The Amityville Horror (1979)

Director: Stuart Rosenberg

Writer: Sandor Stern (Screenplay) Jay Anson (Book)

Starring: James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger, Don Stroud, Murray Hamilton, John Larch, Natasha Ryan

 

Plot: Newlyweds move into a large house where a mass murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away.


Tagline – The best-selling novel about a haunted house… has become real!

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Chilling Horror

 

Story: The Amityville Horror starts one year after the family is massacred in the house, with George (Brolin) and Kathy (Kidder) moving their family Amy, Greg and Matt into the house which is a dream home for the price for the couple. When the priest Father Delaney (Steiger) gets haunted by his visit to the home, it just seems to be the beginning of the horror the family is going to experience.

As the family spends more time in the house, George starts to change in the eyes of Kathy, Father Delaney believes something is wrong in the house, could there be something more to the previous year’s massacre?

 

Thoughts on The Amityville Horror

 

Characters – George Lutz is the husband and step-father to the children, he has always been kind to those children and supportive to his wife. When inside the house he starts to act differently, short tempered and angry towards the family, it looks like he is starting to believe in the evil in the house. Kathy is the one that starts to see the change in her husband, believing there is something going on within the house, she turns to religion for answers who only offer her warnings. Father Delaney gets forced out of the house on his first visit, he gets sick and hears a voice warning him to leave, he struggles to get the church to believe him as he wants to help the family who he believes is in danger.

PerformancesJames Brolin in the leading role goes through the transformation which is both disturbing and haunting, which makes it one of the best in the era of horror. Margot Kidder is great as the wife and mother seeing her family in danger and see this in her reactions to the haunting events. Rod Steiger is good in his role though it does feel like most other religious figure roles that we have seen.

StoryThe haunting events of the Amityville is one of the most talked about in modern horror events history, it has been put through the ringer more than any other paranormal event. This follows the family as we see their account of the story, the one that most people question, away from just questioning on whether it is real or not, we get to see one man’s transformation as the spirits of the house start to take control of him, much like the events from the year before. We must get through the will power to not get beaten by possession and just how this story took the world with pure shock value. This does slowly build the tension with the effects on the family, we have moments that visitors go through and are left guessing to just where the events will go.

HorrorIf you put any horror event inside the home, you instantly get a much more deeper feeling of fear through the film. the place you feel is the safest becomes the place where the terror attacks.

SettingsThe film keeps a lot of the horror inside the home, the iconic home with the evil looking windows, when we leave we generally only get to visit the church environment following the priest side of the story.

Special EffectsThe effects are great for the time, they are simple and only come into effect when needed to make an impact in certain scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
Out the Window.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story has always been talked about, the line between fact and fiction isn’t nice to judge.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most effective horrors of the late 70’s, it has chilling moments, strong performance and will keep the conversation about the events in the home alive.

 

Overall: Chilling and disturbing horror.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Random – # – The 33 (2015)

Director: Patricia Riggen

Writer: Mikko Alanne, Craig Borten, Michael Thomas, Jose Rivera (Screenplay) Hector Tobar (Book)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, James Brolin, Lou Diamond Phillips, Mario Casas

 

Plot: Based on the real-life event, when a gold and copper mine collapses, it traps 33 miners underground for 69 days.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Incredible True Story, Slow Film

 

Story: The 33 starts as we follow our Chilean miners including family man Mario Sepulveda (Banderas) and safety inspector Don Lucho (Phillips) who is reluctantly backs down from their boss about the conditions inside the mine, believing the mountain will start to collapse in on itself.

When the mine does collapse, it leaves all 33 miners trapped hoping they might get rescued, well that is inside the mine. Outside the mine the miner’s families led by Maria Segovia (Binoche) demanded answers and help from the government with Laurence Golborne (Santoro) calling the shots, doing the best he can to find a way to rescue the miners. This is the incredible story of how the Chilean miners survived and were rescued.

 

Thoughts on The 33

 

Characters/PerformanceThe film is based on the real people involved, Mario is the one that takes control inside the mine, the reluctant hero even against the odds. Laurence is the government man that must do the right thing while working with the experts as well as keep the families happy. Maria is the sister of one of the miners and leads the protest to find answers about her brother and other miners.

