Angel Heart (1987)

Director: Alan Parker

Writer: Alan Parker (Screenplay) William Hjortsberg (Novel)

Starring: Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, Lisa Bonet, Charlotte Rampling, Stocker Fontelieu

 

Plot: Harry Angel is a private investigator. He is hired by a man who calls himself Louis Cyphre to track down a singer called Johnny Favorite. But the investigation takes an unexpected and somber turn.


Tagline –  It will scare you to your very soul.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dark Mystery Horror

 

Story: Angel Heart starts as private investigator Harry Angel (Rourke) is hired by Louis Cyphre (De Niro) to locate a man Johnny, we follow Harry as he looks to track down this man using his skills along the way.

As the investigation continues Harry finds himself meeting Epiphany (Bonet) a lady that has a connection to the missing man and also deals in voodoo, taking Harry in a direction he never imagined he would go in, but can he solve the mystery before it is too late as everyone he seems to question ends up dead.

 

Thoughts on Angel Heart

 

Characters – Harry Angel is a private investigator, he gets the job done but is a shady in his methods, he gets hired to find a missing person but soon finds himself as the prime suspect in a string of murders with the people that have a connection to the missing man. Louis Cyphre is a mysterious man that hires Harry to search for the missing man but has an air of mystery about him. Epiphany is a young lady that has clues to the whereabouts of the missing man, but gets involved in a race hating state relationship with Harry while also practising voodoo.

PerformancesMickey Rourke does a great job as the private investigator showing the down and out figure needed for the desperate mindset his character ends up in. De Niro shines in the supporting role here giving a chilling performance where we only see him a few times but we are left haunted by his screen time. Lisa Bonet is great too as the young lady that knows some of the answers.

StoryThe story here does start with a standard looking investigation but it soon takes a twist involving different religious beliefs where one man must question his own sanity about what is happening. The investigation side of the film is what you would expect but the change it takes in the final act is the reward you get because things get built up nicely. This is a good mystery thriller that keeps us engaged from the start to the finish.

Horror/MysteryThe horror comes from the truth that comes out in the final act but the mystery we are watching unfold is what drives this film.

SettingsThe settings take us around America at times as we search with Harry about the truth.

Special EffectsThe effects come in the form of practical as we see just how the kills look once the killer has finished with the bodies.


Scene of the Movie –
Final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I wanted more De Niro.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great mystery horror that does keep us guessing and taking us into a direction you wouldn’t see coming.

 

Overall: Enjoyable Mystery horror.

Rating

 

 

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The Last Tycoon (1976)

Director: Elia Kazan

Writer: Harold Pinter (Screenplay) F Scott Fitzgerald (Novel)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum, Jeanne Moreau, Jack Nicholson, Donald Pleasence, Ray Milland

 

Plot: F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s novel is brought to life in this story of a movie producer slowly working himself to death.


Tagline – He has the power to make anyone’s dream come true… except his own.

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strangely Important Movie

 

Story: The Last Tycoon starts as we see how Monroe Stahr (De Niro) is working on the latest film, finding the right points to make it the production company’s next big hit, his superiors including Pat Bray (Mitchum) question this latest method even if the boss trusts his ideas without a doubt.

We follow Monroe as he conducts the business and uses his position of power to seduce aspiring actresses, while his health only continues to worsen by not taking the break his doctors are giving him.

 

Thoughts on The Last Tycoon

 

Characters – Monroe is the hotshot producer that can make any film work for his production company, he sees the little flaws in movies to fix them before they get released, he over works himself, but using his position got find actresses. Rodriguez is one of the starts of the studio that has worked with Monroe for years, the only one that will help him. Pat Brady is the senior production manager or something like that for the studio, he is against Monroe’s decisions at times, fearing for the studio.

PerformancesThe do have an amazing cast for this movie, Robert De Niro takes the centre stage and of course this was when every role he did gave us something to remember. With Tony Curtis and Robert Mitchum taking the main supporting roles we have nothing to fear with performances here.

