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The lives of others/ Das leben der Anderen (2006).
This is a German movie where most of the story takes place in East Germany in 1984.
A famous author and his actress wife is put under surveilance by the Stasi (state security). The Stasi officer in charge of the surveilance gets intimate knowledge of the couple, and this forces him to make some difficult choices.
Thankfully I didn't grow up in a dictatorship, but the story is very good and everything seems convincing to me. In fact the prop master spent time in Stasi prison and he only used real Stasi equipment in the movie (shown in the special features om the DVD). Unfortunately the problem of surveilance and attacks on privacy has only gotten worse after the fall of the wall, so the topic remains important. Very much worth watching!
Last night I watched 'Deathwish - The Face of Death'.
Oh dear! When I say I watched it I actually mean I got to about ten minutes before turning off!
Tonight I am planning to watch 'Enter The Dragon'.
A collection of six Budd Boetticher westerns starring Randolph Scott are currently streaming on The Criterion Channel, and so far I've watched three of them. The latest one I watched was SEVEN MEN FROM NOW.
Like all of the other Boetticher westerns I've seen so far, it is a lean and efficiently plotted 80 minute film and features some good performances (I liked Lee Marvin in particular). Randolph Scott is out to avenge his wife, who was killed during a robbery in the town where he was sheriff. During the course of the film he ends up travelling with a couple who are heading west, but they also turn out to be transporting the loot from that same robbery.
I've enjoyed the three Boetticher westerns I've watched, although I wouldn't say I was blown away by them. They've been entertaining and well made, without really making a huge impression on me. The other two I've watched so far were Ride Lonesome and The Tall T. Of the three, The Tall T was my favourite, and so far is the only one that I might consider for a place on my list of favourite westerns.
Porridge - The Movie
One joke of Fletch pretending to be a soccer coach on a bike training up Godber was of course re-used by writers Dick Clement and Ian Le Francis in Never Say Never Again as Leiter and Bond evade the Nice cops.
But another Thunderball link comes from the actor who plays Barnyard - the somewhat tall elderly posh inmate who falls foul of Grouty and getting his nose bashed. Only recognisable by his name in the credits, why it's Vargos' Phllip 'I think he got the point' Locke!
I'm not altogether sure I didn't see another NSNA actor - the one who plays the bloke with the hoover at Shrublands who comes between Lippe and Bond in their punch.
The Lodger: a story of the London fog (1927)
This isn't Alfred Hitchcock's first movie, but it's his first thriller. Hitchcock himself considered The Lodger his first Hitchcockian movie. We get the suspence, the visual style (here clearly inspired by German cinema at the time), blondes and some fetishistic imagery.
The story is inspired by the Jack the Ripper murders that happened less than fourty years earlier. Parts of the audience must have remembered the murders, it's not even impossible the Ripper himself saw the movie.
While a series of murders on blondes are happening in London, a mysterious man rents a room. He has a hang-up with blondes and he sneaks outside at night. A blonde lives in the house and she has a flirting with a policeman investigating the murders. I won't say more about the plot.
This is the best acting I've seen in a silent movie and next to Nosfaratu it's the best silent non-comedy I've seen. There are several versions of The Lodger. The one I saw had a new soundtrack. It used an obviously modern song, but in spite of this it worked well enough. There is inventive imagery such as when the people downstairs hear the lodger pacing upstairs, we get a "x-ray" shot of the man from the POV of the people downstairs (simply done by filming the actor walking on a glass floor). A very interesting silent movie, especially for people who like Hitchcock's movies.
SUMMER HOLIDAY (1963)
While Cliff Richard isn’t always everybody’s cup of tea, it is more than fair to say he’s had an amazing career in the music business, mostly in the U.K. and Europe with occasional forays to the U.S. His most consistently productive period crossed over almost entirely with Elvis Presley’s biggest U.K. hits. From 1958 – 1963 he had 23 top ten hits and including 7 number ones and another 11 top three placings. Elvis shared 21 top ten hits, 13 number ones and another 6 in the top three. My Mum remembers BBC Radio playing ‘viewers choice’ or something and if it wasn’t Elvis it was Cliff, week in week out, through the whole year. While Cliff Richard’s star maintained its lustre through the sixties, but constantly faded and returned in the 70s, 80s and 90s, he’s managed to retain a following and even now, sixty years on from his earliest hits, he’s only just thinking of hanging up his dancing shoes and singing voice.
