ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – T – Trading Places (1983)

Director: John Landis

Writer: Timothy Harris, Herschal Weingrod (Screenplay)

Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Ralph Bellamy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Ameche

 

Plot: A snobbish investor and a wily street con artist find their positions reversed as part of a bet by two callous millionaires.


Tagline – Some very funny business.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful, Though Dated

 

Story: Trading Places starts as we meet high flying investor Louis Winthorpe III (Aykroyd) who has made his bosses Randolph (Bellamy) and Mortimer (Ameche) millions of dollars, he is preparing to marry is long term girlfriend, life is good for him until he clashes with Billy Ray Valentine (Murphy) a homeless wise cracker.

When the Duke brothers decide to make a wager, they decide to try and prove they can make Billy Ray as successful as Louis, but also show they can destroy Louis in the progress. We are left to see the two men adapt to their new lives trying to understand just what is happening.

 

Thoughts on Trading Places

 

Characters – Louis Winthorpe III has been living the life of with a silver spoon in his mouth his whole life, protected from any hardship as he rises up the ranks to be considered the very top employee. He is going to get married to the girl he was always going to be with until he must learn to live with nothing after being put in a bet. Billy Ray Valentine is a homeless street wise cracker that gets wrongfully accused of a crime only to be placed into a bet given a life with money, wealth and a job. He adapts to the new life like a fish to water. Randolph and Mortimer are two brothers that have too much money to know what to do with a resort to bets over people’s lives. Ophelia is a hooker that gets used as part of the bet to help ruin Louis’ life, she ends up teaching him about the right way to live with no money.

PerformancesDan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy are both wonderful with their comedy moments they both get to show different stage of their comedy from rich and poor situations. Ralph Bellamy and Dom Ameche are both good as the rich businessmen that work with money over anything else. Jamie Lee Curtis turned heads with her role here which people were not expecting to see.

StoryThe story here follows two rich businessmen that put a bet on that they can switch the lives of a successful businessman with a homeless street hustler. This is shows us just how rich people can have too much money for their own good and their aimless fun can ruin lives. See the swap between the two gives them both a chance to learn a lesson about acting different towards people who have their own stories. There are certain jokes which just don’t work for the modern times because they go into race related that wouldn’t stand up now. For the important message that the two learn is the highlight of the film.

ComedyThe comedy in the film shows how Aykroyd and Murphy were on the top of their game in this decade, we get both sides of their skills to rather than just sticking to a solo character.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in New York, for the 80s this was perfect because of the investment game that was going on at the time and still is.


Scene of the Movie –
Joining forces.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The racial comments wouldn’t work now.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great 80s comedy that hits nearly all the jokes, shows two performers at their best in the comedy world and teaches a good life lesson.

 

Overall: Classic 80s comedy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – Y – You Again (2010)

Director: Andy Fickman

Writer: Moe Jelline (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Odette Annable, Victor Garber, Betty White, James Wolk

 

Plot: When a young woman realizes her brother is about to marry the girl who bullied her in high school, she sets out to expose the fiancée’s true colors.


Tagline – What doesn’t kill you… is going to marry your brother.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funny Comedy

 

Story: You Again starts when former bullied high school student, turned PR superstar Marni (Bell) is returning home for her brother’s wedding, she learns that the woman Will (Wolk) is marrying is the woman who bullied her Joanna (Annable).

When Marni returns she is put through the nightmare memories of high school, while Joanna is a complete different woman, things only become worse, when Marni’s mum Gail (Curtis) was best friends with Joanna’s successful Aunt Ramona (Weaver) even if things ended badly at school. Can the two women put their pasts behind them before the wedding or will their feelings cause problems for Will’s big day.

 

Thoughts on You Again

 

Characters – Marni was bullied through the high school, even with her sports star brother helped her focus on her future. Marni would go onto become a big success in the PR world, just getting a new promotion. When she returns home for brother’s wedding she comes face to face with the bully from high school who is marrying her brother. She is trying to get a simple apology, but when she can’t get that she wants to get one over on Joanna. Joanna is the woman Will is marrying, she was the popular girl at high school that bullied Marni, after high school she went through a change become a nursing giving back to the community. She does hint that she knows who Marni is from her past, but also plays dumb on knowing too. Gail is Marni’s mother who is excited to see her son get married, her daughter getting a promotion, but when an old rival turns out to be related to Joanna, she gets just as held back in the past as Marni. Ramona is the Aunt of Joanna’s that has risen to become one of most successful women in the world.

PerformancesKristen Bell in the leading role is great fun, she has the look that can fit both sides of her character along with the comic timing needed. Odette Annable is great too because she uses the beauty behind her character to be the now innocent feeling girl. Seeing two of the biggest icons in female cinema in Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis going to battle is great to see to because they have always felt like they could have gone back and forth.

