The clip offers an alternative perspective on Raiders of the lost ark.
I've just watched The Three Musketeers (2011).
Stars Matthew MacFadyen, Luke Evans and Ray Stevenson. James Corden makes an appearance in the old Roy Kinnear role.
I really enjoyed it. A fun swashbuckling fest.
The two villains are Christoph Waltz and Mads Mikkelsen.
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK is my favorite film, period. That said, I can't watch it for a while. I've kinda 'killed' it in that I don't know when I'll be able to watch it again as it's simply too familiar to me now.
That 2011 THE THREE MUSKETEERS is a real hoot. A lot of people slag on it for being too 'out there' but I thought it was a lot of fun. It's a well paced, entertaining romp. I sure wish we'd have gotten the sequel hinted at by the finale.
It won't spoil it for you, you've watched it !
It's so obvious that they were hoping for a sequel with that ending. 😁
EASY COME, EASY GO (1967)
Elvis Presley plays ex-navy frogman Ted Jackson who moonlights as a nightclub singer in between romancing Dodie Marshall’s yoga loving go-go dancer and trying to salvage a chest of gold coins from a 19th century shipwreck.
There’s a nice little adventure thriller desperately struggling to survive beneath the comedy and the songs. The six numbers are so poor Elvis himself described them as “s***.” Collectively the E.P. soundtrack was the lowest ever selling official release of the King’s career. A damning indictment which doesn’t do justice to a sporadically lively movie which tries to do something different by not being a musical, yet seems to have been hauled back into the dying fold. One suspects Colonel Tom Parker had a hand in the winching.
The title track isn’t all that bad, but it’s downhill from then on and I was open mouthed in stupefaction when Elvis contorts himself to mumble Yoga Is As Yoga Does in a duet with a horrendous looking Elsa Lanchester, who as she got older seemed more and more to resemble her husband, Charles Laughton. Dodie Marshall is a cute looker, but the infantilised plot doesn't even hint at romance.
The director is John Rich, who was very successful on television shows of the sixties, and that’s the sort of artistic level this kind of fluff achieves. For instance, there’s a fight scene on a boat which had all the hallmarks of Batman. I half expected “pow” and “splat” to appear in speech bubbles.
I’m being slightly unfair. An effort is made to make the piece less like a traditional Elvis movie. He looks obligingly confused keeping up with the modern groove, man, which is quite fun, and the diving sequences as well as the run-around treasure hunt plot make the thing worthwhile, just about. The mirth and the songs get in the way.
Producer Hal Wallis had a long association with Elvis. This was their ninth and final film together and diminishing returns had set in years before. As with all of the King’s lesser movies, you can see the unrealised potential, and you just wish someone made an attempt to tap it.
TO SIR, WITH LOVE (1967)
Sidney Poitier stars as a newly employed teacher in a rough East End of London school. His class is full of rejects from other schools and discipline is at a minimum. After unsuccessfully trying to teach general lessons he changes his method to teaching about life and what happens when they will leave school in a few weeks time, gradually he earns their respect culminating in the leavers class dance where he is presented with a gift from the pupils.
Based on a autobiographical novel by E. R. Braithwaite, this is a sentimental but undeniably entertaining film. Sidney Poitier had already won the best actor award at the Oscars back in 1963, and he displays all the acting tropes needed to turn in a good performance which is always overshadowed by his role as Virgil Tibbs in the same year’s In The Heat Of The Night. Judy Geeson is gorgeous as a schoolgirl approaching womanhood who has a crush on the teacher. Christian Roberts plays the class ringleader who initially baits and goads the teacher. Suzy Kendall plays another first time teacher but really the character is wasted by having little to do. Patricia Routledge (later to find fame as the domineering Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances) has an early role as a teacher who encourages Poitier to “keep going as he is a natural teacher.” Lulu sings the smash hit title song (which is played no less than 4 times) and stars as one of the pupils in her first acting role. There are several other well known faces who crop up throughout the film.
