I hope THE FLASH won't have a multiple-alternative-universes setup--that's way too much like the upcoming Spider-Man flick
I know HardyBoy knows his comicbook history, but for the sake of you illiterates out there:
it was actually an issue of the Flash that introduced the whole confusing multiverse concept: Flash 123, September 1961, which explained why there were two versions of characters with the same name by inventing two parallel earths, Earth-1 where the then contemporary DC superhero characters lived, and Earth-2 where the superhero characters DC comics published in the 1940s still lived and occasionally came out of retirement. This idea of the parallel earths became an integral concept in DC comics continuity.
it used to be that Marvel Comics partisans pointed at the multiverse concept as one reason why Marvel was superior to DC: all the Marvel comics characters fitted into one seamless shared continuity, whereas DC comics needed these convoluted parallel universes to retroactively explain away the contradictions. So its somewhat ironic that now they're making films of all this stuff, a Flash film with a multiverse story should be accused of recycling a concept from a Marvel comics film!
napoleon plural said:
It seems to me I've been watching British films like this and reviewing them on AJB for the last 20 years or so.
and may you do so for 20 more!
The captain/ Der hauptman (2017)
This German movie is based on a true story from the last couple of weeks of WWII. Willi is a deserter from the military who finds a captain's uniform. Since he's being hunted by the authorities who will execute him on sight, Willi puts on the officer's uniform. He soon discovers there are more advantages to being an officer than basic survival. He gets food, drink, transportation, followers, respect and power. Willi claims he's on a mission from der Fürer himself to restore order behind the crumbling front. After a while his little "detachment" find a prison camp for military deserters, thieves etc. The leaders of the camp are worried the prisoners may be saved by the enemy while brave soldiers are getting killed at the approaching front. They see Willi as someone who can cut thru the red tape and find a solution. As we know, Germans finding "solutions" at that time often ended very badly. The situation spins more and more out of control while the newfound power goes to Willi's head.
This movie has a new perspective on the war and a wild plot. The budget is clearly low, but I don't think this is a problem. The Captain doesn't need a bigger budget, it strengths lie elsewhere. I can reccomend it if you want something different, and please stay for the Phytonesque credits!
Young and Innocent
yet another lesser known Hitchcock from his early British period, this one fits in between his fourth and fifth spy films, and was his third-to-last British film before relocating to Hollywood. Although it breaks the run of 1930s spy films, it repeats many of the elements of the 39 Steps.
Story begins with a young man discovering a corpse while walking on the beach. As he runs to get help, he is spotted by two ladies who assume him to be the murderer fleeing, and the police believe them over him (thus he is the "Innocent" of the title). While he is being interrogated by police, another young lady walks right into to the interrogation room, gives the accused man some medical attention, and scolds the interrogating officer. Who would dare to do this? Turns out she is the Chief Constable's daughter, the "Young" of the title.
"Innocent" manages to escape en route to the court room and stows away in "Young"'s motorcar even though she is surrounded by her father's fellow cop friends. At first she is scared as she ought to be by an escaped murder suspect, then the two develop a trust and rapport and team up to find the real murderer, while her father prepares his resignation because of the family disgrace. Truth is "Young" is smarter braver and more resourceful than all of them, and if there were ever any sequel would probably end up Chief Constable herself one day.
So you see how it recycles the 39 Steps, except the emphasis is shifted from spy thriller elements to the romance of two young lovers on the run. Classic Hitchcock camera move to watch out for comes near the end, when our heroes enter a crowded hotel ballroom looking for the real killer, and in one long continuous move (done with crane) the camera arcs up over the floor full of dancers, reveals an orchestra playing at the far end of the room (in minstrel blackface!) and finally zooms in on the drummer, who's eyes blink convulsively.
"Young" is played by 17 year old Nova Pilbeam, who just three years earlier played the little girl Peter Lorre kidnapped in The Man Who Knew Too Much. I always said the child actress cast in that film was too big to convince as a little girl, turns out that's because she was 14!
Executive Decision (1996)
Kurt Russell, Steven Seagal and Halle Berry star in this thriller in which a team of U.S. Special Forces commandoes (with an army intelligence analyst and a civilian engineer in tow) attempt to save a hijacked 747, which has a nerve gas bomb on board.