StoryThe story follows one movie producer as he is searching for perfection on this next movie, while also keeping himself attached to enough women. We see his mental and physical health decline with his over working, but the truth is, even with a wonderful cast this just doesn’t become interesting enough for us to watch.

RomanceThe film claims to be a romance, but I am not sure why, we only meet a womaniser.

SettingsThe film takes place in Hollywood which puts us into the world we are going to be taking on, it works without being anything special.


Scene of the Movie –
Fixing the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Seems boring

Final ThoughtsThis is an example of older films which would have worked well at the time but doesn’t anymore, the performances are wonderful, but the story drags.

 

Overall: Dated movie

Rating

 

 

Taxi Driver (1976)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Paul Schrader (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel, Albert Brooks, Peter Boyle

 

Plot: A mentally unstable Vietnam War veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, while attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic, Maybe Not?

 

Story: Taxi Driver starts we meet Travis Bickle (De Niro) a war veteran struggling with sleep and finding peace in night shifts as a taxi driver as he becomes fascinated by campaigner Betsy (Shepherd). Travis also isn’t happy with the state of New York City and wants to see it cleaned up.

When Travis decides to get himself protection he starts to look to clean up the streets himself to protect a preadolescent prostitute Iris (Foster) which leads to the violent outbreak of his.

 

Thoughts on Taxi Driver

 

Characters – Travis Bickle is the lonely unstable former marine that is suffering from insomnia deciding to take a job as a taxi driver at night, he wants to clean up the street and his anti-social behaviour makes his isolation become a violent outrage against the city. Iris is an underage prostitute in the city that keeps crossing paths with Travis and is the one that Travis most wants to protect. Betsy is the love interest of Travis, well the woman he takes out twice only to show us how difficult he finds it to socialise.

PerformanceRobert De Niro does carry this film with a performance that could be the best of his career. Jodie Foster is brilliant in her role where she shows how talented she was at a young age. The rest of the cast are good throughout the film as De Niro works with them all.

StoryThe story here looks into loneliness in the Big Apple, a man that doesn’t fit in and wants to clean up the streets which he believes are not going the way he believes he should. We look at the underworld of prostitution and see the colourful characters that come out at night but in the end it just feels like a study of New York itself.

CrimeThe crime underworld being shown in this film is good as we see one man want to clean up the streets in his own way.

SettingsNew York is a setting I always love seeing used for settings and in this film we get to see the darker side of the Big Apple.

Scene of the Movie – You Talkin to Me?

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact the film has been put on the all time greats list.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film I have only ever heard wonderful things about and sure the acting is fantastic throughout, the idea of a man feeling like he needs to clean up his neighbourhood is good to but when you look at the full picture it mostly just feels slow and dated in the storytelling process which spends over an hour building in one direction only to head off into another one for the second half of the film.

 

Overall: Brilliant acting, but storytelling leaves questions marks.

Rating

 

 

Kurt Russell Weekend – Backdraft (1991)

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Gregory Widen (Screenplay)

Starring: Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Robert De Niro, Donald Sutherland, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Scott Glen, Rebecca De Mornay

 

Plot: Two Chicago firefighter brothers who don’t get along must work together while a dangerous arsonist is on the loose.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Slow

 

Story: Backdraft starts when a young Brian McCaffrey witness his firefighter father killed putting out the fire. 20 years later Brian (Baldwin) is desperate to follow in his father’s footsteps much like his brother Stephen (Russell). Passing his tests Brian joins Stephen’s unit, the strictest in town.

As the number of fires increase, the number of firefighters are being cut and with each fire brings the investigator Donald Rimgale (De Niro) who uses slow methods but gets results. When Brian becomes worried about the safety of his brother’s actions he agrees to work with Donald to track down an arsonist operating within the city.

 

Thoughts on Backdraft

 

Characters/PerformanceStephen is the tough firefighter who enjoys the job knowing he and his team can save as many lives as possible. Brian is the brother of Stephen, son of a firefighter who became the photo of a generation after witnessing his father’s death at a young age. He wants to follow in his father’s footsteps but finds himself having to turn on his brother to investigate arson rather than fight the fires. Donald is a grizzled veteran who has seen the worst in fighting fire, he now leads the investigations into the fires, he works with Brian to locate the arsonist and reckless behaviour being portrayed by the firefighters. The rest of the characters fill the loyal unit, the ex-wife and potential lover without being a major part in the film.

