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  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 18,950MI6 Agent
    edited December 2021

    Two fun facts for you:

    - Jenny Skavlan, the brunette in the Dead Snow outhouse scene, auditioned for a Bond girl role (most likely Madeleine).

    -There's also "Dead Snow 2" (2014) with even more nazi zombies! 😁😱

  • GymkataGymkata Minnesota, USAPosts: 3,612MI6 Agent
    edited December 2021

    FIVE DEADLY VENOMS (1978), the Shaw Brothers Kung Fu classic.

    In Kung Fu cinema, there are really 2 movies that you could call the CITIZEN KANEs of the genre:

    • FIVE DEADLY VENOMS (aka THE FIVE VENOMS)
    • THE 36 CHAMBERS OF SHAO-LIN (aka SHAO-LIN MASTER KILLER)

    I love them both but personally give the edge to 5DV for the simple fact that I like the characters more. Also, the final fight sequence is really something to see.

    It's a fun premise. An old Kung Fu master is dying. Before he dies, he tasks his current student with finding out if his five prior students are using their skills for good or for evil. Each of of the original five students mastered a specific style that had special abilities associated with it. The styles were Centipede, Snake, Scorpion, Lizard, and Toad. The current student knows a little bit of all five styles but not enough to be the equal of any of the original students, so the master tells him that...if any of them are evil...he'll have to ally with any of the good ones in order to take out the evil ones. To draw the five students together, the old master sets up a former colleague with treasure and lets it leak out to the original students that it's there for the stealing.

    You discover pretty quickly who four of the five venoms are. Centipede and Snake knew each other as pupils so they're naturally allied as the 'bad guys'. Similarly, Lizard and Toad knew each other and are allied as the 'good guys'. The wild card is the Scorpion who nobody knows (and who's identity is not revealed until the ending) who flits between both groups.

    The production values, fight choreography, and cinematography are superior in this film than to most of the others that came out at that time. The director, Chang Cheh, knew that this film was going to be special so the studio put a lot more time and budget into the production. This extra effort pays off to make a much more engrossing film with a lot more polish to it than most of its peers. The film itself was so popular and influential that the principal actors became known as the 'Venom Squad' and the films that they did afterwards are typically known as Venom films.

    Very fun movie. This is probably in my personal top 10 of all films ever and I tend to watch it once or twice a year as 'comfort food'. My avatar on here is Lo Meng, the actor who plays the Toad. He's my favorite of all of the Venom Squad actors and he's still active today in a lot of Asian action films (including the IP MAN series starring Donnie Yen).

    If you've ever wanted to dip your toe into the Shaw Bros martial arts genre, I highly recommend starting with this one.


    For fun, here's the master describing the five venoms to his current student:


    I almost forgot! Philip Kwok aka The Lizard is in TND as General Chang.

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  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,660MI6 Agent

    THE FULL MONTY (1997)

    Following a disappointing Strictly Come Dancing final, my family tuned into this feel good adult comedy drama from writer Simon Beaufoy and director Peter Cattaneo, neither of who have quite reached these heights since.

    Six jobless ex-steel workers are inspired to take up male stripping to earn some much needed cash, advertising their stage show as going ‘the full monty,’ i.e. completely naked. Cue lots of scenes of gently deprived urban living, dance rehearsals of collective embarrassment, lots of fairly basic but well-observed and chucklesome humour, and a good range of ensemble acting from the keen male cast, including Robert Carlyle and Tom Wilkinson. Self-respect is earned and we all have a good time.

    Much more cheerful than the icky-some entertainment of Strictly

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,660MI6 Agent

    ABBA: THE MOVIE (1977)

    Watched this from a recording I made a number of weeks ago when the comeback album Voyages was released and Channel 5 was repeating all things Abba. It’s one of those curious 1970s rockumentaries, part concert film, part drama, part documentary. It doesn’t really succeed in any genre. Lasse Hallstrom would go on to great success helming low key dramas like Chocolat and The Cider House Rules, but his career started directing almost every single Abba music promo – I’m not sure the term video was primed in the seventies – as well this, his second movie, billed as a record of the band’s 1977 tour of Australia.

