Tag Archives: 1991 movies

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991) Review

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Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey

Time: 93 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] contains coarse language
Cast:
Keanu Reeves as Ted “Theodore” Logan/Evil Ted
Alex Winter as William S. “Bill” Preston/Evil Bill
William Sadler as Death
Joss Ackland as Chuck De Nomolos
George Carlin as Rufus
Director: Pete Hewitt

Two robots Evil Bill (Alex Winter) and Evil Ted (Keanu Reeves) are sent by Chuck De Nomolos (Joss Ackland) to the 20th century where they try to stop their doppelgangers Bill and Ted respectively from winning a band competition.

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Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is known as an 80s classic, I had known for a while that a sequel titled Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey existed but I didn’t really know anything about it, nor did I watch it until now. All I knew about it was that it had something to do with the Grim Reaper. This has to be one of the craziest and out there follow ups to a classic, and while the reception has been a bit mixed, I did enjoy it.

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Having watched Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, it’s pretty hard to imagine what a sequel would be aside from just a repeat of the first movie. The movie ditches the earnest cheese in favour of outright weirdness. It doesn’t go back to the time travel elements of the first movie and goes in a completely different direction. From the moment it introduces evil robots impersonating Bill & Ted, you can tell it is a completely different kind of movie from the first, and then there’s the grim reaper and hell stuff and much more. It is worth noting that the original title for Bogus Journey was Bill & Ted Go to Hell, which would’ve been a fairly honest title for the film. The movie is chaotic, bizarre at times and deals with much darker stuff compared to Excellent Journey. In fact, I kind of admire how out there the movie is. It really embraces how wacky and dumb its premise is, much like the first movie. The plot itself is okay, like with the first movie there isn’t much to it. It is predictable but entertaining. At times the film skates close to meandering territory a few times and it doesn’t make sense (again like the first movie). At a certain point some alien characters are introduced out of nowhere and become involved with the plot, and they don’t fit into the plot at all. It’s almost as if they were added to compensate for the lack of a huge cast of characters. They really didn’t need that, Bill & Ted as well as the Grim Reaper were enough. Bogus Journey is also not as iconic or streamlined as the first film, and maybe it’s because Excellent Adventure is a flat out classic, but the sequel isn’t quite as memorable, despite its weirdness. Nonetheless, maybe it’s because I went into it not knowing anything, but I found it funny, inventive, creative, and all around entertaining.

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Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves return as Bill & Ted respectively, and once play their iconic roles very well and they share some great chemistry. They also act well as the evil robotic versions of Bill & Ted. William Sadler plays Death, and he was one of the standouts in this movie, he’s hilarious. Playing as the Grim Reaper, he starts out being rather uptight but grows as a character when he meets Bill and Ted. George Carlin like in the previous movie isn’t in the movie enough, but was great in the scenes he was in. The main villain played by Joss Ackland is pretty weak and doesn’t have much of a motivation, he’s just sort of there to set the plot into motion.

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The first film was directed by Stephen Herek, this time it is Peter Hewitt who is directing. Now it’s definitely because of how crazy the movie is but the direction here impressed me more than the first movie’s. Whereas Excellent Adventure is very much an 80s movies, Bogus Journey is very much a 90s movie, and the costumes, makeup and song choices are fitting. The CGI can look pretty bad, especially the green screen moments. Some sequences work really well, especially the hell and nightmare scenes. Those hell/nightmare moments particularly looked like they were right out of a Tim Burton movie, which in this case is a compliment. The locations in the movie were a lot more creative and unique than its predecessor, and a lot of the sets were quite stylised.

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Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey is a flawed yet bizarre and entertaining movie. I like the second quite a lot because of how weird it is, but overall I think that Excellent Adventure is a more well put together, straight forward and less movie. All in all, even if I didn’t like it, I would’ve respected and appreciated it anyways for trying to do something different instead of just repeating the same notes of the predecessor. I’m interested to see what Bill & Ted Face the Music turns out to be, especially as it’s made 3 decades after Bogus Journey.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Review

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The Silence of the Lambs

Time: 118 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] contains content may disturb
Cast:
Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling
Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter
Scott Glenn as Jack Crawford
Ted Levine as Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb
Director: Jonathan Demme

Young FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is assigned to help find a missing woman to save her from a psychopathic serial killer (Ted Levine) who skins his victims. Clarice attempts to gain a better insight into the twisted mind of the killer by talking to another psychopath Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), who used to be a respected psychiatrist. FBI agent Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) believes that Lecter, who is also a very powerful and clever mind manipulator, has the answers to their questions and can help locate the killer. However, Clarice must first gain Lecter’s confidence before the inmate will give away any information.

