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  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,268MI6 Agent

    It's been a while since they showed the Sean Connery film Cuba from the late 70s but set in the same time as Havana. I picked up the paperback second hand and it was the usual pulp thing with 'sexy' scenes in it of the era and faintly degrading prose. They don't write them like that any more.

    Decision to Leave - a recent acclaimed Korean film shown on BBC4, a cop drama in which a long married cop investigates the apparent suicide of a fellow cop, somewhat older, but with an attractive though kind none too grief-stricken widow. It has shades of other types of this kind - Basic Instinct or Vertigo, I guess. I struggled with it a bit as it's all in subtitles so you have to pay attention, that's fine, but the narrative trick means when the cop is hypothesising what has really happened, he is installed at the scene so part of you thinks, oh, was he there then, or is it happening now? When it's not, it's a flashback of sorts, not wholly unlike the scene in Mission Impossible when Hunt is at Liverpool St Station thinking back to what really happened in Prague.

    Another problem was the lack of any police procedure - suspects being interviewed with no lawyer present or indeed anyone else, I think it's recorded and there's one-way mirrors too but it all seems a bit odd. Maybe that's how it's done out there. Some of it I found hard to follow but I did sort of catch up. You do think it's going to pan out differently to how it does.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 185MI6 Agent

    That's a good one to pair with VANISHING POINT and GONE IN 60 SECONDS (the original, not the remake with Nicolas Cage).

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,138MI6 Agent

    THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961)

    This was the second of the Roger Corman/Vincent Price collaborations in which the duo brought to the screen some loose adaptions of Edgar Allan Poe's most famous tales.

    Set in 16th century Spain, it tells the story of Francis Barnard (John Kerr) who travels to the castle of his brother-in-law Nicholas Medina (Price) to learn more about the death of his sister Elizabeth ( Barbara Steele). After trying to put him off the truth his brother-in-law eventually admits that she succumbed to madness and was found dead in the torture chamber's Iron Maiden. From here, almost nothing is as it seems and a series of macabre surprises and effective spooky scenes are tremendous to watch.

    Vincent Price, playing a man convinced that he may have buried his wife alive, is at his haunted, madly insane best. As his seemingly doomed wife, horror queen Barbara Steele turns in a mesmerising and unsettling performance that lingers long after the film has finished.

    The Pit And The Pendulum is almost perfect and by far the best of the bunch of the Poe adaptions.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,235MI6 Agent

    The Pit and the Pendulum is good, but I think for sheer audacity, the LSD tinged Masque of the Red Death has to be a better...

    BELFAST (2021)

    Kenneth Branagh underlines his credentials as a leading figure in modern British theatre and film with another excellent movie to follow on from his many other excellent, although usually Shakespearian, movies. Belfast is semi-autobiographical, set in Branagh’s Belfast of 1969 / 70 at the start of the Principality’s Troubles.

    The film begins in the modern day, in colour, showing Belfast's new art and buildings, people and places, pointers to the freedoms and democracy brought by the Good Friday Agreement. Branagh and cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos fade to monochrome as the city fades back to the past and kids in short trousers, plimsoles and pigtails play football and Arthurian legends up and down a multifaith street. Throughout the film Branagh is careful not to specify exactly who is which Christian denomination, a decision that cleverly reflects the viewpoint of eight year old Buddy, the film’s chief protagonist, a boy unfazed and unable to distinguish between one side or the other as the conflict spirals out of control. Instead he pines for the girl next door, who it is eventually revealed as a Catholic to his Protestant, spends time in the company of his doting grandparents and eavesdrops on his ma and pa’s arguments about families, finances and the future. The film is expertly written in a series of snapshots, the fragments of childhood memory.