So what’s a potted history of Cliff’s career got to do with Summer Holiday? Well, quite a lot, as firstly it demonstrates one of the reasons for his enduring popularity. When he was out of fashion, his cheerful, slow rollers were sneered at. Yet no one sneered at Elvis’ Italian café revisions. The King’s movies were fairly dreadful, even when they were good and he never had the second most popular movie of the year at the U.K. box office. Summer Holiday was, behind our very own From Russia With Love. Cliff Richard always had a broad appeal which transcended the Teddy Boys and Rockers. His acceptability was and is the key to his success, and it’s also the key to this film.
The popularity of the entirely fanciful and joyous theme song, which when I was a kid whole classrooms of kids could sing, verses and all, on school outings to Margate, Windsor Safari Park or the Isle of Wight, goes a long way to lending this slice of British musical cinema history almost mythic status. The film’s not quite as good as I’m making it sound, but it is hugely enjoyable and displays many of the traditions of the Hollywood, Broadway or West End musical, blending them into a whimsical rock n roll fantasy for teenagers [by that I mean ‘safe’ from violence, sex and drugs.]
Mechanic Don Peters hires a London bus from the LTA and with his mates, kits it out like a caravan and intends to drive to France, testing the water for Double Decker Tours. On the way, they bump into three hip young free-spirited women singers bound for Athens and decide to take a huge detour. After stopping in Paris for a night of boogie and Foot Tapper-ing with the Shadows, American stage star Barbara Winters hitchhikes on board and presents the boys and girls with a load of trouble and Don with a little bit of love.
The film looks sparkling under John Wilcox’s cinemascope photography, all the beautiful Greek locations, the bright costumes and vampy sixties hairdos. There’s barely a frown on a face. It’s a positively gleeful experience and all the more fun for it. Cliff as hero Don, doesn’t growl and preen and mope like Elvis; nor does he try too hard. He’s more than capable in the seaside theatre-level situations and song and dance numbers. He’s supported by a group of players not adverse to acting in this kind of fare either, people like Melvyn Hayes and Una Stubbs, whose theatre training holds them in good stead, as well as American Lauri Peters, who won a Tony as Lisl von Trapp in the original The Sound of Music. Quite why her singing voice is dubbed I’ll never know.
Because of expertise like this, the dance numbers, choreographed by American Herbert Ross, have a genuine artistic feel to them. It’s the sort of material you never see in an Elvis movie, excepting the landmark Jailhouse Rock. Yet when you watch scenes like Stranger in Town, with its fantasy dances, Swinging Affair for its comic romance, and Really Waltzing segueing neatly into All at Once, you can almost imagine Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire taking on Cliff’s role as the lead and blending song with dance to tell a story.
Now, it isn’t a patch on those class acts, but Summer Holiday is brave to try and in the main the film succeeds because it’s prepared to try. First time director Peter Yates allows Ross’ dance team to develop plays with plays; there’s even a ten minute mime which reminded me of those Rogers and Hammerstein ballets in Carousel and The King and I. Ron Moody is suitably over-the-top. Yates keeps us interested by shooting from odd camera angles. He’s careful in the dance numbers to show the actors full-length, so we see their feet as well as their hands. It becomes a theatrical experience, not just a cinematic one.
The movie runs out of steam towards the end and there’s a big misstep during a detour in Yugoslavia which is borderline insulting to Slavs and the audience alike. Meanwhile the subplot of Barbara’s overprotective mother provides much light amusement; one of the best characters is the maid, Mimsie, played by Jacqueline Daryl, who has more funny acidly observant lines in ten minutes than there are in a whole series of King Gary.
The songs themselves were hugely successful: three number ones and a chart topping album is a testament to that. It’s a proper soundtrack too, not just the Cliff numbers; something Elvis’ management never got right. Everyone rambles on about how Bachelor Boy was written on the hoof because the distributors though the movie was five minutes short, but for me it’s the romantic ballads which work best. The Next Time has particular resonance for me as my first grown-up girlfriend was a candid Cliff Richard fan [I think you could only be a candid fan if you were 18 in 1990] and when we split up, I used to play the song, because the lyrics attuned perfectly with the place I was in emotionally. The scenery for that number is particularly good too and as I am a secretly in love with Greece, well, the whole package is there.