Performance wise, Russell is solid but never reaches the levels we know he can. Baldwin just doesn’t capture the level of performance you would see from other members of the family while De Niro is good in the supporting role.

StoryThe story shows the life of firefighters struggling with the demands placed upon them by dwindling resources, the lives get put at risk. We get to see the investigation into an arsonist but sadly this isn’t the focus of the story. the focus is on the broken relationship between the two brothers who have gone in different paths when it comes to following in their father’s footsteps. The story is fine but too long in my opinion.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe firefighting scenes are brilliant action set pieces without a doubt but the crime side which should be a major side just doesn’t get the focus required. The mystery also suffers because of this too.

SettingsThe settings are used wonderfully to show the intensity of the fires for the firefighters while outside the fires it just feels like a normal city which could be any.

Special EffectsThe special effects are stunning for the creating of the fires, using mostly practical effects which still look amazing today.

Final ThoughtsThe special effects in this movie do save it from being awful but in the end the story is just too flat for my liking.

 

Overall: Flat story, too long but amazing effects.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – J – Joy (2015)

joyDirector: David O Russell

Writer: David O Russell (Screenplay) David O Russell, Annie Mumolo (Story)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini

 

Plot: Joy is the story of the title character, who rose to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Story But Not Enough

 

Story: Joy starts with her grandmother Mimi (Ladd) introducing us to the family, her daughter Terry (Madsen) who is obsessed with soap operas, while Joy (Lawrence) always the extra creative still ends up with an air hostess job. Joy still lives with the rest of her family including her ex-husband Tony (Ramirez) as her estranged father Rudy (De Niro) needs to move back in.

Joy tired of just getting by she wants to bring back her ideas from her childhood and start making an invention that could stop her family from ever having to worry again. Joy starts by trying to build a new design for a mop with the support of all her family but can she make an impact in the industry.

Joy is a good story that shows how important it is to not give up while chasing a dream, I do like where this shows how determined Joy was but I would’ve liked to have seen more from after the events in the film showing more than we got. Making a movie about selling mops isn’t ever going to be easy and this falls to really pull us in enough to make us interested in what is happening.

 

Actor Review

 

Jennifer Lawrence: Joy was always a creative person but life just seemed to hold until final she decides to take the risk a try and make something that could change the world, she creates a mop and along with her father she tries to sale this into the world where she goes to make a future for her family. Jennifer is great in this role as the strong woman.joy charcyer

Robert De Niro: Rudy is Joy’s father and a business man himself, when she wants to go into business he stands with her to try and make this happen. He isn’t sure with every decision but doesn’t want to let his daughter down. Robert is on this film but doesn’t get too much screen time to really shine.

Bradley Cooper: Neil Walker is the sales manager at QVC who takes a chance on Joy’s idea by putting in on his network, he respects her aggressive approach and lets her be the one to sale the product. Bradley is only in a supporting role but doesn’t get enough screen time to have enough important impact.

Edgar Ramirez: Tony is the ex-husband of Joy but the two are still close friends, he lives in the basement and helps with the business and is the one who introduces her to Neil. Edgar is good but I would have liked to have seen more from him as he looked interesting.

Support Cast: Joy has a good supporting cast but I feel we could have seen more from all of them.

Director Review: David O RussellDavid doesn’t give us enough for what we know he is capable from behind the camera.

 

Comedy: Joy is classed as a comedy?

Settings: Joy uses the settings to make us feel like we are in the same time period.
Suggestion
: Joy is a film to try as we get to learn about the woman herself Joy. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Lawrence is brilliant.

Worst Part: Would have liked to have seen more.

 

Believability: Based on the real lady.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for 2 Golden Globes

Oscar Chances: Lawrence could get a nod but that is it.

Budget: $60 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

Overall: Selling a mop movie, well this isn’t going to be that bad but not interesting enough

Ratingcard