The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

Director: Frank Oz

Writer: Tom Patchett, Frank Oz, Jay Tarses (Screenplay) Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses (Story)

Starring: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, Juliana Donald, Lonny Price, Louis Zorich

 

Plot: Kermit and his friends go to New York City to get their musical on Broadway only to find it’s a more difficult task than they anticipated.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Muppet Madness Delight

 

Story: The Muppets Take Manhattan starts when Kermit and the gang graduate college and decide to head off to New York City and Broadway to get their show put on there. In New York they learn the harsh reality that they will not get an easy option, this leads to them going their separate ways, leaving Kermit to try and get the show put together.

With Kermit doing his best to sell the musical, when he finally does, he brings the gang back together, only to lose his memory and the gang must locate him before the musical debuts.

 

Thoughts on The Muppets Takes Manhattan

 

Characters – Kermit the frog is the leader of the muppets, he is the one they all turn to and pushes them to achieve their dreams, when the gang struggle to make it in New York, he is the one that must stay in the city to follow the dream while the rest return to their normal lives. He does lose his memory and starts a new life in the big city. Miss Piggy is jealous of Kermit’s friendship with Jenny and is as controlling as we know. The rest of the muppets go on their own adventures while waiting for the show to come about. Jenny is the student waitress waiting to get her big shot in the fashion industry, she helps Kermit follow his dreams. Ronnie Crawford is the one that takes a chance on Kermit, he sees potential in the group even if he isn’t telling the full truth.

PerformancesWe know the muppet characters and the masterminds behind them, they are all great, the additional characters or the real actors, Juliana Donald, Lonny Price and Louis Zorich are all good too knowing how to be part of a muppet movie without looking out of place.

StoryThe story here follows the Muppets as they look to make their names on Broadway, the idea that dreams don’t come true over night works very well because it plays into the reality that many people would have seen as achievable in time. The important side of the story does show us that there is a life away from dreams where jobs can be a back up. The story puts our characters through the usual problems as we see the gang grow as they expand to a wider audience, we know we are going to get a song and dance or two along the way which gives us plenty to work with and can just enjoy ourselves.

Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe adventure side of this film takes us to a new city for our muppets, we also see them in a life away from the group, the comedy comes from a mix of different reactions along the way to how the muppets act, we get jokes for all ages in here too. This helps give the whole family the entertainment required in this film.

SettingsNew York City, one of the best settings for any movie, this shows us how big dreams can come from going to this city.


Scene of the Movie –
The show.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain guest appearances aren’t as big as they once thought they would be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fine addition to the Muppet franchise, it has plenty of humour, a strong story and is the one that fits in the middle of the quality of the films, behind Christmas Carol.

 

Overall: Muppet fans will always enjoy this.

Rating

 

 

Bowfinger (1999)

Director: Frank Oz

Writer: Steve Martin (Screenplay)

Starring: Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Heather Graham, Christine Baranski, Jamie Kennedy, Barry Newman, Terence Stamp, Robert Downey Jr

 

Plot: When a desperate movie producer fails to get a major star for his bargain basement film, he decides to shoot the film secretly around him.


Tagline – A desperate plan for a desperate man

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Movie About Making a Movie

 

Story: Bowfinger starts when desperate movie producer Bowfinger (Martin) wants to get a brand-new film off the ground, he tells his crew that hot shot producer Jerry Renfro (Downey Jr) and massive action star Kit Ramsey (Murphy). The reality he hasn’t got them and starts to film the movie without Kit’s knowledge.

Hiring new to the city ambitious want to be actress Daisy (Graham) with his most trusted star Carol (Baranski) the film shot is underway. Can Bowfinger pull this off without anything going wrong.

 

Thoughts on Bowfinger

 

Characters – Bowfinger is the movie producer that has been searching for a hit for years. He will lie to his crew and film around the celebrity star of the film, he always has an answer for anything that gets thrown in his way. Kit Ramsey is the mega star, he is searching for his big memorable hit, part of the Mindheads (blatant piss take of Scientology) where he is also paranoid about people talking to him, he spends the whole film trying to escape the actors from Bowfinger’s movie not knowing he is being filmed. Jiff is a look alike that comes into help the film fill in parts where Kit is needed. Daisy is the ambitious actress fresh to the Hollywood, she takes the role in the film and works her way through the crew to get a larger part through the movie. The rest of the cast shows the members of the crew that each give us the part of the film making process.

