The Blob (1958)

Director: Irvin S Yeaworth Jr, Russel S Doughten

Writer: Theodoree Simonson, Kay Linaker (Screenplay) Irvine H Millgate (Original Idea)

Starring: Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut, Earl Rowe, Olin Howland, Stephen Chase, John Benson, George Karas, Lee Payton

 

Plot: An alien lifeform consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Slow Builder Horror

 

Story: The Blob starts when Steve Andrews (McQueen) is on his date with Jane (Corsaut) they witness something crash into the ground near them, investigating they find an old man who has found the collision which has a goo like substance inside.

As the goo grows is consumes the man the doctor also vanishes giving the police LT Dave (Rowe) a problem on his hands. Steve and Jane works with other kids in the town as they look to find the answers as the goo that has now turned into a mass blob is growing and consuming the neighbourhood.

 

Thoughts on The Blob

 

Characters/PerformanceSteve is the neighbourhood bad boy with a heart of gold, his night of romance is ruined when a strange blob starts consuming the town and he must convince the town that this is real but his reputation doesn’t do him any favours. Jane is your generic girlfriend love interest character, whose job is to put on a happy face and scream, I know that sounds shallow but that is all she does. LT Dave is a good officer willing to believes the kids are good just as long as they don’t hurt anyone.

Performance wise Steve McQueen shows that he was always going to be a big star carrying this film with his performance with the rest of cast all feeling like they were made for this style of film.

StoryThe idea that something came from space is the great idea for horror as for the time we knew the paranoia around at the time. There isn’t too much to the story as the events all happen over the one night and it almost plays into the idea of don’t cry wolf at times.

Horror/Sci-FiWhen you look at the horror side of this film we get to see the unknown invading with no real answers, the sci-fi side comes from the idea this has come from space.

SettingsThe film is set all in one town, which improves the horror side of the movie as we see how the people panic about what is happening.

Special EffectsLooking at the special effects that were great for the time and budget.

Final ThoughtsThis is a classic in the horror genre that should be watched by all the people wanting to make a difference in horror.

 

Overall: A classic in the genre that is a must watch.

Rating

 

 

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The Towering Inferno (1974)

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Director: John Guillermin

Writer: Stirling Silliphant (Screenplay) Richard Martin Stern, Thomas N Scortia, Frank M Robinon (Novel)

Starring: Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain

 

Plot: At the opening party of a colossal, but poorly constructed, office building, a massive fire breaks out that threatens to destroy the tower and everyone in it.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Disaster Masterclass

 

Story: The Towering Inferno starts as the architect of the brand-new building preparing for opening night Doug Roberts (Newman) discovers not everything is quite as he had planned only up to standard rather than up to his desired safety standards.

With the party bringing in the who’s who of the town including the mayor (Collins), Senator Parker (Vaughn) along with a range of celebrity faces. But little do the guest know there is a fire starting to burn in on the maintenance rooms. When Doug discovers the fire, he goes to bring it under control wanting to end the party early but Jim Duncan (Holden) refuses let it be a worry. Fire Chief O’Hallorhan (McQueen) comes to tackle the fire bring the party to an end with the 300 plus guests need to find a way below the fire, but when it becomes clear that Simmons (Chamberlain) has cut corners the safety of everyone in the building it now at risk. We are left to see how the Chief can put together the best rescue possible for everyone inside the building.

 

Thoughts on Towering Inferno

 

StoryThe disaster genre has always been an easy sell on the story and this is no different having group of survivors trapped in a building that is on fire with little to no easy escape, what more could you want? This does have deeper stories because each character has their own story to why they are in the tower and what is waiting if they can get out which draws us into the bigger picture of the story, which is what many disaster films have tried and failed over the years.

Action/ThrillerThe action sequences are planned brilliantly as we see how each moment that could go wrong does go wrong which leads us into the thrilling side as we are left on edge seeing where this story will go next.

