Tag Archives: 1985 movies

Clue (1985) Review

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Clue

Time: 94 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] 
Cast:
Eileen Brennan as Mrs. Peacock
Tim Curry as Wadsworth
Madeline Kahn as Mrs. White
Christopher Lloyd as Professor Plum
Michael McKean as Mr. Green
Martin Mull as Colonel Mustard
Lesley Ann Warren as Miss Scarlet
Director: Jonathan Lynn

Six blackmail victims are invited to an isolated mansion by a man who knows a dark secret from each of their pasts. On arrival, each is given a pseudonym drawn from Cluedo before being introduced to the blackmailer. Each is handed a weapon, at which point the lights are switched off and the blackmailer is killed. Can the guests uncover the murderer before they all become victims?

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I went into Clue fairly unsure of what to expect. All I heard was just that it was a whodunnit comedy based on the board game of the same name, and that it had something of a following. It ended up being one of the biggest surprises I had watching a movie.

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A movie based on the board game Clue seems like a weird choice, because at that point it would pretty much just be a Clue themed whodunnit film, which it is. It takes the basic premise of the board game and goes wild with it, finding clever ways of linking details of the game into the movie including the prominent rooms and possible murder weapons. The plot is actually clever and well thought out, so while its not one of the best whodunnits of all time, its crafted decently. The dialogue is witty, sharp and quotable and it’s a hilarious movie, mixing 80s cheese with dark comedy and slapstick to great effect. The jokes almost always hit for me and there are plenty of details that I missed from my initial viewing; I think that it’ll be a fun movie to rewatch. particularly with people who haven’t seen it before. Something worth noting is that there are three separate endings, and when it was released in cinemas, whichever ending each screening received was completely random. However, most versions of the movie nowadays have all three endings and I like it for that. Clue is just over 90 minutes and they move at a fast pace, I had a lot of fun from beginning to end with never a dull moment.

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The characters are all distinguishable and memorable, helped by the performances. The main cast with Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull and Lesley Ann Warren along the supporting cast are all great. This ensemble cast is fun to watch together, playing off each other well and having their own little ticks that make them unique. They all get their moments to shine but my personal favourite of the actors unsurprisingly is Tim Curry, who particularly stands out in the third act during the final reveals.

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Jonathan Lynn’s direction is simple yet quite good and effective. The production values are strong, I liked the murder mystery party atmosphere and the spooky mansion. The editing and visuals for comedy is particularly done well.

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All things considering, Clue was way better than it had any right to be. It’s hilarious, the cast are fantastic, it’s very well made, and I was thoroughly entertained throughout. It’s already become one of my favourite comedies and films, and one that I want to revisit multiple times over. I highly recommend watching it, especially if you go into it knowing as little as possible about it.

After Hours (1985) Review

Time: 97 minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast:
Griffin Dunne as Paul Hackett
Rosanna Arquette as Marcy Franklin
Verna Bloom as June
Tommy Chong as Pepe
Linda Fiorentino as Kiki Bridges
Teri Garr as Julie
John Heard as Bartender Tom Schorr
Cheech Marin as Neil
Catherine O’Hara as Gail
Director: Martin Scorsese

A New York office worker (Griffin Dunne) has “a very strange night” when he ventures for a late night date with a woman he just meets (Rosanna Arquette), which turns into a waking nightmare when one mishap after another strands him in a hostile neighbourhood in his quest to return home before morning.

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I remembered After Hours as being a bit of a weird movie in Martin Scorsese’s filmography, albeit entertaining. I wasn’t certain about it when I first saw it year, but I was sure to remember to revisit it at some point in time, to see how I’d feel about it in the future. Upon rewatching it I found it to be largely the same as when I last saw it. Now I don’t exactly love it and I guess I can say that it’s one of my least favourites of his films (though by no means amongst his worst) but there’s a lot of things in here to like.