PerformancesSteve Martin in the leading role is good in this role, he doesn’t fall into his normal comedy routine but gets the laughs needed. Eddie Murphy is good in his roles, we do believe his paranoid filled character which clearly is a bit of a piss take on Tom Cruise and he never goes over the top. Heather Graham gets to have a lot of fun poking fun at the ‘will do anything for a role’ actresses that have been in Hollywood. The whole cast are good through the film too.

StoryThe story focuses on the idea that a producer will secretly film around a big name actor to get a film made. This does show how a small crew can come together to try and get a movie made, we only need to look at early stories from indie film makers and shortcuts by big name directors in the past to understand this process. Throwing the idea that the big star Kit is part of a cult like religion which only plays into his paranoia in the film helps create everything. if you want to look back in history you could easily be making comparison to Plan 9 for style of working and loyalty to the crew. This might go over the top with certain elements which is fine it adds the comedy and ends up giving us a story which shows how commitment can build a film.

ComedyThe comedy in the film comes from a mix of trying to make the film happen, stereotypes for Hollywood and the paranoia Kit shows.

SettingsThe film is set in Hollywood, it shows us how the operations can be done with limited budgets even if things aren’t done the most legal ways.


Scene of the Movie –
Final sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Mindheads are too much on the noise.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good comedy that will get laughs, it has a good cast and will show how the movie making process works.

 

Overall: Enjoyable throughout.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – Z – Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: David Koepp, John Kamps (Screenplay) Chris Van Allsburg (Book)

Starring: Jonah Bobo, Josh Hutcherson, Dax Shepard, Kristen Stewart, Tim Robbins, Frank Oz

 

Plot: Two young brothers are drawn into an intergalactic adventure when their house is hurled through the depths of space by the magical board game they are playing.


Tagline – A new adventure from the world of Jumanji

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Adventure

 

Story: Zathura: A Space Adventure starts as two brothers Danny (Bobo) and Walter (Hutcherson) are trying to get the attention of their father (Robbins), with his work getting in the way they must learn to occupy themselves, which leads to them finding a board game Zathura which leads to them ending up in outer space.

The two brothers must learn to put their differences behind them to survive the game which is filled with multiply different space based threats.

 

Thoughts on Zathura: A Space Adventure

 

Characters – Danny is the youngest of the three children, he wants to be accepted by his brother even though he isn’t as good at sports and has a habit to cheat when playing games. Walter is the middle child, he wants to spend time with his father and get angry when Danny is allowed time too, he hates having Danny around never wanting to spend time with him. The Astronaut is a stranger from the game that assists the brothers through the game.

PerformancesThe performances are next up and we must first consider that we have two child actors, they are good in their arguments and it is strange to see that only one made it to the adult level in Josh Hutcherson. Dax Shepard is good and never gets to the annoying we know from him now, while Stewart and Robbins are good for the supporting roles.

StoryThe story does follow many of the same ideas as Jumanji, we have two brothers this time being forced into playing the game, needing to put aside their difference to finish the game to return to normality. We have the similar peril only in space which brings a freshness into the concept, there is a weird side story going on which brings a twist which is disturbing more than clever. If you want something just fun, this will hit the marks.

Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe adventure takes our two brothers to a place they could never imagine which plays into the fantasy elements of the film, the sci-fi side of things takes the whole story into space.

SettingsThe film is set inside the house, which is works because what would happen if your house was in space suddenly.

Special EffectsThe effects are surprisingly brilliant, I say this because Jumanji had weak effects, even though this is set in space it never looks out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
The game first moments.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The twist seems weird.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun family film that can be enjoyed by everyone, it feels like it has full adventure that can be enjoyed by all.

 

Overall: One for the adventure fans out there.

Rating

 

 

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)

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Director: Richard Marquand

Writer: Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas (Screenplay) George Lucas (Story)

Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz, Alec Guinness

Plot: After rescuing Han Solo from the palace of Jabba the Hutt, the rebels attempt to destroy the second Death Star, while Luke struggles to make Vader return from the dark side of the Force.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Fitting Conclusion to Epic Saga

Story: Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi starts by informing us that Luke (Hamill) is trying to rescue Han Solo (Ford) from Jabba the Hutt while Darth Vadar is overseeing the construction of the new Death Star with the evil Emperor coming to end the rebel forces. Luke sends C3PO and R2-D2 to negotiate the release of Solo by offering the two droids as a bargaining chip.