    It’s an odd film, framed around struggling D.J. Ashley Wallace [played sympathetically by Robert Hughes] who is charged with obtaining the unobtainable, a warts and all exclusive personal interview with the four famous Swedes; Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. Interspersed among his countrywide adventures is concert footage from the tour, including a monumental 19 songs.

    If you like Abba, you’ll probably love this. If you don’t it’ll be a trawl. I had mixed feelings. The framing device doesn’t really work, but it’s more relevant than those flights of fantasy Led Zeppelin inserted in The Song Remains the Same. As Ashley’s efforts become more and more embarrassingly incompetent, I started to lose interest. It’s never clear if his initial scepticism is changed by his contact (or non-contact) with the band and the almost universally insipid fans.

    The backstage footage is good, demonstrating the almost haphazard nature of concert tours of the era. The music is surprisingly lively. I can only think how, without the benefit of display screens, it must have been almost impossible to make out the band, all dressed in white against a white garbed backing band, orchestra and chorus.

    A cult film, probably for fanatics only. 

  • GymkataGymkata Minnesota, USAPosts: 3,612MI6 Agent

    That was one that really surprised me when it came out. Reviews were good but the premise did not appeal. The wife really wanted to see it so I 'took one for the team' and ended up laughing my butt off. Charming, funny movie. It also benefits from having a truly great ending to it that sends you out of the theater with a big old smile on your face.

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  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,660MI6 Agent

    PARIS, TEXAS (1984)

    Wim Wenders American experiment, Paris, Texas, starts off with a stunning, beautiful widescreen shot of the Mojave desert. We are drawn immediately into the landscape. We want to know where we are going. We want to know what will abound.

    Not a lot, as it happens.

    This film was widely venerated on its release, with critics comparing it to the great ‘quest’ movies like The Searchers. If they mean the lead character begins alone, completes his quest and ends alone without really going anywhere, I guess you could compare it to Ford’s statuesque looking western. If you want something really deep, about American dreams, or the breakdown of family institutions, the nature of obsessive love, blah, blah, you’re really going to struggle.

    Harry Dean Stanton’s verbally challenged Travis is walking from Mexico to Paris, Texas. He faints at a gas station, is saved by an alcoholic doctor and taken to Los Angeles by his brother, where he reignites a failed relationship with his son. So far, so bland. Nothing happens here. The kid’s quite spunky. There are elements of sibling rivalry. We come to learn Travis had a decorative, young wife and that a trauma occurred in their relationship which led to Travis’ disappearance and Jane (his wife) abandoning Hunter (the child) with her in-laws. Nobody communicates with anything like a proper sentence, Travis in particular. We never learn where Travis has been for four years. My guess is, from his bizarre, structured and phobia orientated lifestyle, it’s a lunatic asylum.

    So, one half of the movie plays out quite nicely. Then Travis and Hunter track Mummy down to a greasy back-alley peep show where we learn she has been the victim of a violent alcoholic, control and coerce domestic abuser – the very man we are supposed to have been sympathising with. They have two very long head-to-heads via the peep show mirror, both scenes directed very, very slowly and hopelessly over-theatrical. Here we are led to understand he is trailer trash and his wife tried to burn him to death after he chained her to the gas stove in a drunken jealous rage. After the finale, with its speculative reunion between mother and son and Dad driving off into the sunset, I had an empty, unwelcome feeling.


    Am I really supposed to care for Travis and Jane and their f***ed up romantic life? Stanton really tries, but I didn’t buy it. He’s unlovable and he knows it. Nastassja Kinski has the even tougher role, given she’s got so little dialogue. Psychologically, it’s not a surprise to find a victim of abuse turning to prostitution and even murder, but this is hardly discussed; she’s your good-hearted whore with a kid and a bank account, so they must end up with each other and he becomes the gallant loner. Tosh.

    Am I being too harsh? I don’t think so. If someone wishes to explain it to me, good luck.  

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,440MI6 Agent

    I'm an ABBA fan@chrisno1 in as much as I like the singles but detest ABBA: The Movie. Seems to depict the band as some kind of cult with nothing witty or interesting to say. The music journalist doesn't like their music and Job-like, must endure all kinds of humiliation and bad-tempered indignity to get his scoop. Only after he's been to see them in concert - paying himself - and is shown basked in light, full of appreciation and Bjorn Again - does the plot allow him to bump into them accidentally.

