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

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Jaws (1975)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb (Screenplay) Peter Benchley (Novel)

Starring: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton

 

Plot: A local sheriff, a marine biologist and an old seafarer team up to hunt down a great white shark wrecking havoc in a beach resort.


Tagline – See it before you go swimming.

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Suspenseful Classic

 

Story: Jaws starts as when a college student goes missing, Chief Brody (Scheider) believes it to be a shark attack and wants to close the beaches, but the Mayor (Hamilton) refuses to allow it, when the shark takes another victim, the town becomes a panic after a reward is put forward.

Quint (Shaw) offers to rid the town of the shark, but for a price, but random hunters from around America turn up to try and capture the shark. Marr Hooper (Dreyfuss) arrives in town to help with the higher level of knowledge even understand the species of shark behind it.

With July 4th around the corner Chief Brody must battle the mayor on whether to keep the beaches open until the latest appearance leaves Brody, Quint and Matt needing to hunt down the great white.

 

Thoughts on Jaws

 

Characters – Chief Brody is the police on the island, he is afraid of the water, he does want to do the right thing and close the beaches, but doesn’t get the support from the mayor, he must work on his fears to hunt down the shark. Quint is an expert hunter, he offers to kill the shark for a higher target, an outsider in society, a drunk, blunt with anyone he doesn’t like, which is most people. Matt Hooper is the expert that comes down to identify which shark species could be feeding off the shores, he knows his sharks and the danger, habits they possess.

PerformancesRoy Scheider is great in the leading role because he needs to be the fear between the three men, while also being the authority. Robert Shaw as the outsider works well, he makes us believe he is an outsider with each action. Richard Dreyfuss is great too which does complete the chemistry the three lead men need for the second half of the film.

StoryThe story follows a tourist island which finds itself being targeted by a shark, wanting to treat it as the new feeding ground. We follow the three different characters, from different fields that must work together to rid the waters of the shark before the tourist industry is ruined for the residents. This is a simple story to follow which is good because that is what it needs to be, it bottles down to needing to deal with a problem the quickest way possible.

AdventureThe adventure side of the film shows the three needing to work together to take on the shark, roaming the waters.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings simple, we have the land island surrounded by water which because the hunting ground of the shark, this could be any water related resort.

Special EffectsThis is where Spielberg became an icon, he knows how to handle the need for the use of effects, which is used only when required.


Scene of the Movie –
Bigger boat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Mayor power.

Final ThoughtsThis is always going to go own as one of thee greatest movies of all time, still feeling timeless which is what we like in our movies, the simple story works and the use of music adds to the tension throughout the film.

 

Overall: Wonderful thriller.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – W – War of the Worlds (2005)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Josh Friedman, David Koepp (Screenplay) H.G. Wells (Novel)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Miranda Otto, Justin Chatwin, Tim Robbins, Rick Gonzalez, Yul Vazquez

 

Plot: As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival.


Tagline – They’re already here

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sci-Fi Spectacular

 

Story: War of the Worlds starts when the deadbeat dad figure Ray (Cruise) is left to look after his children Rachel (Fanning) and Robbie (Chatwin) for a weekend, while he ex-wife Mary Ann (Otto) goes away with her new partner. We see early on the problems and strain in the relationship, but when an unknow storm hit New York a robotic creature comes out of the ground, killing everyone.

Ray grabs his kids and gets the hell out of the city racing across the country in hope of getting to Mary Ann where the kids want to be, the problem is the America is going into chaos and it becomes survival of the fittest against these unkillable robots.

