I have always enjoyed the performance of Richard Todd in The Dam Busters, but your criticism is quite fair Number24. The real life character was not half as gregarious and charming as portrayed by Todd. I read Gibson's book Enemy Coast Ahead, and having also read a few other books related to the dams raid the impression I had was that the real Gibson was quite a difficult man to be around, not particularly friendly and with a bit of a surly streak. Todd's portrayal is, of course, quite typical of the 1950s British war film though. Douglas Bader's character was given a similar bonhomous treatment in Reach for the Sky a couple of years after The Dam Busters.
As for the effectiveness of the dams raid on the German war industry, I've encountered plenty of arguments both ways on this. Most recently from historian James Holland who argues that the impact on multiple aspects of German industry, infrastructure and labour were far greater than many have suggested over the years. You are spot on about the impact to the civilian population of course. The film doesn't touch on this at all, and that is unsurprising considering when it was made. However, the human tragedy of the dams raid is surely only a fraction of what was inflicted on the populace of the big German cities in the massive area bombing raids carried out by the RAF.
The French Dispatch (2021)
This movie is written and directed by Wes Anderson. Like all his movies it's very visually stylized and inventive, full of movie stars and regulars and the story is funny and extremely inventive. If you haven't seen his movies you're seriously missing out.
The movie is centered around the titular periodical in a fictional French town. If this was a book it would be called a short story collection with the Dispatch as a device that links up the stories, There are many movie stars in the cast, including Benicio del Toro, Lea Seudoux, Jeffrey Wright, Matieu Almaric and Christoph Waltz. We actually get a Bond henchman (del Toro) painting a nude of a Bond girl (Seudoux) in the great tradition of French actresses. But this is a bonus. The striking imagery (not like that!) and the bizzare storytelling is what makes the movie great!
FRIGHT NIGHT (1985)
This is one of those movies that mixes horror and comedy brilliantly. Charley Brewster finds that his new neighbour Jerry Dandridge is a vampire and coerces television vampire hunter Peter Vincent (played by the fabulous Roddy McDowall) to stop him. Chris Sarandon makes for a really good vampire a fine support cast makes this great fun.
If you haven’t seen it, do so, you won’t be disappointed.
Thanks @Number24 for your considered review. And no apology necessary!😊
This movie should be of interest for many Bond fans. OSS is about a group of agents of the US Office of Strategic Services during WWII jumping into occupied France. The OSS was very much inspired by the British Special Operations Executive and later became the forerunner of the CIA and the special forces. The movie is also written. produced and narrated by Richard Maibaum.
The most important memebers group of agents in the movie are played by Alan Ladd and Geraldine Fitzgerald. I don't know Fitzgerald from any other work, but she does a good job here. I think Ladd is better cast here than in his most famous role in Shane, because here he plays an inteligence agent and not an exeprienced killer (usually not the same thing). In OSS he convays the inteligence and inner strengths of the character with doing little. I know The SOE better than the OSS, but the movie seems pretty realistic to me. One of the reasons is probably the dozen or so former OSS agents who consulted on the movie. I don't know if the idea came from the consultats or Maibaum, but disguising plastic explosives, timers and fuses as art store merchandice is the kind of thinking that made Maibaum a great Bond writer.. A good idea since I know from experience that plastic explosives really can be used as modeling clay, The scene where the idea is born is practically a Q scene before there were Q scenes.
Some of the scenes before they go to France seem a bit stilted, but I think the scenes in France are very good. This movie is worth watching both as an early spy movie, a way to learn some espionage history and of special interest to Jame Bond fans.
O.S.S. (War Drama, USA 1946) 720p; Alan Ladd, Geraldine Fitzgerald (ok.ru)
Saw this at the time, and yes it's a lot of fun for horror fans. "Peter Vincent" 😁😁😁
The Empty Man
Absolute waste of time. Not sure why I stuck with it but I did. Had to look it up on Wikipedia afterwards to understand what it was about 🤣
THE INTERNECINE PROJECT (1974)
T.V. Guide describes The Internecine Project thus: “Although it has a nice thriller plot line, The Internecine Project, like the plan, is less than perfect in execution.” That’s a little unfair on a neat little thriller which isn’t pretending to be anything other than a neat little thriller. It would play out quite well as a two part television serial. It’s more flashy than a telly movie though, and has bigger stars, but all the same.