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The Silence of the Lambs was a massive hit upon its release, it even won the big 5 Oscars with Best Picture, Director, Best Actor and Best Actress, and that was particularly special considering it was a horror movie, with those movies in the genre not being considered ‘award friendly’. Almost 3 decades later, it is still an absolute classic and essential viewing, with its acting, writing and direction being top notch.

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One of the aspects of Silence of the Lambs that works so well is that it’s so realistic and feels like it could happen actually happen in real life. Manhunter did a realistic sort of take on a different Hannibal Lecter story, however parts of that movie felt a little bland. The Silence of the Lambs however manages to make the investigation and overall story interesting. From start to finish you’re absolutely locked into everything that’s happening.

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Jodie Foster was really great as Clarice Starling, this ranks among Foster’s best performances. It’s quite easy to like Clarice as a protagonist, and her story arc was really good. There’s a reason that the movie focusses a lot of time on her face, Foster is very expressive, and the movie definitely took advantage of that to great results. Anthony Hopkins doesn’t get a lot of screen time but his less than 15 minutes of screentime was a multi award winning performance, and for very good reason. The movie doesn’t surround him a lot but he really makes an impression. Looking at it now, he does go a little hammy at times, and it does seem a little out of place considering that the rest of the movie is really realistic, and Hopkins’s Lecter is a lot more theatrical compared to everything else. Also I was never really unnerved or scared by the performance and the character. But for the most part, Hopkins nails the role and steals every scene he’s in. Foster and Hopkins were absolutely magnetic together, their interactions are some of the best scenes of the movie. While a lot of people found Hopkins to be scary, the scariest performance in this movie comes from Ted Levine as Buffalo Bill, the serial killer that Foster’s Clarice is hunting down. Buffalo Bill seemed like a real life serial killer, from the performance, to the character himself, everything about him is unsettling. Levine sadly doesn’t get enough praise, which he deserves especially considering all of the gruelling prep he had to do to prepare for the role. The rest of the supporting cast including Scott Glenn as Jack Crawford also do some solid work.

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Jonathan Demme’s direction was really great, and he put this movie together very well. The story and writing itself was quite realistic and the way everything looks complements this. There are many close up shots that are done from Clarice Starling’s point of view, I really noticed it particularly on my latest viewing. It really does a good job at making you feel uncomfortable, even if it’s not a grisly scene or featuring Hannibal or Buffalo Bill. The only aspects that are little lacklustre is that occasionally some set designs that aren’t special and might not be that interesting but that’s it, it works for the more grounded take of the movie anyway. The soundtrack from Howard Shore is iconic and excellent, really adding adds a haunting atmosphere to this film.

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The Silence of the Lambs is a classic and for very good reason. It’s a gripping thriller with Jonathan Demme’s great direction, an interesting story, and some great performances, mainly from Foster, Hopkins and Levine. I’ve now seen it 3 to 4 times and it’s gotten better with every viewing. If you haven’t seen The Silence of the Lambs yet you definitely should, it’s a fantastic film.

Cape Fear (1991) Review

Time: 128 minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Robert De Niro as Max Cady
Nick Nolte as Sam Bowden
Jessica Lange as Leigh Bowden
Juliette Lewis as Danielle Bowden
Joe Don Baker as Claude Kersek
Robert Mitchum as Lt. Elgart
Gregory Peck as Lee Heller
Director:

Max Cady (Robert De Niro) is a psychopath just released from prison for rape. He is out seeking revenge from his lawyer Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte) who he believes deliberately held back important information about his case during the trial, which could have kept him out of jail. He sets off to terrorize Bowden, his wife (Jessica Lange) and even goes after their 15 year old daughter (Juliette Lewis).

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After his massive hit with Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese’s next film would be a remake of the 1961 thriller Cape Fear, which would be the most commercial movie from him at least at the time. While it’s indeed another thriller, he does a number of things to make it more entertaining, engaging, interesting, and ultimately better.

With Cape Fear, I think it’s worth not knowing too much before going in. It is a bit of a slow burn thriller, as antagonist Max Cady terrorizes the main family in different ways, but it’s consistently engaging all the way through. One thing that you should know is that Cape Fear isn’t a brutally realistic thriller. There are some aspects that are over the top, and Max Cady seeming supernatural in some of the things he does. While Scorsese’s movie is much more overtly intense than the original, make no mistake, this is still a genre movie, and Scorsese absolutely embraces that to great effect. At the same time, he does take the movie in other directions, especially with regard to the family dynamic, which made Cape Fear more than just another stalker thriller. The tension builds up over the course of the movie, and culminates in a very thrilling last act.

