Category Archives: LBoM: Movie Overviews

Labyrinth

We have lost a legend.

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Little Bit of History: Released by Lucasfilm in 1986 and directed by Jim Henson with a screenplay by Monty Python’s Terry Jones. A magical mixture of music, dance, comedy, thrills and puppets. Labyrinth was the first film ever to feature a fully computer generated animal.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: 15 year old Sarah has to babysit for her younger brother, Toby. Frustrated by Toby’s constant crying, Sarah wishes for the goblins to take Toby away…and they do. Sarah must then enter the eponymous labyrinth and try to get to the castle in the middle to reclaim her brother from The Goblin King.

Little Bit of Character: Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is joined by a cast of amazing and wonderful characters including; Hoggle, Ludo, Sir Didymus and his (sometimes) faithful dog Ambrosius. All topped off with Jareth-The Goblin King (David Bowie) and his impressive codpiece.

Little Bit of Influence: The film went on to inspire a manga sequel called; Return To Labyrinth. As well as a prequel graphic novel which is in the works announced by Archaia Studios. There was even a sequel film that almost made it to the big screen called; Curse of the Goblin King, but ultimately is was decided to take the film in a different direction and the film was reworked and relased as MirrorMask in 2005.

Little Bit of Memories: I don’t really recall the first time I saw this, but whenever it was, it made a lasting impression on me. It a film I have grown with and love more and more each time I see it.

Little Bit of Watchability: This has to be my favourite non-Muppets Jim Henson puppet film. I often watch some old films I loved as a kid and can never work out why I liked them. This film is one I find even more enjoyable now than I did (almost) 30 years ago. The story is simple but it really works. Sarah is a loveable heroine and the characters she meets are equally as enjoyable (must mention the little worm she meets near the beginning: “I’m just a worm. Say, come inside, and meet the missus.”). Brilliant cast of fun, outrageous characters all levelled out with the main villain, Jareth played perfectly by the recently gone David Bowie.

Jerad

Jareth:You remind me of the babe…

Bowie

David Bowie:I’m just an individual who doesn’t feel that I need to have somebody qualify my work in any particular way. I’m working for me.

Thanks for the music and everything else over the years David.

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The Evil Dead

Its Halloween, so I’m going to turn the spotlight on one of my all time favourite horror films ever made…

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Little Bit of History: Written and directed by Sam Raimi. Produced by Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Robert Robert Tapert. The Evil Dead was relased in 1981 but filmed over several years between 1977 and 1979.
The film is technically a remake of Sam Raimi’s own (any VERY low quality) Within The Woods which was a film Sam made to show to investors in order to help fund The Evil Dead. Originally titled; The Book Of The Dead, but re-titled to The Evil Dead as there wad concern people would think they would have to read during the film.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: A group of five friends go to a cabin in the woods to do what teenagers do, smoke weed and have sex. However they unleash an evil force by playing a recording that has been made by a professor who translated an ancient text. The evil, possesses the friends one by one turning them into demons (not zombies). Each one becomes possessed until only one remains and manages to survive and beat the evil…or do they?

Little Bit of Character: Bruce Campbell plays the unlikely hero, Ash with Betsy Baker playing his girlfriend Linda. Ellen Sandweiss plays Cheryl, Richard DeManincor (credited as Hal Delrich) was Ash’s best friend Scott with Theresa Tilly (as Sarah York) playing Shelly.

Little Bit of Influence: The Evil Dead started with very humble beginnings but had a strong cult following and went on to spawn its own franchise with two sequels, a string of games based on the film(s), comic books and even a live stage show musical. The film also went on to be remade (really well) in 2013. There is even a TV show called Ash Vs Evil Dead coming out in a few days. The Evil Dead has gone on to become a world (in)famous phenomenon, not too bad seeing as the film was made by a bunch of inexperienced teenagers only filming on the weekends when they could over the course of several years. Writer/director Sam Raimi became one of the biggest names working in Hollywood today.

Little Bit of Memories: I have vague memories of seeing this film on an old projector back in the early 80s and I’m from England where the film was banned outright for many years so where that copy of the film came from I have no idea. I rediscovered the film many years later in my late teens in the late 90s but it was heavily edited. It was not until the early 2000’s when a change in management at the BBFC saw many previously banned or heavily edited films finally relased fully uncut that I saw The Evil Dead as it was intended.

Little Bit of Watchability: This is one of my all time favourite films ever made. Its very low budget, cheesy, badly acted…but it is a film that clearly had a lot of heart and passion from the people involved in making it. Despite its low budget and lack of experienced cast and crew, the film is beautifully shot and really innovative for its time. I urge any and every horror fan to watch this even if only once, but please put aside the low quality script, acting, etc and just enjoy one of the most terrifying and gruesome horror films of the 70s/80s.