    The film doesn’t really do a lot because of that premise. It retains a solidly childlike viewpoint. You sense whole swathes of the entire story are being missed out; the political and paramilitary backgrounds in particular are touched on, but never fully expanded. A lot of information is only half provided, often via those moments of eavesdropping, but this doesn’t detract from the filmic experience, rather it touches better on reality. When as a child did we ever hear the full story of anyone and anything, parents and elders always keen to shade us from harm; hence our memories come shrouded in the same half-light, like the monochrome photography.

    Buddy [a very good debut from Jude Hill] is a film fan and avidly watches television and visits the cinema to banish the real world. Again, director and photographer allow a shift from black and white to colour during some of these moments of escapism. The curious celebratory ‘wake’ feels as if it is an unreliable memory and perhaps ought also to have faded into colour to emphasise the symbolism. I am nit-picking really.

    Belfast is a fine film with a series of great performances from a strong cast, best among them Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds as the grandparents, but Caitriona Balfe and Jamie Dornan impress as the parents also. It refuses to be over sentimental – to its credit – nor is it obviously satirical, unlike the wartime set Jo Jo Rabbit which also concerned a child experiencing and living through conflict. By doing so, the film never overplays its hand. Branagh as director and screenwriter understands that art needs to make us think to allow us to feel and he provides the breathing space for the characters to elicit the humanity of emotion.

    Van Morrison provides an excellent evocative soundtrack, utilising many of his own recordings of the era.

    Very, very good indeed.

  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 185MI6 Agent

    We really liked BELFAST. Glad to see that Branagh can shoot a film in a straightforward manner without a ton of Dutch angles to get in the way of simply telling a good story.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,235MI6 Agent

    TRUE GRIT (1969)

    Back in August, I reviewed the Coen brothers unnecessary remake of True Grit. The famous 1969 original needs little introduction. John Wayne, a huge movie star for what felt like an eternity, won an Academy Award for playing the cantankerous, drunken, one-eyed, sharpshooting U.S. Marshal Reuban J. Cogburn. He’s worth the admission fee on its own, a simply marvellous interpretation of a literary character, who occupies the screen with every limping stride, fusty complaint, astonished response, heroic intent and, just occasionally, some brilliant scenes of humour, pathos and, what heroine Mattie Ross terms, true grit. Unkind critics claim Wayne was only playing a version of himself, but he isn’t. Rooster Cogburn as a character is far deeper than the kind of white hatted cowboys and tough military men Wayne portrayed in the forties and fifties, far more defined than the family friendly heroes of the sixties. He’s an ambiguous, but hardy soul, as likely to talk jocularly of wistful domesticity and a past life of many mistakes as he is to shoot a rattlesnake or a horse thief or pop the cork on a whiskey jar. Quite why anyone would prefer Jeff Bridges’ sullen turn in the remake is quite beyond my comprehension. It would be fair to say, however, that following the success of True Grit, Wayne began to pick roles that reflected similar character traits.

    Kim Darby is excellent as opinionated, tough, but fair, teenager Mattie Ross, out to avenge her father’s murder, and Robert Duvall cuts a lithe, angry figure as the villainous Ned Pepper. Both villains and heroes lie and cheat to achieve their ends. Heroism is very grey in this otherwise colourful film. Singer Glen Campbell debuted and was second billed; this role should have been Elvis Presley’s, but the King’s manager was a dunce and demanded top billing for his ‘star’ – so Elvis was out and Glen was in. Big loss for old hip-shake there. Campbell is so-so at best.

    The screenplay serves up some nice lines and deflects much of the bloodthirsty content with gentle humour. Much play is made of Mattie Ross’s unlikely role as a negotiator and a head strong woman, especially such a young one [it is suggested she is only fourteen]. This works well because Kim Darby, while attractive, isn’t classically beautiful. The ‘sex’ element introduced by the Coen’s in their modern version was somewhat irritating for detracting from Mattie’s competencies. Director Henry Hathaway is at pains to demonstrate her abilities, her proficiency to command and assert herself early on; Ross [Darby] is featured throughout the film and the opening scenes are almost exclusively hers. Without such a formidable character as Darby makes her, Ross would become no more than window dressing. Screenwriter Marguerite Roberts needs to take a bow for penning such effective and demonstrative dialogue, not just for Mattie, but for everyone, drawing on Charles Portis’ book and elaborating just enough to extract the personalities of people and place.