    My Dad took us to see it at the local cinema where they played it too loud, he complained about it and was ill in bed for a week afterwards.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 32,264Chief of Staff

    Dracula (1931)

    Stagy. Stiffly photographed. No music, or very little at least. Some flagrant overacting- but this was in the early days of sound movies, so a pass might be in order. Cutaways any time something "scary" might be happening. Hopelessly dated, unlike its near-contemporary "Frankenstein" which still holds up.

    And yet...

    Saved by its star. Bela Lugosi inhabits the role with such total conviction that he remains, almost a century later, the only credible rival to Christopher Lee as the definitive Dracula. Many distinguished actors (Gary Oldman, Frank Langella, Jack Palance, Louis Jourdan, to name but a few) have played the part- and some very well- but still it belongs to either Lee or Lugosi. (My pick is Lee, but that's a personal choice.)

    Here, Lugosi is the only reason to watch this film. His unique (though often imitated) voice, his mannerisms, draw the viewer in. He's hypnotic. This should have led to a career starring in Hollywood movies, or at least the horror kind. Unfortunately for him, next he walked from "Frankenstein" (long story) and was replaced by Boris Karloff... who did go on to a career starring in Hollywood movies until his death. Lugosi saw his career descending into Ed Wood territory- but that's another story.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,786MI6 Agent

    chrisno1 said:

    PARIS, TEXAS (1984)

    this was the sort of repertory house art-film I was watching in the 80s instead of seeing a View to a Kill and the two Daltons like I was supposed to be doing. In general I think Wim Wenders is too much into the hypnotic pace and characters staring at the camera and delivering lethargic monologues. Wings of Desire on the other hand is very good, same basic moves maybe but more imaginatively applied.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,660MI6 Agent
    edited December 2021

    Dracula (1931)

    @Barbel It's worth remembering Lugosi played the role on stage and the film is an adaptation of the stage play, not the book, although I don't think that's mentioned in the credits. His acting style is much more 'towards the back of the theatre' than the camera - all those generous arm movements and slow dialogue deliveries. As you say, worth a pass.

    The Spanish version is even better. The two were filmed side by side, but its much sexier, if that's your bag, longer and creepier. It doesn't feature Lugosi but Carlos Villarias. Universal used the same sound stages but filming took place at night so as not to coincide with the daytime shoots. It's available on DVD, I think.

    Apologies to @caractacus potts for misquoting earlier

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,660MI6 Agent

    PATHS OF GLORY (1957)

    Meticulous, well-acted, well photographed and designed, First World War courtroom drama from Stanley Kubrick based on a stage play based on a novel based on real life events. Three French soldiers are tried for cowardice after an abortive attack on a German emplacement. Kirk Douglas’ Col. Dax attempts to defend them and in doing so uncovers the hypocrisy and incompetence of his superiors. Accents are all over the place. Grand settings in a French chateau [actually a German schloss] start the thing off on an ironic tone, the war scenes are splendid, the courtroom battle inevitably flawed and therefore lacking tension, the treatment and anguish of the prisoners is overplayed; there are two codas neither of which satisfy. The whole thing leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. You wonder how and for how long military officialdom got away with this sort of action. There’s no happy centre. The men, officers and troops alike, go back to war to do it all again.

    Adolphe Mejou’s scheming, wily, affable General Broulard is excellent.

    The sole female cast member is Susanne Christian and she became Kubrick’s wife.

     

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,786MI6 Agent
    edited December 2021

    correction in attribution: Barbel commented on Dracula, I commented on Wim Wenders.

    but I have a follow-up question for all, which is better, Lugosi's Dracula or Nosferatu?


    Paths of Glory is the first Kubrick film where I really notice the long tracking shots straight down symmetrical corridors towards the vanishing point, both in the government offices and in the trenches. To me that suggests architecture is more important than mere mortal lives. I recall the Killing having a more typical film noir look, I never notice Kubrick's signature camera move in that one. There's also the shot of the soldiers failing to take the hill and falling back where the camera is perpendicular to the soldiers' movement but tracks sideways keeping pace then slows as they advance no further, the central image in the film.

    have you seen Fear and Desire, Kubricks first film, which also was a war film?