StoryThe story shows how one woman who turned her life around after years of high school bullying, must return to face her bully before she marries her brother. This story does show us how high school action will always be ones that can affect people for the rest of their lives, it is something you can never change which ever side you are on it. It also shows how once you have learnt to overcome you can be a success even if part of you wants to get back at the person that made you suffer. The bully themselves has to live with the fact that they were awful in high school and that they should learn from their action in life, needing to change who they were. This is handled well because both the characters have the problems with what happened at high school. Add in the generation before having the same issues, we get to see how it will continue through affect people in their lives. The important side of this does show how you can turn things around and put things back on track.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy comes mostly in the things that happen to Marni as she tries to get her revenge, it does make you laugh and Bell’s timing does help make it better. The romance does take the backburner as it is about the bully being in love the brother.

SettingsThe film does the bring the person back to their home town settings, each one brings back a memory, a moment of importance, which does also come through to make it relatable for the audience.


Scene of the Movie –
The dinner.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Everyone does seem to have upper class jobs.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun rom com, it deals with the issues high school can offer, while getting laughs along the way.

 

Overall: Comedy that shines.

Rating

 

 

Halloween (2018)

Director: David Gordon Green

Writer: David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Jeff Fradley (Screenplay) John Carpenter, Debra Hill (Characters)

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, Haluk Bilginer, Will Patton

 

Plot: Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago


Tagline – Face Your Fate

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Another Sequel

 

Story: Halloween starts 40 years after the events of the original Halloween, Michael Myers is still locked up in a mental home, Laurie (Curtis) still lives in fear of what happened to her friends all that time ago, she has been twice divorced lost her child Karen (Greer) because of her paranoia Michael will return. Karen with a daughter of her own Allyson (Matichak) about to graduate high school wants to reconnect with her grandmother rebuilding the relationship.

When Michael is being transferred on Halloween for some reason, he escapes and goes on his killing spree, where Laurie must protect her family from the man she has been waiting to finally kill.

 

Thoughts on Halloween

 

Characters – Laurie Strode is the icon we know from horror, she is now living in fully secure house prepared for the day Michael gets out, believing it would happen, this has cost her, her family but the moment Michael escapes she is the only one prepared to take on the killing machine. Karen is the daughter of Laurie who has become distant from her mother, she has her own family, though she had been prepared for a moment of crisis, even if she doesn’t believe it will ever happen. Allyson is the youngest member of the family, the teenage daughter that is going through the high school with the modern day problems. The shape, Michael Myers is killing machine, killing anyone he wants to.

PerformancesJamie Lee Curtis is back and she is good enough in the leading role, you understand how the character is meant to be thinking which is the important part of the character. Judy Greer is fine, she doesn’t get too much to do, Andi Matichak is good with her role trying to make herself the new scream queen in Halloween. The rest of the cast are fine without being overly memorable.

StoryThe story here is a sequel to the original only, everything else is gone from the history books and Michael isn’t even related to Laurie. 40 years later Michael escapes an goes on another killing spree, where he ends up going face to face with Laurie who has been waiting for this day. This is slasher film done basic, there is no other way to describe it, the sad reality it we get to see an interesting storyline about a victim who never go over the attack in Laurie which should have been address a lot more over a couple of random killing scenes. We get moments in the story that pay respect to the original, then we get scenes which just seem to copy what the sequels did. The tone of the film is also all over the place with the comedy with the babysitter being way too funny for what is meant to be a serious film. this does feel like just another sequel that didn’t do much for the franchise.

HorrorWhen Michael is killing people we get some brutal kills, there is no doubt about this, they look real, but the tense seems to have been sucked out of the film.

SettingsWe return to Haddonfield here, which is fine it is the iconic location for Michael, we get nothing new and the one location that is important will only annoy you.

Special EffectsThe kills we see do look brutal and are the best part of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Babysitter banter.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It offers little new to the franchise.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sequel that just doesn’t seem to get anywhere new with anything that we want to see, it is passable for the franchise but didn’t need to reset the clock.

 

Overall: Simple sequel.

Rating

 

 

Halloween Resurrection (2002)

Director: Rick Rosenthal

Writer: Larry Brand, Sean Hood (Screenplay) Debra Hill, John Carpenter (Characters)

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Busta Rhymes, Bianca Kajlich, Sean Patrick Thomas, Daisy McCrackin, Katee Sackhoff, Luke Kirby, Thomas Ian Nicholas

 

Plot: Three years after he last terrorized his sister, Michael Myers confronts her again, before traveling to Haddonfield to deal with the cast and crew of a reality show which is being broadcast from his old home.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painful Sequel

 

Story: Halloween: Resurrection starts with Laurie (Curtis) now in a mental home as we learn that she killed an innocent man thinking it was Michael, now she waits for him to arrive so she can finish the job. When Michael finally gets to kill Laurie his rampage must be over, but no, let’ see where this film goes now.

