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

 

 

Advertisements

Paul Newman Weekend – The Hustler (1961)

Director: Robert Rossen

Writer: Sidney Carroll, Robert Rossen (Screenplay) Walter Tevis (Novel)

Starring: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, George C Scott, Myron McCormick, Murray Hamilton, Michael Constantine

 

Plot: An up-and-coming pool player plays a long-time champion in a single high-stakes match.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Excellent

 

Story: The Hustler starts as we meet Eddie Felson (Newman) and his business partner Charlie Burns (McCormick) who go from pool hall to pool hall around the country as Eddie takes the players for large sums of money, his latest target is one of the greatest straight ball pool players Minnesota Fats (Gleason).

When the two face off they get involved in an epic games where Eddie is in a large profit, only for his ego to get in the way and for him to lose it all. In the gutter, Eddie meets Sarah Packard (Laurie) who helps him turn his life around as he sets out to get into a position to meet Minnesota for good next time.

 

Thoughts on The Hustler

 

Characters – Eddie Felson is an up and coming pool sensation, he goes from pool hall to pool hall to hustler the players giving him the reputation of being known as Fast Eddie. He wants to beat the best and after he lacks the stamina to defeat him, he must rebuild his reputation before taking him on again, Eddie is quick on his feet and knows how the play each different person he meets. Minnesota Fats is the best player in the world of straight pool, he is the greatest player Eddie has played, but he remains calm through the epic long game of over 20 hours. Sarah Packard is the woman that comes into the life of Eddie to help him get back on his feet after the crushing defeat, she is confident in herself and wants to make sure Eddie is doing the right thing. Bert Gordon witnesses the match between the two and sees it as an opportunity to back Eddie on his return to the top.

PerformancesPaul Newman is fantastic in this film, we see his confidence throughout the film as he shows us just how much belief his character has in himself. Jackie Gleason is great in the supporting role as we get to see a character that knows he is the best. Piper Laurie and George C Scott in the supporting roles are both great too as they are part of the Eddie recovery.

StoryThe story follows a pool hustler that believes he is the best, he wants to go against the best in the game and even after proving himself he doesn’t know when to quit. The story shows us how his addiction will get the best of him when it comes to trying to prove himself against the best players, he never knows when to quit and we see how it can destroy his life, little by little. This is a wonderful story that has pacing that never makes you want to check you watch and by the end up will be completely behind Eddie and his personal demons.

SportsThe sport of choice is straight pool, one version of the game I wasn’t familiar with, but this lets the players continue to show their skills against shot on the table.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the different style pool halls that Eddie will be attending during his attempt to get what he wants, they show the different styles of crowds we will be witnessing too.


Scene of the Movie –
Eddie versus Minnesota Fats.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It took be a while to understand the version of pool they were playing.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the all-time classics in the world of film, it brings us one of the greatest characters in Eddie Felson, who is both the hero and the villain of his story.

 

 

 

Overall: Must watch classic.

Rating

 

 

1941 (1979)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale (Screenplay) Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, John Milius (Story)

Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, John Belushi, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Christopher Lee, Tim Matheson

 

Plot: Hysterical Californians prepare for a Japanese invasion in the days after Pearl Harbor.


Tagline – As They Roared Into Battle, Only One Thing Was Missing…The Enemy!

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simply Not Good Enough

 

Story: 1941 starts in the aftermath of Pearl Harbour, The Japanese are searching for Hollywood for their latest attack, while the army are planning to create a defence on the Californian coastline, Sgt Frank Tree (Aykroyd) leads his men in preparations while pilot Captain Wild Bill Kelso (Belushi) travels the country to support his troops.

The preparations bring us comical happenings which lead to what is going on between the Americans and the impending Japanese.

 

Thoughts on 1941

 

Characters – We have so many characters in this film it is hard to pick out the main ones, we will though, Sgt Frank Tree tries to keep peace between his soldiers and not letting them fight with the locals. Ward Douglas is the man that sees it has an honour to host the army for prime location for defence. Captain Wild Bill Kelso is a pilot that enjoys a drink, he heads across country to join the battle. Where we have too many characters it is hard to see which one we are meant to be follow the most.

PerformancesThe performances are affected by the mass cast because no one gets to show their best skills, we have the comical actors that want to joke, only for them to miss, then the serious actors not hitting their moments either.

StoryThe story follows the Americans as they plan for a potential next attack on America from the Japanese in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbour attack. The problem I see with this story, it showing us how we make light of a devastating moment in history with the Pearl Harbour attack and shows how America did panic but didn’t seem to take the events serious, well that is what the film gives us.

Action/Comedy/WarThe action plays into the comedy which gets basic laughs but most of the laughs seem to have dated badly and even just give us toilet humour, all with the backdrop of World War II.

SettingsThe film puts us in LA for the events of the film which shows how Hollywoodland would react to the impending war.


Scene of the Movie –
Plane sex.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the biggest misses of Spielberg’s career, it has too many characters and doesn’t manage to balance out the comedy and action well enough.