Demon

Cheryl:You will die! Like the others before you, one by one, we will take you.

There’s more Evil Dead to come with my look at the original Commodore 64 game as well as try to clear up the “is Evil Dead II a remake?” misconception…join us…

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Groundhog Day

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Little Bit of History: Written and directed by Harold Ramis, relased in 1993. In 2006, the film was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. In June 2008, AFI acknowledged Groundhog Day as the eighth best film in the fantasy genre.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: Phil Connors, a self centred and arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman is sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. However, he finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over, again and again.

Little Bit of Character: Murray plays Phil Connors with Andie MacDowell as love interest Rita Hanson. With Chris Elliott as Larry the camera man, Stephen Tobolowsky as Ned Ryerson. Even Bill’s brother, Brian Doyle-Murray appears as Buster Green.

Little Bit of Influence: In 2004, Italian film director Giulio Manfredonia shot a remake of Groundhog Day under the title of È già ieri (It’s Yesterday Already). The Tom Cruise starring film, Edge of Tomorrow is often cited as a Sci-Fi version of Groundhog Day. Plus a stage musical version of the film is scheduled to premiere in 2016.

Little Bit of Memories: I recall going to see this with my old pal, Paul with our friend Dean (at the Odeon cinema on New Street, Birmingham). If I remember correctly we were actually going to the cinema to watch something else, but that film had already started, so we decided to go watch Groundhog Day instead…and glad we did too. It was and still is an amazing film.

Little Bit of Watchability: Is this film still watchable? Oh yes, very much so. I actually find it a far better film now than I did back in the 90s. It’s brilliantly written and directed by Harold Ramis with Bill Murray on top form playing the awkward Phil Connors. If you have never seen Groundhog Day, you NEED to see this film right now.

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Phil Connors:What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.

Please, also have a read of my Harold Ramis “In Memorandum”.

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Little Bit of History: Written & directed by Harold Ramis, relased in 1993. In 2006, Groundhog Day was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and in June 2008, AFI acknowledged the film as the eighth best film in the fantasy genre.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: Phil Connors (Bill Murray), a self centred and arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman is sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. However, he finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over, again and again.

Little Bit of Character: Murray plays Phil Connors with Andie MacDowell as love interest Rita Hanson. With Chris Elliott as Larry the camera man, Stephen Tobolowsky as Ned Ryerson. Even Bill’s brother, Brian Doyle-Murray appears as Buster Green.

Little Bit of Influence: In 2004, Italian film director Giulio Manfredonia shot a remake of Groundhog Day under the title of È già ieri (It’s Yesterday Already). The Tom Cruise starring film, Edge of Tomorrow is often cited as a Sci-Fi version of Groundhog Day. Plus a stage musical version of the film is scheduled to premiere in 2016.

Little Bit of Memories: I recall going to see this with my old pal, Paul with our friend Dean (at the Odeon cinema on New Street, Birmingham). If I remember correctly we were actually going to the cinema to watch another film entirely, but that film had already begun and we missed the start, so we decided to go watch Groundhog Day instead…and glad we did too. It was and still is an amazing film.

Little Bit of Watchability: Is this film still watchable? I would say very much so indeed. I actually find it a far better film now than I did back in the 90s. It’s a brilliantly written and directed picture Harold Ramis with Bill Murray on top form playing the cantankerous Phil Connors. If you have never seen Groundhog Day, you NEED to see this film right now.

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Phil Connors:This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.

Please, also have a read of my Harold Ramis “In Memorandum”.

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Little Bit of History: Written & directed by Harold Ramis, relased in 1993. In 2006, Groundhog Day was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and in June 2008, AFI acknowledged the film as the eighth best film in the fantasy genre.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: Phil Connors (Bill Murray), a self centred and arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman is sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. However, he finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over, again and again.

Little Bit of Character: Bill Murray plays Phil Connors with Andie MacDowell as love interest and assistant Rita Hanson. With Chris Elliott as Larry the camera man, Stephen Tobolowsky as Ned Ryerson. Even Bill’s brother, Brian Doyle-Murray appears as Buster Green.

Little Bit of Influence: Italian film director Giulio Manfredonia shot a remake of Groundhog Day under the title of È già ieri (It’s Yesterday Already) in 2004. The Tom Cruise starring film, Edge of Tomorrow is often cited as a Sci-Fi version of Groundhog Day. Plus a stage musical version of the film is scheduled to premiere in sometime 2016.