Characters/PerformanceDoug the architect is a great leading character because he knows the flaws that are not his fault, Chief O’Hallorhan also makes for a joint great leading character because he controls the men to pull off the rescue mission, having to characters that are putting everything into saving as many people as possible really shines through. Looking deeper into the characters we get plenty of supporting characters we can all enjoy watching their stories as we are drawn into finding out what happens to them.

Diving into the performances I feel Newman was the star of the show with Holden showing just all of the experience he bought to his role. I did find it hard to get pulled into the McQueen performance who feels static in certain scenes with Dunaway doing well without reaching her ability. The rest of the supporting cast all do well and you want to follow their stories through.

SettingsWe have the whole film within the glass tower which becomes the prison for people stuck in the top floor. The setting is used perfectly because at the time the buildings were getting bigger and dealing with a blaze would have be a challenge for any fire crew.

Special EffectsWhen you look at the disaster movie genre one of the main attractions is seeing how breath-taking all the sequences are and this has them with wonderful special effects that make you believe in every sequence going on through the film.

Final ThoughtsWe have here a disaster film that is nearly three hours long and never get remotely dull, now that is something directors should all be learning from.

 

Overall: If you ever want to know how to make a disaster film that tells the story well this is where you start.

Rating

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Hell Is for Heroes (1962)

logoDirector: Don Siegel

Writer: Richard Carr, Robert Pirosh (Screenplay) Robert Pirosh (Story)

Starring: Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker, Harry Guardino, james Coburn, Bob Newhart

 

Plot: Small squad must hold off German attack.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dated War Film

 

Story: Hell is for Heroes starts in Montigny, France 1944 where the soldiers are resting. They are all waiting for the time when they can finally go home but when a new soldier Reece (McQueen) turns up the banter gets put slightly out of place. Sgt Larkin (Guardino) and his men Corby (Darin), Pike (Parker), Henshaw (Coburn) and Driscoll (Newhart) along with Reece are sent to a new location before getting final instruction before their next mission.

Reece is going to be trouble as he is straight away very much to himself and likes his drinking. The unit have the hopes of a return home shattered as they get sent out on their new mission. When the orders change it is down to the six men to keep the Germans back without giving away their numbers. What follows is the Americans trying to pull off as many tricks as possible to trick the Germans into thinking they have a large platoon.

Hell is for Heroes is a story that we see in plenty of war films where we see a small number of soldiers overcome the odds to beat a large number, it is tried and tested as everyone likes to cheer for an underdog. This one has plenty of generically easy ideas that all work out nicely and for the time it would have looked like a very good war film. Film has come a long way now and this would not stand next to them anymore but it could easily have been one of the best at the time of release. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Steve McQueen: Reese the rebellious soldier who has been causing problems during the war, he has an attitude but could be the best hope for victory. Steve was the icon and main attraction for this film and he shows why in his performance. (7/10)

 

Bobby Darin: Corby wheeler and dealer who seems to have everything the men would want also he is very much a wise cracker. Booby gives us a good performance and is the character I wanted to see on camera more often. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Hell is for Heroes has a supporting cast that fills the generic war film types, they all help the story unfold and all do a very good job in their performance.

 

Director Review: Don Siegel – Don keeps everything simple in this film and ends up getting a solid war film still over 50 years later. (7/10)

 

War: Hell is for Heroes comes off as a solid war film for the time. (7/10)

Settings: Hell is for Heroes uses pretty much one setting for the most part of the film and it shows how little area people were fighting for during the wars. (9/10)

Suggestion: Hell is for Heroes is one for the classic film fan to enjoy, I don’t see today’s audience enjoying this film. (Classic Film Fans)

 

Best Part: The end was good and well put together.

Worst Part: Little bit slow starting.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final attack.

 

Believability: Things like this would have happened in the war. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $2.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: ONLY 6 G.I.’s and they had to hold off the whole German army!

