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Member's Reviews

The Hunt for Red October, a review by Antares

The Hunt for Red October

Year: 1990
Film Studio: Paramount Pictures
Genre: Action, Drama, Suspense/Thriller
Length: 135 Min.

John McTiernan (1951)

Tom Clancy (1947)...Novel "The Hunt For Red October"
Larry Ferguson (1940)...Screenplay
Donald Stewart (1930)...Screenplay

Larry DeWaay
Mace Neufeld (1928)
Jerry Sherlock

Jan De Bont (1943)

Basil Poledouris (1945)...Composer

Sean Connery (1930) as Marko Ramius
Alec Baldwin (1958) as Jack Ryan
Scott Glenn (1941) as Bart Mancuso
Sam Neill (1947) as Captain Borodin
James Earl Jones (1931) as Admiral Greer
Joss Ackland (1928) as Andrei Lysenko
Richard Jordan (1938) as Jeffrey Pelt
Peter Firth (1953) as Ivan Putin

       There is nothing like the thrill of the hunt to re-awaken in each man they’re long since dormant primordial instincts. As the sortie is undertaken, the rush of adrenaline that is released to the brain takes on a narcotic quality, which can be as addictive as any known drug to humanity. Sadly, when the prey is captured, a sense of letdown can sometimes occur in the hunter’s mind as the thrill of the chase ends. This is the exact feeling that I felt after watching The Hunt for Red October. As the premise of the story unfolded, I was drawn into the intrigue and the political maneuverings of our countries military and espionage complexes and how they dealt with potential dangers to our national security. But when the Navy finally makes contact with the renegade Captain and the prized submarine, the story starts to become clichéd in its eventual outcome.

       The Red October is the first of a new class of Russian nuclear attack submarine, whose revolutionary new propulsion system renders it completely undetectable to modern U.S. tracking methods. This sends the brass at the Pentagon and the CIA into a frenzy of fear as to the purpose of this new warship. Their fears will be summarily validated when a communiqué from the Kremlin arrives with news of impending doom for our country. The Captain of the Red October, Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) has gone insane and plans to park his ship off of the East coast of the United States and launch all his nuclear missiles. As the Joint Chiefs debate over what course of action to take, a CIA consultant Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) suggests that maybe Ramius hasn’t gone crazy and that he really wants to defect to the USA. As the meeting adjourns, only one man in the room is willing to give Ryan’s theory a chance at legitimacy, and he is the most important man in the room, the Secretary of State (Richard Jordan). He gives Ryan just 48 hours to prove his theory true before he uses any measure available to destroy Ramius.

       In Ryan’s venture to prove that Ramius is not a madman, the first half of the film keeps you on the edge of your seat. Unfortunately, when he is proven correct, the film starts to devolve into a series of impractical situations that tend to diminish the credibility of the screenplay. When another Russian sub suddenly and unknowingly appears ready to destroy the Red October, an underwater game of chicken takes place between the two Russian subs and the American sub that first made contact with Ramius. How could the third sub have crept up so stealthily and fired torpedoes without the destroyer on the surface becoming aware of its presence? Another improbability occurs when Ramius and Ryan set off to kill a KGB spy who is about to detonate the missiles in their silo’s. As the two leave the bridge to hunt down the implanted agent, U.S. Capt. Mancuso (Scott Glenn) is left in charge to fight with the other Russian sub, even though he speaks no Russian and Ramius’ executive staff speaks no English. Yet, as the three subs are giving battle beneath the waves, Mancuso gives orders to the Russian officers without any hint of a language barrier.

       If you’ve reached this point in my review, you probably think that I did not like this film, quite the contrary, The Hunt for Red October is a taut and well paced suspense drama. Its screenplay pulls no punches and plays it safe, giving the viewer exactly what they are expecting. My contention though, is that in another twenty five years or so, it will appear as anachronistic as The Longest Day or The Battle of the Bulge does to modern day audiences.

Ratings Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.