James Coburn is forceful as former secret agent Robert Eliot, who currently works as an economic advisor for a shady U.S. corporation known as E.D.C., a company that just happens to have the ear of the President. To achieve a position of political power, Eliot is advised to eliminate his old London spy cell. Keenan Wynn plays the potential kingmaker, Farnsworth, and it becomes obvious quite early on that both men are proto-fascists, as well as misogynists and terrible golfers. It’s never made clear exactly what kind of secret agent Eliot is / was, but suspicion rests with industrial espionage, as he seems mixed up with various directors and corporate entities, and uses a masseur and a whore to extract business secrets and coercion material from their well-to-do clients.
Challenged with the knotty problem, Eliot devises a clever scheme to be rid of all his problems in one night. He hasn’t however, foreseen the input of his old love, nosey journalist Jean Robertson, played by Lee Grant as a dedicated, unreliable, half-way alcoholic. The cast is packed full of British talent. Ian Hendry, Harry Andrews and Michael Jayston are Eliot’s agents, Julian Glover and David Swift pop up in small roles. Glamour is provided by Christiane Kruger, who graced the movie’s posters in a Psycho-resembling nude shower shot.
The film’s directed by Ken Hughes, who has a James Bond connection of course as he directed the Eon production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as well as a few of the early Warwick pictures. He was also one of the contributors to that infamous disaster Casino Royale (1967). His career was always a bit up and down. His best is probably Cromwell. He’s well served by a decent script, which box ticks a little and was co-written by Jonathon Lynn, who would pen the comedy Yes Minister for the BBC having served an apprenticeship on shows like On the Buses and Doctor in the House. Geoffrey Unsworth provides shifty, dim photography. The strong incidental score is a jazzy little number from Roy Budd, who was at the top of his game in the early seventies. It’s a seedy little number and I spent most of the film wondering exactly how the writers / director had managed to make me sympathise with such an unpleasant character as Robert Eliot. I almost wanted him to succeed. The film almost doesn’t and it’s worth a look.
The late journalist and TV presenter David Frost of Frost/Nixon fame planned to produce a remake of The Dambusters and got Stephen Fry to draft a treatment but I never heard of it again. His main quote was how he was watching a modern military parade and suddenly the Theme to the Dambusters struck up and everyone wanted to salute. True, but doesn't fit with the modern take on the events such as the dead Russian POWs. The film is very good but I'm not sure these additional bits of information fit with it at all.
Todd was in The Longest Day of course as head of one of the glider pilots, he was actually one of the pilots some 20 years previously on that day.
The details of the bomb itself in The Dambusters weren't allowed to be shown some 15 years after so that was fabricated. I'm always tempted to wish someone could just go in and 'fix' those poor special effects of the dams going kaput in this film, otherwise I think it holds up well. Oh, the name of the dog doesn't really work for a remake unless you had Gibson played by Samuel L Jackson, but that might cause other controversy.
THE HURT LOCKER (2008)
Unsteady cam work makes Katherine Bigelow’s modern war film a hard watch. Jeremy Renner plays a self-confessed ‘wild man’ who deactivates bombs in war torn Iraq c.2004. There is a cinematographer listed in the credits, but quite how much work he’s responsible for I have no idea, given the multiple camera angles used to create every single scene in a desperate attempt to create tension and visual interest. The film is at its best when it slows down for the moments of actual bomb disposal. There’s also a particularly tense stand off in the Iraq desert between insurgent snipers and our ‘heroes’ who’ve come to the rescue of a bunch of British [unidentified] special forces soldiers. There appear to be several inaccuracies around military procedure and Renner’s character is foolhardy in the extreme and puts not only his life but the life of his team in constant danger. While I am aware the characters and incidents are composites based on real people and happenings encountered by journalist Mark Boal during a period accompanying genuine Explosive Ordnance Disposal squads, the material doesn’t convince. Renner’s character as well as his back up team are unable to express themselves, unless it’s with profane laced alacrity. He’s acutely unlikeable and prone to making mistakes based on instant unverifiable judgements, which is odd considering his team leader role. Editing is very choppy; for people who didn’t like Quantum of Solace this must have been an anathema. Won lots of awards and was recently inducted into the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as a significant piece of cinematic art. It’s notable for not criticising or favouring the Iraq conflicts and I commend it for that, but it’s a small affair and has too much of a heavy heart. I recently watched Top Gun: Maverick, and while that is pure fiction, it was much more uplifting, especially as its hero’s mantra was to ‘come back alive’ – Renner’s Sgt James seems to have no conception of his responsibilities for a team in times of crisis; for even as a soldier there are protocols to follow and risks to assess.
