Presumed Innocent (1990)

posterDirector: Alan J Pakula

Writer: Frank Pierson, Alan J Pakula (Screenplay) Scott Turow (Novel)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Brian Dennehy, Raul Julia, Bonnie Bedelia, Paul Winfield, Greta Scacchi, John pencer, Joe Grifasi

 

Plot: When a female D.A. is killed, the D.A. assigns his assistant to handle the investigation. Only problem is that he was having an affair with her. And the evidence reveals that he is the killer. So he suspects that the man who wants his boss’ job is trying to frame him. He turns to Sandy Stern a highly celebrated defense attorney to represent him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Courtroom Drama

 

Story: Presumed Innocent starts when Carolyn Polhemus (Scacchi) an assistant D.A. attorney is killed the D.A. Raymond Horgan (Dennehy) assigns chief deputy Rusty Sabich (Ford) to investigate a case that doesn’t make sense for the cases Carolyn takes part in.

When the case gets complicated it is her past with Rusty that doesn’t make the case easy for him to investigate as what seems like a rape case could turn out to be set to look like a rape case pointing the finger at one of the criminals she had put away.

When Rusty becomes the main suspect for the murder and must turns to his courtroom rival Alejandro ‘Sandy’ Stern (Julia) to take on the D.A. office who have all turned on Rusty using his previous affair as the main motive for the murder.

 

Thoughts on Presumed Innocent

 

Characters/PerformanceRusty is a very questionable character, he has had an affair which takes away any respect you could have for him even if he is a brilliant attorney, Sandy you can see as a brilliant attorney in his own right that goes out of his way to get the case in his direction which is good to see playing about what could be considered the disgraced attorney. Raymond the D.A. does feel like your typical political figure that abuses their power as often as they like.

Performance wise everything is good but not their best work no one does anything that stands out and by the end you don’t think this will be a memorable role for the iconic Harrison Ford or Raul Julia.preumed

StoryI am usually a fan of a good courtroom drama as they can pull us in until the final outcome of the crime. This story flows very slowly with a court cast that does feel like you could see solved with ease. I felt this story just doesn’t pull us in enough to care about the case mainly because our defendant isn’t painted to be the most respectable character in the first place so we just don’t care who if he is innocent or not.

Mystery/ThrillerWe get a mystery but we don’t get many suspects for the crime which disappoints the thrilling side as we don’t get a chance to figure out who could be behind the crime.

SettingsWe have the traditional courtroom settings that show us just how most of the suspects would have understood just how to cover up murders with ease.genre

Final ThoughtsThis just doesn’t capture us like the other courtroom dramas and then could have been a lot more intense.

 

Overall: A Courtroom drama that just doesn’t hit all the levels it could.

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The Terminator (1984)

terminatorDirector: James Cameron

Writer: James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd (Screenplay)

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen, Rick Rossovich, Bess Motta, Earl Boen, Dick Miller

 

Plot: A human-looking indestructible cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Classic

 

Story: The Terminator starts first by the traditional introduction to our three main characters, first we have the cyborg Terminator (Schwarzenegger) who along with Kyle Reese (Biehn) have both been sent back from the future where robots control the Earth. Both are on a mission to find waitress Sarah Connor (Hamilton) who is key to the resistance against the robot battle.

When the Terminator starts tracking down all the local Sarah Connors he starts merciless killing them while Kyle is out to protect her from the cyborg. Sarah must work with Reese to survive and defeat this Terminator as she learns the truth about her own importance to the future of mankind.

The Terminator is one of the most iconic films from the 80s that has become one of the most talked about film franchises of all time. This role turned the fresh face powerhouse Arnold Schwarzenegger who has only been the good guy taking a cold-hearted killer role which was a huge risk but works to perfection. We get Linda Hamilton being the reluctant hero that evolves through the film to become the kick ass action lead we all know from the second film. We finally get a great action hero performance from Michael Biehn. We see this early film from James Cameron show all his potential to go on to make bigger projects with this still being one of his greatest achieves because of the budget this one had.

The action through this film is great because of how raw it all looks as it feels like it could easily be happening on the streets at any the present time while the special effects still stand the test of time. The concept behind the story comes off feeling so original for the time even if elements of this have been copied in recent years that this truly is one of the classics of the genre and film history.

