Die Hard (1988)

die hardReleased: July 15, 1988Director: John McTiernanStars: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie BedeliaRuntime: 131 min.

This is what great action is all about: Bruce Willis as John McLane, terrorists, and Christmas time. It really brings the family together, doesn’t it?

John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save wife Holly Gennaro and several others, taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.
This is seriously one of the greatest action films ever made, and generally a great experience. It has fantastic action sequences, hilarious and iconic one-liners, and some great characters.

John McLane is probably one of my favourite action heroes, and I only saw this for the first time a few weeks ago. He’s clever, macho, and he kicks some serious terrorist ass. Alan Rickman is in one of his best roles (Gruber and Severus Snape of Harry Potter go head to head for me), and his debut film role. It is one of the most impressive debut performances as one of the greatest terrorist masterminds; Gruber is cunning, often funny, and overall pretty intimidating. It is so well done when Gruber just comes on screen and doesn’t even say anything for ten minutes or so. It makes a great mystery out of his character. In this guy’s presence, I wouldn’t challenge him…
There are a few bad characters, though. They’re sort-of important to the film, but they’re just irritating. Paul Gleason’s Dwayne Robinson was absolutely stupid, but Gleason does play a good dumbass. And the FBI agents were just silly. They all do seem necessary for the plot development, though.

The thriller is taut and extremely fresh, and there’s never a dull moment. One really wants John McLane to come out of there alive, but we all want the bullets to fly and explosions to wreak havoc. It’s suspenseful and an eerie thought of being the only person who could save a building of people. Well, McLane does have Sergeant Allen Powell on the outside talking to him. However, it’s nowhere near the same as being in there with those crazy men. This is one of the attributes that makes McLane’s bravery and courage to never give up so damn admirable. This, folks, is what a practically perfect action film looks like.

Score98/100

Advertisements

Deliverance (1972)

Deliverance

Released: July 30, 1972Director: John BoormanStars: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned BeattyRuntime: 110 minReview written on: November 14, 2012.

What if your river-rafting trip turned into a ride to hell like this one does?

Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it’s turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they’ll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.

The character of Lewis is great because he is threatening, and nature-savvy. Ed is also a great character because he’s pretty timid, and his story is of trying to overcome the odd dangers that face him, and getting over those damn shakes.

Finally, after seeing this I understand whenever someone references Deliverance. There’s some very dark scenes here and there, and the pacing is great. Near the beginning, one might want something to happen. There’s many memorable scenes like the opening comedic voice-over to that banjo duel between Drew and that little kid; it gets more enjoyable as it goes along. This is a film that knows how to be both fun (which is evident in the banjo scene), disturbing (expressed in the rape scene in the woods [it shouldn’t be considered a spoiler, this movie is almost 41 years old]), and thrilling. The characters are great and the acting is great. I really enjoy the story, too. This is a great river-rafting adventure that make the water seem quite, quite dangerous.

Score80/100

Grease (1978)

Grease

Released: June 16, 1978Director: Randal KleiserStars: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard ChanningRuntime: 110 min.

Over the summer, good girl Sandy and greaser Danny have a great summer romance. When the school season comes back in session, Sandy has moved to the same school as Danny, Rydell High (if there was a drinking game for everytime they say the school name, you’d be plastered within the first fifteen minutes). She joins the crew called ‘The Pink Ladies,’ a female group of girls who wear all pink. Danny’s in a group called the T-Birds. When Sandy sees that Danny isn’t the same sweetheart that she fell in love with over the course of the summer, their chances to rekindle their romance doesn’t seem so likely.

Grease is a stylish musical based in 1950’s California that has an above average romance story and great catchy tunes.
The actors in this are good, especially Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta.

The songs make you want to do a little jig, and you can sing along to them endlessly.

While it is great, it isn’t perfect, because it is a bit lengthy for a musical. Also, the actors are in their 20’s and are playing high school students. Because of this, there’s a sort of lack of realism.
Though, it does use its fairly simple plot of young love to its advantage. The message that it offers is not to be fake and just be yourself (well, at least that’s how I interpret it).

It’s all sure to put a smile on your face and just give you a great feeling after it’s all over with, you’ll be singing the songs days after watching, especially if you really enjoyed the film.
It really leaves a wonderful lasting expression, it is entertaining and sure is charming. For a musical, it really is worth checking out.

Score80/100

A quick review of A Christmas Story (1983)

A Christmas StoryReleased: November 18, 1983Director: Bob ClarkStars: Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavinRuntime: 94 min.

A Christmas Story is a refreshingly simple tale for the holidays.

All Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) wants for the holidays is a Red Ryder B.B. Gun. He must convince his parents, his teacher, and even Santa Claus that it is the perfect Christmas gift for children in the 1940s.

There’s awesome comedy and this offers some real sweet nostalgia, we all remember a time where we really wanted a Christmas gift, and no one would get it for us. This is just one of the most memorable Christmas stories of just one of those times. Ralphie’s a kid with a wicked imagination, who probably won’t poke his eye out with the freaking thing – but his glasses might get broken in the process. It also teaches us the pleasant feeling of getting what we so desire.