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,786MI6 Agent

    Red Sparrow, 2018: a recent spy film so I better file a report

    Jennifer Lawrence is beautiful as always and learned ballet to do this part. The film has the graceful flow of ballet and appropriate orchestral score building to dramatic surges.

    I'm not sure the ending adds up and would have to watch it again to check the logic, but I dont have the stomach for that. Lawrence's character would need to have done too much planning for it to fall in place as it did and yet it seemed a lot of random events complicated things along the way.

    The level of violence is stomach turning, especially the two torture scenes. Lawrence's character is also humiliated repeatedly in ways I could not imagine a male protagonist being subjected to, but maybe thats the point. It certainly does draw attention to the gender inequities of this world.

    The film is based on a book by an actual former CIA agent who claims the premise is real.

  • GymkataGymkata Minnesota, USAPosts: 3,612MI6 Agent

    I thought RED SPARROW was outstanding, one of the big underrated films of 2018.

    As to DRACULA vs NOSFERATU, I'm team NOSFERATU all the way. I don't think it's ever been topped.

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  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,660MI6 Agent
    edited December 2021

    @caractacus potts Duly noted and corrected re. Dracula.

    I have not seen Kubrick's debut. The trench scenes were the best in Paths of Glory IMO, the long sequence of the General inspecting the troops, then later Kirk Douglas retracing the same route before battle. Had a genuine feel of battle weary people and place. Overall though, for me the film didn't impress.

    I thought Red Sparrow was a horrible film. As you say, Lawrence's character is treated very badly. That'd never happen to Tom Cruise. This kind of depiction of women in film only pays backhanded complements to equality and diversity. Too violent. Very unrealistic considering it is based on a book written by an 'insider.'

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,786MI6 Agent

    gymkata said:

    I thought Red Sparrow was outstanding,


    chrisno1 said:

    I though Red Sparrow was a horrible film.

    ha! like Siskel and Ebert! so what's the Dog of the Week?


    further thoughts on Red Sparrow if we're interested in discussing, probably nothing original...

    the American side of the espionage story was straight out of le Carre with all the moles and handlers and bureaucracy, all that detailed and rather banal tradecraft.

    The Russian side too, but in those scenes what was noteworthy was this hopeless vision of the Russian state, where the Secret Service arbitrarily controls all and individual lives are subject to blackmail from the spymasters who run this world. Even relatives are blackmailed, into "whore school". the bad guy in this story may be the creepiest uncle in any movie ever!

    I'm still thinking whether the ending adds up. Lawrence would have had to begin planning as soon as she was given her mission. Her every move, revealing herself to her CIA target, and her interactions with her roommate and local section chief are all predetermined moves in her plan. But there's still too many random events for such a detailed plan to unfold as intended, and who does she file her final report to, so that the finale unfolds as it does?

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,660MI6 Agent

    Dracula v Nosferatu... Nosferatu

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 32,264Chief of Staff

    Dracula v Nosferatu... Nosferatu

    @chrisno1 , yes the stage play gets a mention in the credits. The Spanish version I think is a better movie, though the absence of Lugosi is sorely felt. And that of Dwight Frye, too.

  • GymkataGymkata Minnesota, USAPosts: 3,612MI6 Agent

    For me, she's setting things up for the 'big plan' as she goes. It's a long game. If something does not line up right, she can bail on her plan and try something else without any real breadcrumbs leading back to her.

    I personally liked how direct and unglamorous it all was. It's shockingly brutal and does not hold back in terms of people being completely disposable and the stakes being completely real and dangerous.

    There's a great show called THE AMERICANS that really follows up on this premise if you've never seen it, essentially showing what happens if you were to embed a 'Red Sparrow' with a faux husband in America to spy.

    It's also funny to see just how much of the recent BLACK WIDOW film cribbed from this movie. I hope the producers of RS got a check in the mail to avoid any sort of plagiarism lawsuit.

