Tag: Harrison Ford

MOVIE REVIEW | ***TOM WEEK*** The Fugitive (1993)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “As fun as The Fugitive is, there’s no real substance beneath its thrill ride style.”

 Fugitive 1
“So he showed up not dead yet. Let that be a lesson to you, boys and girls. Don’t ever argue with the big dog, because the big dog is always right.”

It’s been a long, long time since the name Harrison Ford has been able to sell a movie to a wide audience.  Even updates of Indiana Jones and Star Wars are more about the franchises and less about the bloke starring in them.  But in the early 90s, before he was some old crank who slept walked through cookie cutter crap, he was a middle aged almost-crank, who put in some effort when starring in cookie cutter mediocrity, like The Fugitive.

One night, doctor Rickard Kimble (Harrison Ford) comes home to find his wife being attacked and killed by a one armed man.  They fight, but the killer gets away and Kimble is tried and convicted for the murder.  Being transported in a prison bus, another inmate shivs a guard and the ensuing chaos causes an accident the gives Kimble the chance to run.  Hot on his tail, is Deputy US Marshall, Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones). (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***FLOP WEEK 2*** Cowboys and Aliens (2011)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s all goofy, not very good CGI aliens, little winks to the camera about the wackiness of high-tech meeting the old west, and one awkward battle scene after another. ”

Aliens 1
“Don’t yank on it, it’s not your pecker.”

In 2011, Jon Favreau had played a major part in establishing what is now the behemoth Marvel Cinematic Universe, by directing two mega successful Iron Man movies. In 2011, Daniel Craig had helped reinvigorate the James Bond series and after only two movies, was already considered one of the best to ever play the titular spy. In 2011, Harrison Ford decided to soil the pants of Star Wars nerds everywhere by taking a role in another alien centric, sci-fi movie. In 2011, Olivia Wilde was one of Hollywood’s next ‘it’ female stars. In 2011, Paul Dano, Sam Rockwell and Keith Carradine all held status as some of the leading character actors of their respective generations. In 2011, the nerds had won and comic book movies were officially ruling the big screen, with fatigue yet to set in. Yet, with all of that going for it, Cowboys and Aliens kind of shit the bed.

It’s the old west, and Jake Lonegran (Craig) wakes up with no idea where he is or how he got there. What he does know is, there’s a strange metal brace clasped to one of his wrists. When some no good cowpokes stumble across Jake, they think the brace is a handcuff, which means they think Jake is an escaped prisoner, which means they think there might be a bounty on his head. When they try to take him down, Jake reveals himself to be one of those movie bad asses who can perfectly land any bullet or punch without even looking at the target or breaking a sweat. Winning the day, he takes their clothes, a horse and one of their dogs, and heads to the nearest town. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars 1

“It’s true. All of it. The Dark Side, the Jedi. They’re real.”

I thought I was immune to the buzz that has preceded this movie for months. I love the original trilogy, I’m not a fan of the prequels and I had tried to keep my hopes down about this latest entry. But as the iconic Star Wars logo appeared on the screen to the familiar sounds of John William’s instantly recognisable theme, I felt butterflies in my stomach and my face went flush. As the opening text scrawl disappeared into the distance, I realised just how excited I was for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And it spent the next two hours totally justifying that excitement.

Several decades after destroying the Empire and saving the galaxy, the last Jedi knight in the universe, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hammill), has disappeared. Believing he’s the key to winning a war against the evil First Order, General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) sends her best pilot (Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron) to the desert planet of Jakku to find a clue that could lead to Luke’s whereabouts. With the clue in hand, Poe is about to leave when the First Order attacks and slaughters an entire village on the order masked bad guy and broadsword lightsaber wielder, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Moments before he’s captured, Poe hides the info about Luke in his BB-8 droid and sends the little robot away to hide. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #13. Star Wars (1977)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
Star Wars 1
“I have a very bad feeling about this.”

I was born in 1980. So while that means I never got to see the original Star Wars trilogy in cinemas, it means I was of an age where I grew up with myself, and pretty much all of my friends, having the original Star Wars trilogy on VHS and watching them constantly. I had the toys, though not nearly enough of them, a few books, a t-shirt or two, and even thought the Ewoks movie was good. I’m of an age that I will always love the originals, was too old to like the prequels, yet still can’t help being a little excited about JJ Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What is it about these movies that grabbed a generation, and never let go?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a rebel spaceship is boarded by a band of menacing Imperial storm troopers and their leader, the black suited and black helmeted Darth Vader (voice by James Earl Jones, body by David Prowse). Before he is able to capture rebel leader Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), she is able to dispatch an escape pod holding two droids, the pretentious and particular C-3PO (Antony Daniels), and the adorable little scamp, R2-D2 (Kenny Baker). They land on the desert planet of Tatooine, where they are eventually bought by farming uncle and nephew duo, Owen and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Working Girl (1988)

“I’m not gonna spend the rest of my life working my ass off and getting nowhere just because I followed rules that I had nothing to do with setting up, OK?”