It all comes together a bit too easily, but that is to be expected from a 2 hour film, it would work far better as a tv series. The film takes me back to my own schooldays in the 60’s and I can see several typical characters in both the pupils and the teachers. The dance scenes are extremely naff, I doubt they were very good even at the time of release.
Worth seeing, especially the sights of swinging 60’s London.
I discovered to my delight that my wife had never seen this before. Although it wasn't as uproariously funny as I recalled it being, it was still a very enjoyable romp and the wife liked it quite a bit. We're going to Halloween Horror Nights this year and there's a BEETLEJUICE house there as the headliner...now my wife is excited to see it.
Gymkata, have a great time at HHN - I last did this in 2018 - these nights are some of the best fun anyone can possibly have - had to pay for the fast pass though, otherwise it would have been impossible to do all the houses, they let far too many people in nowadays, but maybe the crowds will be limited due to COVID?
Hey! We did HHN back in 2018 as well!
We splurged on the RIP tour tickets...after fighting the crowds last time, we said to heck with it.
As to the crowds: I have a good friend who works at US down in Florida. With the fact that HHN was cancelled last year, ticket sales for this year are apparently huge. They're anticipating a big showing. With the RIP pass, it won't matter as we'll just go around to the front of the line for all 10 houses.
La Riffa/The Raffle (1991)
I was posting pictures of Monica Bellucci in the Izabella Thread (as one does) when it occured to me that I've only watched a couple of her non-English language movies. I found her first lead part was in La Riffa, found it online and watched it. The movie starts when her character loses her rich husband in an accident. She has a small girl and she soon finds out her late husband was knee-deep in debt and he cheated om her for years. She also knows her only big thing she has going for her is that all men are crazy about her. In desperation she arranges a lottery with herself as the prize. Yes, you read that correctly. Twenty men can buy into the lottery with a very large sum of money, enough to make her debt free and and leaving enough money for herself and her daughter. The lucky winner gets to have Monica Bellucci as his mistress for fpur years. With Bellucci in the part it's entirely belivable that twenty rich men would gamble a fortune in the hope of having her as his mistress. The wives, her parents and the entire town learn about her unconventional plan, something that leads to some problems.
I'm not sure this movie could've been made today, even in Italy. We also get to see Monica Bellucci na ..... this is an Italian movie starring Monica Bellucci 😏. While there are comedic moments, this isn't really a comedy. Is it a drama with some satire, romance and comedy? Maybe.
The movie isn't great, but it works. Bellucci's acting isn't award-worthy, it works fine. Meryl Streep wouldn't have been belivable in this part, but Bellucci is. The lead needs to look absolutely fantastic, and Monica Bellucci is perfect in the part.
I think some of you guys reviewed this earlier this year.
Known as Horror of Dracula in the States, Hammer Studios follow up to The Curse of Frankenstein includes more blood and eroticism but dispenses with almost all of its source material. Screenwriter Jimmy Sangster is on record as saying his stripped back version of Bram Stoker’s famous tale was deliberately designed to ensure the film didn’t run any longer than ninety minutes. He plays loose with the familiar story, cutting out Renfield and the plague-ridden sea journey, changing all the locations – the action doesn’t leave the vicinity of Dracula’s castle – and muddling the inter-familial relationships. It makes the movie short, but the story loses something in this condensed and fast version. I prefer the slow build up of tension present in the 1979 remake, which tried hard to go back to source; Nosferatu (1922) of course, is the closest.
The film’s well directed by Terence Fisher and the shock moments deliver. Dracula’s destruction is particularly riveting. The sensual allure of vampirism is well represented, if a little melodramatic. The whole thing looks a little cheap and conforms to a host of stereotypical interpretations of peasants, servants, disbelievers, etc. The music is appalling – the climax is played out to a skit that resembles Dick Barton – and the performances over-sincere. As if to reinforce the bargain-basement appeal, I noted Van Helsing’s hotel room was reused in next year’s The Hound of the Baskervilles and Dracula’s castle tomb is the same one as Lucy Holmwood’s, minus the soil. Peter Cushing plays Van Helsing as a much younger man than anyone previously had or latterly does. He’s pretty good. Christopher Lee has no dialogue after the first fifteen minutes; he carries all the action and menace in his movement, his eyes and facial expressions, an achievement in itself. He’s exceptionally good in a star-making role. The final death scene is a moment of true horror. The rest of the movie, well, it’s all a bit ordinary and staid.