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  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 18,950MI6 Agent

    I too liked Red Sparrow. Tom Cruise has never done a cynical spy thriller, so it's not really comparable. The premise could've ended up a sleazy exploitation movie, but it became a smart spy thriller instead. I've read the three books. They're good even though the ex-CIA author is convinced Finland is in Scandinavia.The lead character doesn't plan everything from the start. She's more like a chess player, changing and adapting plans as conditions change. Her plans aren't based on lots of lucky like Silva's escape that gambler on Q to hook up his PC just then, so the train passer at just the right moment and his henchmen gave him the uniform just at the right moment so he could attack the hearing that day. In Red Sparrow she adapts plans to what happens, she doesn't hope extreme luck will make her original plan work.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,786MI6 Agent
    edited December 2021

    gymkata said:

    It's also funny to see just how much of the recent BLACK WIDOW film cribbed from [Red Sparrow]. I hope the producers of RS got a check in the mail to avoid any sort of plagiarism lawsuit.

    presumably without the skin-flaying. Ugh, that made me nostalgic for nice films, like the brains scene from Hannibal.

    number24 said:

    I've read the three books .,. The lead character doesn't plan everything from the start. She's more like a chess player, changing and adapting plans as conditions change.

    yes I wonder how the twist ending was conveyed in the book, where the author has the option of Internal Monolog to let us know what a character is thinking. Film is inherently an opaque medium, and Lawrence was giving a particularly opaque performance. I assume that sort of deadpan expression is necessary to survive in such an arbitrary police state, but she really worked it to her advantage throughout. Like does she ever really let her guard down, or is it all part of the Sparrow's skill: to be who the other person needs you to be? and though we want to sympathise with her as victim/hero, she herself is capable of shocking violence with nobody pushing her to do so, like her revenge on the rival ballerina. As her creepy uncle says, they are kind of the same. Which does make me wonder what happens in the next exciting adventure!

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,660MI6 Agent

    THE FRIGHTENED CITY (1961)

    A sleazy little number from director John Lemont and writer Leigh Vance set in London’s gangland. Herbert Lom plays a crooked accountant who spies a way to boost the city’s ruling mob barons’ incomes. Alfred Marks is his deputy, a slimy nightclub owner with a protection racket on the side. John Gregson is almost non-existent as the police inspector who tracks them down. The film is of most interest for showcasing Sean Connery in a large supporting role as cat burglar Paddy Damion, whose loyalties are tested and whose eye wanders from sensible cookie Sadie, to exotic, alluring Anya, a seductive Yvonne Romain.

    The movie is notable for its script which doesn’t pull any punches, referencing sexual matters and disturbing acts of violence. Three instances of the ‘b’ word were excised from this print. Connery is watchable already in a pre-Bond role which demonstrates he would most likely have become a star even without OO7. The dialogue is sparky enough to allow him to wrestle his double-entendre chops with Yvonne Romain and take part in two marvellous one-to-ones with Herbert Lom, forerunners of those Bond-meets-Blofeld type scenes we all know and love. He’s cool, tough looking and rather charming. The edges haven’t been smoothed away by a tuxedo just yet.

    The movie doesn’t do much, but gives a solid account of itself, being brisk and to the point. Desmond Dickinson’s photography gives the thing a noirish black and white coating. The Frightened City compares favourably to American movies of the ilk and era, the kind of thing you’d see Richard Widmark or Glen Ford in, and British fare like Hell is a City or Hell Drivers. These blunt gangster / crime flicks were aligned beside those British kitchen sink dramas, focussing on a corrupt, downtrodden world the British cinema-going public rarely saw. It precedes the British gangster phase of the late sixties early seventies, Performance and Get Carter, et al.

    Norrie Paramour, band leader and Cliff Richard’s producer wrote the dark, jazzy score and the Shadows had a big hit with the theme tune.  

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 32,264Chief of Staff

    Dracula's Daughter (1936)

    Immediate sequel to the Lugosi "Dracula"- and I do mean immediate. After 90 years and God knows how many remakes, sequels, reboots, etc, I don't suppose it's too much of a giveaway to say that the earlier film ended with Van Helsing staking Dracula. This one starts from that point (pun not intended) with Van Helsing (curiously here called Von Helsing) being arrested for Dracula's murder. Edward Van Sloan plays the part in both movies.

    The otherwise unknown AFAIK Gloria Holden plays Drac's daughter, who turns up to claim her father's body, a wax effigy of Lugosi. Otto Kruger, father of Hardy, does fine as the nominal hero. There's a hint of lesbianism, odd for the times. Holden has an other-worldy quality perfect for the part, but the film is a weak sequel- too much wordy nonaction not involving the principals, and poor comedy relief from two policemen.