Robert Mitchum left quite the impression in the original movie as Max Cady, he basically made that movie worth remembering. However, Robert De Niro is also fantastic as Cady in the remake. He’s a little more over the top and larger than life, but nonetheless is still probably the scariest performance that he’s given. He’s quite overtly monstrous, yet adds enough humanity to the role. Some have said that De Niro can have performances that are similar to each other, but performances like The King of Comedy and this are examples of him absolutely transforming into completely different roles. That creepy southern accent of his also helped quite a lot. In the original Cape Fear, the family was rather typical and clean, whereas in the 1991 version, the lead family in here is shown to have a lot more going on with them. Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange and Juliette Lewis are all great as that family. I’ve noticed that Nolte’s performance as Sam Bowden is rather overlooked, Gregory Peck as Bowden in the original movie was way too clean and honourable throughout. Nolte on top of portraying the character with great paranoia and stress effectively, is also shown to be rather flawed himself as a person before even coming across Max Cady again. The rest of the supporting cast work well too, with the likes of Illeana Douglas, Joe Don Baker, and a few cameos from actors of the original Cape Fear with Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck and Martin Balsam. Scorsese doesn’t let any of the characters here come across as a hero and make them all feel human, even Cady.

Martin Scorsese’s work is once again great, and his direction ultimately made the movie even better. It’s a very stylish thriller, there are some over the top elements like the zoom ins and certain editing techniques, but that’s deliberately inspired from suspenseful filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock and Brian De Palma. In fact a lot of people have described Cape Fear as Scorsese doing De Palma. Much of the way the third act was directed was pretty great. The score is good too, Scorsese kept much of the score from the original movie and it works here.

Cape Fear isn’t among Martin Scorsese’s best movies, but that’s honestly not too much of a problem, it worked very well for what it was, and he made it even better than it could’ve been. Scorsese directs this excellently and elevated the material greatly, and the performances are really good, especially from De Niro and Nolte. So I definitely think it’s worth watching.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) Review

Time: 137 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains violence and offensive language
Cast:
Arnold Schwarzenegger as T-800 “Model 101”
Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor
Robert Patrick as T-1000
Edward Furlong as John Connor
Joe Morton as Miles Bennett Dyson
Earl Boen as Dr. Peter Silberman
Director: James Cameron

In this sequel set eleven years after “The Terminator,” young John Connor (Edward Furlong), the key to civilization’s victory over a future robot uprising, is the target of the shape-shifting T-1000 (Robert Patrick), a Terminator sent from the future to kill him. Another Terminator, the revamped T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), has been sent back to protect the boy. As John and his mother (Linda Hamilton) go on the run with the T-800, the boy forms an unexpected bond with the robot.

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Just before Terminator Dark Fate rolled around, I decided to re-watch Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The Terminator back in 1984 was such a hit, and became an instant classic upon its release. 7 years later however, James Cameron made a sequel which not only was at the level of the original (and for some surpassed it), it also became one of the best iconic action movies of all time. Nearly 3 decades later it still holds up rather well.

If you don’t know anything about this movie, I’d recommend stopping reading this review right now and watching this movie (of course watching The Terminator beforehand if you haven’t seen it already). I remember when I saw this movie on DVD around the age of 13 not knowing much of the plot, and it was definitely better for it. The Terminator from 1984 was more of a thriller, Terminator 2: Judgement is more of an action movie. Despite this, it’s not just an action movie with explosions, there’s also lot of time spent with the characters. I’ve seen the movie multiple times and I’ve seen both versions, the theatrical cut and the extended cut. The extended cut adds more character development and story, and so I’d recommend that version. Also the ending of the extended cut works if you count Judgement Day as the official end of the Terminator series. On top of the entertainment and thrills, Terminator 2 also has an emotional payoff at the end. So all around, Judgement Day handles its plot very well.

Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his role as the Terminator, this time as not the antagonist he initially became known for in the first movie. As I said, I went into the movie not knowing for sure that he’d be protecting John Connor, so that was quite a surprise. He definitely was convincing as a terminator fighting this time on the side of the main characters. Edward Furlong is the young John Connor and his acting is a little mixed. The worst is early on when he’s just being a kid on his own, and occasionally in some of the scenes where he’s showing emotion he’s underacting, overacting or is coming across a little forced. As the plot continues on he gets better. He’s great when paired with Schwarzenegger, those scenes where the two of them interact are amongst the highlights of the whole movie, especially with the Terminator learning more about being human. Linda Hamilton also returned from the first movie as Sarah Connor, she was good in that movie but she’s great here. She’s a lot more hardened and experienced and she gets to do a lot to do here. Can’t wait to see her again in Dark Fate. Robert Patrick this time plays the Terminator antagonist as the T-1000. After the success of Arnold’s Terminator, it would be easy to just assume the next model would be just an even larger Terminator. This time they decided to go with a smaller liquid metal Terminator and he worked very well. He can definitely blend into a crowd and certainly acts more human than the T-800. Yet you can still feel through and through that he’s a machine and he’s very threatening. He’s a strong challenge for the Terminator, John, and Sarah Connor.