(From The Hunt for Red October (1990) on February 27th, 2010)

Member's Reviews

Sunshine Cleaning, a review by Rich

Title: Sunshine Cleaning

Genres:Comedy, Drama

Plot:Academy Award® Nominee Amy Adams, Golden Globe® Winner Emily Blunt, and Academy Award Winner® Alan Arkin find an unexpected way to turn their lives around in this “colorful, refreshingly quirky comic drama” (Leah Rozen, People).
Desperate to get her son into a better school, single mom Rose (Amy Adams) persuades her slacker sister Norah (Emily Blunt) to join her in the crime scene cleanup business to make some quick cash. With the help of their ill-fated salesman father (Alan Arkin), they climb the ranks in a very dirty job, finding themselves up to their elbows in murders, suicides, and...specialized situations. But underneath the dust and grime they also come to discover a true respect for one another, and create a brighter future for the entire Lorkowski family.

My Review:
Well it is listed as a comedy drama, but I must have missed the funny bits, for me it is through and through a light-hearted drama following 2 sisters attempts to make money and deal with lifes challenges.
Unfortunately I never felt enough empathy or sympathy with the leads, or else I may have enjoyed the film more. It is not rubbish by any means, there is a solid storyline, some good acting, a few interesting sideline characters, and a nice pace helping the film trot along easily.
This is a story of hope, definately uplifting, and if you like such quirky films, this may be suited well for you.
My Rating

(From DCO third annual November Alphabet Marathon - discussion/review/banter thread on November 14th, 2009)

Member's TV Reviews

Babylon 5: Marathon, a review by DJ Doena

Season 1: Signs and Portents

Disc 1

Midnight of the Firing Line

Synopsis: A Centauri agricultural colony is attacked by the Narns and taken over. The head researcher of the Centauri happens to be the nephew of Centauri embassador Londo Mollari and the Narn have no intention of giving the colony back. Meanwhile unarmed transports are raided by people who seem to know exactly when and where a transport will be.

My opinion: This episode is somewhat of a second pilot. While it doesn't introduce the station or the characters it sets certain things in order and makes changes to the staff and the appearence of certain aliens (e.g. Delenn, the Minbari ambassador). It also introduces the concept of a primary and a secondary storline to this show, a concept that many of the following episodes will use, too.
It's not that great an episode but it shows the mutual hatred between the Narn and their former oppressors, the Centauri. But I loved Lt. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova from the start and while Lt. Cmdr. Takashima (from the Pilot) was ok, Susan seems much more powerful from the beginning.

Soul Hunter

Synopsis: An alien unknown to mankind "stumbles" through the jump gate and lands himself in the infirmary. To other aliens his kind is known as Soul Hunters because they catch the soul of people the moment they're dying. And this particular Soul Hunter has come for a certain ambassador.

My opinion: I liked this episode because it discussed the different belives of what happens to a soul when the body is dying. And everyone was certain that his/her concept alone was to be the correct one and than one should act accordingly.
I also liked the hints that Delenn is hiding something from Sinclair and the first mention of Dukhat, although the events leading to his demise are not revealed yet.

Born to Purple

Synopsis: Londo falls in love with a Centauri exotic dancer and doen'st care much about his duties as ambassador of the Centauri Republic. Meanwhile someone uses illegaly the high priority communication channels known as "Gold Channel" and security chief Michael Garibaldi is determined to find him or her.

My opinion: I really liked the insight of the Centauri society because it showed that the Republic is more like an aristocracy with houses and titles and slaves. I also liked. We also learn more about Ivanova and that she is russian. OK, since Star Trek's Chekov this is no new concept but I was always a fan of the idea that not every human in space is of american origin.


Synopsis: Babylon 5 has its second birthday and Sinclair is trying to evade from a InterStellar Network (ISN) News reporter. But more danger to the station are some artefacts from a world long dead and the realization that not one person of a species is a pure being of that species.

My opinion: I love enemies who mus be defeated in the great Star Trek tradition of "talk them to death". While ST often used it on computers and confused them with logic, it works with bio weapons, too. And we learn that there are deserted worlds and civilisations long gone and the earth company InterPlanetary eXpiditions (IPX) sponsors such expiditions.

(From Babylon 5: Marathon on August 4th, 2007)