TOP GUN : MAVERICK (2022)
A basic re-tread of Top Gun, the famous 1986 bro-buddy movie about trainee US Navy pilots. Tom Cruise reprises his role as Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, an excellent but unorthodox pilot whose bacon is being saved by his old buddy Admiral Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky, his old rival and sparring partner. There need be no introduction to the format of the movie. It’s a very traditional affair. Maverick is portrayed as a loner and a left-field genius, a man not so much with a chip on his shoulder as one under his armpit. He’s determined to take risks others would not, particularly if this means he will save lives [the lives of his fellow servicemen and countrymen obviously; the fate of the unseen, unnamed enemy soldiers is of no concern either to the character or the filmmakers]. We join him after the credits, repairing his private plane, eating his dinner beside the beloved craft, allowing us to wallow in a little eighties nostalgia music, and some of those glorious sunsets we saw in Tony Scott’s original. We see photographs of Maverick’s past, we see his Kawasaki motorbike, his leather jacket, we understand his lonesome character and the past he still inhabits even while he clearly lives in the present. His ‘maverick’ tendencies have not deserted him: he takes an experimental Dark Star jet out for an unauthorised test flight just to prove it can make Mach 10 and promptly blows the multi-million dollar aeroplane to pieces.
This sort of introduction to our unorthodox main character is familiar from movies as old as Sands of Iwo Jima, also a film about training recruits. The failed training exercise also resonates from Gary Cooper’s The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell, where an unauthorised tactical training run infuriates navy superiors. I wonder if the two surnames are deliberately the same? Maverick isn’t court martialled, although he should be, and instead is ordered to spend three weeks training an elite flying corps for what amounts to a suicide mission. He’s not happy about either the posting, the personnel or the mission and clashes with his fellow officers, the cocky pilots and superiors in an attempt to demonstrate how the attack run can succeed. Eventually, through dubious but successful methods, Vice-Admiral Simpson is forced to admit Maverick is not only the best coach, but also the most capable pilot. Throughout the film we experience the highs and lows of aerial combat, the competitiveness and camaraderie between the pilots, an understated love story, the rudiments of team building, some drinking, some formal training; in many respects the film succeeds because it isn’t doing anything the original didn’t. The blue print for success was established in ’86 and the producers simply followed it to the letter. Everything we remember is there, only they’ve updated the tech and it looks even more glossy than Top Gun did.
The last third of the movie enacts the mission, which rather unfortunately is a rerun of Luke Skywalker’s destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars (1977). Once again though there is an interesting twist in the tail as the pilots are shot down and need to find a way home. This has elements of the mid-fifties actioner The Bridges at Toko-Ri where William Holden’s navy pilot finds himself downed in enemy territory. Tom Cruise however is too big a star to be left for dead and the resulting escape is corny, but genius and an awful lot of fun.
The performances are spot on for this kind of romp, stereotypes one and all; amazingly Cruise rises above the perfunctory script to deliver one of his most nuanced and carefully constructed characterisations of recent years. He hasn’t forgotten that Pete Mitchell had a boyish grin and a rogue attitude, but he’s now also a loyal and introspective older man, replaying his mistakes – which had sometimes cost lives – and attempting to make amends while not purging other people’s memories. He’s a sacrificial figure who earns his redemption and a second opportunity at life, including rekindling a love affair with bar owner Penny Benjamin. It was good to have Cruise romancing an older woman and Jennifer Connelly is very good in a surprisingly minor role as his barometer of morality.
The scenes in the lively bar evoked memories of those singing escapades from 1986; Cruise looks both embarrassed to be there and yearning to take part – as a fifty-something flunky Navy Captain might. Flirting with an attractive older lady seems a fair swap. Sailing a racing yacht replaces motorcycling as a metaphor for sex. In fact the film is remarkably low on romance and there’s no room for an epic pop ballad like Take My Breath Away, instead Lady Ga Ga belts out something called Hold My Hand. Far more effective is the reuse of Kenny Loggin’s Danger Zone and Harold Faltemeyer’s Top Gun Anthem; both tunes fit seamlessly into the narrative which tells you something about how durably intertwined the original product and this one, reusing James Bond themes jarred badly in No Time To Die. The first series of combat trials are played out to the sounds of the Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again, all seven minutes of it, which is a bloody marvel and bloody marvellous.
The aerial footage is amazing. They must have used VFX for this but times have moved on and it is phenomenally hard to tell when or where they are. The only complaint I had specifically was about the Dark Star sequence where the plane is shown to be travelling on a severe arc when, even following the curvature of the Earth, it would always appear to be on a straight trajectory, especially for a high speed test run. You’d never hit Mach 10 on a bend. In fact, you wouldn’t even see it. Put that to one side, I was seriously impressed with the photography, the editing and the effects which ought to win awards come next year. Less so [as I said] with the screenplay, but whose worried about the script when we’re being given such a brilliantly presented thrill ride.