  • Trigger_MortisTrigger_Mortis Posts: 69MI6 Agent

    The Matrix Resurrections: it does PRECISELY what the trailer promises, while simultaneously making the trilogy that preceded it pointless, along with making the film itself pointless.

    Honestly, if you're a fan of the trilogy, you don't need to see this one; you've seen it. Literally. You have seen this entire film.

    If you've always wanted to see a Matrix film but never had time for the trilogy...check it out?

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,660MI6 Agent

    THE MEG (2018)

    Big budget version of the type of low budget monster fare which used to go straight to video, but now comes to cable, usually starring once popular personalities such as Tori Spelling, Dean Cain or Debbie Gibson. All stereotypes and genre action cliches are fulfilled. Everything is so obvious they should have simply called it Megashark Vs Jason Statham and saved me the bother of watching it. 

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,660MI6 Agent

    BLADERUNNER 2049 (2017)

    In 2017, I spent the afternoon encamped in screen 9 of the Empire Leicester Square cinema watching the rather wonderful sci-fi epic Blade Runner 2049. I was very pleased to revisit the movie over Christmas. I’m not fond of sequels as they tend to be unnecessary extensions of a good idea, but this one works really well. It helps writers Michael Green and Hampton Fancher have created a framework of much emotional depth and intellectual insight. The action often feels over the top and out of place among the thoughtful phrasing of the characters. It is rare these days to find an intelligent science fiction film and Denis Villeneuve has achieved that in spades.  

    Like Ridley Scott’s 1982 original this is a movie about the creation of memory, or if you like, of genuine identity. That it is also about love, personal, emotional, physical and familial, may come as a surprise. Some aspects of the wider story don’t work. It meanders and ponders a little, but Villeneuve keeps a strong enough hand on the tiller and doesn’t lose focus from the central theme of the secrets of memory. The narrative twist which removes our expectation of the lead character’s origin is good and although the film descends into more traditional fare by its end, Villeneuve is clever enough to provide a coda of some emotional impact.  

    It’s worth shaking the hand of the cinematographer, Roger Deakins, designer Dennis Gassner and the composer Hans Zimmer, who all do sterling work in emulating and expanding on their forebears with magnificent sets, rain soaked cityscapes and a lush synthesised score that pays handsome tribute to Vangelis.  

    Ryan Gosling’s replicant Blade Runner K is pretty good too, for once his stock-in-trade expressionless countenance works in his favour. The gentle developing relationship between him and Ana de Armas’ Joi is one which touches us, despite its implausibility. Harrison Ford crops up as Deckard and although I had vague images of Peter Ustinov in Logan’s Run, an old man alone in a deserted city, Ford retains an air of steely passion which balances nicely his confrontation with K, who is similarly driven. Once more, the battle of human against replicant is well-played; the outcome is pitched to involve us in both K’s and Deckard’s shared aim so it does lose some of the impact Ridley Scott provided in the original by having the real villains arrive.    

    The biggest down side are those villains. There are several of them, coming at K and us from several angles, and they share no shred of humanity. Without that counterpoint the bad guys are hopelessly bland. It’s telling the most human character appears to be the android, K. The writers seem to paint humanity as being very black, with no white, or even grey. But I can forgive all that. Compared to so many other recent sci-fi flicks – does anyone want to remember The Last Jedi? – Blade Runner 2049 is thought provoking and immaculately presented. It loses something on telly though, those wide landscapes do need the benefit of a cinema screen to create wonder.

    Very good.   

     

     

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,440MI6 Agent

    Well, there you have it - cinema attendances are down so why in hell some of them can't simply reissue movies like this from time to time so they can be caught in big screen glory. Gravity is another one that could do with the Imax reissue, I've never seen it and critic Mark Kermode has stated it's one film that would do best on Imax. Ditto Tenet, perhaps, which I've also never caught but don't fancy on DVD.

    If nothing else, it would create a buzz, a bit of interest as if to say, it's not all about this week's big releases, here's something for cinema connoisseurs.