In fact the whole package, forgiving that Yugoslavian tangent, is right up there on the screen. Having not watched Summer Holiday since I was going out with Debbie, it was fun to experience it once again and surprising to discover it holds up remarkably well, being slightly timeless because its atmosphere of carefree innocence and good-heartedness is so rare in films these days.
By contrast, I got up early this morning to catch this on London Live...
FRANKIE AND JOHNNY (1966)
Elvis Presley’s movie career was going nowhere fast when he came to do Frankie and Johnny. The early boost he’d received post-army, when the films had some joy, decent directors and production values, and a smattering of passable songs seemed to have evaporated into a morass of cheap quickies, exemplified by the previous year’s dubious Tickle Me and Harum Scarum, a duo of efforts so inept they made Ed Wood look a genius of irony.
The King’s twentieth movie should have been an opportunity to assert something of his old cinematic self. First up, the film is framed as a proper musical, combining a theatre show, a backstage romance, moments of farce, a love triangle, all set on board a New Orleans riverboat casino. And Elvis isn’t the only one who sings! Second, the art and set décor is unusually high, with colourful sets and costumes. Third, the King is given a reasonable support cast; names like Harry Morgan [from Dragnet, soon to be marvellous in MASH], Donna Douglas [popular and gorgeous, from The Beverly Hillbillies] Nancy Kovacs [up and coming, soon to be featured in The Silencers] and Audrey Christie [an experienced supporting actress from films like The Unsinkable Molly Brown]. The director was the experienced, but unfashionable, Frederick de Cordova. Lastly, this was a great excuse to produce some Dixieland influenced musical numbers, taking Elvis back past even his RnB roots. So what went wrong?
Frankie and Johnny isn’t all bad. Contemporary critics were quite kind. It has a rib nudging humour – some of it’s quite near the knuckle – and the storyline at least makes sense. There’s no annoying children. The performances are willing and more than able. Even the songs, which are shoved into the narrative like unwanted chapters, pass scrutiny – although singing Chesay with a band of strolling Mexican gypsies doesn’t seem to make any sense, verbally, otherwise or any-wise. But as you watch Elvis failing to give life to a well arranged medley of Down By the Riverside / When the Saints Go Marching In, you can clearly see the major failing is with the film’s star.
This is one of those rare times when he simply isn’t on the mark. Usually Elvis has at least got a semblance of amused spirit about him, but he’s going through the motions badly here. When called to sing, he’s virtually static or doing that weird puppet dance he invented around about the time of Girls! Girls! Girls! where his shoulders and arms move but his hips and feet don’t. He isn’t helped by having the rousing title track – the best song on the soundtrack album – bastardised as an ensemble piece for the riverboat stage show. You almost sense his disappointment. He struggles with the dramatic moments, few as they are, and looks glum delivering the comedy. Most of the best scenes don’t even have him in it. Acting-wise Morgan and Christie take all the awards. The movie really needed a firmer hand on the tiller than Cordova gave it. Elvis isn’t being directed here so much as placed, like a shop window mannequin to sell an inferior product.
This is an example of the kind of musical film Elvis should have made more of, but it isn’t a good example of filmmaking. All the movie’s potential has drained away with the lead’s lack of interest. Enthusiasm can carry a project only so far, and only so far is about as far as Frankie and Johnny gets.
A big disappointment.
And as I had this one recorded from a few weeks back and needed to rejuvenate myself after that last movie...
FUN IN ACAPULCO (1963)
Fresh from flaunting her figure in a white bikini and snaring Sean Connery as the heroine in Dr No, Ursula Andress flaunts her figure, wears many bikinis of different colours and snares Elvis Presly in the sunny musical Fun in Acapulco. Lucky girl, I say.
It’s certainly fun watching Andress and lady bullfighter Elsa Cardenas scratch each other’s metaphorical eyes out by the pool side while Elvis competes for their affections with high diver Alejandro Rey. Oscar winner Paul Lukas gives solid support as Andress’ concerned father and Larry Domasin is the scheming kid who has some of the movie’s best moments. The scenes where he negotiates Elvis’ singing engagements with his numerous cousins are priceless [“Are you sure you’re not a forty year old midget?” quips Elvis] and the kid's bemused looks as his amigo tries to romance one lady after another speak volumes for the King’s amorous incompetence. Elvis movies are always better when the cast puts in some effort.