A well-made thriller which is worth a watch, if you have not already seen it.
I rather like EXECUTIVE DECISION as well. Fun to see David Suchet (Poirot!!!) in a bad guy role.
We watched THE PROTEGE last night with Maggie Q, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Keaton. Directed by Martin Campbell (GOLDENEYE and CASINO ROYALE).
Good, not great. It's a fairly generic plot with really only one story beat that caught me by surprise. The action is solid but there isn't enough of it and what's present never lasts long enough. Seriously, it's like an action scene will start and then it'll end abruptly right when it's starting to kick into gear.
What elevates it is the acting. Maggie Q is solid if unremarkable in the lead role but Keaton and Jackson are both great and are obviously having a lot of fun. Keaton, in particular, came to play. I was very entertained whenever he was on the screen.
I'd recommend it as a perfect movie to fold laundry to.
Charge of the light brigade (1968)
It turns out the famous cavalry charge in the Crimean war didn't happen because Flashman farted after all! Seriously, I've never read any books om the light brigade or the Crimean war, so other than Flashman's adventures and this movie I don't know a lot on the topic.
The movie is better than I feared, so that's something. I feared a late overpatriotic story about the empire, but thankfully it isn't. The story is told both from the viewpoint of the officers and the rank and file. The ordinary troopers are shown from recruitment, via training (from the basics of telling left from right, via riding to more advanced riding and fighting. Sadly most of the officers have bought their ranks. They feel nice uniforms, parades and balls are far more important than all that ungentlemanly warfare stuff. Why train when all true noblemen are born with the knowledge of how to command troops in war?
One of the officers named Nolan knows what real war is because he served in India, and the commanding officers despices him for it. I can't say too much about the charge itself other than there were cannons to to the right of them, cannons to the left of them. Into the valley of death rode the six hundred. There was little room for thought since their job was do and die, and they most dutyfully did just that. Possibly because it seemed right due to the name of the valley.
The movie uses short animated segments based on illustrations of the time spread throughout the movie, often to show the mood in Britain and the fleet sailing to war. It's really good and parodic in nature, reminding me a bit of Monthy Phyton. It must also have saved a lot of budget. But the charge itself isn't animated and it isn't very impressive. But the strength of the movie isn't the battle, it's what mattered to the officers. The petty social competition, traditions, parades and the colour og bottles on the dinner table. No lost classic, but interesting enough.
Black Narcissus (1947)
How did I miss this movie all these years? The movie is about a group of nuns who start a convent in the Himalayas. The convent is a former harem high up on a mountain om the edge of a steep cliff. A native prince who's called the general rules the society down in the valley. An American man who's gone somewhat native also lives in the valley. He's the only western person there. The dramatic nature and the beautiful and exotic building the nuns have moved into has an effect on them. Everything around them is beautiful and sensual. Not simply sexual, even though the murals om the walls are very erotic, it's about the senses. In spite of the sensual tension there is hardly any skinn on display and we don't ser as much as a kiss. Perhaps it's more about not fitting in where they have placed themselves, to be alien in your surroundings?
Every scene is colourful and beautiful. Nothing is shot in Asia, but at home in England. The use of backdrop painting and sets still make everything look very ...... not real, but maybe hyper-real? This movie is very different from every British movie from the 40s. In fact it's dramatically different from any old movie I've seen. Not a lot happens in the plot, much of the time it's about mood and atmosphere. Still I never found it boring. A strange movie indeed.
A mini-series based on the same novel was made recently with Gemma Arterton in the lead as the mother superior.
I've only seen Black Narcissus once, but I was utterly captivated by it. The image that always lingers with me is the high angle shot of Deborah Kerr at the bell on the edge of the cliff. One of the most stunning and dramatic uses of matte painting that I've ever seen in a film.
I'd recommend checking out more Powell and Pressburger movies if you enjoyed Black Narcissus. Two classics that I very much enjoyed are A Matter of Life and Death and The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.
Today I watched Manhunter (1986) directed by Michael Mann.