When Princess Leia (Fisher) arranges to rescues Han Solo it is up to Luke to break everyone free but Jabba has plans for all of our heroes as he plans to kill them for trying to escape him. Let’s face it they were never going to kill any of our heroes here so it is time for an epic escape from Jabba.

Once free Luke finishes his training learning the complete truth about the dark side of the force before rejoining on the final mission to destroy the empire once and for all. Things aren’t going to be that easy for our heroes because Vadar sees this as a chance to finish off his son and bring him to the dark side.

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi is how you should end all trilogies, we have the good guys having to defeat the victorious villains from the previous instalment. Many people dislike or find this the worst of the trilogy but I am willingly to say this is my favourite. I like the class between the Vadar and Luke because it could have gone in many different directions but the end works perfectly showing that you can always fight your dark side. We do get the typical idea that the underdogs win in a battle they shouldn’t but we needed the good guys to win this time around. This really is how trilogies should all end. (9/10)

Actor Review

Mark Hamill: Luke Skywalker rescues Han Solo fro his prison before completing his training to become the Jedi knight. Once the training is complete he goes on the mission to defeat his father and the empire. Mark gives his best performance of he saga here. (9/10)luke

Harrison Ford: Han Solo starts trapped in his prison before being rescued and taking the role as the lead in the mission to take down the enemy shields that will make the final onslaught possible. Harrison suffers from lack of screen time and doesn’t live up to the hype we once saw from his character. (7/10)solo

Carrie Fisher: Princess Leia Organa is the first person to try and rescue Han but only ends up becoming a prisoner herself before getting free and going on the mission to lower the shields. Carrie does a good job but you can’t help but wonder how she always gets captured. (7/10)leia

David Prowse/ James Earl Jones: Darth Vader wants to bring his son into the force but on his dark side, but if he doesn’t he is happy to kill him to stop the rebels taking over the empire. The final side of the Vadar chapter works very well showing how he became the dark side but how he could change. (8/10)vadar

Anthony Daniels/Kenny Baker: C-3PO & R2 D2 both come in useful as the mission continues, C3PO gets treated like a god by the ewoks while R2-D2 is as feisty as every. The pair give good performance as the lovable droids. (7/10)droids

Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca continues to be loyal to Han Solo willing to go on any mission with his long time friend. Peter continued to make Chewbacca a lovable character. (7/10)

Support Cast: Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi has a large supporting cast than previously as we see the character our heroes have met before they turned up in the saga.

Director Review: Richard MarquandRichard gives us a fitting conclusion to the franchise that redefined the sci-fi genre. (9/10)

Action: Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi has plenty of action involved from the rescue scene, to the final battle. (9/10)

Adventure: Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi takes our heroes on the final chapter of their epic adventure. (9/10)

Fantasy: Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi puts us into the world where our characters meet a string of different characters along their adventure. (9/10)

Sci-Fi: Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi takes all the action into an intergalactic war. (9/10)

Settings: Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi creates another group of original settings for our characters to enter as well as revisiting previous ones. (9/10)
Special Effects: Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi has great special effects throughout until the very disappoint change in the recent version to change Anakin. (7/10)

Suggestion: Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi is a must watch especially if you have seen the original parts of the franchise. (Must Watch)

Best Part: Vadar v Luke

Worst Part: Including new Anakin.

Action Scene Of The Film: final battle.

Funniest Scene: Ewoks.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Final part of original saga before the prequel saga and upcoming sequels.

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 4 Oscars.

Box Office: $309 Million

Budget: $32.5 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

Tagline: Return To A Galaxy… Far, Far Away

Overall: Brilliant finish to the greatest saga every put to film.

Rating 

95

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

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Director: Irvin Kershner

Writer: Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan (Screenplay) George Lucas (Story)

Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz, Alec Guinness

Plot: After the rebels have been brutally overpowered by the Empire on their newly established base, Luke Skywalker takes advanced Jedi training with Master Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader as part of his plan to capture Luke.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Considered the Best to Most

Story: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back starts by informing us with the story between the films where Darth Vadar is searching for Luke Skywalker (Hamill) the new leader of the rebel army who have relocated to the ice planet Hoth. Han Solo (Ford), Leia (Fisher), Chewbacca (Mayhew) C3PO & R2-D2 are all located. Han plans to leave to re-pay his debts but when Luke goes missing he goes out in search for him against all advice. Han shows his heroic side by saving Luke, but now the empire know where the rebels are hiding sending all their troops to eliminate the rebels.

