Tuesday, December 15, 2015

1980 Capsule Reviews

The Empire Strikes Back
rating: *****
review: This affirmed Star Wars geek finds everything to love about the iconic Episode V in the saga, from the introductions of Yoda and Lando Calrissian to the epic duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, including its revelatory climax. 

Raging Bull
rating: *****
review: Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro in their definitive collaboration, the most artful boxing movie ever, and one of the defining cinematic portraits of a scumbag.

The Blues Brothers
rating: ****
review: Arguably the best movie to come out of Saturday Night Live, filled with great music and a few hilarious episodes (the country and western incident in particular).

The Stunt Man
rating: ****
review: Peter O'Toole in a kaleidoscope of a movie, tossing the main character and the viewer into a wild and surreal ride.  Still waiting to be rediscovered.

The Formula
rating: ****
review: George C. Scott and Marlon Brando in the role that charts the course of his late career as someone more interesting in commentating on the state of humanity than his own stardom.

rating: ****
review: With all due apologies to everyone else in it, Bill Murray dominates in his breakout role as the nutcase matching wits with a gopher.

The Shining
rating: ****
review: Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick, and Jack Nicholson combine for the creepiest hotel experience ever.

Mad Max
rating: ***
review: Mel Gibson is so shockingly subdued in this he's hardly recognizable, in the debut of an ever-expanding franchise that keeps getting weirder.

rating: ***
review: Leslie Nielsen completely revamped his career with this movie, which otherwise tends to date much poorer.

Flash Gordon
rating: **
review: Goofy sci-fi fun in exactly the tradition that Star Wars obliterated three years earlier.

Herbie Goes Bananas
rating: **
review: The Love Bug franchise reaches the final installment of its original run in about as inspired fashion as the later in the Pink Panther originals.

Altered States
rating: **
review: Recommended to me as a predecessor to the TV series Fringe, but more reminiscent of gonzo movie experimentation.

Smokey and the Bandit II
rating: *
review: A somewhat desperate attempt to contextualize the Bandit as a folk hero.


  1. CP30 is probably the most emotional character in Star Wars. When I met Kenny Baker he told me making Empire in the desert was tough. The sand heat and lack of oxygen caused technical difficulties.

    1. Oh, I have no doubt it was tough for both Baker and Daniels throughout those movies. Cool you got to meet him!