Murder on the Orient Express - the Kenneth Branagh version.
Now this was a lot better than I'd expected. The thing about this whodunnit is that much of it is set on a train derailed in the snow so it's claustrophobic and one-note. Yet this film gets away from this by emphasising the Orient nature of the train - it opens in Istanbul and heads north, the first 20 minutes are different, it's all exotic, sunny climes so it wrong foots you. I guess it's like what I said about The Spy Who Loved Me - this is the underwater Bond but unlike the Thunderball treatment they chuck in some snow and sand to keep it from getting samey.
The look of the film is superb even if some of the steam train shots venture into Hogwarts or Polar Express territory.
Some of it is a bit odd if I'm being picky - Michelle Pfeiffer is 10 years too old for the part she's playing here although with some dodgy accents it later turns out that's part of the yarn, the character is putting it on.
The film is not really menacing and prefers sentimentality, saddling Poirot with a long-lost love that he gazes at from a picture in his wallet or something. It's a problematic thriller if you know how it pans out, it's not exactly credible but there you go. I thought the way they dealt with the flashback and the way Poirot know about the case presented in the flashback was better done, it didn't start with a load of exposition.
One ill-judged aspect was that after the passengers learned of the Belgium detective's verdict and he walked away, the train could be heard erupting into 'For he's a jolly good fellow...' which arguably undermined the tone. I suppose they wanted to end it on an upbeat note.
I really liked that one, Napoleon. Very solid, very classy take on the classic mystery. I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel, DEATH ON THE NILE and hope that it succeeds so that we can have a proper Agatha Christie cinematic universe.
I'm also looking forward to Death on the Nile. I think Murder on the Orient Express was a better film than I might have expected, even though I'd only rank it 3rd of the Murder on the Orient Express adaptations I've watched - after the David Suchet and Albert Finney versions.
One snag I might mention is that once we've seen the film - and the denouement is very memorable - there's no getting away that you know whodunnit, so in this one when Branagh's Poriot is puzzling about how he cannot figure it out the murderer despite all the clues, this is one instance where you find yourself thinking, mate, it's obvious...
I finally saw the four-hour Zack Snyder cut of JUSTICE LEAGUE. I didn't hate the theatrical cut--I was just underwhelmed by it, and I thought it was looking forward to a better sequel. Well, this version is jaw-droppingly BRILLIANT. Cyborg--pretty much an afterthought in the theatrical version--emerges as a full-blown character, with a strong story involving his father and with an important role in the plot. The villain Steppenwolf--just a visual effect in the theatrical film--also gets some rounding-out, coming across as more menacing and showing his own need to prove himself to his master Darkseid. . .who gets some real screen time here. Last, the resurrection of Superman is truly moving. The film closes with the threat of Darkseid launching an invasion of earth and, of course, setting up a sequel. . .but it looks like that will never come. Darn.
Luc Besson is a one man film factory. He’s written, directed and produced countless products since he first emerged on the scene in the early eighties. Sadly this means the end result of his labour is sometimes less than it ought to be, diluted by the necessity to keep the conveyor belt of movies moving. Anna is such a film.
Basically, this 2019 thriller is a re-tread of his own classic Nikita, following the fortunes of a down at heel, abused young woman who is given an opportunity to better herself by joining a secret service institution, in this case the KGB. While it sounds promising, Besson isn’t doing anything he hasn’t done before. The story’s made even more repetitive by the fact we’ve seen an awful lot of this storyline recently: Red Sparrow, Atomic Blonde, Hanna, Salt, even Killing Eve on television. While Besson may have originated the format, he adds nothing new to it and Anna is a by-the-numbers thriller where the sum of the numbers is very low.
