Escape From Alcatraz (1979)

Rating 15
Length 1h 52
Release 24.1.1980
Director Don Siegal
About Frank, a convict who is sent to Alcatraz, the most feared prison in the world, decides to escape from captivity despite the challenges that come his way.


The Good

  • It’s a mellow film, light on dialogue but full of presence. Everyone involved keeps you engaged and hooked. It proves that a film doesn’t have to be all loud noises and action to invest you in the narrative.
  • Controversial opinion, but I preferred this to Shawshank Redemption. Why, I cannot explain. Perhaps its the lack of hype surrounding this, or the addition of Clint Eastwood. It may even be its setting at Alcatraz or the much shorter running time, but I certainly find this a much better offering to the genre.
  • Baby faced-ish Fred Ward! I cannot say this enough; Fred Ward improves any film just by being in it.

The Bad

  • I found the mental health and wellbeing of the inmates a harrowing and difficult watch. Obviously, I know that these were men who are being punished for crimes and perhaps not deserving of the empathy I feel watching. However, the theme of isolation and the lack of behaviour correction through constructive activities does manifest in destructive and harmful actions by some.
  • I hate that the narrative has everyone telling Morris how hard it is to escape. For a film that is economic of its dialogue, it goes to the opposite extreme to tell the audience this is the man who is going to escape.
    The first time Morris meets the Warden, the sole purpose of that meeting is for the Warden to tell Morris its almost impossible to escape. In fact, its almost half way through the movie before Morris verbalises any wish of wanting to escape.

The Ugly

  • It’s a rather quiet film. While that is a bonus, it does require attention. This is not a film you can watch if you’re distracted with your phone or if you’re remotely tired. Between the beautiful sunshine coming through the window and my vitamin D deficiency, I did find myself drifting off and I had to pick the film back up when I woke up.

Final Thoughts

Better than Shawshank and based on an escape still shrouded in mystery, I’ll most certainly return to this again. Between this and Dirty Harry, this is an actor/director combination that really works.

The warriors (1979)

Rating: 15

Length: 1h 32

Release: 10.5.1979

Dir : Walter Hill

About: A gang called ‘The Warriors’ are framed for killing a gang leader trying to unite all the gangs in the area. With other gangs gunning for them they must get back alive to the home turf of Coney Island

The Good

The music has two of the best features of a late 70s movie: the synth original score and the funk. It’s glorious.

The plot and political statement within the film is as relevant today as it was when it was made.

The costumes and makeup really help with keeping track of all the different gangs and they’re beautifully done. Even now, they give the feeling of a distance future.

The opening is eerie, but spectacular. It builds up and reveals the tensions between the gangs.

The Bad

I found the focus of the blame on the Warriors a little too flawed. I know that as a viewer we know they’re innocent, however I don’t buy everyone believing that the leader of the Warriors did it.

The Ugly

You have one prominent female lead who is called a slut/whore/tramp throughout the movie by Swan. To have her get with him in the end. Eurgh! Nope!

Alien: Director’s Cut (1979)

Rating 18

Length 1hr 51

Release 6.9.1979

About In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel. The terror begins when the crew encounters a nest of eggs inside the alien ship. An organism from inside an egg leaps out and attaches itself to one of the crew, causing him to fall into a coma.


Treat

  • It’s visually a stunning film. There’s no question about the detail and effort that has gone on the set and alien tech.
  • There are plenty of individual scenes that are incredible. One being the famous ‘chest buster’ scene that has been mimicked so many times that I’m sure I knew about it way before I saw this film.
  • The xenomorph itself is really good. Couldn’t tell you if it’s the physical thing itself that makes it good, because the film makes clever use of close ups and lighting to hide a lot from the audience. It works, it really does.
  • The music and, to a certain extent, the set design seems like a homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Perhaps it lends itself as a type of foreboding when it comes to Ash, but either way it makes for an interesting and almost clinical atmosphere prior to the shit hitting the fan.

Trick

  • It’s first half feels rather boring and longwinded. As a group on a mission in deep space, there’s a big disconnect between the members. While that makes Ripley’s quarantine decision clear cut, it makes Lambert’s reaction a little odd. Unless of course she was fucking Kane, but she just seemed to be a sappy bitch.
  • In contrast to 1982’s The Thing which has no women at all and no objectification we have here two women, a wall full of naked ladies and gratuitous undersized-knicker’s pussy shot of Weaver. Which, I might add, wouldn’t seem so gratuitous had Ripley not been presented as an almost cold genderless character throughout the film. Also, what the fuck did you use the George Lucas line on Weaver when it came to her bra?
  • Did we really need to see Bilbo Baggins with a face full of Hobbit gang bang juice?! Seriously, who had the idea of spraying his face with the white stuff?!
  • What the fuck is with the damn cat and why did it pop up out of nowhere? Do you have a rat problem? At which point the dildo boxes you’re using to find the xenomorph will be a little useless, right? Other than it being used in a scare fake out, I don’t see the point in it. And I love cats.

Final Thoughts

Amazing cast (except Lambert. Lambert can go fuck herself), but on the whole a little too bland. Give me Aliens any day.

Movie Review: Capricorn One (1979)

Length: 2Hr 4Min
Rating: PG
About: Three astronauts (James Brolin, Sam Waterston, O.J. Simpson) are about to launch into space on the first mission to Mars. But when a mechanical failure surfaces that would kill the three men, NASA removes them from the Capricorn One capsule. To prevent a public outcry, NASA launches the capsule unmanned and requires the astronauts to film fake mission footage in a studio. However, the plan is compromised when an ambitious journalist (Elliott Gould) discovers the conspiracy.

The Good

Bloody hell, talk about a legacy cast. There’s nothing better than watching an old school film and recognising people you watch. Not only that, they’re 30 years younger. James Brolin, Elliot Gould and ? all bring their a-game to this chilling political conspiracy thriller. I’d have liked to have seen more from ?, as early parts of the film hint at a comedic side I’ve not seen in his most recent roles.

The film has this delightful slow build of a plot which you simply don’t see getting made in Hollywood nowadays. There’s no heavy pattern or formulaic action sequences. Elliot Gould may take top billing when it comes to the credits, but there’s no clear star driving this plot forward.

In an age where movies are catering for an over-stimulated audience, this is a nice change of pace; it’s atmospheric, chilling and emotive. I’m not ashamed to say, I jumped twice at events I wasn’t expecting. Actually, I yelped too at one and screamed at the other.

The Bad

As I said, there’s no star. Unfortunately while it’s a blessing, it’s also the film’s curse. As a result of no one person being followed, the plot feels overly choppy and, at times, hard to follow. It also gave the film an overall uneasy feeling and while I don’t personally like it, I can’t deny that it adds to the whole film.

The Ugly

why was the on-trend colour of the 70s all shades of brown? Literally everything in this film; from costumes to sets was brown. This is such a personal thing but picking a colour palate because it’s in fashion dates a film and it’s a shame because the theme and conspiracy at the heart of this movie has a timeless ‘fake news’ quality about it.

Love Han x