Director Joseph Kosinsky spent years making this tick and shot more footage than Peter Jackson did for the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy. He does a splendid job, propelling the story forward through its action. Not one scene fails to deliver a turning point. There is no wasted space. He’s marshalled his crew excellently to produce a top notch movie. Tom Cruise must have been happy as Kosinsky did such a fine job on Oblivion, a sci-fi epic which went awry in the final third. Not so here. The movie works from start to finish and, even if it harks back subtlety to the original, this almost ‘remake’ can be watched without prior knowledge as a self-contained master blaster of a popcorn movie. I was enjoying it so much, I almost pictured myself all over again watching Cruise, Kilmer, McGillis and Co with my mates and our girlfriends back in 1986.
I took my dad to this viewing. We live at opposite ends of the country, so the opportunity to go to the flicks together is rare, plus I generally watch entirely different types of movies. We both thoroughly enjoyed it and could barely pick a fault. He’s thirty years older than me. The fact the film is also appealing to younger generations suggests all is not lost for this old time blockbuster style film; perhaps it’s a moment for other studios making blockbusters to consider this as a line towards profit instead of endless sequels regurgitating the same tired myths and platitudes.
Good to see that MAVERICK is playing for those of you outside of the US. It's pretty 'America! F Yeah!' just like the first one was so you never know.
Objectively, I think it may very well be one of the best Summer blockbusters in years just for sheer entertainment value. Considering how bad most legacy sequels are, it's astounding just how good this one turned out.
I'd agree with that comment @Gymkata
I've just watched Top Gun:Maverick at the cinema and I don't have much to ad. I was a bit shocked to learn that Val Kilmer is so ill he can't talk anymore. The few lines he has in the movie are created digitally. On the other hand there's Jennifer Connelly. Time has been very kind to her: 😍
Jennifer has aged like a fine wine. She's always been beautiful but she's only become beautifuller as time has passed.
Arguably, Alfred Hitchcock’s best movie. It’s worn very well and it’s a masterpiece in the thriller genre. There isn’t a wasted scene and the performances are top notch, apart from a rather bland John Gavin (I’m glad he didn’t get his turn as James Bond in DAF). Scores of movies since have taken liberties with many of its scenes.
Its hard to believe that anyone hasn’t seen this film, but if you haven’t it concerns a secretary who steals a lot of money from her employer and hides in a motel as she escapes.
Definitely a 5 star movie.
A smart, short suspense thriller based around a planned assassination of the U.S. President. This film, like 1962’s The Manchurian Candidate, pre-empts real life events in Dallas 1963. Here, Frank Sinatra – who was also in Manchurian – plays a veteran army sniper employed to shoot the President in the sleepy rural town of Suddenly. To do so he holds a suburban family hostage, gets unwanted attention from the local Sheriff and pontificates at length about the injustices dealt to him and the thrill of the kill, how murder has made him. Obviously a psychopath, Sinatra’s portrait of John Baron, is one of his best performances, coming at a time in his career when he was making films which taxed his acting chops [From Here to Eternity, Pal Joey, The Man with the Golden Arm, Guys and Dolls, etc]. The script’s a bit wordy and it based on a magazine article which hinted at a real assassination attempt on Eisenhower in Miami. I don’t know how much truth there was in the original. This version is a little simplistic. The supporting performances grate up and down. Nancy Gates, an attractive, competent actress who never quite made it to stardom, is probably the best of them. The little kid who plays her son is annoying, as all little boys seem to be in 1950s Hollywood [think Shane, Houseboat, etc]. Sterling Hayden, who was on the rise, is the moral mouthpiece, but his town sheriff is too starchily noble. The story is spoilt slightly by featuring too many convenient coincidences. Enjoyable fare, well directed by Lewis Allen and well received at the time.
There was a rumour Sinatra bought up every print after JFK’s assassination as apparently Lee Harvey Oswald had watched the film a few days before the Dallas debacle. Both facts are urban myths.
Connelly would've made an excellent Christmas Jones back in 1999!