After Hours is like the personification of an endless and escalating nightmare that never ends, in a good way. It’s quite a weird movie, which only gets weirder and weirder as it progresses, the term is overused but it borders on being Lynchian. So I’d recommend not knowing too much going in or watching the trailer or anything like that. Despite the description it’s not a dreadful experience, in fact with the exception of The Wolf of Wall Street, this is the closest thing to a straight up comedy that Martin Scorsese has made. There was quite a lot of dark humour in the movie, and I thought most of it was good. It’s fairly plotless and pretty much just following one character for all the time, and as that it succeeded for the most part. It’s very fast paced and is just under an hour and 40 minutes long, still by the end you feel like you just experienced a whole night. This movie doesn’t necessarily do a lot wrong, but I didn’t personally get anything out of the movie or see what it was trying to say thematically. I just saw it as an entertaining and darkly comedic thriller, though I have an idea that Scorsese was also trying to say something, I just can’t figure out what it is. That’s probably the main thing that’s stopping me from loving After Hours, or at least at the same level as most of Martin Scorsese’s other movies.

Griffin Dunne is the lead character and the movie surrounds him the entire time, and he more than holds his own. He pretty much personifies the everyman caught in one crazy incident after the other, and you can really see him losing it as the night goes on and never seeming to get any break. The supporting cast was good as well, with many of them playing some weird and memorable characters, with the cast including Rosanna Arquette, Verna Bloom, Thomas Chong, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara and more.

Martin Scorsese’s direction is great as usual. Even though he generally makes great looking movies, I was taken aback at how stunning this movie looked. The New York City’s Soho is very well captured, and Scorsese effectively conveys a dreamlike and surreal atmosphere excellently. The synth score by Howard Shore also accompanies the movie rather well and it’s a constant presence throughout the movie.

After Hours isn’t among Martin Scorsese’s best movies, but there’s a lot of things here to like. It’s weird, dream-like and entertaining, very well directed and it has a bunch of memorable characters along with Griffin Dunne’s central lead performance anchoring the movie. It’s a unique movie that’s worth a watch.

Commando (1985) Review

Time: 90 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Matrix
Rae Dawn Chong as Cindy
Alyssa Milano as Jenny Matrix
Vernon Wells as Bennett
James Olson as Maj Gen. Franklin Kirby
David Patrick Kelly as Sully
Bill Duke as Cooke
Dan Hedaya as Arius
Director: Mark L. Lester

Retired Special Forces soldier John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) lives with daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano) in isolation, but his privacy is disturbed by former commander Franklin Kirby (James Olson), who warns him that his fellow soldiers are getting killed one by one. After Kirby leaves, Jenny is kidnapped by former Latin American dictator Arius (Dan Hedaya), who wants Matrix to restore him to power. Instead, Matrix sets out to take down the rogue leader and rescue his daughter.

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In the 1980s, Arnold Schwarzenegger established himself as an action star with The Terminator, and he increased his action icon status with movies like 1985’s Commando. Commando is a very silly over the top Schwarzenegger flick, it’s not one of his best films (even when just considering the action genre) but it is one of his more well known over the top action movies. Completely ridiculous, it has a real self awareness and charm to it that actually elevates the movie and makes it work.

This movie is very straightforward, Arnold Schwarzenegger is trying to get his daughter back and is going to kill a lot of people along the way. That’s all that this 90 minute movie consists of. If you want some form of compelling story or character development, you won’t find it here. The characters are very standard and basic, with nothing special about them. However, what makes Commando work as an Arnold flick (over some of his other action movies) is that Commando knows that it’s a stupid and goofy action movie. It’s full of cheesy one liners that seem to be written specifically for Arnold. You don’t really get much tension, you never feel like Arnold is really in any danger, anything that he goes up against doesn’t pose much of a problem for long. The closest thing to being that is the final fight but even then you know he’ll be fine in the end. You’re just watching Arnold kill a bunch of people on his way to rescue his daughter. I will say that it’s really the third act that’s the complete action filled flick that you’d want. Before that, as over the top as it could be, it really wasn’t as large as you’d think it would be. With that said, it is worth staying around for the third act because it is really something completely nuts and entertaining.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in this movie is playing pretty much a basic version of all the action heroes he’s played and would continue to play, the character really doesn’t have much to him. His character of John Matrix is a former killing machine who has a daughter and that’s all that there is to him. It’s not a great performance but it’s not really meant to be. Schwarzenegger is a good actor, whatever role he’s given he does the best with what he’s given and usually delivers what is expected (at the very least), his role here is no exception and he does the best he can with it, even if it’s a pretty generic character. There’s not much to say about the other actors. I guess Alyssa Milano and Rae Dawn Chong are good enough. The villains are all pretty one note and don’t really pose a threat to Matrix at all but their performances all fit their generic bad guy roles. The standout of all of them was Vernon Wells, who was quite entertaining as an crazy over the top villain who’s the only one who seems to be at the level of John Matrix on a physical level.