The first film adaptation of a Thomas Harris 'Hannibal Lecter' thriller. This one stars William Peterson as Will Graham, an FBI man who is trying to catch a serial killer known as the Tooth Fairy and consults with Dr Hannibal Lecktor (for some reason spelt differently in this film) as played here by Brian Cox. I thought this was an excellent thriller. Very stylish, in an extremely 80s way. The shots are often unusual and interesting, the performances are excellent and the mood is often very noirish, I was gripped from start to finish even though I was already reasonably familiar with the story.
Which brings me on to the later film Red Dragon. The film was remade about 16 years later, with Anthony Hopkins reprising his Dr Lecter from Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal. That was actually the first Lecter film that I ever saw and I loved it. Having now seen Manhunter, I'd say that Red Dragon is an inferior film but I am glad that both versions exist. If I can find the time I'd like to do a rewatch of the Hopkins trilogy sometime soon. Manhunter has certainly got me in the mood for more Lecter/Lecktor.
I've seen "A matter of life and death" and I intend to see more movies by Pressburger and Powell.
Last film seen. Diamonds Are Forever. I think we all know about that one!
Not the last film seen but I have been loaned what I think will be a very enjoyable film. 'The First Great Train Robbery' starring Sean Connery. The friend who it belongs to has told me it is a good film so I am looking forward to watching it when I get the time.
I've seen it and read the book. It's no masterpiece, but I enjoyed it.
The Pride and the Passion
Late 50s film set in the Napoleonic Wars I think. But not really, it's in the US. I don't know. It's got Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra - not naturals for a period piece, they only really convince in modern garb. Some actors are like that, they can only do contemporary.
At one point Grant wears the outfit Lazenby wore in the Portugal bullfight scene - white shirt, beige trousers, long black boots. At this point I thought, hey, I can point this out to my ajb friends.
Cary Grant is in his 'Do you mind...' manner that Tony Curtis took the mickey out of in Some Like It Hot.
It's a drag of a movie as it's about the Spanish - one of them Sinatra, he's not so bad really - having to drag a big cannon across country to fight someone, with a British guy (Grant) in tow and the main melodrama is their having eyes for Sophia Loren. Or is it Gina Lollabridgida. It's alll soap opera stuff though to be fair it was a poor print on the Classic Movies Action channel and back in the day it would have been magnificent to watch on the big screen.
It's the sort of film you'd recommend to @chrisno1 because then I wouldn't have to write a review of it. But it doesn't have Elvis in it. He could have been in it though, it wouldn't have made much difference and we might have got a song.
@Napoleon Plural pity you didn't catch my review on page 352 might have saved you the trouble of watching it.
Well, that's it. You can write my review for No Time To Die. It's bound to be better than what I come up with.
Some of you may recall my review of the 1930s film The Lost Horizon and how some of it was borrowed for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Well, what the film didn't take from that, it took from the somewhat similar She - a similar tale of intrepid adventure seeking for the secret of eternal life. It was remade in the 60s with Ursula Andress in the leading role - 'She Who Must Be Obeyed...'
This one stars Randolph Scott, Nigel Bruce (who was Watson in all the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies, plus a star of more respectable fair like The Thief of Bagdad and Hitchcock's Rebecca) and Broadway star Helen Gahagan in her one film role. Much of her look and what she does must have inspired Disney's Wicked Queen in Snow White - or did that come earlier? Later on her delivery is not unlike that of Lileth in the US sitcom Frasier.
My DVD turned up as a needlessly colourised version and I grumped a bit about this for 15-20 minutes until I realised I could just turn the colour down on the TV and it would be black and white.
This is a film that made a big impression on me as a kid when it was shown on telly but now it never ever is. It holds up quite well though in contrast to The Lost Horizon it's quite elementary in its plotting. Max Steiner does the score and the look and set design is impressive - then again, King Kong was the same era so it's not unprecedented.
The titular character takes a shine to our main adventurer but wants him to stay in the newly discovered kingdom forever and enjoy the so-called benefits of eternal life. The carrot is off set by a stick of human ritualistic sacrifice and smoky fires attended by primitive tribesmen - that's the bit they borrowed for Temple of Doom, it seems. Once projected scene is in fact highly sadistic.
My copy is in b&w though I did watch a colourised version on YouTube once- stick to the original, I'd say.