Little Bit of Memories: I recall going to see this with my old pal, Paul with our friend Dean (at the Odeon cinema on New Street, Birmingham). If I remember correctly we were actually going to the cinema to watch something else, but that film had already started, so we decided to go watch Groundhog Day instead…and glad we did too. It was and still is an amazing film.

Little Bit of Watchability: Is this film still watchable? Oh yes, very much so. I actually find it a far better film now than I did back in the 90s. It’s a brilliantly written and directed picture Harold Ramis with Bill Murray on top form playing the cantankerous Phil Connors. If you have never seen Groundhog Day, you NEED to see this film right now.

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Phil Connors:You want a prediction about the weather, you’re asking the wrong Phil. I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.

Please, also have a read of my Harold Ramis “In Memorandum”.

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Back to the Future

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Little Bit of History: Produced by Steven Spielberg written by Bob Gale & Robert Zemeckis and directed by Robert Zemeckis. Back to the Future is a time traveling adventure that mixes action/comedy and even romance into one great package. Released on July 3rd 1985.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: Marty McFly is accidentally sent to 1955 via his friend, Doc Brown’s time machine. While in 1955 Marty inadvertently prevents his own mother and father form ever meeting, putting his own existence into jeopardy. Marty then spends a week in 1955 trying to get his mother and father back together so he can exist in the future.

Little Bit of Character: Along with Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox there is also Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown, Crispin Glover and Lea Thompson in the roles of Marty’s Father (George) and Mother (Lorraine) as well as all round bad guy Biff Tannen played by Thomas F. Wilson.

Little Bit of Influence: The film went on to spawn 2 sequels, various video games, an animated TV show and even it’s own motion based ride at Universal Theme Parks (since sadly replaced). Back to the Future has also been copied and parodied countless times over the years.

Little Bit of Memories: The first time I ever saw this was one Christmas on TV in the 80’s before the release of the first sequel. I recall being blown away by the film, the plot was amazing, the characters were lively and of course there was that kick-ass car.

Little Bit of Watchability: Still one of the best…if not THE best time travel film made. Very much still watchable today. While it does have a bit of that 80’s cheese factor to it, at the same time it’s almost timeless and seems appropriate no matter which decade you watch it in.

Doc

Dr. Emmett Brown:Things have certainly changed around here. I remember when this was all farmland as far the eye could see. Old man Peabody owned all of this. He had this crazy idea about breeding pine trees.

Back to the Future turned 30 years old today. Please also check out my insight into some the of behind the scenes trivia of the film too.

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Unforgiven

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Little Bit of History: Directed, produced by and starring Clint Eastwood. Released in 1992 the film won four Academy Awards: Best Picture and Best Director for Clint Eastwood, Best Supporting Actor for Gene Hackman and Best Film Editing for editor Joel Cox. Eastwood was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance, but he lost to Al Pacino for Scent of a Woman.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: Set in 1880, two cowboys, disfigure prostitute Delilah Fitzgerald after she laughs at the small size of one of the men’s penis. Instead of punishing the cowboys, Lawman Little Bill allows them to pay compensation to the brothel owner. The prostitutes, led by Strawberry Alice, are infuriated by this leniency and offer a $1,000 reward to whoever can kill the cowboys.

Little Bit of Character: Clint Eastwood plays William “Will” Munny, a retired gunslinger turned farmworker. Morgan Freeman as Ned Logan who is Will’s oldest friend and ex-partner. With Jaimz Woolvett playing The Schofield Kid, a young an over enthusiastic man who is not as experienced in killing as he claims and Gene Hackman as “Little” Bill Daggett, a lawman with a zero tolerance to lawbreaking and outlaws.

Little Bit of Influence: This film was made and released when the western genre was all but dead on it’s legs. The success of the film paved the way for many, many other modern westerns that would follow over the years. The film even inspired a Japanese remake directed by Lee Sang-il and starring Ken Watanabe was released in 2013.

Little Bit of Memories: I recall seeing this for the first time and just being blown away by it. Everything from it’s directing to acting was top notch. While being a throwback to Clint’s earlier work and a loving homage to the man that made Clint a star (Sergio Leone) it was also a fresh take on an old genre and revitalised the western.

Little Bit of Watchability: I caught this being shown on TV as it was being shown on Clint’s 85th Birthday…noticed it was edited slightly. So dug out my DVD copy and watched that instead. This is still a great film with amazing performances from Clint, Morgan and Gene as well as an impressive supporting cast. A simple story of revenge, but done with such panache and style. This is a film everyone should watch at least once.

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Will Munny:It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have.

This is just one part of my 85th Birthday celebration of Clint Eastwood. Please also read my overview of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and my Happy Birthday Clint editorial.

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