1997 Movie Review: BREAKDOWN, 1997

 

BREAKDOWN MOVIE POSTERBREAKDOWN, 1997
Movie Reviews

Directed by: Jonathan Mostow

Cast: Kurt Russell, JT Walsh, Kathleen Quinlan, M.C. Gainey, Kim Robillard
Review by Jarred Thomas

SYNOPSIS:

After their new Jeep conks out on a desolate stretch of Arizona highway, a well-heeled Massachusetts couple accepts the help of a kindly, honest-seeming trucker, who drives the wife to a diner while the husband stays behind to “protect” the vehicle. After saying goodbye, the husband gets two surprises: the Jeep starts, and his wife never actually arrived at the diner, and the trucker doesn’t recollect having picked her up at all…

REVIEW:

An exciting and compelling thriller that star Kurt Russell as a husband desperately trying to find his wife who may or may not have been kidnapped by some desert locals. What’s great about this film in particular is the suspense which in many films try to capture it, only to come up with nothing. But here Mostow and Russell work well in conveying husband’s anguish and the looming tension.

Jeff and Amy Taylor are moving to California and must drive across the country. While driving the jeep starts to breakdown, or at least appears so. When they find themselves stranded in the middle of a desert with hardly anyone or anything around, their trip comes to a sudden halt.

When a truck driver pulls up he offers the two a ride to the nearest diner, 60 miles away. Jeff however wants to remain with the jeep, believing that the jeep might have just overheated, which is what the trucker suggested. But Amy reasons that if it’s not overheated they may be stranded for a lot longer.

So, they agree for her to take a ride with the trucker to the diner where she can call for a tow truck. She leaves. But after a long time with no tow truck, Jeff becomes worried.

The jeep starts working again, and he heads off to the diner where he finds that no one in the diner has seen or heard from his wife. When he finds the trucker who gave Amy the ride, the trucker swears he has never seen her. Now Jeff must attempt to find his wife, who has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom.

There are a few twists that pop up throughout the film which actually adds depth to certain characters. JT plays the villain but there’s more to his story than simply a one note bad guy. He has a family, and a son who admires him greatly.

Kurt Russell has always been solid actor and many of his roles, and here he’s no different. It’s nice to see him again since nowadays he’s rarely seen in films. But here he shows us why he was such valuable commodity in the business. Maybe he’ll show up some more in future movies.

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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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