Archive for the Movie reviews – 1980s Category

Airplane! (1980)

Posted in Movie reviews - 1980s, Movies with tags , , , , , , on May 4, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Airplane! (1980)


Promotional movie poster


Folks, this marks the last entry for Journalism class of my high school senior year. However, this is not the last entry of the blog! More will come as promised: weekly updates. If something gets in the way, an entry will be made up for later on (most likely the week after).

One of the first parody films of the time, it parodies at disaster movies, mainly the film Zero Hour (1957)’s plot. It’s no wonder this is still a classic for parody films!

The plot is about an ex-fighter pilot and taxi driver named Ted Striker (Robert Hays) who pursues his lover, Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty) in hopes of convincing her to stay with him; she plans to move to Chicago and start anew because he lives in the past and can’t move on from his traumatic experience on a mission in some war (not even the stock footage of avian dogfights helped identify it). He follows her onto the trans-American flight she works as an air hostess on, headed for Chicago. The passengers on the plane include: A girl whose on her way to have heart transplant, Dr. Barry Rumack (played by the late Leslie Nielsen, known for his lead role in the Naked Gun series), two jive-talkers, and others. Things go smooth until after the in-flight meal of choice between steak and fish; the people who ate fish succumb to becoming very ill due to food poisoning, which included the navigator, co-pilot Roger Murdock (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Captain Clarence Oveur (Peter Graves). Flying without a pilot on board (besides an inflatable pilot named Otto “piloting” the plane) and with the aid of tower supervisor, Steve McCroskey (Lloyd Bridges, father of Jeff Bridges) and Rex Kramer (Robert Stack), who has a bad history with Ted during the war; Ted must battle his post-traumatic disorder and save the people on board.

Well-timed humor, irrelevant or not to the story, makes this a laugh-a-minute film. Some of the humor is understandably dated (jive talk with captions…see if anyone even does jive talk anymore…) and others are borderline dodgy (mild topless nudity and drug usage). This would later be followed by a less-successful sequel and have its format copied by numerous people which spawned the Scary Movies series, Not Another [genre] Movie series, and other parodies poking fun at cliches in each genre. Taste may vary between people but for this blogger, this film is not bad and likable for its pacing between scenes (doesn’t milk it dry until it becomes unfunny) and for putting together the wrong cliches in the wrong situation, which ensues hilarity and chaos. Why not give this a watch?


Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1980s, Movies on March 16, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

It's the story of a man, a woman, and a rabbit in a triangle of trouble.

Promotional movie poster

This one’s bound to at least emit nostalgia out of your childhood if you grew up staring at the idiot box. This movie is like a cross between Disney, Warner Bros., and Dick Tracy (which will be reviewed next time). Based on a novel by Gary K. Wolf “Who Censored Roger Rabbit?”, the film was directed by Rober Zemeckis (same director of Back to the Future) and was notable for bringing back a fanbase to the golden age of American animation, which brought along the Disney Renaissance era (The Little Mermaid in 1989, until Tarzan in 1999). The film was also one of the final films that Mel Blanc voiced Looney Tune characters before his death in 1989.

It is 1947 in Hollywood, humans and cartoons co-exist together and cartoon shorts are acted in the same manner as a live-action actor does. A toon rabbit named Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer) is supposedly framed for the murder of Marvin Acme , owner of Toontown and Acme Corporation. Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskin), alcoholic private investigator whose former partner and brother was killed by a toon with a piano to the head, is made a scapegoat to Roger’s motivation to murder Mr. Acme, having previously shown scandalous picture of Mr. Acme and Roger’s seductive and gorgeous wife, Jessica Rabbit, together. He must clear his name (and Roger’s) and figure out who the real killer is, while coping with his own inner demons and a looney cameo of toons (no pun intended), ranging from old-timey Betty Boop to despicable Daffy Duck. Meanwhile, Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) is scheming a diabolical plan to change the ways of the town and get rid of the toons.