Performance wise, Banderas shows himself to be the biggest star within the mine, we do get strange casting choices up next because we have a French actress playing a Chilean lady, and Irish man as a Chilean. But away from this we have good performances all around from the whole cast.

StoryThe story is one that we all followed on the news, it was one of the most must watch news stories of the 21st Century. Seeing the amazing story of how the men survived, the way a small town can together to bring a nation, then the world to see, beg and pray for these men is an incredible story of courage, strength and belief in the human race.

Biography/HistoryWhile we don’t truly get to know the men personally, we do see the 69 days that changed their lives. This will go down in history as one of our moments of greatness as a human race.

SettingsThe film is set between the mine which shows us just how trapped the character will be but we also see how the family members are working towards rescue.

Final ThoughtsThis is an incredible story that was one we followed and seeing this brings back the memories but in places this is slightly slow.

 

Overall: Great glimpse into history.

Rating

 

 

Terrence Howard Weekend – The Hunting Party (2007)

huntingDirector: Richard Shepard

Writer: Richard Shepard (Screenplay) Scott Anderson (Article)

Starring: Terrence Howard, Richard Gere, James Brolin, Jesse Eisenberg

 

Plot: A young journalist, a seasoned cameraman and a discredited war correspondent embark on an unauthorized mission to find the No.1 war criminal in Bosnia. However, their extremely dangerous target decides to come after them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Story

 

Story: The Hunting Party starts by introducing us to our extreme reporters Simon Hunt (Gere) and his cameraman Duck (Howard) who put themselves in the most extreme warzones risking their lives. In 1994 Bosnia Simon reaches his limits after seeing the slaughter of a small village. We watch how the two go very different directions Duck gets a promotion and Simon goes off the radar.

The war over in the year 2000 Duck returns with young intern Benjamin (Eisenberg) for a story when Duck gets a visit from Simon who is looking for the notorious war criminal known only as The Fox (Kerekes). The three go on the adventure to uncover the war criminal with their liaison Mirjana (Kruger) as they go for an interview which is also a plan to capture him and regain the fame and fortune Simon once had.team

The Hunting Party is a loose look at what happened with a reporter trying to get his own personal revenge on a war criminal, I think that is the fair way to look at this one. The idea that reporters locate a war criminal works to an extent but the humour comes with how none of the military force seem to care about what is happened. The three have good chemistry which all helps with all the reaction to events. The down side for this film is that we just don’t seem to get pulled in enough for what happens with the story never believing what actually happened.

 

Actor Review

 

Richard Gere: Simon Hunt is a world renowned reporter that goes to all the warzones around the world collecting stories and awards. After he has a breakdown he goes under the radar before coming back into Duck’s life to finally capture the war criminal The Fox. Richard is good using his charm throughout the film.

Terrence Howard: Duck is the cameraman for Simon who went on all the stories, after Simon’s breakdown he gets the promotion and is enjoying the safer life, while returning to Bosnia for a story he has to team up with Simon one more time for the most extreme of all their adventures. Terrence is good in this role working well with Richard.

Jesse Eisenberg: Benjamin is the young intern who gets a chance to work with Duck in and Simon which will help with his much needed experience when it comes to getting into the world journalism. Jesse showed he was going to be a big star with this role.

Diane Kruger: Mirjana is a source in Bosnia she thinks the crew are CIA and tries to help them locate the Fox. Diane seems to only be in a few scenes and we don’t seem to see enough to give her fair criticism.

Support Cast: The Hunting Party has a supporting cast that includes all the different people that the crew really met on their adventure.

Director Review: Richard ShepardRichard gives us a light hearted look at very real situation that was much darker.

 

Adventure: The Hunting Party puts our character on a dangerous explosive adventure.

Comedy: The Hunting Party is told in a comical tone throughout.

War: The Hunting Party leaves us looking at the aftermath of war and how people are still too scared to worry about what happened.

Settings: The Hunting Party takes us to the areas involved in the Bosnia civil war as we see the effects it has had on the country.
Special Effects
: The Hunting Party uses good effects when need without turning to them.