    On the production side, the film looks marvellous, its minimal indoor and outdoor sets working in the film’s favour. The scenes at Fort Smith, which open with a crowd singing Amazing Grace as a preface to a public hanging, are particularly fine, utilising real buildings in Ouray County, Colorado. Death is commonplace in the west and the trivialities surrounding the spectacle are painful to watch, but have an accent of truth about them rarely seen in mainstream westerns. Lucien Ballard’s cinematography is quite simply luscious. Elmer Bernstein’s music score harks back to his favourite theme The Magnificent Seven, but the decent theme song is pleasant – lyricist Don Black taking a holiday from Bond movie duties.

    True Grit is probably the last great western of the traditional style, before the slew of spaghetti westerns and revisionist epics like The Wild Bunch and Butch & Sundance began to reinvent and eventually suffocate the genre. There are nods to the modern styles of the sixties and early seventies, but they do not overrun the piece which remains solidly in the familiar vein of white-hat / black-hat cowboy movie territory. It isn’t especially violent either, even though an undercurrent of violence inhabits much of the talk and the action, and leads step by step towards a climatic, inevitable gunfight in the same way Stagecoach, My Darling Clementine and High Noon do. That stand off is quite simply one of cinema’s magical moments. The fun, the tension, the fear is in how we get there. Hathaway controls both actors and incidents with a degree of caution, nobody and nothing oversteps the mark. The final scene at Mattie Ross’s family cemetery has an optimistic, almost joyful feel to it which must send even the most hard-hearted audience away happy.

    I don’t like the word classic, but it feels very appropriate to this film.      

    Footnote:

    It was my Mum's funeral today and I watched this with Dad. We needed a break from the sorrow. I'd forgotten the scenes where Mattie views her father's corpse in an open coffin. A bit close to home that. Otherwise, we really enjoyed it. One of the curious aspects, which doesn't often happen in films, when we raised a point of order query to ourselves, we usually found the question answered by the mechanic of the film itself, either in its staging or dialogue. The film really is not a run-of-the-mill adventure but a strongly constructed and well-thought narrative with excellent production values and performances. Classic indeed.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,138MI6 Agent

    That’s a terrific review of one of my favourite westerns @chrisno1 and a more recent one is reviewed below…

    BONE TOMAHAWK (2016)

    We had Cowboys vs Aliens and this could have been titled Cowboys vs Cannibals. Director S. Craig Zahler's ambitious Western mixes black comedy and gory horror to great effect.

    When members of his community are kidnapped by a tribe of cave-dwelling cannibals, rough, tough Sheriff Hunt (played by a fabulously bearded Kurt Russell) assembles a small posse to give chase. There's dim deputy Chicory (Richard Jenkins), self assured Brooder (Matthew Fox) and cowboy O'Dwyer (Patrick Wilson), who nurses an injured leg. That's a strong cast, and the movie benefits from the interplay between the men as they snipe and bond as the chase proceeds. Strong cameos from David Arquette and our own Sid Haig set the tone early as they stumble across a cannibal burial ground. Sexy Lilli Simmonds is another major plus.

    Much time is spent with its characters and that means that we come to care about the men and genuinely for their well-being once cannibal territory is entered. No punches are pulled in depicting the cannibals visceral atrocities, scenes of violence are as strong as anything I have ever seen. One drawback in the finale is when gunshots can be heard from either miles away or not at all, depending on whether or not the story requires a surprise entrance for one of its characters, but when it’s so full of action it’s nitpicking to be fair.