Kathleen Turner voices the eye-candy (not to mention, ear-candy) character Jessica Rabbit

"I'm not bad...I'm just drawn that way."

It is no surprise this one has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It has a good mixture of cartoon violence and humor, as well as a touching story. Spielberg helped in asking permission for the usage of the copyrighted characters of Warner Bros, Fleischer Studios, King Features Syndicate, Felix the Cat Productions, Turner Entertainment, and Universal Pictures/Walter Lantz Productions to appear alongside each other, particularly Donald Duck with Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse (which as also the first an only time both appeared together on screen before). The film also spawned a new dance move named The Roger Rabbit dance which involves skipping backwards doing a flapping gesture as if hooking one’s thumb on suspenders. The miming by the live actors and the moving of live action props when used by the cartoon characters by moved around on strings or used robotic arms in holding, which felt realistic and perfectly timed in its quality. Recommended highly for cartoon fans who want to take a break from all the 3D hype (it may be three decades old, but it still has some kick in it). It’s one of the many films you’ll be able to watch many times without getting bored!

A sequel is also planned (or still thought of, at least) but with the emerging computer animations these days, will it do well? Only time will tell on that one, but they assure us that it’ll be just like this one: no CGIs, just traditional 2D animation combined with live action.

Graveyard of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓 Hotaru no Haka) (1988) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1980s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , on March 5, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Graveyard of the Fireflies (1988)

“In spite of it all, a lovely day”

Promotional movie poster (Japan)

Promotional movie poster (Japan)

Note: This was late due to internet problems and the fact we had a surprise last Sunday, so this is technically an extra one.

One of Japan’s finest anti-war animation next to “Barefoot Genji” set in the last years and aftermathof WWII, the story involving two siblings and their struggle to live day by day after the loss of their mother in a firebombing, as food becomes scarce and people become selfish.

The film opens to a dying Seita, after days of malnutrition and much struggling with the economically struggling Japan, resulting from the unconditional surrender and end of WWII. Seita does whatever it takes to

Other than theme on the horrors of war, Setsuko acts as the innocence left within all the sadness, unaware of death and relying on her older brother to tell her that everything will be alright. We feel as helpless as the characters succumb to their untimely deaths, leaving us with a sense of hopelessness. She also symbolizes reason (the youth; the future of tomorrow) and the clinging hope. Seita represents perseverance and virtually what little remains of good left in the world of empathetical adults. The fireflies are where the film got it’s title; symbolizing the fragile existence and fate (we all die eventually).

One of the few (in the blogger’s opinion) Japanese “animes” that someone who dislikes the idea of otaku culture would not turn away from (the blogger admits he especially dislikes the “mainstream” otakus for not having better taste in what they watch). It speaks for the side of Japanese people in a war-torn era in contrast to the Allies (Americans, British, Russians) and not limiting to French, Polish, and even Thailand. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki transformed Japan’s generation after the baby boomer generation into existentialist ones, with the introduction and rise of the video game industry and other ways Japan has used to deal with the traumas of war and more horrifying decades of birth defects and radiation poisoning, much like Germany and the events of the Holocaust. We are made to sympathize with the common victims of war: everyday people like us who have little to nothing to do with the war other than a growing hate for attackers who take away loved ones and their homes.

Photo credited to Kawano Katsuhito (from DeviantArt)

Since the Sakuma Drops (fruit drops brand) played a motif in the film, a commemorative tin was made with the image of Setsuko on it over the years.

Another tear-jerking (have a napkin, in case) animation that questions the necessity of both war and the ethical morals shifted by it. Recommended for even the faint of heart, there are moments that mass graves or a dead body is used effectively as to express death amongst the living and there are times when even the scenes of frolicking on the beach between the siblings acts as a moment of comfort and carefree, away from the war; this is what makes the film beautiful in all its simplicity. This film is not one to be missed by any war film buffs nor the casual movie-goers.

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