.

Support Cast: The French Connection II has the typical supporting cast you would see in most cop dramas.

Director Review: John FrankenheimerJohn does well to continue the story even though he doesn’t reach the full intensity of the original.

 

Action: The French Connection II has plenty of chase sequences through the film but mostly foot ones.

Crime: The French Connection II continues the crime story created from the first film to finish the personal battle.

Thriller: The French Connection II doesn’t manage to pull you to the edge of your seat like the previous outing.

Settings: The French Connection II uses all the French settings which works for the film giving us beautiful backdrops as well as tight streets.
Suggestion
: The French Connection II is a film that you should watch after seeing the original. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Final chase.

Worst Part: Bit slower that original

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

Tagline: THE FRENCH CONNECTION was only the beginning-THIS is the climax

 

Overall: Climax that answers all the final questions

Ratingcard

Halloween Kingathon – Cujo (1983)

Banner-3logoDirector: Lewis Teague

Writer: Don Carlos Dunaway, Lauren Currir (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Christopher Stone, Ed Lauter

Plot: A friendly St. Bernard named “Cujo” contracts rabies and conducts a reign of terror on a small American town.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Ravenously Dark Horror

Story: Cujo starts with the friendly St Bernard Cujo chasing rabbits where he bites off more than he can chew after getting his head inside a den filled with bats, where he ends up getting bitten by fore mentioned bats. We go onto meet our main family the Trenton’s mother Donna (Wallace), father Vic (Kelly) and young son Tad (Pintauro).

When the Trenton’s have car trouble they turn to Joe Camber (Lauter) the local go to car mechnic and owner of Cujo, but as the bite becomes infected Cujo slowly starts to fall victim of the rabies he has been infected with. When Donna and Tad go to have the car looked at again they find themselves trapped by Cujo who has become a ravenous because of the rabies.

Cujo brings us such a simple idea behind a horror that could easily be real, what happens to Cujo could happen to any animal and when man’s best friend turns nasty it becomes hard to escape their strength. The trapped trying to survive a horror is such a tried and tested horror idea this films ends up using it excellently. (8/10)

Actor Review

Dee Wallace: Donna Trenton is the mother of Tad as well us the cheating wife of Vic, she needs to get her car fixed while looking after Tad but when they reach the mechanic’s house they find themselves in a battle against a now ravenous Cujo. Dee is great in this leading role trying to protect her child. (8/10)family

Danny Pintauro: Tad Trenton is the young son of the Trenton family who believe in monsters however many times Vic tries to convince him there are no such things. When he visits the mechanic’s house he gets an encounter with a real life monster in the ravenous Cujo. Danny does a good job looking scared not just for the film but most likely for years to come. (7/10)

Support Cast: Cujo has a supporting cast that is mostly local residents and a few victims for Cujo.

Director Review: Lewis Teague Lewis brings us a genuine horror film that truly scares the audience. (7/10)

Horror: Cujo puts the characters into a position where the horror will continue throughout their situation. (9/10)

Thriller: Cujo keeps you guessing to whether they will survive the problem. (8/10)

Settings: Cujo starts mostly in a small town but when Cujo traps Donna and Tad it keeps the idea of isolation together. (9/10)

Suggestion: Cujo is one for all the horror fans to have seen at least once. (Horror Fans Watch)

Best Part: Cujo is terrifying.cujo

Worst Part: Not really one.

Scariest Scene: Cujo first attack on Donna and Tad.

Believability: Rabies will do this to animals so it would be fair to say it could happen. (6/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $21 Million

Budget: $5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

Tagline: Now there’s a new name for terror.

Trivia: Stephen King has stated that he feels Dee Wallace gives the best performance in this film of any film or TV adaptation of his books, including Kathy Bates‘s Oscar-winning turn in Misery (1990).

Overall: Scary, frightening man’s best friend gone evil that will scary you for days.

Rating80

Magic (1978)

logoDirector: Richard Attenborough

Writer: William Goldman (Screenplay) William Goldman (Novel)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret, Burgess Meredith, Ed Lauter, E.J. Andre, Jerry Houser, David Ogden Stiers

 

Plot: A ventriloquist is at the mercy of his vicious dummy while he tries to renew a romance with his high school sweetheart.

 

Verdict: Killer Dummy?

 

Story: We start by seeing how a young wanna be magician recounts his tale of how his first attempt at performing goes completely wrong leading him to snap at the audience. One year later everything has changed, he has worked on his act to include a dummy and now he is on the verge of becoming a major sensation. After the network want him to have a medical he decides to spend some time away from the limelight and tries to rekindle a romance with an old love. All this is happening as the dummy starts to take over his life.

This shows how fame could end up breaking someone as we see our hero slowly start to break with his multiple personalities coming through as his dummy. The dummy ends up being his dark side that is almost tired of everything not going his way next to his mild calm good guy. It uses the idea of a creepy dummy really well because even though you know who the voice and who is controlling him it still has that high level or pure creepiness. In the end it comes off as a very interesting look psychological horror that keeps you guessing. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Anthony Hopkins: Corky Withers our young magician turned ventriloquist who is going to hit it big time, but when his dummy starts to take over his life things start to take a sour turn. Anthony shows why he is one of the best in the business by shining from start to finish. (9/10)

 hopkins

Ann-Margret: Peggy Ann Snow the object of Corky’s affection who he wants to run away but her commitments to her husband could stand in his way. Ann-Margret gives a good performance opposite Hopkins. (7/10)

 

Burgess Meredith: Ben Greene Corky’s agent who is trying to give him a deal of a lifetime and finds him after he runs away, he is the first person to see how Corky is changing and offers help. Burgess gives a solid performance but doesn’t get enough time to shine. (6/10)

 

Ed Lauter: Duke Peggy’s husband who questions both after he returns from a business trip, he gets very suspicious but his curiosity will get the best off him. Ed gives a solid performance but never pulls of anything stand out. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: We only see any support cast early in the film who are mainly other people in the entertainment business or hecklers.

 

Director Review: Richard Attenborough – Richard does a great job directing a truly creepy film starring a pre-Hannibal Lecter Hopkins and he gets the dark side out of him perfectly. (9/10)

 

Horror: It is creepy but never reaches any real horror levels. (7/10)

Settings: After Corky runs away he ends up in an isolated location with no easy escape where he starts to break as the film unfolds. (8/10)

Suggestion: This is one to try, Hopkins gives a brilliant performance but it might not show enough horror for the true horror fans. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Hopkins is brilliant

Worst Part: Lack of real horror.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Anthony Hopkins was nominated for Golden Globe and BAFTA.

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $7 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

Tagline: Abracadabra, I sit on his knee. Presto chango, and now he is me. Hocus Pocus, we take her to bed. Magic is fun; we’re dead.

Trivia: Upon seeing Fats for the first time, Anthony Hopkins was allowed to take the doll home to work with it. However, he wound up being so unnerved by it that he called the consulting ventriloquist in the middle of the night, threatening to throw Fats into the canyon if someone didn’t come and get the doll immediately. Richard Attenborough ended up going to Hopkins’ house to calm him down.

 

Overall: Creepy Horror Questioning One Man’s Mind

Rating 71