 

Overall: Disappointing throughout.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – G – The Graduate (1967)

Director: Mike Nichols

Writer: Calder Willingham, Buck Henry (Screenplay) Charles Webb (Novel)

Starring: Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross, Williams Daniels, Murray Hamilton, Elizabeth Wilson

 

Plot: A disillusioned college graduate finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter.


Tagline – This is Benjamin. He’s a little worried about his future.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Coming of Age Movie

 

Story: The Graduate starts when college student Ben Braddock (Hoffman) returns home after the four years of studying, he has no idea what to do with his future and when he his father’s partner’s wife Mrs Robinson (Bancroft) tries to seduce him, he starts having an affair throughout the summer.

With the affair keeping the sex happening whenever they want it, when Mrs Robinson’s daughter Elaine (Ross) returns to town the two are set up by the rest of the parents. Soon Ben is torn between the two women as he searches for answers in his future.

 

Thoughts on The Graduate

 

Characters – Ben Braddock is the college student that has finished his studies and now he doesn’t know where to start the next chapter of his life, this changes when he ends up in an affair with Mrs Robinson before falling for her daughter complicating his life even more. This character shows how difficult life after college can be for anyone that spends years studying if they have no direction afterwards. Mrs Robinson is Ben’s father’s partner’s wife (wow that is a mouthful) who seduces Ben offering his sex in secret whenever he would like it, they have an affair and she becomes very demanding to escape her loveless marriage. Elaine is the daughter of Mrs Robinson that has grown up with Ben, also back from studying the two start dating against Mrs Robinson’s wish.

PerformancesDustin Hoffman in the leading role is great, he shows the nervous side to his character during the affair and the determination to be with Elaine. Anne Bancroft as the older woman coming into the young man’s life is great to, we see how easily she could have seduced someone. Katharine Ross is good as the daughter that has good chemistry with Hoffman.

StoryThe story here follows a young man taking his first steps into the real world after college, he has no idea where he wants to go and ends up in the middle of a love triangle with a mother and daughter. This does touch on the difficult side of life after college even though we don’t spend enough time face this truth. The main part we focus on dealing with one man trying to understand love even when people are going to make things difficult for him. This does send the message about finding love before a career, which is strange. The idea works well for this story as does pace things perfectly well.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy comes from Dustin Hoffman’s reaction to most things, he looks awkward throughout which does make us laugh, the romance however is strange because why would the woman date the guy she knows had an affair with her mum, just why?

SettingsThe film settings show the everyday life these people would be going through, we do get to head off to different cities as long as you know the university lay out you will know where we are.


Scene of the Movie –
The single shot of the summer follow Ben.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The weird idea of the relationships between the women and Ben.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the biggest coming of age movies of all time, it has iconic scenes and is one people will always remember the songs for.

 

Overall: One of the classics of cinema.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Jaws 2 (1978)

Director: Jeannot Szwarc

Writer: Carl Gottlieb, Howard Sackler (Screenplay)

Starring: Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Joseph Mascolo, Jeffrey Kramer

 

Plot: Police chief Brody must protect the citizens of Amity after a second monstrous shark begins terrorizing the waters.


Tagline – Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks the Tension

 

Story: Jaws 2 starts with Brody (Scheider) having to go back to the basic problems in the town again, noise complaints being the hardest part of his day, or the wife Ellen (Gary) who is happy their eldest son still doesn’t have a job.

When a string of unusual shark attack along the coastline start happening again, Brody must once again go against the orders of Mayor Vaughn (Hamilton) to stop people getting killed, but this becomes more difficult when his own son goes against his request and takes to the ocean in his boat.

 

Thoughts on Jaws 2

 

Characters – Brody is now open to going out to sea in search for any sharks, when things start to look clear again, he finds himself questioning attacks in the area, which leads him getting into trouble and losing his job, this time he must fight the shark alone, but to save teenagers, which include his own children stranded in the ocean. Ellen is the wife of Brody, she works for the town which only adds to the confliction between the two when Brody starts panicking too early. Mayor Vaughn keeps his same stance through everything and that is about his character. We have a lot of annoying teenagers breaking the rules and boating.

PerformancesRoy Scheider is the highlight of the performances here, he carries every scene he is in and you generally switch off when he isn’t on camera. The rest of the performances are average while most of the teenager characters and performances just annoy you.

StoryThe story does feel like more of the same, all is calm now, but Brody won’t rest and when the shark returns he must rescue stranded teenagers which include his own children. This story does seem to have increased peril but does have decreased tension level because you don’t find yourself caring about the teenagers in peril and lose the colourful characters we had in the first film.

Adventure/HorrorThe adventure does side of things doesn’t connect enough, while the horror could be more intense.

SettingsWe are out at sea for longer point of the film, but it doesn’t help the film because it is just calm, attack, panic, calm, attack, panic calm on repeat.

Special EffectsThe effects are good for the time, but seeing the shark more takes away from the tension of the first film.


Scene of the Movie –
Brody versus the shark

That Moment That Annoyed Me The kids are annoying and stupid and I hate them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weaker sequel to much loved first film, it is carried by Roy Scheider while the rest of the cast struggle, but the final battle with the shark is a lot of fun.

 

Overall: Weaker sequel, but maybe not the worst.

Rating