Since you mention King Kong it's worth pointing out that many of the sets & costumes are from that earlier production, and many of the crew worked on it. Not as many as on The Most Dangerous Game which was filmed almost simultaneously and even had Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong in the cast- early cost saving measures, which Hammer would rely on many years later.
The 1935 version is a grand adventure, well worth watching. I have a sneaking preference for the Hammer 1965 version though- anything with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee floats my boat!
I've never seen the 1935 version. With sets from King Kong, music from Steiner and the Merian C Cooper touch, it sounds quite exotic.
Just checked out The Most Dangerous Game on imdb - shades of Octopussy I'd say - though that in itself 'borrowed' from Bond scribe's Flashman novel. I'll have to check it out - which means buying it of course as again, such films are just never shown on telly ever.
I wrote an in depth review of it a few months ago. I love it. A great movie. Occasionally The Most Dangerous Game crops up on Talking Pictures.
this film met my expectations of, it didn’t exceed them(not in the slightest). But didn’t lower them either. This film is average.
The Fourth Protocol, 1987
with a middle aged Michael Caine as the good guy and a boyish looking Pierce Brosnan as the bad guy
Though based on a book by Frederick Forsyth, this could easily be a Harry Palmer adventure. Same insubordinate attitude, same lousy surveillance gigs, then seconded to even more humiliating duties after he's lipped off to his boss one time too many. And his name's not 'Arry, either, so that proves it.
Super convoluted le Carre type plot with shadowy spymasters on both sides conspiring evil schemes that have nothing to do with the official goals of the Cold War. At least there's exciting and more easy to understand typical spywork being done in the foreground by our two main characters, but I was completely lost what was really going on behind the scenes.
Brosnan appears here about the time he coulda been making the Living Daylights. How come he could do this one then? I thought Remington Steele meant he had no time to make big screen spy movies? He's playing a Russian spy with a posh English accent who nobody suspects even though he's actings rather weird in his new neighbourhood, moved in next door to an American airbase. I wonder if Alec Trevelyan knew about this?
say you know how BrosnanBond made his debut in a men's room? Well in this film, Brosnan actually picks up a guy in a men's room and goes back to his car with him! its not what you're thinking, the stranger unwittingly witnessed a handover between Brosnan and another spy, so Brosnan had to get him alone to dispose of him, and an anonymous mens room pick-up was the logical way to do it. As a cold ruthless highly efficient spy with more evil things to worry about, he's not going to let any homophobic squeamishness get in the way of chance for a neat kill. But he does it so coolly, you'd assume this was not his first time! ...and yet people are still arguing about that scene with CraigBond and Sylva, as if CraigBond could not have really meant what we all heard him say. A good spy's going to do whatever is needed, not worry about what narrowminded folk in the audience might think.
There's also a long drawn-out bomb-assembly scene thats dripping with sexual tension and literal techno-fetishism.
@caractacus potts I am a big fan of The Fourth Protocol. I find it a thrilling, if a bit workmanlike, spy thriller. I watched the film many times before reading the Forsyth novel, but I eventually did read it and loved it also. There are big chunks of the book which didn't make the transition to film, including a section set in my home country, South Africa.
As you say, the behind the scenes spymaster stuff is a little hard to get ones head around but the actors employed in those senior intelligence roles are first rate and I find you go along with all that stuff without really worrying whether or not you understand the finer details. Ian Richardson is a particular favourite of mine.
You asked "Brosnan appears here about the time he coulda been making the Living Daylights. How come he could do this one then? I thought Remington Steele meant he had no time to make big screen spy movies?" Wasn't it Cubby Broccoli who said that as long as Brosnan is playing Remington Steele he didn't want him to play Bond?
Braun were sponsoring Bond's razors at this time and didn't want an actor associated with Remington - little known fact.
Oh alright, I read that Brozzer's contract for Remington was renewed because of all the publicity about him being Bond made him appealing. Then they didn't go ahead with it anyway.
Maybe there was another reason, like Dalton was always first choice and he became available. You'd think Cubby could buy Brosnan out of his contract if he were that keen.
Re the men's room pick up in The Fourth Protocol, a similar gambit was used in Forsyth's Day of the Jackal of course, with the assassin copping off with a guy in an Amsterdam sauna because he needed a place other than a hotel to kip, he knew he was on the radar of the authorities then. Man, that was a great, great film.