Sasha Luss plays the titular spy, who impersonates an aspiring model as a cover for a series of assassination coups. It defies belief she’s never caught. She does a tremendous amount of killing, some of it exceptionally bloody. Luss' career started in photo and catwalk modelling and she’s rather effective in a grim, unsmiling fashion. Her blank expression lends itself to the duplicitous and quietly scheming character. She’s competent in the action scenes, which are unrestrained, stylised and don’t deserve our attention or praise. Anna’s handler is Olga, a Russian witch in the Rosa Klebb mould. As depicted by Helen Mirren, Olga is about as good a villain as you get in these things, sharp, inscrutable, heartless, cruel and ambitious. I enjoyed her playing and so too does Luss, as her best moments come when she’s sparring with her superior. What most impresses here is how the nature of the characters, particularly the numerous villains, is developed through the narrative, but with so little explanatory background. It’s a demonstration in brevity and accuracy which the writers of recent Bond films should take note of. Audiences don’t need to be spoon-fed every second of a person’s life story to understand them. Nor do they need to be tenuously joined at the hip. Besson has clearly studied what makes the very best thrillers work – including the best of Bond – as he leaves characterisation up to his actors. His script is merely the bones on which to hang tension and action and intrigue.
So, everyone is out for a piece of Anna: Piotr, her hopeless loser boyfriend; Alex, her KGB recruiter and trainer [Luke Evans, a dullard of a role], Vassiliev, Head of the KGB; the gossipy self-indulgent models and agents; egotistical photographers; clinging girlfriends; an American CIA entrapment expert [Cillian Murphy, equally dull]. It’s amazing the poor girl isn’t mentally and physically torn apart. The film progresses steadily and without too much fuss. The criss-crossing time line doesn’t help. The lack of attention to detail is annoying. For instance, the film is set in the late eighties and early nineties, but the technology featured is more akin to the 2010s; or there’s a fight scene in a restaurant where stuntmen keep climbing up off the floor to be killed a second or third time – I assumed this was intended as a visual joke, but as the film lacks any sense of humour, I wasn’t sure.
Anna had disappointing box office and I can see why. It’s a very ordinary, uninventive thriller, which at times mocks the director's best work, like The Fifth Element and Leon. Besson has done a lot better than this. Perhaps it is time not to spread his talent so thin. Interestingly, I rather enjoyed Eric Serra’s music score and wondered, not for the first time, why he delivered such monumentally unexciting music for Goldeneye.
The eight hundred (2020)
This movie was the biggest box officer hit in the world last year, so why has so few of is heard about it? Probably because it's Chinese. It's the first time a non-English language movie is number one at the world box office, most likely because of the pandemic, but The Eight Hundred had a huge budget and it's the first Chinese movie shot entirely in IMAX.
The movie is based on a real story from Shanghai in 1937. The Japanese invaded China and after three months of fighting the Chinese Nationalst army was pulling out of Shanghai. This movie was supposed to be released in 2019, but was delayed because of "technical difficulties". Many believe the real reason was the aniversary of the People's Republic of China, and the movie was insensitive enough to remind the public that the Nationalists did most of the fighting against the invaders while the communist forces mainly fought their Nationalists countrymen.
The Nationalist army wanted a small unit to stay behind to cover their retreat. An elite batallion trained and equiped by the Germans back when their main job was fighting communists. They chose to defend themselves in the Sihang warehouse, a thick-walled bank building by the river. That turned out to be a fortunate choice since the Foreign Consessions (an area of the city controlled by former colonial powers, in effect neutral at the time) was just a cross the river. Because of this the Japanese didn't use artillery or bombers against the warehouse to avoid hitting the Consession. The defenders of the warehouse were just 414 soldiers. To confuse the attackers the commanding officer said they were eight hundred, the regiment's original size. These 414 soldiers were up against at least 20 000 Japanese soldiers. The soldiers fought with great bravery, holding the warehouse much longer than everyone expected. This happend in full view of both foreign and Chinese inhabitants on the other side of the river in the Consession along with the international press. The Chinese hoped this would push the Western powers to help China in the war against the Japanese invaders. This didn't happen, but the 800 boosted Chinese fighting moral and helped turn the outside world against Japan.