 

Thoughts on War of the Worlds

 

Characters – Ray is the deadbeat dad that has always be a let down to his kids, he doesn’t live in the nicest house, but the neighbours all love him. He is distant from his children after the divorce and after the attack happens this everyday man must do everything he can to keep his children safe. Rachel is his youngest child, she is insecure about being away from her mother, needing to put trust in her father, reacting panicked during the attacks like a young girl would, but strangely offering mature advice with dealing with the older brother. Mary Ann is the ex-wife and mother that is the target for the journey across America. Robbie is the eldest son that does hate his father, as he sees the good in his father he wants to join the fight back against the invaders. Harlan Ogilvy is a stranger that offers help only to be the one that could put Ray’s family in the most danger.

PerformancesTom Cruise is wonderful in this leading role, he proves he can be the everyman in this role, he shows the vulnerable moments needed as his character only has one goal, save his family. Dakota Fanning continued to show she was a force in the future of Hollywood with her performance where she shines. Tim Robbins gives us a truly creepy character while the rest of the cast is great too.

StoryThe story is a modern version of one of the greatest radio recordings of all time, we bottle the story down nicely to focus on one father that is doing everything he can to keep his children safe during an alien invasion. Sure, the ending is weak, but this is much like Jurassic Park, it isn’t about the aliens, its about the people surviving the situation. The story is simple to follow to as we see the family getting caught up in different moments of the attack each one showing the panic that would surround it.

Adventure/Sci-FiThe adventure is filled with peril and shock as the family races for survival, this survival will show the horrors of what will happen if they don’t become safe. The sci-fi side of the film showed us just how the aliens came to invade, came rom beneath us and prepared against our own weapons.

SettingsThe film shows us the destruction of the aliens leave in their path, we see how the big cities are destroyed and how the quiet location are just as dangerous.

Special EffectsThe effects for the film are fantastic, from the early destruction to the special look of the wide shots of the attack going on.


Scene of the Movie –
Basement scene with Harlan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end of the story is always weak.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the great modern sci-fi films, it modernises one of the greatest stories, we have excellent special effects and a story that is simple enough to be effective.

 

Overall: Sci-Fi fans must be watching.

Rating

 

 

Ready Player One (2018)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Zak Penn, Ernest Cline (Screenplay) Ernest Cline (Novel)

Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller

 

Plot: When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.


Tagline – A better reality awaits.

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Pop-Culture Festival Fun

 

Story: Ready Player One starts in the near future in Columbus of all places, Wade (Sheridan) lives in the stacks, the poor part of town, he along with the rest of the world lives inside the virtual reality world known as the OASIS, created by Halliday (Rylance). The OASIS gives people a chance to live anything they imagine and after Halliday’s death he left an Easter Egg for the players to search for.

6 years have past since this way revealed and nobody has found even the first of three keys, Wade works with Aech (Waithe) Sho and Daito in his attempts to be the one to find it and is joined by Samantha (Cooke) to fight against Sorrento (Mendelsohn) who wants the prize so his company can take over the OASIS selling the space o the players. The battle for the freedom of the game, the world is on and Wade is leading the charge.

 

Thoughts on Ready Player One

 

Characters – Wade is the down on his luck scraping a living in the virtual reality world type of guy, in the real world he doesn’t have any friends and his only enemy seems to be his Step-Uncles. In the OASIS he has a close group of friends while never being in a CLAN, he has been searching for the answers to the clues for 6 years like everyone else, only this time he learns something new and ends up leading the players in the battle to save the OASIS from the corporate hands. Samantha is one of the most famous players in the OASIS, much like Wade she is a solo player, joining forces with Wade reveals she is part of a rebellion against the corporate company trying to take over the game which leads her to risk everything to save the OASIS too. Sorrento is your businessman enemy, he sees money in being the owner of the OASIS, he doesn’t understand the pop culture and for sure he will do anything to get what he wants. Halliday is the Willy Wonka of this creation, it was his dream, his ideas and it is his clues people are searching for to take over after his death, guided at heart, determined but anti-social this man’s genius has bought together the world.

PerformancesThe performances through the film on the overall point of view are good, nobody puts any feet wrong, Tye Sheridan steps up to the lead role with ease after his work on indie films, Olivia Cooke continues to show she is a great choice in the lead supporting female role and Ben Mendelsohn is always going to make a wonderful villain in any movie.