As far as 80s action movies go, Commando is pretty well directed by Mark L. Lester. It is filled with all of the over the top 80s action clichés and the movie is far from realistic but they are entertaining nonetheless. The action is actually well shot, you can actually see what’s happening. Some of the action scenes are more entertaining than others, as I said it’s really the third act that gives you the goofy and over the top action you’re looking for. The third act is purely action sequences after action sequences with Arnold plowing through countless enemy soldiers like nothing and also has a pretty solid end fight.

If you like silly and cheesy action movies from the 80s, Commando is honestly a must watch if you haven’t seen it already. Arnold Schwarzenegger effortlessly delivers as always, the action is entertaining but most of all, this movie knows what it is and doesn’t try to be anything more than that, which is why it works so well. As I said earlier, it’s not the ultimate over the top action flick, really its just the last act that goes absolutely nuts with its action. However it’s probably one of the best examples of 80s action movies (Arnold Schwarzenegger flicks particularly), especially when it comes to all the tropes and clichés. So give Commando a watch if you want a silly action flick.

Back to the Future (1985)

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Time: 116 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Michael J. Fox as Marty Mcfly
Christopher Lloyd as Dr Emmett Brown
Lea Thompson as Lorraine Baines
Crispin Glover as George Mcfly
Thomas F. Wilson as Biff Tannen
Director: Robert Zemeckis

Marty Mcfly (Michael J. Fox), a high-schooler helps his friend Dr Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) with a time machine built into a Delorean. Because of unfortunate circumstances, Marty is taken from 1985 to 1955 and is stuck there. He must find the doc and find a way for him to go back to the present while making sure that his parents fall in love after accidently interrupting an important meeting between the two.

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If I had to describe what watching this movie is like, I’d say that it is absolutely fun to watch; it has moments that are funny, entertaining and takes you on a wild ride and is a movie that everyone can enjoy. The movie has definitely aged well, despite it being released nearly 30 years ago; it is still a very enjoyable movie and a timeless classic.

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The script is nearly flawless. Despite the fact that time travel movies aren’t very original, it’s the execution that makes it so great; I think the thing that makes this film stand out from other time travel movies is the fact that they go back in time instead of going forward to the future, which is what most time travel movies did. The dialogue between people is entertaining and quotable. There are some plot holes in the movie but I didn’t really mind them that much, I was already having fun with the movie. The film is also quite clever by linking some events in the 50s (the time period that Marty went back to) and the 80s (where he came from), as well as showing how much has changed in 30 years.

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This movie has really entertaining and memorable performances, especially by Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd; both actors play their roles very well and are very likable. Another performance that is great was by Thomas F. Wilson as Biff Tannen, a bully. He was very entertaining and one of the best characters that you love to hate. All the other actors like Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover were also really good in their roles. The actors also share excellent chemistry with each other, especially Fox and Lloyd who share entertaining moments together as they are desperately trying to solve Fox’s character’s problem.

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The special effects are mostly kept to a minimum; most of them are used with the Delorean and are really good. It is also mostly used near the end of the movie, and the way they were used has made the final act of the movie very satisfying. The soundtrack is also really great and really added a lot to the movie. Alan Silvestri composed the score for the movie and it is absolutely mind-blowing; the main theme of the composed score is particularly one of the best movie themes, it gives off such an epic and adventurous vibe. The soundtrack also had good pre-existing songs as well, with songs from people like Huey Lewis and the News, Lindsey Buckingham and Eric Clapton. Those songs added some feeling to the time periods that the characters were in as well as setting the mood of the movie.

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Back to the Future is a timeless classic that deserves to be seen by anyone, movie buff or not. With the masterful script, memorable characters and constant fun, this movie never grows old. The film also has two sequels and I don’t know what movie I prefer, however in whatever case, Back to the Future came first and made such an impact on film. It is a magical adventure and is a film that everyone should at least watch once.