 

Overall: Easily one of the most icon and brilliant films ever put to film.

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The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

logoDirector: Wes Craven

Writer: Richard Maxwell, Adam Rodman (Screenplay) Wade Davis (Book)

Starring: Bill Pullman, Cathy Tyson, Zakes Mokae, Paul Winfield, Brent Jennings, Conrad Roberts

Plot: An anthropologist goes to Haiti after hearing rumors about a drug used by black magic practitioners to turn people into zombies.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Voodoo Scares

Story: The Serpent and the Rainbow starts Haiti 1978 following a funeral. We meet Dennis Alan (Pullman) an anthropologist comes to the Amazon. Dennis finds himself drugged and left to find his own way out of the Amazon. Back home in Boston Dennis get his latest job offer which is to travel to Haiti to uncover the story behind Christophe (Roberts) a man buried after being declared dead only to be found alive one week later.

Dennis has to work with local doctor Marielle Duchamp (Tyson) who has been looking into the idea of zombies walking among the living. Dennis has to work with the locals including Lucien Celine (Winfield) who points him in the right directions of the man Louis Mozart (Jennings) who can make zombies all while having to avoid Dargent Peytraud (Mokae) who will get to any lengths to scare Dennis away from Haiti. When Dennis gets involved he learns the new terror of voodoo magic and raising the dead.

The Serpent and the Rainbow is partial based on a true story which works for adding extra scares to the film, we investigate the idea of voodoo magic bring people back from the dead or making people look dead but only just in a deep trance. I liked hos this film created this idea really well but we do lack the real answers to what really was going on and the lack of the scientific side of the story doesn’t help. I do think the it comes off scary when we see what Dennis goes through though.

Actor Review

Bill Pullman: Dennis Alan is an anthropologist who is sent to Haiti to look into the voodoo zombie rituals being performed in Haiti but what he discovers puts his life in danger as the locals don’t want an American looking into their beliefs. Bill gives us a great performance where he ends up giving us great scared reactions to everything going on.

Cathy Tyson: Marielle Duchamp is the local doctor that Dennis has to work with to uncover the zombie rituals going on in Haiti. She is a radical which also makes her an enemy of the country. Cathy does a good job in this supporting role working with Dennis through the film.

Zakes Mokae: Dargent Peytraud is the military man who sees Dennis as a threat to his country and its beliefs, he will push for answers about what Dennis wants and he has no boundaries. Zakes gives us a solid supporting performance and shows just how dark voodoo can make someone go.

Paul Winfield: Lucien Celine is the connection pointing Dennis in the right direction to find the voodoo man that can give the answers about zombies in the country. Paul works well in this role but only really ends up being the man explain what is going on.

Brent Jennings: Louis Mozart is the man who can create the zombie powder, but he goes to great lengths to keep his secrets. He doesn’t trust Dennis to start with but after having his bluff called he ends up giving his own secrets. Brent is very entertaining in the role of the maker of the powder.

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Support Cast: The Serpent and the Rainbow has a supporting cast that all seemingly don’t want an outsider learning about the voodoo drug, but we also have the people who are trying to get the drug to make money of.

Director Review: Wes CravenWes shows us that he was a brilliant horror director by building the scares nicely going into a world that very few films have tackled.

Horror: The Serpent and the Rainbow has well built scares with most real horror happening in dream sequences.

Settings: The Serpent and the Rainbow keeps most of the film in Haiti a country with plenty of mystery to its beliefs which include the voodoo religion.
Special Effects: The Serpent and the Rainbow uses the effects really well to create scares mostly with the highlights being in the final sequences.

Suggestion: The Serpent and the Rainbow is one to watch because you will never see a film about voodoo that is this good. (Watch)

Best Part: Final sequences.

Worst Part: More science was needed for the powder.

Kill Of The Film: Man at the door.

Believability: It is based on a real story and it is left to you to believe what you want to believe.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $ 19.5 Million

Budget: $7 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

Tagline: Don’t bury me…I’m not dead!

Trivia: According to article about the film from Fangoria #71, original cut of the movie was 3 hours long but Wes Craven felt that it was too long and talky so it was cut down to 98 minutes. It was then test screened to the audience and their reactions were favorable.

Overall: Voodoo thriller that will leave you gasping for breath.

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