She's much better than playing second fiddle to Bond @Number24
A very good actor as well as a strikingly attractive woman. I think, like Denise Richards, she might have still been a bit youthful at 28/29 to be taken seriously as a nuclear physicist or whatever Ms Jones was supposed to be. As @Gymkata says, she's still very young looking. Her list of roles and films is tremendously good and she picks them well; it is unusual to see her in a blockbuster. Wasn't she in Hulk? I still have memories of The Hot Spot, video heaven in the early nineties ! And of course Labyrinth and the amazing and controversial Leone epic Once Upon a Time in America, which is one of my favourite films. House of Sand and Fog, A Beautiful Mind, Blood Diamond, out acting Keanu Reeves in The Day the Earth Stood Still [not difficult admittedly] wasn't she in Pollock and that remake of a Japanese horror Deep Waters? IMHO, quite possibly one of the most beautiful actresses of the last 20 - 30 years.
Jennifer Connelly is a first class actress as well as a strikingly beautiful. She was a bit young for a nuclear expert in 1999, but she still had a much better chance of being convincing in the role than Denise Richards. Connelly studied at both Yale and Stanford. Richards was dumb enough to marry Charlie Sheen!
Anyone could have been more convincing than Denise Richards!! 😂
Jennifer Conelly was stunning in The Rocketeer. I love her in Snowpiercer.
Yes, I remember she made me feel funny in The Rocketeer 😀
Um...for prime Connelly, I have to recommend THE HOT SPOT.
Oh yes indeed.
THE HUSTLER (1961)
Paul Newman stars as “Fast” Eddie Felson, a pool hall hustler who challenges the legendary player Minnesota Fats played by Jackie Gleason. Newman is superb as the troubled hustler who starts a relationship with an alcoholic woman that leads to tragedy. Filmed in black and white, this is a fine character study as Eddie tries to live his dream but has to accept reality in the end. There are superb performances from Piper Laurie as the girlfriend and George C Scott as a professional gambler.
Excellent, intelligent and mesmerising.
... concerns a secretary who steals a lot of money from her employer and hides in a motel as she escapes.
oh no @CoolHandBond now you've given away the whole story!
I haven't been watching much TV lately, but the last film I saw that I will comment about is 'Doctor Who' (I can't remember the whole title.) The Daleks had invaded the earth. I am still not sure if it was meant to be comedy film or not?!
The Russia House (1990)
This movie is based on John Carre's novel. It takes place in 1987 at the time of glasnost and it's the tail end of the cold war. Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair (Sean Connery) is a book publisher. I think this is one of Connery's best performances. He doesn't play a verion of himself or James Bond. At the begining of the story Barley is unsuccessful at this job, a drunk in ruffled clothes. Katya (Michelle Pfeiffer),a Russian working in their publishing industy, tries to send a script from the mysterious "Dante" (Claus Maria Brandauer) to Barley, but it ends up in the hands of MI6 and later the CIA. The script contains a lot of information about the Soviet military and essentially exposes it as a paper tiger. Barley is sent to Russia to find Dante and find out who Dante is and if his information is correct, He gets in contact with Katya. Pfeiffer does something Conenry never did: she uses an accent other than her own.
This is a good espionage story, but at it's heart it's a romantic drama. The scene where Barley speaks of his love for Katya he is completely genuine, far from his James Bond. Pfeiffer is good too, but most of all she is incredibly beautiful. At that time she must've been one of the most bautiful women in the world.
The Russia House was one of only two Hollywood movies shot in the Soviet Union (Red Heat was the other one) and the movie makes the most out of the locations. We get great snapshots of that time in history. Ladas or stranded by the road with their drivers trying to get them to start again, a black marketeer tries to do business with Barley and in a scene where Katya is taking a shower (instead of using the scene for tintilation) she grabs a wooden club to swithch the water off! Humor is used very well in this movie.
I have to mention the Bond connections. There is Bond himself of coursche, but we also get M (James Fox), Tanner (Michael Kitchen) and a Bond villan (Brandauer). Please don't watch this movie if you're looking for soemthing like a Bond movie. This is more thouthful, romantic, cynical and real than Bond and a really good movie!
The Russia House (1990) 1080p💎 - Bing video
Rise Of The Footsoldier: Origins
This must be about the 5th in the series and focuses on Tony Tucker.
My husband has a bit of a soft spot for cheap, cr@ppy, British ganster films so we have watched all in the Rise of The Footsoldier series.
I can't believe they have made so many films about the same people and basically regurgitated the same story in every film. ( Bit like Bond he would argue ) 😂
Anyway, usual bit of violent shenanigans. Stars the usual crew and this time Vinnie Jones. I do quite like Craig Frairbrass. He's actually not a bad actor. Funny he started off in London's Burning and Prime Suspect but now seems to have found his niche as hardman gangster types.
Is this it, Joshua?