Fun in Acapulco is a Hal Wallis production and he always brought the best out of Elvis. He paired the star with a strong director – Richard Thorpe, who also helmed Jailhouse Rock – and was rewarded with one of Elvis most accomplished performances. He’s good in the comic enterprises, able in the drama and memorable in some Latin-themed song numbers. The stand out moment comes with Bossa Nova Baby which deserved far higher chart placings than it achieved. You could blame the influx of British Beat groups for the single’s failure to crack the top ten in the U.K., but number 8 is a crushing American disappointment for such a riotous track. It’s no surprise to discover Bossa Nova Baby is composed by those masters of rock n roll Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller. They always wrote spectacular numbers for Elvis and this is no exception. He really lets rip in the scene too, back to his hip swivelling very best. In fact, all the songs are well presented, designed to reflect the setting and flavour of Mexico, and for once they don’t feel inserted at random, even the bizarre sounding There’s No Room to Rhumba in a Sports Car slots in like tequila in a margarita.
Elvis plays multi-talented Mike Windgren, a trapeze artist with a tragic past attempting to recover his self-esteem in Mexico. Sacked from captaining a millionaire’s yacht, he gets a job as a life guard and moonlights as a singing star up and down the exotic clubland of Acapulco. But will he settle down with Andress’ sympathetic concierge or Cardenas’ red blooded bullfighter? Much fun is had reaching the answer, even though we know all along who he’s going to pick, and there’s even time for some moments of melodrama as Mike attempts to regain his confidence by practicing vertigo inducing rock dives.
The film is photographed by Daniel Fapp, an Academy Award winner for West Side Story, and the costumes are from Edith Head’s Paramount stable, so the show looks immaculate. While location shooting did take place, Elvis couldn’t attend; he was banned as an undesirable following riots after his 1957 Mexican concerts. Thorpe and Wallis are clever enough cinematic showmen to ensure it doesn’t notice. They’re much more interested in delivering a high class and classy product. They were rewarded with a box-office topping hit, which rather puts to shame the poor sales of Bossa Nova Baby.
One of Elvis’ best post-army movies.
This movie is fantastic! It's the best German movie about pulling a steam boat up a mountain in the jungle I've ever seen! 😁
This movie was directed by the visionary director Werner Herzog. Most directors would find a practical and safe way to shoot a story about a madman who takes steam boat up the Amazon had talks the local indians into pulling it up a mountain. Herzog cast a madman (Klaus Kinski), bought a steamboat and talked local indians into pulling the boat up the mountain.😂
Of course the shooting of the movie wasn't that simple. For example one of the indians chiefs offered to kill Kinski for Herzog. I'm sure it was tempting, but Herzog declined.
But don't watch this movie simply because the crazy behind the scenes stories. The movie is beautifully shot, it's a truely original and exciting plot, the visual are fantastic and memorable and the acting is great.
CARRY ON UP THE KYBER (1968)
Not a movie I've seen this time, but a movie I hope'll get made. There are plans to make a Master & Commander prequel! "Far side of the world" was a very good movie that even managed to stay close to history. Sadly it wasn't a big comercial hit, preventing it from getting any sequels. If they manage to make a prequel it will be about captain Aubrey and doctor Maturin's first meeting and the captain's first command, presumably based on the novel .... "First command". One assumes the movie has to be re-cast. In my dreams this will turn into a new franchise.
@Golrush007 is going to be disappointed with this one:
THE MAN FROM LARAMIE (1955)
The final cinematic collaboration between star James Stewart and director Anthony Mann lacks the drive and murderous ambition of The Naked Spur or Bend of the River where Stewart’s character’s were ambiguous callous men. It even pales a little beside The Far Country’s gritty realism. What it does have is splendid Cinemascope photography and a superb supporting act from Donald Crisp as cattle baron Alec Waggoman, whose got a son and a foreman at odds with each other and in cahoots with the Apaches.
