Always (1989) – 8/10 fantasy action romance Steven Spielberg movie review

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Cast / crew
Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenplay Writer: Jerry Belson
Writer (Original Screenplay) “A Guy Named Joe”: Dalton Trumbo
Writer (Original Screenplay Adaptation) “A Guy Named Joe”: Frederick Hazlitt Brennan
Writer (Original Screen Story) “A Guy Named Joe”: Chandler Sprague
Writer (Original Screen Story) “A Guy Named Joe”: David Boehm
Richard Dreyfuss: Pete Sandich
Holly Hunter: Dorinda Durston
John Goodman: Al Yackey
Brad Johnson: Ted Baker
Audrey Hepburn: Hap
Producer: Steven Spielberg
Producer: Frank Marshall
Producer: Kathleen Kennedy
Music: John Williams

Always (1989)

Fire fighting pilot Pete saves best friend Al’s life by sacrificing his own. He is sent back by an angel to help influence the life of another trainee fire-fighting pilot, Ted Baker. However, a chance meeting by this trainee reintroduces Pete to his former love, Dorinda. Will he concentrate on his duty or will he make a futile attempt to rekindle his long-lost romance?

8/10

This is a forgotten Spielberg; a gem awaiting your discovery. This is an emotionally engaging fantasy romance with some good humour and outstanding action. It’s certainly not above criticism as it’s not consistently convincing and the Dreyfuss-Hunter romance for the first part of the movie feels lifted from an animated movie. However, all of the action sequences are extremely thrilling and spectacular, there are a number of lovely scenes and the climax works emotionally. Also, Always contains a mighty Hitler moustache gag that you probably won’t ever see again in a Spielberg movie.

This movie contains mild adult dialogue, mild bad language, mild unpleasant scenes and Holly Hunter in adorably chunky white socks

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Patlabor: The Mobile Police (1989) – 5/10 mecha police anime movie review

Cast / crew
Writer (Original Concept): Yuuki Masami
Writer (Screenplay): Kazunori Ito
Producer: Shin Unozawa
Producer: Taro Maki
Producer: Makoto Kubo
Director: Mamoru Oshii

Patlabor: Mobile Police, The

Patlabor: Movie, The (1989)

Labor’s – giant mechanical exoskeletons – are in widespread use, especially in the construction industry making skyscrapers and artificial islands. However, recently, some Labor’s have been malfunctioning without any obvious reason but a young detective discovers that every one of them were running the same new Hyper Operating System from a single company.

5/10

A plot that isn’t quite intriguing and that is never sufficiently explained is exposed by a lack of interesting characters, technology or action. Why the villain kills himself at the beginning is never made clear and quite how the heroes dismantling the Ark during the climax makes sense is also beyond me (the villain was trying to destroy the Ark, we’ll stop him by destroying it ourselves, hah!). Oshii directs with his usual flat style but the trademark commendable time he takes with his characters and plot, as usual, don’t amount to anything.

This movie contains bad language and mild mecha violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Agatha Christie’s Poirot S01E08 The Incredible Theft (1989) – 7/10 period crime drama TV review

Cast / crew
Writer: Agatha Christie
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Hugh Fraser: Hastings
Philip Jackson: Chief Inspector Japp
Pauline Moran: Miss Lemon
Writer (Dramatisation): David Reid
Writer (Dramatisation): Clive Exton
John Stride: Tommy Mayfield
Carmen Du Sautoy: Mrs Vanderlyn
Producer: Brian Eastman
Director: Edward Bennett
Executive Producer: Nick Elliott
Executive Producer: Linda Agran

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s S01E08 Incredible Theft, The (1989)

Poirot is invited to make sure that aircraft plans vital to national security aren’t stolen but, wouldn’t you know, they are.

7/10

"But we must put on it a brave face, heh, and not allow cheerfulness to keep breaking through!" – Hercule Poirot

A lot to enjoy with Poirot in particularly good spirits. The mystery isn’t for anyone who watches these kind of things regularly but it’s the cheerfulness that provides the entertainment. Hastings gets a great scene moaning about Japp’s bedroom habits and, as already mentioned, Poirot is in a fun mood; teasing Miss Lemon, happily polishing his shoes, satisfyingly bristling at being called a “froggie” and even stealing police cars. As a bonus for boys, there’s an explosion and an useful car chase. Poirot finishes with the above sarcastic sentiment but it’s intriguing to see that a lack of cheerfulness, or even humanity, would characterise and undermine the poorer episodes of this classic series.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

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Tremors (1989) – 9/10 classic monster movie

Cast / crew
Kevin Bacon: Valentine McKee
Fred Ward: Earl Bass
Finn Carter: Rhonda LeBeck
Michael Gross: Burt Gummer
Victor Wong: Walter Chang
Bobby Jacoby: Melvin Plug
Ariana Richards: Mindy
Reba McEntire: Heather Gummer
Writer (Story): S.S. Wilson
Writer (Story): Brent Maddock
Writer (Story): Ron Underwood
Writer (Screenplay): S.S. Wilson
Writer (Screenplay): Brent Maddock
Producer: Brent Maddock
Producer: S.S. Wilson
Director: Ron Underwood

Tremors (1989)

When Val and Earl decide to leave the tiny town of Perfection, they do so just one day too late: giant alien worm things have arrived and have started to munch their way through all the neighbours.

