St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)

Director: Joel Schumacher

Writer: Joel Schumacher, Carl Kurlander (Screenplay)

Starring: Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Jud Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Mare Winningham

 

Plot: A group of friends, just out of college, struggle with adulthood.


Tagline – The passion burns deep.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Look at Growing Up

 

Story: St. Elmo’s Fire starts as we meet the seven college friends Kirby (Estevez), Billy (Lowe), Kevin (McCarthy), Jules (Moore), Alec (Nelson), Leslie (Sheedy) and Wendy (Winningham) who are freshly done with college now working normal jobs and needing to learn life lessons.

The problems they face including getting used to a daily job, added responsibility, personal addictions, find their place in life and pressure placed on them from parent.

 

Thoughts on St. Elmo’s Fire

 

Characters – Kirby is the qualified lawyer still working in the local bar and hangout of the group of friends, he wants to impress a girl that he once took on a date. Billy is the musician that still wishes he was back at college with the party every night, struggle to find a job and stay sober. Kevin is secretly gay and in love with Alec, Jules sees it in him and he now faces a difficult moment in life about whether to come out or not, this character is way before its time and addresses the taboo subject in the mid-80s very well, even if it shouldn’t have been. Jules is the party animal that all the guys want a night with, she is building debt even with her job where she is dating her boss, planning to use the relationship to make the most of a future. Alec is the confident one of the group planning to marry Leslie even though he is womaniser and is there to try and help Billy find a job. Leslie is the one waiting before deciding whether to agree to marry Alec, she wants to go further with her career first. Wendy is from a successful family and is being forced into marrying well off to continue the family line, nervous through most encounters.

PerformancesThe performances from this cast are wonderful, we have a collect group of young actors that rose to fame in 80s each giving us great performances and it doesn’t feel fair to comment on just one or two of them by saying the same line over and over.

StoryThe story here shows the struggles that seven friends have with life and remaining friends after the ups and downs through life, career or personal issues. We do address important issues as the time unfolds, addictions, secrets and finding yourself. There was one storyline they were taking on which was big, but they pulled this one away for a safer outcome. The story does show how hard life can be after college and how things change suddenly which is always hard to get through.

RomanceThe romance in the film shows us how love can be hard with the drama of life mixing up in the middle, it shows how love can come from anywhere when you least expect it.

SettingsThe film keeps the friends in the same town where they have their local bar, opportunities in life and memories which will stick with them forever.


Scene of the Movie –
The rooftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not going through with the important story angle.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful film that shows how hard growing up can be when entering the real world after college, friends being tested and life catching up with you.

 

Overall: Essential 80s viewing.

Rating

 

 

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Original v Remake Weekend – Flatliners (1990)

Director: Joel Schumacher

Writer: Peter Filardi (Screenplay)

Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, Kimberly Scott

 

Plot: Five medical students experiment on “near death” experiences that involve past tragedies until the dark consequences begin to jeopardize their lives.


Tagline – Some lines shouldn’t be crossed.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Sci-Fi Horror

 

Story: Flatliners starts as medical student Nelson (Sutherland) brings together four other students, recently suspended David Labraccio (Bacon), Dr Rachel Mannus (Roberts) who is interested in what happens in the afterlife, Dr Hurley (Baldwin) an arrogant soon to be married womaniser and Randy Steckle (Platt) who is the most paranoid about the experiment. The five work on the idea of trying to figure out what happens in the afterlife by medically creating death for a moment in time.

When Nelson goes first he only goes for a minute and he starts having living nightmares, but the success of his trip leads to a bidding war between the others who dive into longer stretches on the other side but when they come back they also start suffering nightmares from their past, is this experiment immoral or are they really just losing their minds?

 

Thoughts on Flatliners

 

Characters – Nelson is the visionary medical student that believes he has found a way to search the afterlife with near death experiences, he brings the team of students together to work his experiment but isn’t ready for the side effects which haunt him. Dr Rachel Mannus has been working with her patience to understand and ease them into the next life but joins the study so she can experience it herself. David Labraccio is a best medical student but gets himself in trouble because of his actions, he joins the study as the sceptic to an afterlife but seems to be the smartest when dealing with any potential consequences. Joe is the womaniser that is due to get married, we don’t learn too much more from him other than that he isn’t the strongest moral compass. Randy is the one that doesn’t go under, he refuses to go under but will do the right thing to keep the team alive. The ones that go under must deal with their pasts which have come back to haunt them in a new deadly way.