We are not back in Haddonfield meting student Sara (Kajlich), Jen (Sackhoff) and Rudy (Thomas) who have all signed up for a reality television show hosted by Freddie Harris (Rhymes) and Nora (Banks) and joined by Donna (McCrackin), Bill (Nicholas) and Jim (Kirby) where they must stay in the Myers house for one night.

As the students look to investigate the home, they learn that Michael is still living there and ready to kill anybody inside his home, who will make it out and just what is the point in these victims.

 

Thoughts on Halloween: Resurrection

 

Characters/PerformanceLaurie is in this movie, for about 5 minutes and I feel this is the only connection to the Halloween franchise. Michael is deadly but you kind of route for him because the people are invading his home. Sara seems to be the main innocent student that gets pushed into something she wouldn’t normally do. Jen is the slightly slutty friend with Rudy being the lead hero. Freddie is the arrogant host that wants to make money and become famous and that is your ABC cast.

Performance wise, well, where do we start here? This isn’t known for its performance ability, Busta Rhymes please no more acting, and why in the hell would you hire an actress that couldn’t scream or cry on cue for a horror film, Jamie Lee clearly didn’t want to be in this film either.

StoryLooking at story we have a HUGE problem here, one you kill off the Laurie in the opening sequence and forget she has a kid now a young man in his twenties now too. We get an awful run around Michael’s house being picked off one by one for reality TV, none of these characters have a connection to Michael and this is just a hack em slash em film for no reason.

HorrorThis is fine as a standalone slasher horror but the connection it needs sucks the horror out of the film.

SettingsBeing set inside Michael’s childhood home works because it brings us back to Haddonfield, where we need to be but the stakes just don’t feel enough in this house.

Special EffectsThe kills have good effects but otherwise we don’t get many or need many.

Final ThoughtsThis film feels like someone watched The Truman Show and thought let’s make it a slasher film where we have an audience watching what is going on inside the house, we have terrible acting, terrible storytelling and just a boring reason to bring Michael back.

 

Overall: Terrible, terrible sequel.

Rating

 

 

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Director: Steve Miner

Writer: Robert Zappia, Matt Greenberg (Screenplay) Debra Hill, John Carpenter (Characters)

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Adam Arkin, Michelle Williams, Josh Hartnett, LL Cool J, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Janet Leigh, Adam Hann-Bryd

 

Plot: Laurie Strode, now the dean of a Northern California private school with an assumed name, must battle the Shape one last time and now the life of her own son hangs in the balance.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Halloween Sequel

 

Story: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later starts with Michael Myers learns the location of Laurie (Curtis) by continuing his bloody rampage. Laurie now has a child who is 17 in John (Hartnett) who is preparing to look to go onto college but Laurie still haunted by her brother.

Laurie is the Dean of a private school her son attends with his girlfriend Molly (Williams) best friend Charlie (Hann-Byrd) and his girlfriend Sarah (O’Keefe) who find out they are alone in the school over Halloween leaving them to decide to throw themselves are party.

But this Halloween Michael finally returns to haunt Laurie and she must protect her son, his friends from the serial killer that took too many of her friends.

 

Thoughts on Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

 

Characters/PerformanceLaurie is returning to the franchise now as a mother of her child but she is still haunted by the idea of Michael returning kill her and her friends. Now she is the responsible adult with something to fight for. John is Laurie’s son who puts her through the same situation she did, wanting to achieve more and be free of her restrictions. Molly is his girlfriend that has been living off her parent’s money with Will being the love interest of Laurie.

Performance wise, this must be the best all-around cast in any Halloween film because we Jamie Lee Curtis returning, early roles from Michelle Williams, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Josh Hartnett alongside the heavyweight horror mother of Jamie Lee, Janet Leigh. The performances are all good without Curtis reaching the top level or the rest of the youngster proving just how big they would become.

StoryThe story brings back the favourite of the franchise in Laurie to have a new showdown with the icon Michael Myers, this does bring the story back in the direction it should have stayed before the other sequels that just felt messy at times, it would be fair to say this doesn’t reach the suspense levels the original did but it does the right thing by trying to adapt to be like the Scream films.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror is all slasher level which is fine because that is all you want from this franchise but otherwise you won’t be on edge like you once were.

SettingsNot having the film set in Haddonfield does leave you questioning parts of the idea of the original iconic setting but there is no reason why Laurie would be anywhere near that town anymore, so the change in setting does work for this film.

Special EffectsWe have solid kill effects but the reality is we don’t see too many through the film.

Final ThoughtsFor a pure slasher film with a cast we all know, this must be considered one of the more enjoyable and easy to watch.

 

Overall: This is one of the first Halloween films I saw and I still enjoy the easy to watch factor it has now.

Rating