Score100/100

Quick Review – Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)

 

Omen III: The Final Conflict
Release Date: March 20, 1981
Director: Graham Baker
Stars: Sam Neill, Rossano Brazzi, Don Gordon
Runtime: 108 min

This is just about the most boring “horror” movie I’ve ever seen.

The now adult Antichrist plots to eliminate his future divine opponent while a cabal of monks plot to stop him.

Apparently, Goldsmith’s great original score was used but I can’t remember a time that it was actually effectively used.

This one tries to convince the viewer that it has a fast pace, but the kills are about as boring as watching grass grow. I know, I know, it’s a little harsh. So I’d like to apologize for offending grass so deeply.

The plot just gets ridiculous, and I absolutely hated the only climax in the series. Is this really supposed to be a horror film?

The ultimate question is raised for this film: Who’s a disciple of Satan and who isn’t? Are you, the reader, a disciple? Are your parents? Go ask them. I think everyone was a disciple here, but they just had to be brainwashed to do it.

Damien’s still psychopathic and wanting to taste power more than ever now, but he isn’t portrayed very well. Okay, okay it isn’t all Neill’s fault! He was not given good dialogue, good emotions to portray, or really anything good to go along with, for that matter. He was given a flaming pile of dog shit on a silver platter, with a paycheck wreaking of desperation beside it.

This is about the most boring horror film I’ve ever seen, maybe even the most boring film of all time. My mother and I both got tired simultaneously, and we thought it was just because it was late. We took our own twenty minute naps. And then we returned to the film, completely rejuvinated. Yet suddenly, we felt tired again! What’s up with that? We both reached a verdict: It’s the movie that’s making us tired, it’s boring as anything.

The ending was just odd. The acting was horrid, the number of redeeming qualities is a small list. The score, where I forget where it was used, is often good. There was one effective scare, but probably because it was stranger than anything. Also, some of the mystery was a little good.

This one left me thinking one thing: What in the name of all that is holy, did I just experience? Don’t see it. Even if you want to watch all the films of the series, don’t watch it. Save yourself the agony, and just read the synopsis of it or something.

25/100

Quick Review – Damien: Omen II (1978)

Damien: Omen II

Release Date: June 9, 1978

Director: Don Taylor

Stars: William Holden, Lee Grant, Jonathan Scott-Taylor

Runtime: 107 min

Tagline: These eyes will follow you wherever you go and your nightmares will become a frightening reality.

Damien is now thirteen and spending his time now with his cousin at a military school. He eventually learns of his actual destiny by more disciples of Satan. Meanwhile, dark forces begin to eliminate those who may pose a threat to Damien’s rise of power.

This is a pretty good sequel actually, not great, but pretty good. It’s better than a sequel like Halloween II or something.

The pacing is definitely quicker than the first, and the kills are actually pretty good. Some are boring, but the pleasantly gruesome ones outweigh the bad.

The acting for this series is still horrid, but the great score by Jerry Goldsmith is borrowed from the first, which helps its fairly pleasant effectiveness.

It’s practically that same premise from the first, and don’t forget that the Omen series has never known the physical meaning of the word “climax” which can get quite irritating. This series is a prime example of why sometimes the ending isn’t the best part (but at least this one tries to be edgy, but in a pretty lame way).

William Holden, Lee Grant, Jonathan Scott-Taylor, Robert Foxworth, Nicholas Pryor, Lew Ayres and Sylvia Sidney headline Damien: Omen II.

This is pretty good for a sequel, but it still isn’t anything special. It doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking, but at least the film isn’t mind-numbing. This wasn’t scary at all, and at times I forgot that it was trying to be a horror film, but it still attempted to throw a few shocks out. At least it still has that great and effective score.

63/100

Quick Review: The Omen (1976)

Released: June 25, 1976Director: Richard DonnerStars: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, Harvey StephensRuntime: 111 min.

Robert and Katherine Thorn have it all, and he’s the US Ambassador to Great Britain, when their own child isn’t well, a priest approaches Robert with an idea of getting a healthy newborn whose mother had just died in childbirth. After they relocate to London, strange events – and ominous warnings of a priest – lead him to believe that his son is the face of evil.

The Omen isn’t all that scary today, but it definitely was scarier when it was released. The idea that your son may be a little evil, admittedly, is a pretty scary one. And the fact that Robert really doesn’t know who the child actually is, or the history behind him, makes it even more eerie.

It isn’t as scary as everyone seems to say it is, but the Evil Servant Nanny can be pretty creepy and a little off her rocker. The score makes it for an effective film atmosphere, and definitely does amp up the suspense. For me, there wasn’t a lot of terrifying moments, but it can get pretty intense.

The pacing isn’t great because it’s a little slow, but it eventually escalates to an okay ending. This one’s quite anti-climactic, but as are two of the other Omen flicks.

Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Harvey Stephens, Billie Whitelaw, and Patrick Troughton star.

The Omen offers a pretty solid atmosphere with a nice concept and great score, but it doesn’t have great pacing and has the tendency to get a little boring. It’s the first and best one of the series, really the only really good one, that started up a horror series that was practically the same premise four times. Does that remind you of Paranormal Activity?

Score: 75/100