James Cameron directs this, and once again his work here is absolutely stellar. Direction-wise, Terminator 2 certainly moved from a thriller with the slasher feel (with the terminator as the killer), to a much more action movie feel. The visual effects are very effective and have certainly advanced from the first movie from 1984. The effects with the T-1000’s liquid metal may be a little dated now, but you can definitely tell that for 1991 this was something special. Despite the use of CGI, there’s still quite a lot in the action scenes that’s practical, and all the action scenes are fantastic. They go much larger with the action and it is great, from the chase scenes to gunfights to Terminator on Terminator action, all of it was filmed very well and still holds up well today. The soundtrack was also solid, though I certainly remember the synth score from the first Terminator a little more. The main theme for Terminator 2 however has cemented itself as the absolute main theme of the series.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day is fantastic and still holds up after all these years. The cast are mostly great, James Cameron directed it excellently, and it definitely deserves its recognition as one of the greats. Whether you like this movie or the first more, I think it’s generally accepted that both of these movies are excellent and essential viewing.

JFK (1991)

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JFK

Time: 189 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Offensive Language
Cast:
Kevin Costner as Jim Garrison
Kevin Bacon as Willie O’Keefe
Tommy Lee Jones as Clay Shaw
Joe Pesci as David Ferrie
Laurie Metcalf as Susie Cox
Gary Oldman as Lee Harvey Oswald
Michael Rooker as Bill Broussard
Jay O. Sanders as Lou Ivon
Sissy Spacek as Liz Garrison
Director: Oliver Stone

New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) investigates the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22 1963 in Dallas, Texas. After looking deep enough, he suspects that there may be more to the story than the public is being told.

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The assassination of John F. Kennedy is one of the biggest events in history and one of the most debated topics, especially when it came to conspiracy theories. I honestly didn’t know that much about the assassination before watching this film but after watching this movie it made me want to learn more about it. One of the things that makes JFK even better is the fact that these ‘characters’ are actually real people investigating what happened. The film isn’t just a documentary about possible scenarios of the president’s assassination; it follows Jim Garrison’s investigation. Whatever your thoughts on what happened with the assassination of John F. Kennedy are, this film is still worth a watch.

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It was fascinating watching these real life people investigate the mystery as they try to piece everything together. If there is one thing you should know about JFK before watching it, it’s that it gets more interesting over time. It first builds up the events before the investigation and during those moments, viewers may feel a bit bored, however it is well worth the wait. This movie is also long – at about 3 hours and 10 minutes. The film also has a lot of details; there may be too much information to process at once; so viewers should keep that in mind before viewing it. People will definitely remember some facts more than others. My favourite part of the movie is the final act; it summarises every theory and discovery Garrison has found over the course of his investigation. I won’t spoil any of the scenes that happen in this movie because if you are like me – someone who didn’t know that much about the assassination, you will find all the scenes to be a great surprise.

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The acting is top notch from everyone. The cast ranges from Kevin Costner to Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Oldman. All the actors in this movie are playing real life people and they definitely manage to feel like them. It may be easy to miss the acting while paying attention to the investigation but it still is really good and they should be applauded for their performances.

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One of the most distinctive and defining things about this movie is the cinematography and the editing. When people make predictions or discover something that happened, it flashes back to the past and is cut in such a way that makes it feel like a documentary. Also, the film sometimes blends archive footage with new scenes with a 60s older look. A good example of great use of it again, is at the end. In the end, the film blends the real life moments recorded on camera in the 60s (such as Kennedy’s assassination) with the possible unseen (filmed for the movie). The soundtrack by John Williams is also great, as all his compositions usually are.

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This movie should be seen, even just for learning about Jim Garrison’s search for the truth. I won’t mention what the scenario of the assassination is true; those are left up to the viewer. JFK can really get people talking about what they thought really happened, and can give people a different perspective on certain events in history. As someone who isn’t usually that interested or into conspiracy theories, I loved this movie and I recommend it to everyone. It is one of Oliver Stone’s best films.