1977 Movie Review: AIRPORT 77, 1977

AIRPORT 77 POSTERAIRPORT 77, 1977
Movie Reviews

Directed by Jerry Jameson

Cast: Jack Lemmon, Brenda Vaccaro, Lee Grant, Joseph Cotton, Olivia De Havilland, Darren McGavin, Christopher Lee, Robert Foxworth, Robert Hooks, Monte Markham, Kathleen Quinlan, James Stewart, George Kennedy, James Booth.
Review by Jason Day 

SYNOPSIS:

A luxury Jumbo Jet, kitted out as a swish, flying convention centre, sets off on it’s maiden voyage carrying a passenger list of the rich and redoubtable and owner Stewart’s priceless artwork collection. Some of the crew are bent on carrying off this loot for themselves so they takeover the plane and fly it into the bermuda triangle to avoid detection. Hitting an off-shore oil rig, they plunge into the sea, ditching the air-liner on the sea-bed. Harrassed captain Lemmon has to try and save everyone as the air runs out and the water starts seeping in.

REVIEW:

Universal’s third entry in their increasingly tired series of airborne disaster dramas features perhaps the oddest casting for this type of venture, perfectly in keeping with the daft plot in what has become something of a guiltily enjoyable late-night viewing pleasure.

Comedy film legend Lemmon slums it in the lead role and is off-key and clearly embarrassed, despite being surrounded by some hard working and classy support actors, the best of which are Grant who is on top-form as a bitchy, boozy passenger making best friends with the drinks cabinet and the requisite relics of Hollywood’s Golden Age de Havilland and Cotton as two old flames reigniting their romance beneath the waves.

Stewart, Lee, Vaccaro, McGavin, a young Quinlan et al are completely wallflowered by the dismal and sodden script. These are actors who had shown themselves to be capable of much more but are ultimately defeated by thinly drawn, cardboard characterisations and a distinct lack of dialogue. Though for some of them, this may have been a blessing in disguise when looking back on their CV (pity poor McGavin who gets the award for the worst line as he sagely intones: “And oxygen. That could be a very important factor”).

Jameson, a former movie editor, still knows how to make a winner and is smart enough to completely side-step the loopy plot and focus his and our attention firmly on the well-orchestrated rescue operation. Here, the US Navy came in handy, as the liner is painstakingly raised from the sea and water rushes into the cabin area in the film’s most impressive moment.

Despite being hampered by special effects that wouldn’t allow for a decent crash into the sea (see it to believe it – a kid’s toy chucked into a bath and a bin hitting someone on the head would never make this stand up against Titanic), Jameson still jumps on any moments of action to ensure the excitement is pushed to the limit.

A film like this was never going to win any major film awards (or even the minor ones), but thanks to a decent budget the good looking production managed to garner itself Oscar nominations for production design and Edith Head’s costumes.

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1967 Movie Review: COOL HAND LUKE, 1967

Cool Hand Luke,  1967, MOVIE POSTERCool Hand Luke, 1967
Movie Reviews

Directed by: Stuart Rosenberg

Cast: Paul Newman, George Kennedy, Strother Martin, J.D. Cannon, Morgan Woodward
Review by Jarred Thomas


SYNOPSIS:

A man refuses to conform to life in a rural prison and becomes a legend among the prisoners while a nuisance to the authority officials.

 

REVIEW:

One of the coolest characters ever in cinema history, Lucas Jackson (Newman) later dubbed Cool Hand Luke, refuses to bow to those who intend to restrain him from being free, or living his life the way he chooses. The 60’s were a time when adolescents challenged conformity, unwilling to submit to the corrupt oppressive adult world. Cool Hand Luke epitomized that notion of the rebellious youth.

After getting arrested, Luke in thrown in prison for two years where he has trouble adapting to the pecking order of the prisoners or even the rules established by officials. He gets into a scuffle with the head prisoner Dragline (Kennedy) and despite getting beaten severely; he continues to stand his ground, unwilling to submit. Impressed, Dragline and the rest of the inmates develop a mutual respect for the veteran war hero, and his new nickname Cool Hand Luke is donned after he wins a card game on a bluff.

Luke is charismatic, charming, and an opportunist. He looks at every moment as an opportunity to escape and he capitalizes on it, and his determination inspires others to follow. Dragline becomes a dependable and loyal ally, working with Luke in getting out of prison, despite his numerous failed attempts.

There’s a great scene that has been parodied in pop culture since the film; the boiled egg contest. Luke tries to inspire his inmates by performing a bet that requires him to eat 50 eggs in one hour, and he does. It’s a classic moment that has left a mark in pop culture.

 Newman gives an excellent performance one that has become one of his many iconic characters that the renowned actor has established in his long career. His strong performance is enhanced with the solid supporting cast who provide some interesting characters particularly George Kennedy who creates a tough convict with a compassionate and loyal side towards Luke. Both actors are giving some their best performances of their careers.

In 2005, the film was included in the United States National Film Registry considered to be culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. Luke is similar other characters refusing to conform. Randle McMurphy from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Number Six from The Prisoner, each one a representation of individuality. These are iconic characters with Luke now included in the litter.

While the prisoner guards came off a little too cartoony in which they were all one dimensional, director Rosenberg creates a terrific story with distinct characters that are fun to watch. Cool Hand Luke has become a popular film for its message and remarkable protagonist who inspires people to be free and independent. Luke reminds us that it’s cool to be different.

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