Stewart’s thoughtful Will Lockhart rolls into Coronado with his wagon train full of supplies. This is an unusual sight in westerns as homesteaders are normally shown as self-sufficient. It’s rarely shown how the infamous ‘general store’ is replenished. The Man from Laramie banishes the myth of self-sufficiency. It also treads all over the ideas of family loyalty, prized so high by directors like John Ford. Sadly, Waggoman’s brood are a simple bunch whose schemes amount to very little. Meanwhile, we know Lockhart has a secret because he gazes mournfully at the remains of a cavalry detachment’s wagons. He’s not easy to get along with and the fact he doesn’t get the girl seems entirely appropriate.
The film has moments of action, which sometimes feel unnecessary, usually carried out one-on-one, lots of fist fights and gun fights where no-one’s able to hit a target. The rumble among the cattle pens is rather good, mind. It proceeds rather like a detective story. There’s a palpable lack of suspense. The King Lear style sub-plot of a patriarch torn between his offspring while he goes mad – or blind as is the case here – works better than Stewart’s vengeful search for the man who supplied guns to the Apaches. He’s not interested in the natives who did the killing at all, only in the white men who made money from murder. Admirable, but unlikely for the 1880s.
It looks good, but it’s all a little safe for a Mann western.
The outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
This western directed by and starring Clint Eastwood is about a man whos family gets murdered by Union guerillas. Wales joins a Confederate guerillas outfit to get revenge. When the South capitulates Josey Wales isn't ready to give up because his war is personal. I'm not going to say much more about the plot, but I can say he is hunted by bounty hunters. In the process he forms a new family group around him in spite of his intentions. The interplay between Wales and his new "family" is perhaps the strongest part of the plot. I especially like how indians are portrayed. Not as stoic heroes or savages, but rounded people with a sense of humor. Other elements I like d were the clothes, sets and guns. These often look too modern for the 1860's, but here I buy it. The dialoge is also really good and the movie is beautifully shot too.
The movie can easily be seen as pro-South, but this isn't the first good western to do that. The same can be said of The Searchers and that's one of my favourite westerns. (BTW: If you belive the civil war wasn't about slavery I think you'll find the constitutions of the Confederate states and the speaches of their leaders were very honest about it). What makes it more problematic is the sources material of the movie. It's based on a novel by a man who called himself Forrest Carter who said he was raised by indian grandparents. The same year the movie was made it was discovered his real name was Asa Earl Carter and he wasn't brought up an indian. Instead he was a white supremacist who probably wrote the infamous "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" speech. His new first name was taken from the founder of the KKK. Personally I read another of his books, a "biography" of Geronimo titled "Look for me on the mountain". I liked it very much as a teen and I felt very disapointed when I found out who the author really was.
The question is if this makes The Outlaw Josey Wales a bad movie? I don't think so. It makes the movie's portrayal of the civil war less paletable, but the movie is so much more than this. All in all I think this is a really strong western and well worth watching.
Eight years later the pattern would repeat. In the UK in 1971, Diamonds are Forever was pipped to the post by a comedy also featuring Routemasters - the big screen version of the British sitcom On The Buses.
@chrisno1 - I wouldn't say I'm particularly disappointed with your review of The Man From Laramie. I certainly agree with your comparisons to Mann's other James Stewart westerns and concur especially with your comment that it is lacking in comparison to The Naked Spur and Bend of the River. When I came to The Man From Laramie after having watched the earlier films, I experienced a bit of the letdown that you decribe in your review, but the difference is possibly just that my overall experience of watching the film was still pretty good. I remember I really enjoyed seeing Arthur Kennedy back for another role after having really enjoyed his performance in Bend of the River. Also I kind of liked the main title theme song, even though it sounds a bit corny now...but I do like a western with a main title ballad - High Noon, 3:10 to Yuma etc.
I disagree, in my opinion The Man From Laramie is the best Mann/Stewart collaboration of them all. The story is compelling and the characters are well drawn, the sadistic shooting of Will Lockhart’s hand is horrific. I first saw this in the cinema in the 60’s, it played as a second feature to a new release that I can’t remember, but each renewed viewing on television has enhanced it’s reputation in my eyes.