PerformancesIn the performances we have three of the hottest actors of the late 80s and early 90s, Kiefer Sutherland is great in the leading role of this film being the questionable morale guy. Julia Roberts as the strong independent co-lead shows the skills she had while Kevin Bacon brings all the screen presence he had at that time for the good moral character. William Baldwin and Oliver Platt do both make great supporting performances too.

StoryThe story here offers up the question of is there life after death and if you were to come back how would that effect your life. This is a question that still gets asked today because there is no proven proof of what is on the other side which does make this film still stand the test of time. I am unsure of the medical accuracy of this film but that isn’t the most important because by the end it plays into the idea of people needing to learn about overcoming their sins to be able to pass over. The story does have a good pace about it even if Joe and Randy do fall out of the bigger picture for the second half of the film.

Horror/Sci-FiImagine your greatest sin come back to haunt you, it could be anything and this is where this film shines on the horror scale. The sci-fi elements come from the idea of being able to see into the afterlife.

SettingsThe settings show us the underworld like location for the experiment to take place in and the different backgrounds the students have all come from.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the movie did get an Oscar nomination and you can see why, they still do hold up today.


Scene of the Movie –
The first nightmare shows us what we are going to be getting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me What hospital lets this amount of equipment get borrowed or go missing.

Award Nominations: Nominated for One Oscar

Box Office: $61 Million

Budget: $26 Million

Final ThoughtsThis is one of my favourite films, it does give us a chance to experience moral questions about life and death as well as offering us the idea of what could happen if we don’t learn to forgive ourselves for our previous sins.

 

Overall: Horror film that horror fans must re-visit.

Rating

 

 

The Number 23 (2007)

numberDirector: Joel Schumacher

Writer: Fernley Phillips (Screenplay)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, Logan Lerman, Danny Huston, Lynn Collins

 

Plot: Walter Sparrow becomes obsessed with a novel that he believes was written about him. As his obsession increases, more and more similarities seem to arise.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Interesting Thriller

 

Story: The Number 23 starts as we follow mild mannered animal controller Walter Sparrow (Carrey) who had just celebrated his birthday which has made things change, he has a wife Agatha (Madsen) and son Robin (Lerman) in what looks like an ordinary life.

Walter’s life is turned upside when one of his gifts if a book called The Number 23 which just so happens to tell the same story of a character called Fingerling who has the same childhood Walter remembers. The further Walter looks into the character we see how he becomes obsessed with the number 23 in everyday life but is this a message or a former life he once lived?

Th Number 23 is a mystery thriller that puts us on a rollercoaster of conspiracy or truth about Walter’s life. Everything really does keep us guessing from start to finish. Each answer is spoon-fed to us which does take away the shock in the final act but this still does enough to keep us on edge.

The cast all do a good job with Jim Carrey really shining in the none comedic role yet again, but the supporting performances from Virginia Madsen, Danny Huston and Logan Lerman all keep up with the star of the show.

 

Overall: One of Jim Carrey’s most underrated films of his career.

Ratingcard

 

 

Anthony Hopkins Weekend – Bad Company (2002)

badDirector: Joel Schumacher

Writer: Jason Richman, Michael Browning (Screenplay) Gary M Goodman, David Himmelstein (Story)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Chris Rock, Peter Stormare, Gabriel Macht, Kerry Washington, Adoni Maropis

 

Plot: When a Harvard-educated CIA agent is killed during an operation, the secret agency recruits his twin brother.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Comedy

 

Story: Bad Company starts as we see CIA agent Kevin Pope (Rock) working undercover trying to get a nuclear weapon under the guidance of Officer Oakes (Hopkins) but the mission goes terribly wrong as Kevin is killed.

Not wanting all the work to go to waste Oakes is assigned to train up Kevin’s twin brother Jake Hayes (Rock) a street hustler to replace the brother he never knew he had. Going through the training process Jake learns just how dangerous this cover up really is, as we watch how the dealer Adrick Vas (Stormare) and Jake meet for the deal that could help save the world from a nuclear attack.