Trivia: According to Bob Newhart’s autobiography, “I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This”, Steve McQueen and Bobby Darin did not get along during filming. When stories of their feud appeared in the trade papers, the film’s publicist was fired. As it turned out, it was Nick Adams who leaked the story. According to Newhart, Adams felt so badly that he chased the publicist’s departing plane yelling, “I’m sorry!”

 

Overall:  For years war films have been used to tell the stories off overcoming odds and this is no exception and would have been one of the best at the time.

Rating 70

12 Years A Slave (2013)

logoDirector: Steve McQueen

Writer: John Ridley (Screenplay) Solomon Northup (Book – Twelve Years a Slave)

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dwight Henry, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael K. Williams, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alfre Woodard

 

Plot: Based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Pitt) will forever alter his life.

 

Verdict: Brilliant

 

Story: Watching how Solomon struggles to just survive let alone becoming free again. We see how different men who have slaves treat them, some well some badly. The story shows the tragic truth about how slaves were treated and even though this story get a happy ending of freedom, most never got that chance, with this still happening in the modern world it should make everyone be thankful for the fact they are free now. The story is an inspiration story of survival and not giving up hope. (10/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Chiwetel Ejiofor: Solomon kidnapped and sold into slavery, not resting on the fact he will never escape he tries over the 12 years to find a way to get his own freedom before finally finding someone to trust enough. Chiwetel is brilliant in the role and fully deserved his BAFTA for best actor. (10/10)

 solomon

Michael Fassbender: Edwin Epps the drunken plantation owner who abuses his slaves for his own pleasure, enforced strict rules and taking all the hope out of his slaves. Great performance from Fassbender playing a character that is driven to be hated. (9/10)

 fassbender

Lupita Nyong’o: Patsey one of the slaves on Epps’s plantation who is his favourite as she is the best picker and also he favourite for his sexual pleasures. Great performance, showing that the hope had been taken from some of the slaves. (10/10)

 lupita

Brad Pitt: Bass a free roaming labourer who doesn’t turn up to late in the film, becomes the last chance for Solomon. Only a small role but does a good job.(8/10)

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Paul Dano: Tibeats, Ford’s evil slaver runner who pushes all of them to limits they shouldn’t have to go, he thinks he is better than all of the slaves, but Solomon teaches him a thing or too. Good performance from Dano showing he can fit into any role with ease. (8/10)

 dano

Paul Giamatti: Freeman the slave sales man who put them all up for show so that the highest bidder will purchase them. Only a small role but affectively showing how the slavery sales were made to be glamorous for what they are doing. (7/10)

 paul

Benedict Cumberbatch: Ford a good man who looks after his slaves, Ford purchases Solomon and is willing to listen to Solomon’s ideas to improve his work. Forced to sell on Solomon, but always looked after them all fair. Good supporting performance and his character reflexes how evil Epps is.(8/10)

 benedict

Sarah Paulson: Mistress Epps the wife of Edwin, who has a dislike for Patsey but an almost sympatric side to the rest of the slaves. Good performance and the one scene with Patsey is really stand out. (9/10)

 mistress epps

Director Review: Steve McQueen – Brilliant direction to tell such an amazing story of one man’s journey. (10/10)

 

Biography: Amazing look at how Solomon survived his ordeal. (10/10)

Drama: Stunning look at something that could have been all guns, blood and gore, but focuses on the emotions involved with the people. (10/10)

History: Good look at how people were treated during the slave times. (10/10)

Settings: Beautiful settings used to create the story. (10/10)

Suggestion: This really should be watched by all, but I do feel the more casual film fan may find it hard to watch. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Chiwetel Performance.

Worst Part: Some of the punishment scenes are hard to watch.

Favourite Quote: Solomon ‘I will not fall into despair! I will keep myself hardy until freedom is opportune!’

Believability: Based on Solomon’s true story. (10/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won 3 Oscars.

Box Office: $178,413,838

Budget: $20 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

Tagline: The extraordinary true story of Solomon Northup.

 

Overall: Stunning Story

Rating 98