The rebels and the empire go head to head on the ice planet, where the rebels are have to flea to survive and Luke goes his separate way to the rest as he goes to meet Yoda. We get to see how the Millennium Falcon has to avoid the capture with the whole imperial fleet looking for them, before resorting to an old friend Lando Calrissian (Williams).

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back always gets all of the praise from the original series and I can see why even if I don’t fully agree it is the best. The idea of the almost one continuous battle and escape from the Han Solo and crews side of things would make for a great action side of any story. It is the Skywalker training that really just drags this film down because it take the foot off the gas from the action with slow moving scenes that make your love for Han Solo grow. I am not going to say this film is bad and far from it but I will be saying it is a step down from what the first chapter gave the saga. (8/10)

Actor Review

Mark Hamill: Luke Skywalker is now the leader of the rebels who must continue he Jedi training with the mysterious Yoda. When Luke learns his new skills he will once again face off against Darth Vadar but this time he will learn the truth about what happened to his father. Mark gives a good performance but really doesn’t give us enough to make us care about his character for the most part of this film. (7/10)luke

Harrison Ford: Han Solo is trying to escape the rebel forces so he can go and pay his debts but every time he tries he seems to get pulled back into the fight against the empire. Harrison shines because he takes control of his side of the story that shows his characters development from the original. (9/10)han solo

Carrie Fisher: Princess Leia Organa still allied with the rebels and involved in a flirtatious romantic angle with Han. Carrie continues to be left in the background of most of the scenes. (7/10)liea

David Prowse/ James Earl Jones: Darth Vader is now hunting down Luke sending all the forces he can to find him and the rebel army, he is also about to reveal the biggest surprise line in film history. This version of Vadar works very well because he now feels even more terrifying and shows he real ability in combat too. (8/10)vadar

Anthony Daniels/Kenny Baker: C-3PO & R2 D2 actually get separated in this film with R2-D2 goes with Luke for his training while C3PO stays with the rest of our heroes as the re-group after the empires attack. The two being separated doesn’t help this as both have great chemistry when they are together. (7/10)

Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca is as always the loyal partner of Han Solo who will fight by his side against any opponent. Peter continues to show how much of an important part of the team he is without having to say anything. (8/10)

Frank Oz: Yoda (Voice) is the ancient trainer of Jedis who has to now teach Luke the ways of the force so he can finally stop Darth Vadar. Yoda makes an interesting addition to the series but is on the slower side of the story. (7/10)yoda

Support Cast: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back has a supporting cast that helps our characters in battle but also one that changes our groups situation.

Director Review: Irvin KershnerIrvin gives us what is considered the best in the series, he does keep one side of the story flying but the other side does feel slow. (8/10)

Action: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back has plenty of action sequences involving a land battle, a space battle and an escape shoot out. (9/10)

Adventure: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back does continue to show how our characters are trying to bring peace to the galaxy. (9/10)

Fantasy: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back puts us into a fantasy world where our characters are trying to find peace. (8/10)

Sci-Fi: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back puts us into the galaxy far away that has plenty of different space creatures and planets. (10/10)

Settings: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back creates more iconic settings that the original with the planets used. (10/10)
Special Effects: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back uses great special effects that for the time were ground breaking. (10/10)

Suggestion: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back is still one that has to be watched and is easily part of the biggest franchise trilogy every made. (Must Watch)

Best Part: The fact that the villains come off on top works for a saga of films.

Worst Part: Skywalker side of the storyline well the training part.

Action Scene Of The Film: Opening battle on Hoth.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Middle part of the original trilogy

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: Won 1 Oscar for Best Sound also nominated for anouther 3.

Box Office: $294 Million

Budget: $18 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

Tagline: The Adventure Continues.

Trivia: Han Solo is the only non-Jedi/Sith in the entire original trilogy to ever wield a lightsaber, which he used to cut open the tauntaun’s belly.

Overall: The Perfect middle that leaves everything open for the epic conclussion

Rating 90