The story is exiting, it's beautifully shot and told and the budget shows. There are many standout scenes, including one with three Chinese deserters hiding in the canals under the warehouse hiding for Japanese forces.
I like how the movie doesn't shy away from showing Chinese soldiers deserters and the brutal handling of them by their officers. They also show them hiding, drinking and showing fear. Unfortunately the movie has scenes that are exagerated and far too flag-waving (litterally in one case), going full "Pearl Harbour" in many scenes. There was one real case of a single Chinese soldier stopping attacking sappers from undermining the warehouse wall with explosives by turning himself into a suicide bomber. As if this wasn't cinematic and patriotic enough for the movie, the director has many more soldiers throwing themselves over the wall with handgrenades strapped to themselves. I encourage anyone who wants to watch the movie to read the Wikipedia entry on the Sihang warehouse after watching it, both to marvel at what's true and also be aware of what's made up or exagerated. Please note the real numbers of losses. They will surprise you, that's all I'm going to say.
The movie is well made and spectacular and I enjoyed watching a blockbuster not made in English. You should considered or too, I think.
I've been at the cinema! I planned for NTTD to be my first post-strict restrictions cinema experience, but Denis Villeneuve's Dune was to promising to miss. I don't think that man has made a movie that isn't very good yet. Villeneuve should direct a Bond movie ASAP!
The cinema was almost full (mainly of students) with no social distancing to speak of, so no-one can say I don't take chances for art. 😃
Dune has been called "Star Wars for adults" and the first SW was reportedly influenced by the Dune novels. The story focuses on the young Paul Atreides Timothee Chalamet, the heir of a noble family on the planet Caladan. The location shooting for Caladan was done in Stadlandet, a couple of hours from where I live, close to the planned site of the world's first ship tunnel.
The Atreides family are given dominion over the desert planet of Dune, a very harsh place where the universe's most valuable resource is harvested. The indigonous desert people of Dune have been oppressed for generations. There are some parallells to Arabs and oil I think. A messiah figure in Dune religion is even called Mahdi, a name used for a messiah figure in islam.
The plot is complex, but Villeneuve wisely cut the first novel in two. This is Dune part I. Together with good design and storytelling I think the plot wasn't too hard to follow. The acting, design, directing etc is very good. We get both the smaller, personal scenes as well as the spectacular and epic scenes we expect.
I very much encourage you to brave the pandemic and watch this great sci-fi movie om the big screen.
Never say never HB. While it's true that Zack Snyder and WB have a pretty toxic relationship right now, the hope is that the so called Snyderverse universe may get another look when WB merges with Discovery and gets a new studio head. Add to that the fact that most recent DC movies that pivoted away from the Snyderverse like Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey have been box office flops, the apparently strong connections between this movie and the upcoming Flash feature, and rumors that even the current regime is investigating the possibility of doing a follow up to Justice League to save face with the incoming management and there may be hope that we'll revisit that universe again. All wishful thinking? Maybe, but at the end of the day, money talks and Zack Snyder's Justice League still doing quite a bit of business. The movie was released on DVD, BluRay and 4K last week and has been selling really, really well.
From what I understand, the new FLASH movie is going to be a softer reboot of the DC films. Flash will go into multiple worlds, including one where Michael Keaton is Batman and one where a lady (name escapes me) is Supergirl (no Superman).
The current prevailing consensus is that, when all is said and done, the worlds will be merged resulting in a new cast going forward. This will enable them to keep moving forward with the cast/characters that work and are popular AND replace the ones that either aren't popular, are problematic, or simply want to move on.
Superman: Henry Cavill
Batman: Ben Affleck
Wonder Woman: Gal Gadot
Flash: Ezra Miller
Aquabro: Jason Momoa
Cyborg: Ray Fisher
Batman: Michael Keaton
Cyborg: Deleted entirely
Per pictures and leaks, it looks like Affleck returned to play Batman for early scenes.