ALMOST FAMOUS (2000)
Cameron Crowe’s autobiographical Almost Famous is almost a great movie. I remember watching this on its original release. I thought it was excellent, fully deserving of praise, a window onto the world of the rock n roll band on tour, packed full of good performances, you know the kind of thing. Now, I reckon all the film’s got going for it is a great soundtrack and two well-intentioned performances from Kate Hudson – as a young and worldly groupie – and Frances McDormand as the straight-talking, intellectually-challenging mother of a teenage journalist.
The story concerns young William Miller [Patrick Fugit], a fifteen year old whose freelance pieces in a San Diego paper attract the attention of Rolling Stone magazine, who – unaware of his age – throw him to the wolves of the rock tour 1970s style with up and coming [fictional] band Stillwater. The incidents and characters are based on Crowe’s own recollections of his stint as a teenage journo chasing rock icons like Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Peter Frampton and the Allman Brothers. So the relationship between Penny Lane [Hudson] and soporific lead guitar Russell Hammond [Billy Crudup], the strain constant creativity puts on the band members, the parties, sex, drugs, rock n roll [the last three barely touched on] should garner something of the sensations and excitement of those liberating times. They don’t. Crowe’s painted his characters and scenes in such a saccharine light the whole episode becomes dully ineffective. Yes, it amuses. Yes, the occasional foray on stage is well-managed. The arguments well-orchestrated. The music’s great. But that’s not enough. The film isn’t really dealing with its adults, it’s dealing with the growing pains of a fifteen year old. That he displays more instinct for people’s emotional well-being is supposed to affirm his route to adulthood. What it really does is make all the adults look like douche bags. Well, they are. Especially the men.
The representation of the female characters is particularly poor. McDormand nags, the sister runs away and the teen groupies restyle themselves ‘band aids’ because they hold the fabric of a band together by their beguiling presence. That’s such B.S. When Hudson discovers her character has been ‘sold on’ to Humble Pie for a case of beer, her reaction is to ask what brand of beer. I know she’s secretly hurting, but a little anger might have helped her appear more real, not the usual generic cipher of a good-time-teen sleeping her way around planet rock.
Philip Seymour Hoffman raps about how s***y rock stars are and he pretty much nails it. The behaviour of everyone in this movie is exaggeratedly low. They did frequently make me laugh, however, but that just made the moments of drama so obviously serious they became both inanely immature or unintentionally funny. Frances McDormand, who looks like she might have lived through this portrait of the seventies, has all the best lines and scenes. The film starts like a weird version of Young Sheldon, with an overprotective mother desperately trying to preserve her offspring’s childhoods. It ends on a moment of cathartic relationship development, for the teen journo and lead singer alike. Penny Lane jets off to Morocco to smoke dope, just like the meddling infatuated teen journo told her too. Ugh.
It was too much to take. Loved the soundtrack though.
There's a sense that the director is a compiler of classic scenes without a classic movie to hang them onto.
Feel Flows by The Beach Boys was the great discovery for me, and for most of us Elton's Tiny Dancer.
The film didn't quite have momentum. The Billy Crudup character didn't charm me as a pop star so it fell a bit flat. The film had a bit of The Wonder Years about it but without the jokes.
Likewise Vanilla Sky had the classic Times Square opener and some classic things but it isn't quite right.
FANTASY ISLAND (2020)
Not ever having seen the tv series I have no idea whether this is a close recreation or not but I gather that it is a sort of prequel to the series.
A group of people travel to Fantasy Island to have their fantasies come true. However all the people involved are interconnected to a past event which unravels as the movie progresses. It’s just about ok but certainly nothing special. I’m just guessing, but I would imagine fans of the series would be a little disappointed.
@Napoleon Plural that Tiny Dancer track is a strange one. In the context of the film, given the song just breached the US Top 40, I find it hard to believe the characters would all know the lyrics, although Elton John's early albums were all very highly regarded in the US. The song didn't chart in the UK at all for decades. It's now a regular feature on his compilation CDs because of the popularity generated by the movie. I think it was also played at the Princess of Wales' funeral, which given it's a song about a groupie always seemed entirely inappropriate to me. A very good song though.
Erm, wasn't that Candle in the Wind? 😁 I think that Elton song did quite well after he sung it at her funeral.
Sorry, these emoticons are crap aren't they. Devoid of nuance.
Ah, yes, I'm not talking of that. When Earl Spencer gave his eulogy he concluded it with some home movie montage footage and the soundtrack was Tiny Dancer. Maybe I'm wrong about that. Perhaps it was at one of those endless memorial services they had for her.