    Raiders of the Lost Ark

    I've written about this, haven't I? I don't know why it is Channel 4 have the rights to this now, when other times it's on the BBC. Who decides these things? It's almost always ITV who have the Bond rights (I think BBC4 showed From Russia With Love without ad breaks of course a few years ago, personally I think the film benefits from ad breaks!)

    Spielberg long said that this was a response to Broccoli not letting him direct a Bond film, somewhat disingenuously given that he'd want a percentage of the gross as director, which they never really grant to any director. There are Bond touches aplenty in this film, albeit some that got swiped from the Bond series itself - the hero running into an old flame who gives him a slap is used in TND, of course. The line 'I was a child, you should have known better' doesn't hang too well given the recent conviction of Griswald Maxwell that very same day. Must admit I like the look and feel of Raiders, I never buy into it as a movie really, all that talk about Indy's mentor in Nepal, it loses me a bit. The villain in the white suit never catches my imagination, and there seem to be many such characters - who is the Tony Hadley Spandau Ballet lookalike, does he ever come to anything? Karen Allen is a great lead though, reminds me of Ford's charming sparring partner in American Graffiti. Oh, hang on, she's not with Ford is she, she's driving with Ford's racing rival from out of town.

    Judy

    Renee Zellweger's Oscar-winning turn as Judy Garland. She does it very well though she doesn't quite capture the jolie laird look of Garland. This film follows her late 60s London shows on the comeback trail, it follows much the same plot and dramatic trajectory as the acclaimed Stan & Ollie which I also associate with coming out at Christmas, a potentially depressing time of year. I think I preferred this from what I saw of it, I found the Laurel and Hardy movie a bit grating at times, the use of their wives not that convincing somehow. Both do have a slightly inauthentic feel about them that's hard to place. Films made around that time don't quite look like that, it's like being cinematic they have to jazz things up a bit so they're not to depressing or low-key. Anyway, both films do that thing of making you fear for the worst, then the old troupers pull it out of the bag, and the finale is a rousing, moving movie moment, not knocking it.

    BBC4 followed it with a reshowing of Garland's A Star is Born. Most oddly, they showed a version with black and white stills inserted for missing and deleted scenes, something I've seen on my purchased copy of The Lost Horizon, but never on telly before. Garland's movie was hacked about to reduce its time, so imagine watching OHMSS with stills inserted of Bond's chase across the London rooftops around St Paul's, and dialogue running over the top!

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,660MI6 Agent

    Nice reviews @Napoleon Plural I too caught the Judy Garland biopic on BBC2, but I couldn't face 3 hours of A Star is Born. It's a great film. I don't need to watch it every time it's on.

    JUDY (2019)

    Renee Zellweger won an Oscar for her performance as an aging and unreliable Judy Garland, desperate to get her career off the skids by fulfilling and engagement at London’s Talk of the Town. Zellweger's good, although it feels more like an impersonation than an interpretation. I was more impressed with the wide-eyed teenager who plays Judy as a sixteen year old. These flashback sequences are filmed on vivid studio sets and have an ethereal, surreal quality, as if young Judy really is living inside the Hollywood dream. Later on, as an adult, she can’t escape the behaviours which have been impressed upon her in those formative years. The musical numbers are well-staged. Script’s a bit slapdash. The ending is sugar coated. Whilst true, the story isn’t dissimilar to the sort of fare rolled out by My Week with Marilyn or Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, but like Garland’s life, it’s a bit of a torturous ride. The movie lacks energy in the supporting roles and feels much longer than it is. 

  • HardyboyHardyboy Posts: 5,806Chief of Staff

    Finally got to see SPIDER-MAN: HOME ON THE RANGE, or whatever it's called. Wowy wow wow! This is as good as advertised. Of late superhero movies have been either dour or too wrapped up in their own mythologies. . .this one never forgets to be FUN. It's a fast, up-tempo movie that has a lot of good comedic bits and awesome action scenes, and of course it brings back a LOT of familiar faces from earlier films--and gives them substantial things to do. There are a couple of serious moments and even some touching ones as well, but on the whole it acknowledges that people dressed in Halloween costumes is the stuff of fantasy, not high tragedy.

    Vox clamantis in deserto
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,440MI6 Agent

    Hi @Hardyboy would I need to have seen the first Spidey film to understand this new one?

    This question can also be answered by anyone else!

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
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