If you liked that, check out oh, that film with Denholm Elliott and Gabriel Byrne and Greta Scacchi from the early 80s, British thriller, you know it.
THE LAST OF SHEILA (1973) with Richard Benjamin, James Mason, Dyan Cannon, Ian McShane, Raquel Welch, James Coburn, and others.
Fun little murder mystery type movie set in the world of movies.
James Coburn is a movie producer. Sheila, apparently his girlfriend (it's never made too clear) is killed in a hit and run accident. Some time later, he invites 6 others to join him on a tour of the Mediterranean on his yacht. When they get there, he informs them that they'll be playing a game of sorts, involving each of them knowing one secret about one of the other people on the yacht. I'll stop there as the plot is actually pretty clever, holds up logically for the most part, and leads to a pretty satisfying ending that plays fair with the viewer if you've been paying attention.
Crikey, @Gymkata where did you pull that one from? I haven't seen it since I about 12 - it's as good as I remember, then ! 😀
ROCKET MAN (2019)
The Elton John musical biopic which came on the heels of the Freddie Mercury musical biopic. Under Lee Hall's screenwriting and Dexter Fletcher's direction, Rocket Man is a warts and all snapshot of fat boy from Pinner Reg Dwight's rise to global superstardom as Elton John, his friendship with Bernie Taupin, his awful family, his horrid manager, his addictions, regrets and triumphs.
Framed as a proper musical, not a biopic with songs, Taron Egerton plays and sings Elton and is a revelation. A supremely accomplished performance. He's matched by Jamie Bell's softly spoken, thoughtful turn as Taupin. When they are on screen together you really get a sense of kindred spirits. The songs are spaced rapidly and appropriately into the narrative, although not at the correct moments in time - that's not really expected as the movie offers a window into Elton John's life, not an accurate history. I love the way the lyrics represent the trials, hopes and despairs of the characters.
As success beckons, the tantrums start, the heart breaks and heart attacks come, rehab beckons. The movie starts in magnificent fashion, as Elton savvies into addiction therapy still kitted in his concert outfit, a devil-with-wings, and announces "OK, I know how this goes: my name's Elton Hercules John and I'm an alcoholic..."
The film doesn't pull punches. His early home life is devoid of love. He struggles with being gay - as many did in 1969. He hurts those he loves most - which neatly reflects his parents attitudes - although it is obvious neither of them love him unconditionally. The scene where his Dad offers more attention to his new family than he ever did to Elton's is crushing. The joy's of early success, exemplified by a fantasy concert at the Troubadour, are brilliantly presented. The sudden regrets hurtle at him as fast as the success: as Bernie abandons him for an exotic Californian lover, Elton trembles the words of Tiny Dancer, reflecting his feelings for Bernie as well as Bernie's for his lover. The long climb down inevitably becomes more of a soap opera, rescued by the fine musical staging.
Above all Egerton exudes confidence in the title role: vulnerable as a youngster, then overworked and over indulged, finally desperate and lonely - we believe in him whole heartedly. He's in almost every scene. The moment where he attempts suicide is affecting as we've noted how everyone has abandoned him, how he's thrown them away with the abandon he throws pills down his throat. Ethereal strangers come to his rescue, accompanied by his own music. When he embraces his own younger self, we understand he has finally reconciled his world and where he stands with in it, the highs and lows, the people, how even that younger self has contributed to who he is and where he is, that the little fat boy needed love and friendship, which he never got from those closest to him.
An outstanding film with great musical numbers set to songs we of course recognise and full of urgent exciting and attentionful performances.
I was smiling at the end and that hasn't happened recently.
Hey! It was recommended to me by a friend on another board that I'm on. It's coming out on blu ray soon and he was excited for it. I found it playing on iTunes so I grabbed it.
I've only just got round to watching this clip from The Big Bang Theory which ties together the problems with the plot of Raiders of the Lost Ark. It's brilliant! But yes spoilers re the ending of Raiders if nobody's seen the film (unlikely)....
You could do something similar for Casino Royale however, I feel... Without Bond, Le Chiffre lives but so does Vesper and so does that nice Venetian house at the end - Quantum make off with the cash anyway.