I don't recall that - easy enough to find out but I'm not heading off to Google then have to scroll all the way down this page.
As opposed to The Suicide Squad, in cinemas now. I think I got that the right way round.
Hardyboy and others expressed how bad this former try out was a while back on this thread but when I tuned in last night it didn't seem that bad and was all ready to speak up for it a bit. Any film that has Margot Robbie get her leathery tongue out to fell ate (autocorrect!) a prison bar can't be that bad and then Will Smith unexpectedly turns up. Joker is in it too. Often these movies where the first bit is about assembling the bad guys and recruiting them for a Dirty Dozen type mission can't go wrong and this doesn't too much. It slightly messes with the reality though - it's Gotham but then there's some passing reference to current day concern or bit of popular culture that I don't now recall - similar to when Bruce Wayne referenced Ted Bundy in possibly the third Batman movie with Val Kilmer. Is he supposed to know about that? How come autocorrect knows to correct the surname Kilmer too?!
One problem is the way they just keep bunging in pop records over the soundtrack. This can work well as a sort of visual/sound collage as in Cruella where it was done brilliantly but there's no getting away from the fact that it can be a cheap by numbers exercise, a way of making a film entertaining off the back of other artists' efforts. It can be just lazy.
The film is relentlessly grim to look at with no great sense of jeopardy - our anti-heroes are meant to prevent the apocalypse from happening. By whom I was never sure but my enjoyment was enhanced by some red wine even if my understanding wasn't. The villainy is represented by a small army of sludge-like dark CGI entities who explode when shot at. Margot Robbie is spunky in a Girl Power sort of way and appealing even if not given that much to do and that's about it. The last third is interminable.
The way this film has been re-done with much of the same cast - Viola Davis as the Govt roundup again presumably and Margot Robbie reprising her role is truly odd, is this unprecedented? Wasn't Batman v Superman rejigged by the director last year, to fans' acclaim? But that was with existing footage after the other one tanked. Imagine if EON said, hey, we'll get Brosnan back one let's have another go at Die Another Day, Or, as once seemed possible, Connery can return as Bond in the early 90s for another Thunderball remake.
I guess it shows the strength of the Comic Strip fanbase - I think Star Wars fans were lobbying for a different movie at one point, to re-do the last one I think?
CLASS OF 1984 (1982)
A new music teacher arrives at Lincoln High only to find that the school is run by a gang of vicious drug running students. His attempts to instil order are met with an ineffectual response from staff and police alike. It ends with a final confrontation between the teacher and the gang after they rape his wife.
Perry King stars as the frustrated teacher with Roddy McDowall (great as usual) as a sympathetic colleague and a slightly chubby Michael J Fox, in an early role, as one of the good students. Directed with a distinct air of menace by Mark Lester, who would go on to helm films like Firestarter and Commando with Arnold Schwarzenegger, this is an effective exploitation film resonant of films like the Death Wish series. The violence is strong and unnerving in places as the idealistic teacher is driven to revenge as his last resort.
Forty years on from my first viewing of this film it has lost none of its power to shock and disturb.
SHANG-CHI: LEGEND OF THE 10 RINGS, the latest Marvel film.
Really, really liked this one. The wife liked it too. This is one of the stronger 'origin' films with some interesting character work along the way and a really solid family dynamic between the opposing forces. There's also some good humor that actually lands.
The fights are really well done. They start out fairly grounded and get progressively more 'fantastic' as the film progresses and the magical nature of the story starts to gain more focus. The third act battle falls into the usual 'too much CGI trap' of almost all of the superhero films, but it has a certain beauty to it that keeps it all interesting and engaging.
If you go, you should know the following: The film stands alone just fine and you can watch it and enjoy it without knowing the other films. That said:
Regarding post credit scenes:
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
I really enjoyed the recent showing on telly, more than ever before, as I was never a great fan - the fact I first saw it as a Scout club treat, on a small colour portable TV with a video, probably wasn't the best introduction and I've never seen it on the big screen where it belongs.
That said, I deduced a few problems that had put me off.