9/10

One of the things that really differentiates this fun, thrilling treat of a monster movie is that the lead characters are nice; they’re pleasant, fun, friendly, thoughtful and helpful. Also something filmmakers have forgotten since is that monsters do not have to attack the whole world; in fact I would say a movie has a deeper automatic connection to the audience the smaller the target is. Though Tremors certainly delivers on the genre expectations it is also cleverer than usual. Firstly, nobody really does anything stupid throughout (difficult to overstate how uncommon that is), the two-part monster reveal works a treat, the rules laid down do not get broken (no vibration or rocks equals safe) and the climax is a classic. As is the movie.

This movie contains sexual swear words and violence, slightly gory scenes, unpleasant scenes.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot S01E10 The Dream (1989) – 8/10 period murder mystery TV review

Cast / crew
Writer: Agatha Christie
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Hugh Fraser: Captain Arthur Hastings
Philip Jackson: Chief Inspector Japp
Pauline Moran: Miss Felicity Lemon
Writer (Dramatisation): Clive Exton
Director: Edward Bennett

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s S01E10 Dream, The (1989)

Benedict Farley, a wealthy businessman (he makes pies), requests the wisdom of Poirot with regard to disturbing dream he keeps having where he commits suicide at 12:28 with a revolver. He asks Poirot if he can be made to kill himself through the suggestion of the dream but Poirot cannot offer any advice due to lack of information. His puzzlement and frustration is joined by professionally dented pride when Farley is found dead the next day. Shot. At 12:28. With a revolver. Meanwhile, Miss Lemon is having trouble with the typewriter.

8/10

Though the nature of the revelation of the dream is immediately transparent to the audience and, it should be noted, to a certain extent by Poirot, the surrounding stuff including Poirot revealing a wild youth that may have permanently damaged some little grey cells (prompting a welcome "I say" from Hastings), the murder method, a clock (another "I say") and a typewriter ("Voila!") keeps the episode more than entertaining enough. And there is the tacit recognition (by Japp) that like super-villains flocking to Gotham, even when it looks like suicide, "where Hercule Poirot is concerned, there arises immediately the suspicion of murder." A lot of fun.

This Poirot, Agatha Christie’s episode contains mild unpleasant scene, mild violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot S01E09 The King of Clubs (1989) – 6/10 period murder mystery TV review

Cast / crew
Writer: Agatha Christie
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Hugh Fraser: Arthur Hastings
Philip Jackson: Chief Inspector Japp
Writer (Dramatisation): Michael Baker
Script Consultant: Clive Exton
Niamh Cusack: Valerie Saintclair
Producer: Brian Eastman
Director: Renny Rye
Executive Producer: Nick Elliott
Executive Producer: Linda Agran

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s S01E09 King of Clubs, The (1989)

A much-disliked movie producer is found dead by his leading lady, Valerie Saintclair, but her subsequent actions are too well witnessed for Poirot.

6/10

Bit of a surprise to see Poirot allow being called French (by Sean Pertwee) to go without correction and SPOILER allow someone to get away with a crime. It’s always fun to see Japp think he is out-performing Poirot’s little grey cells ("You mustn’t get discouraged Poirot. When you’ve been around as long as I have…"). Suchet is spot on, Philip Jackson does his thing and Hugh Fraser’s Hastings is, as always, perfect ("You’re onto something, Poirot. I’m dashed if I know what it is.") So while this is one of the weaker hour-long’s, it’s still a fun, entertaining murder mystery and there’s a lovely closing shot that reinforces why: the relationship between Hastings and Poirot.

This Poirot, Agatha Christie’s episode contains adult dialogue and mild unpleasant and gory scene.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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The Little Mermaid (1989, Disney Fantasy Romance) – 8/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Rene Auberjonois: Louis
Christopher Daniel Barnes: Eric
Jodi Benson: Ariel / Vanessa
Pat Carroll: Ursula
Paddi Edwards: Flotsam & Jetsam
Buddy Hackett: Scuttle
Jason Marin: Flounder
Kenneth Mars: Triton
Ben Wright: Grimsby
Samuel E. Wright: Sebastian
Composer (Songs): Howard Ashman
Composer (Songs): Alan Menken
Composer (Score): Alan Menken
Producer: Howard Ashman
Producer: John Musker
Writer: John Musker
Writer: Ron Clements
Director: John Musker
Director: Ron Clements
Directing Animator: Mark Henn
Directing Animator: Glen Keane
Directing Animator: Duncan Marjoribanks
Directing Animator: Ruben A. Aquino
Directing Animator: Andreas Dejá
Directing Animator: Matthew O’Callaghan

Little Mermaid, The (1989)

Ariel the Mermaid dreams of leaving her watery palace home and joining the human world. Ignoring the advice of her father King Triton and friend Sebastian the crab, she strikes a bargain with sea witch Ursula, giving up the power of speech in return for human form. Once on dry land she falls for Prince Eric but discovers that the deal was not as straightforward as it seems.

8/10

How important a movie in a company’s history do you have to be in order to have it’s score become the company ident theme? That’s what the song-writing duo of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken achieved here with a beautiful score and indispensable songs. Ashman worked on a song in Oliver and Company, then, with Menken, produced three all-time Disney classics with this, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Howard Ashman was the driving creative force behind these and sparked a resurgence in the venerable studio that would last for an entire decade after he died. Menken talks about him (on The Little Mermaid commentary) as "the greatest theatrical and dramatic talent of our generation" and, for once in Hollywood, that wasn’t empty hyperbole.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.