Suggestion: The Hunting Party is one to try it isn’t the most exciting but it does what it needs to for basic storytelling. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Richard and Terrence have good chemistry.

Worst Part: Slightly slow and difficult to follow.

Funniest Scene: Indian UN guy.

 

Believability: Based on the real adventure I guess it is up to us to decide what we believe to be real.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: How can they find the world’s most wanted war criminal when the C.I.A. can’t? [by actually looking]

 

Overall: Fun look at how the media think the military characters are looking into war criminals

Ratingcard

Last Chance Harvey (2008)

logoDirector: Joel Hopkins

Writer: Joel Hopkins (Screenplay)

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Eileen Atkins, Kathy Baker, Liane Balaban, James Brolin, Richard Schiff

 

Plot: In London for his daughter’s wedding, a rumpled man finds his romantic spirits lifted by a new woman in his life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Romantic Drama

 

Story: Last Chance Harvey starts with pianist Harvey (Hoffman) and Kate (Thompson) who are both in their 50s but clearly very lonely. Harvey is going to London for his daughter’s Susan (Balaban) wedding but is being put on a deadline at work with the next job being his last chance to save his job. We also watch Kate getting forced into blind dating with a co-workers partner’s friend.

When Harvey has to give up seeing part of his daughter’s wedding to try and save his job he ends up losing his job and finally getting a chance meeting with Kate after we see certain almost moments between too. As the two become friends from their one afternoon together Kate talks Harvey into returning to the wedding being it is her once in a lifetime moment.

Last Chance Harvey is a story that shows that however long you have to wait you will get your chance as long as you are willing to take it. We do get to see how one man has lost his moment to experience the most important parts of his life and clearly looks unhappy but isn’t willing to let his latest chance go. The story really does focus on what would be the chance we miss not letting them be the chance we don’t take. This story is filled with charm but really is just about the conversation and reaction between the two leads. The time period being used is over two days which makes the idea that the chance is even higher risk with their decision. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Dustin Hoffman: Harvey Shine is the jingle writer who has to travel from America to London for his daughter’s wedding. Harvey has to go through the situation of being left alone through the rehearsal dinner while seeing his ex-wife happy with her new husband. His life is turned upside down when he loses the chance to give away his daughter because of his job which he later loses before meeting the equally lonely Kate who starts a potential romance. Dustin shows he always had the charm to be a leading man to sweep a lady of her feet. (7/10)

 harvey

Emma Thompson: Kate Walker is the single lady who has to deal with her mother wanting someone to talk to all the time, being set up with the wrong type of guys through work friends before meeting Harvey, Harvey is reluctant to let her go without a conversation which opens up the doors to a potential romance between the two. Emma shows here that she is still filled with her charm for a romantic film. (7/10)

 kate

Support Cast: Last Chance Harvey has a supporting cast that includes most of the wedding party that all work to show how Harvey may have missed out on too much of his life. it also has the members of Kate’s life that make her feel out of place in the group.

 

Director Review: Joel Hopkins – Joel gives us a good romantic film that is focused on the relationship between two people. (7/10)

 

Drama: Last Chance Harvey looks into the ideas of missing moments in life and taking the chances that present themselves to you. (7/10)

Romance: Last Chance Harvey shows that a simple conversation could start a romantic angle. (8/10)

Settings: Last Chance Harvey centres the most part of the story in London but never uses the traditional landmarks to remind us. (8/10)

Suggestion: Last Chance Harvey is one to try, it tells a nice simple story that could easily have just been a chapter in Love Actually. (Romantic Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Hoffman and Thompson are great.

Worst Part: We don’t really meet too much of the supporting cast, but this does work because it shows how distant our two leads are from them.

 

Believability: The idea of that moment coming to change everything in our lives is always good to see. (8/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Chapters of Love Actually.

 

Awards: Both Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman were nominated for Golden Globes.

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

Tagline: When it comes to love, is it ever too late to take a chance?

 

Overall: Last Chance Harvey is a touchingly charming tale of love when you least expect it.

Rating 70