When a movie is seen as a classic, or landmark, or some sort of watershed moment, even if I don’t particularly like that movie, I can usually still appreciate how it got its high status.  Exhibit A, Titanic.  One of the most predictable, cliched and corn ball screenplays ever written.  But its advances in special effects can’t be denied.  I’m not a fan of many Kubrick movies, but I can understand how the heightened style of A Clockwork Orange was a game changer.  And I can see how The Shining elevated the cheap and nasty genre of horror. But I can’t imagine how a predictable story about local girl made good, starring someone as painful as Melanie Griffith, could ever be anything worth watching.  Yet, with five Oscar nominations, I submit for your consideration Working Girl.

Griffith is Tess, a straight talking Staten Island girl from the school of hard knocks who has recently completed a business degree via night school.  She tries to infiltrate the corporate world of Manhattan through a series of temp jobs, but (get ready to suspend all disbelief) because she’s so gorgeous (apparently), this male dominated world can’t see past her looks.  Which is where Sigourney Weaver comes in as Katherine.  She has made it in this man’s world, and Tess sees her as the mentor she’s been looking for all along. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #66. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.


“You want to talk to God? Let’s go see him together, I’ve got nothing better to do.”

Here we are, about a third of the way through this countdown, and we’re only now just getting to the first super fun, rollercoaster ride style blockbuster.  Sure, we’ve had classic comedies like A Night at the Opera, song and dance frivolity with Swing Time, and kids’ movies that work well for adults too, like Toy Story. But the majority of this AFI 100 is so obsessed with drama and cinematic downers, Raiders of the Lost Ark simply sticks out more than pretty much anything else on there.  And any excuse to rewatch this movie is a good thing.

In what is one of the best and most iconic opening sequences in cinematic history, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) basically commits a break an enter on a South American temple, stealing a golden idol.  But just when he thinks he’s free and clear, rival archaeologist Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman) manages to claim it for himself.  But back home at his job teaching at a prestigious American college, he gets a new assignment that makes him forget about his stolen idol. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #97. Blade Runner (1982)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.


“The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can’t. Not without your help. But you’re not helping. “

There’s a bit of a checklist for a movie to become classed as classic sci fi. Not so successful on release… A dark, dystopian future… Ambiguous ending… A genre director who takes genre seriously… That’s everything nerds got with Alien. They got it again form the same director just three years later when Ridley Scott made Blade Runner.

It’s 2019 in an over populated, overly polluted, perpetually rainy Los Angeles. Harrison Ford is Rick Deckard, a former Blade Runner brought back into active service. A Blade Runner is a kind of cop who specialises in exposing and neutralising replicants, cyborgs so convincingly human, they’re almost impossible to detect. Years earlier, the dangers of these robots were realised, and it’s now illegal to have one on earth. But when four escape the off world colonies and are thought to be in LA, Deckard is brought out of retirement to take care of them. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | 42 (2013)

The story of 42 happened more than seventy years ago.  It happened on the other side of the world and centred around a sport that I, like most people in Australia, give very little of a crap about.  But even with all that, I knew who Jackie Robinson was before I watched the movie.  I knew why he was famous, and why his story is so important.  That’s what makes the story of 42 so interesting, but also what makes the execution of 42 kind of a let down as a movie.

In post war America, the game of baseball is segregated, with completely separate leagues for white and black players.  Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) decides to recruit a player from the Negro Leagues.  You see, until this time, there hadn’t been any laws or league regulations to stop interracial teams, just good old fashioned racism.  While Rickey claims his intentions to recruit a black player, any black player, are all about attracting a large, untapped ticket buying black crowd, and to help win a World Series, as the movie moves forward, he’s painted as a genuine progressive with more ultraistic motives.

Rickey recruits Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) and the colour barrier is broken.  The end.  Only, this is mid twentieth century America, so it’s not the end, it’s the beginning of a whole lot of bigotry and intolerance.  Even though Robinson is recruited by the Dodgers in the opening scenes, 42 depicts several years of Robinson playing in the majors before any sort of acceptance is even hinted at.

Everything not so great about 42 comes down to biopic clichés.  From the second the movies starts, you won’t have any trouble predicting the story arcs, the beats of when things will go well, when they’ll come crashing down and when you can expect the soaring, schmaltzy music.  In the opening titles, it says, “based on a true story”.  I’d say the reason it’s only “based on” a true story, and not simply an actual true story, is because a few too many liberties have been taken in making it fit neatly into a nice, three act, biopic structure that can be easily digested.

But amongst all of these familiar clichés is also what I found to be the most effective part of 42.  While the racist bad guys have every red neck tick and affectation turned up to 11 to make sure we hate them, some of the more toned down depictions of the time were a lot more effective.  A shot of the black crowd walking into a ballpark, through a gate with a giant sign reading “Coloreds Only”, made the attitudes of the day seem much more real and horrifying than every slur shouting cartoonish character in the movie put together.

Another thing 42 highlighted for me, and I’m sure the film makers would hate hearing that someone come away with something so trivial, is how boring baseball is.  I know this could sound a bit rich coming from a cricket fan, but when you see a score board that’s all zeroes, but for a single, lonely “1” in the middle, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would subject themselves to watching a game where so little happens.

Directed By – Brian Helgeland
Written By – Brian Helgeland