1) The Ark. Like the hard-nosed US bureaucrats who enrol Indy near the start of the film, I guess I didn't attend much Sunday school but if you mention 'Ark' I think of Noah and his animals. I take it this 'ark' has nothing to do with that or did I miss something? Like being at a Bond film and having something called a 'space shuttle' when the name refers to a type of microchip, well, you keep half expecting the other thing to turn up at some point. Most of us would learn of Noah's ark in Sunday school, not the other 'Ark'. One line saying 'Hey, it's nothing to do with Noah and his animals - the ark is not a ship, it's a chest of some kind!' would have done it.
2) Is the Ark of the Covenant for real or not? I mean, do the protagonists really think the Nazis are on to something that can unleash power? Those bureaucrats honestly don't look like they'd believe in it. So what's the point? Indy doesn't quite look like he believes in it - 'mumbo jumbo, if you believe that kind of thing' and that's okay if he's channelling Hans Solo who doesn't buy into the Force. But it isn't quite clear if this is a McGuffin or something they really believe shouldn't fall into the hands of the Nazis, like the atomic bomb or something.
Again, a line by Indy saying 'The college needs the money and they're willing to pay - that's all I need to believe in!' would help, backed up by some foreboding by Marcus; 'But the Ark may be out of your league Indy, this isn't in your usual remit, you could be meddling with dark forces...' would help. We do get hints of the power throughout - flickering flames and so on when the gold disc is nearby - and this is pleasing but I was never sure really if we're meant to believe in it or not because otherwise it's jolly good the Nazi war effort is being distracted in this way.
That said, when is this taking place, before the war? Would the Americans be onto Nazi Germany by that point? Would they care? Plus, as Temple of Doom was a prequel, you'd think Indy would know better than to dismiss mumbo jumbo as there's plenty of it in that film. Perhaps in its triple bill Film4 should show Temple of Doom first!
3) Bellock. I never got the hang of this character as he seems kind of bland. I guess it means he doesn't overshadow the minimal charm of Ford. He has a white suit and hat and is elegant. That's okay but the actor just doesn't stand out for me. It's clear he's not the main villain, just being used by the Nazis for their own ends...
4) Marianne is a bit problematic complaining how young she was when Indy took advantage in the Me Too era. It uneasily foreshadows how Carrie Fisher talked of her co-star Ford some years later, who was a lot older than her. It maybe doesn't help that the actress looks a bit like the pleasingly goofy kid in American Graffiti, in which Ford appeared.
Their reunion was ripped off in Tomorrow Never Dies when Bond met Paris again, that said Indy redeems himself a bit by saving Marianne's life while our splendid hero just gets his old flame snuffed out then is back cackling with pleasure at Q's new gadget toy.
The relationship between Indy and Marianne owes something to Clark Kent with the spunky Lois Lane.
5) I recently found out that the Nazi villain in this film is played by Ronald Lacey...
UK sitcom fans will know him as the sneak thief Horrible Harris in Porridge written by Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais who would later go on to assist with Never Say Never Again. Of course, Pat Roach is in Raiders and he popped up as Lippe in NSNA and Clement and Le Frenais' 1980s sitcom Auf Wiedersehn Pet, so it all links up!
The thing I can't get over in this film is when Indy swims from one submarine to another in the middle of the ocean and just unlocks the lid of the Nazi sub like unscrewing a petrol tank on a car. Then stows away on it, all that stuff kills the film for me.
I enjoyed the settings and Cairo and the way it unfolds. I like the religious conviction of the ending. But again, while the final shot is up there with Citizen Kane, it doesn't quite make sense to me. Do the US bureaucrats believe in the Ark or not? If they don't, why bother going to all that trouble to get it? If they do, why bury it in a warehouse as if it's no interest to them? You pity the poor fellow who tries to open that decades down the line. It would make more sense if the bods indy has to deal with in the final scene are a different pair, replacements for the others who've moved department, and have no interest in their predecessor's 'wasteful' endeavours, nor in Indiana Jones.
The rival at the box office that year was For Your Eyes Only whose villain Julian Glover would appear of course in the third Indiana Jones film.
@Napoleon Plural very good - I take it you've seen The Raiders Minimalisation episode of The Big Bang Theory...
I haven't seen that - when you say 'Spoiler?' do you mean I might want to watch the whole episode instead of this clip or is it a spoiler for the other Indy films which we've all seen?