Film Review – CLIFFHANGER (1993)

Image result for cliffhanger 1993CLIFFHANGER (Italy/France/USA, 1993) ***½
      Distributor: Guild Film Distribution; Production Company: Carolco Pictures / Canal+ / Pioneer / RCS Video / Cliffhanger Productions; Release Date: 26 May 1993 (USA), 25 June 1993 (UK); Filming Dates: 11 April 1992 – 19 August 1992; Running Time: 113m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) | Dolby Digital (35 mm prints) (Europe) | Dolby SR (35 mm prints) (USA); Film Format: 35 mm, 70 mm (blow-up); Film Process: Panavision (anamorphic); Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1; BBFC Cert: 15.
      Director: Renny Harlin; Writer: Michael France, Sylvester Stallone (based on a story by Michael France from a premise by John Long); Executive Producer: Mario Kassar; Producer: Renny Harlin, Alan Marshall; Associate Producer: Jim Davidson, Tony Munafo; Director of Photography: Alex Thomson; Music Composer: Trevor Jones; Film Editor: Frank J. Urioste; Casting Director: Mindy Marin; Production Designer: John Vallone; Art Director: Maria-Teresa Barbasso, Aurelio Crugnola, Christiaan Wagener; Set Decorator: Robert Gould, Cynthia Sleiter; Costumes: Ellen Mirojnick; Make-up: Jeff Dawn; Sound: Scott Martin Gershin, Wylie Stateman, Gregg Baxter; Special Effects: R. Bruce Steinheimer; Visual Effects: John Bruno, Neil Krepela, Jay Riddle.
      Cast: Sylvester Stallone (Gabe Walker), John Lithgow (Qualen), Michael Rooker (Hal Tucker), Janine Turner (Jessie Deighan), Rex Linn (Richard Travers), Caroline Goodall (Kristel), Leon (Kynette), Craig Fairbrass (Delmar), Gregory Scott Cummins (Ryan), Denis Forest (Heldon), Michelle Joyner (Sarah), Max Perlich (Evan), Paul Winfield (Walter Wright), Ralph Waite (Frank), Trey Brownell (Brett), Zach Grenier (Davis), Vyto Ruginis (Matheson), Don S. Davis (Stuart), Scott Hoxby (Agent Hayes), John Finn (Agent Michaels), Bruce McGill (Treasury Agent), Rosemary Dunsmore (Treasury Secretary), Kim Robillard (Treasury Jet Pilot), Jeff McCarthy (Pilot), Mike Weis (Mike – Co-Pilot), Duncan Prentice (Treasury Helicopter Pilot), Kevin Donald (Ray), Jeff Blynn (Marvin), Thor (Thor).
      Synopsis: A botched mid-air heist results in suitcases full of cash being searched for by various groups throughout the Rocky Mountains.
      Comment: Highly enjoyable and exciting, if wildly overblown and often preposterous. Stallone is at his macho best as the lead mountain rescue climber with a chip on his shoulder and the group dynamics give you heroic characters to root for. Lithgow is deliciously over-the-top as the chief villain. Harlin directs with a great feel for action scenes and with flair and pace. Wonderful scenic photography and incredible stunt work. The memorable opening sequence is a real humdinger and superbly edited.
      Notes: Set in Colorado, but filmed in the Cortina d’Ampezzo-Dolomites mountains, because of their spectacular similarities to the Colorado Rockies. Dedicated to Wolfgang Gullich, Sylvester Stallone’s double in the film, who was killed in a car accident shortly after filming had finished.

Film Review – 2010 (1984)

Image result for 2010 19842010 (USA, 1984) ***½
      Distributor: MGM/UA Entertainment Company; Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM); Release Date: 7 December 1984 (USA), 5 March 1985 (UK); Filming Dates: 7 February – April 1984; Running Time: 116m; Colour: Metrocolor; Sound Mix: 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) | Dolby (35 mm prints); Film Format: 35mm (70mm blow up); Film Process: Panavision (anamorphic); Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1; BBFC Cert: PG.
      Director: Peter Hyams; Writer: Peter Hyams (based on the novel by Arthur C. Clarke); Producer: Peter Hyams; Associate Producer: Neil A. Machlis, Jonathan A. Zimbert; Director of Photography: Peter Hyams; Music Composer: David Shire; Film Editor: Mia Goldman, James Mitchell; Casting Director: Penny Perry; Production Designer: Albert Brenner; Set Decorator: Rick Simpson; Costumes: Patricia Norris; Make-up: Michael Westmore; Sound: Richard L. Anderson; Special Effects: Henry Millar Jr.; Visual Effects: Richard Edlund.
      Cast: Roy Scheider (Dr. Heywood Floyd), John Lithgow (Dr. Walter Curnow), Helen Mirren (Tanya Kirbuk), Bob Balaban (Dr. R. Chandra), Keir Dullea (Dave Bowman), Douglas Rain (HAL 9000 (voice)), Madolyn Smith Osborne (Caroline Floyd), Dana Elcar (Dimitri Moisevitch), Taliesin Jaffe (Christopher Floyd), James McEachin (Victor Milson), Mary Jo Deschanel (Betty Fernandez, Bowman’s Wife), Elya Baskin (Maxim Brajlovsky), Saveliy Kramarov (Dr. Vladimir Rudenko), Oleg Rudnik (Dr. Vasili Orlov), Natasha Shneider (Irina Yakunina), Vladimir Skomarovsky (Yuri Svetlanov), Victor Steinbach (Mikolaj Ternovsky), Jan Tríska (Alexander Kovalev), Larry Carroll (Anchorman on TV), Herta Ware (Jessie Bowman), Cheryl Carter (Nurse), Ron Recasner (Hospital Neurosurgeon), Robert Lesser (Dr. Hirsch), Candice Bergen (SAL 9000 (voice)), Delana Michaels (Commercial Announcer), Gene McGarr (Commercial Announcer).
      Synopsis: In this follow-up to 20001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968), a joint U.S.-Soviet expedition is sent to Jupiter to learn what happened to the Discovery.
      Comment: Well-made and intriguing sequel may lack the visual splendour and mysticism of Kubrick’s original but is nonetheless a worthy follow-up. An excellent cast is led by Scheider and Mirren with a strong role for Lithgow. Visuals are excellent too, from Brenner’s detailed production design to Hyams’ moody photography. The finale may be as baffling as that of the original but does attempt to provide some answers to novelist Clarke’s dense concept.