StoryThe story breaks down into a glorified virtual reality world treasure hunt, it is the unlikely guy being the one that can unlock the secrets which the business mind people want for themselves. It is by the books, the clues seem too easy to work out, like if someone had taken their time earlier things would have been solved earlier. The idea people rely on this world is never played on enough for my liking, we also don’t focus enough on the punishments that the company forces people to be in the game for their own side, this disappoints greatly because certain parts of the film we see everyday life being normal, but early on we are shown this is the only way to live. If you are watching for pop-culture references it will be hard to keep up with things for the most part too, you will miss some even if they don’t matter to the story.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is massive, in the game is easily the more memorable moments and outside the game it is routine as they come. The adventure sends us on the quest to find the clues, this is what we want to see, so no problems on this end for that. The sci-fi side of the story shows us just what the world could become like if we continue to use technology, it should be a bleaker future but for the sake of this movie it isn’t.

SettingsThe real world looks bleaker at times but other times looks like something we normal see. The virtual world creates the wonderful settings for our characters to play in.

Special EffectsThis movie will get all the praise in the world for the special effects, they are flawless, making this one of the easiest movies to watch, the team deserves the most praise for this film.


Scene of the Movie –
The Shining

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not sure if this game is the only option for people or not, we get told but what we see later it isn’t.

Final ThoughtsThis will go down as the most visually creative movie of the year, we have plenty of pop-culture references, crazy action sequences and overall it is fun, only the story itself hold sit back.

 

Overall: Fun and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

The Post (2017)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Liz Hannah, Josh Singer (Screenplay)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys, Alison Brie

 

Plot: A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government.


Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Historical Thriller

 

Story: The Post starts as we learn how the Presidents have been involved in Vietnam war, either trying to control the country or sending troops there. With one man Daniel Ellberg (Rhys) taking the top secret pages to expose the truth. When the New York Times start publishing these secrets the President starts to panic.

In Washington the Post owner Kay Graham (Streep) is about to turn her paper over to the stock exchange, her editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) is always up for taking a risk and when he learns of the papers he will stop at nothing to get the story to the people even if the government halts the publishing of the story.

 

Thoughts on The Post

 

Characters – Kay Graham inherits the role of owner of the paper, she takes over after her husband’s death with her position being questioned by the male board as she tries to turn the paper public as the biggest story unfolds. This is a perfect example of a person needing to take a role they are not prepared for. Ben Bradlee is the editor of the Post, he will push to get any story out believing the press should be able to report a story. He was also friends with the Kennedy’s putting him the elite of society. We do meet plenty of other members of the paper and the families of the people involved.

PerformancesMeryl Streep and Tom Hanks in the leading roles, do we need to talk about the performances anymore, we know they are two of the greatest actors in history and they show us just how good they are. The rest of the cast are fantastic too showing that Spielberg can get performances out of any actor.

StoryThe story follows the days before the Watergate scandal which shock America to its knees when it came learning the truth about Vietnam. We focus on just one paper as they were deciding if they should expose the truth which could find them going to jail. We get to see the balance between which is the right or the wrong side of the story which makes this a captivating story to see unfold.

Biopic/History/ThrillerThe people we follow took a massive risk to expose the truth because they new it was the right thing to do as they helped show a moment of history which people will never forget. We are kept on edge of our seat as we see how the story could bring down parts of American history.

SettingsThe film does use the settings well making us feel like we are in the time the movie takes place, we see the different classes involved in the story.


Scene of the Movie –
Deciding whether to publish is not.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Moments of the camerawork feel unnecessarily shaky.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant thriller that helps expose the biggest scandal that hit America and how the press were trying to find a way to expose the truth.

 

Overall: Thriller that brings us in to a biggest secret.

Rating