Bad Company is an action comedy that follows a pretty generic formula for a CIA let’s do a deal movie to save the world. We gets to see Chris Rock go to his fast talking reaction of a poor man entering a rich mans world comedy which gets very tiring after the first couple of times. This is a fun film for what it is without being one of the greatest of all time.

Chris Rock is fun with both roles even if he does get repetitive after a while, Hopkins is good as the senior member of the team but you are left wondering if this was a slight miss-cast when you look at what he is meant to be doing. Stormare is as always reliable for a foreign deal maker but doesn’t get the screen time required to enjoy the role. As for the female roles go in this film they barely get any serious screen time at all.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable action comedy that works for a relaxing movie experience.

Ratingcard

 

 

Matthew McConaughey Weekend – A Time To Kill (1996)

a  timeDirector: Joel Schumacher

Writer: Akiva Goldsman (Screenplay) John Grisham (Novel)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Oliver Platt, Charles S Dutton, Brenda Fricker, Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland, Ashley Judd

 

Plot: A young lawyer defends a black man accused of murdering two men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the K.K.K.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant

 

Story: A Time to Kill starts a we see 10-year-old Tonya beaten and raped by Billy Ray Cobb (Katt) and James Louis Willard (Hutchison) and with the case taken to court it looks like they will get off the charge, her father Carl Lee Hailey (Jackson) takes matters into his own hands.

Carl Lee facing a double murder charge Jake Tyler Brigance (McConaughey) takes the case having to go up against powerful DA Rufus Buckley (Spacey) in what is a case fuelled with racial tension.

When the case brings the Ku Klux Klan back from grave Jake puts his own family in danger but thanks to young law student Ellen Roark (Bullock) and his mentor Lucien Wilbanks (D.Sutherland) to help him keep his business a float and win this case.

A Time to Kill is a racial driven courtroom crime thriller that touches on everything with the nice amount of time. We get left to question what you would do if you were in any of the position between the case which is a huge plus for the film. The idea that we get the racial tension going on because of how the case could be treated differently depending on the skin colour of a character also helps drive the story. when it comes to courtroom drama this is by fair one of the best out there.

 

Actor Review

 

Matthew McConaughey: Jake Tyler Brigance is a young lawyer who has taken over a small law firm from his mentor who struggles to keep the business afloat. When this case comes his way he wants to do the right thing because he knows how this can be a difficult decision and believe he can win the case against the odds. Matthew shows early on in his career he could handle the serious films in leading role.

Sandra Bullock: Ellen Roark is a young law student who has helped on many murder cases and wants to help Jake with this case to help clear Carl Lee from the charges. She has different political beliefs to him which they do class on but their passion together can drive the case. Sandra shines in this role in her early career showing how she can pull of the serious roles too.

Samuel L Jackson: Carl Lee Hailey is the man that finds his daughter beaten and raped and decides to take justice into his own hands by killing the men involved. He doesn’t care what happens to him just as long as he makes these men pay but not faces a double murder charge. Samuel is great in this role as a man who got pushed to his limits.

Kevin Spacey: D A Rufus Buckley is the cocky DA who thinks this case is a slam dunk as he knows he can get the white man’s vote on the jury and questions Jake ability in a courtroom. Kevin while playing a standard character for the villain of the courtroom hit it ot the park in every scene.

Support Cast: A Time to Kill has a supporting cast which is filled with stars in nearly every scene and each one gives a brilliant performance throughout the film.

Director Review: Joel SchumacherJoel gives us one of his best films that balance the racial tension with the crime case perfectly.

 

Crime: A Time to Kill leaves us in the middle of a court case handle a sensitive subject which poses us questions on where you would stand on such a case.

Thriller: A Time to Kill does keep us one edge wondering where the next twist will come in the story be it in the courtroom or the tension building outside the courts.

Settings: A Time to Kill keeps nearly all the settings within the Louisiana town where racial tension is still strong and you can see the difference in both sides even with the same struggles.

Suggestion: A Time to Kill is one of the most must watch courtroom dramas out there with such a sensitive subject. (Must Watch)

 

Best Part: Closing speech.

Worst Part: Slightly long if you are being picky.

 

Believability: Parts could be.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $40 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 29 Minutes

Tagline: A lawyer and his assistant fighting to save a father on trial for murder. A time to question what they believe. A time to doubt what they trust. And no time for mistakes.

 

Overall: One of the all-time best courtroom drams out there.

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