    It’s a really, really good genre mashup.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 185MI6 Agent

    BONE TOMAHAWK is really, really good. It has a great sense of escalation to it building up to a scene that...yeah.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,193Chief of Staff

    I agree totally with your review of Colonel Parker, and look forward to more insults being thrown at that terrible man as often as you can.

    Oh, and I also agree with your thoughts in the movie and Wayne in particular. A favourite of my Dad's, who often took a not unwilling son to see his latest movie.

    Sympathy to you and to your Dad.

  • ChicoChico Posts: 56MI6 Agent
    edited January 21

    INTERSTELLAR (2014)

    As a young man, seeing the capacity of human nature fully present in a film is like understanding 90% of the most complicated equation in the world which is love. This film captures our capabilities to save something bigger than us: our family, our friends, God, the world, our planet, and our own life. Yes, I believe that we don't currently hold our own lives to the standard God intends us to be. If we were like Coop, a selfless person who gathers respect and value in ALL life, not just a select few, we would be in a better world.

    SPOILERS, THIS MOVIE IS A MUST-WATCH.

    Coop is a smart, capable man born out of his time, he is thrust into a world where engineers and pilots aren't looked up to, where even the moon landing story is manipulated to become a campaign of propaganda. The values and "common sense" he teaches his kids are just not present in the real world, which is set to be our near-future world, not unlike the one we have now. From being a pilot and engineer to a farmer is like what I imagine war veterans go through when they have to come back to the real world and live the rest of their lives wanting some "action".

    Coop doesn't necessarily have anything in mind other than taking care of his farm and learning more about various things, tinkering here and there, but when "they" contact him by means of his daughter, Murphy, he jumps on the train the quickest chance he gets.

    One thing I love the most about films like these is the build-up to the story. Nolan takes great care in providing all the questions we have answered, and the questions we haven't asked ourselves yet are also present so that we understand when the problem does arise to ask them. If you only watch this movie the first time, you will not understand it entirely, Nolan tends to do that in his movies (i.e. Tenet, Memento, Prestige). Watch it once, try to recall all the moments you consider important, wait a good month or two to let the feeling sink in, then watch it again. Trust me, this film weighs on your mind when you least expect it.

    Onward. On his mission, Coop and his crew look toward 3 potential planets to choose from for humanity's survival in a completely new galaxy. When two of the planets' outcomes fail, he has no choice but to send his only remaining partner, Amelia Brand, and the rest of humanity (embryos) to the last checkpoint. He has to go save Earth, well, Earth's people, from doom.

    As things on Earth turn from bad to worse, it is discovered that there was never a chance to save the people there, the crew was sent out with the intention of never coming back and saving the rest, which includes Coop's children. After hearing that his mission was a one-way trip, he sets out to do the impossible, or in his eyes, "what's necessary" in hopes of saving all lives on Earth.

    The same wormhole that brought the crew from the Milky Way's galaxy to the other "New Earth" galaxy, was used to propel Brand to the last planet but also for Coop to communicate to his daughter back on Earth the winning formula to escape, with the help of "them".

    This may sound a bit complicated but all we know is that "they" are people that after millions of millennia, become 4 dimensional beings able to transcend space and time. They knew that Earth was to die, so they created? the wormhole to be just outside Saturn, in plain view of NASA's satellites.

    Since the beginning of the movie, there is the presence of a "ghost" as talked about by Murph who is somehow trying to communicate with her. We later find out in the movie that Coop himself is this "ghost" and succeeds in communicating with Murph back on earth after he stumbles, literally, into a "tesseract" that shows the entirety of Murph's life in her bedroom. Glad they didn't show us anything from the ages of 19-24, then he'd become a peeping Coop. 😳

    Time slippage is a big thing because depending on the amount of time spent on a planet that "works" faster than Earth's time, you could pass seconds there, whereas if you were to leave your space station flying just above the stratosphere of that planet, those people would age months. Weird, but that could potentially be true in other galaxies, according to science and stuff. This makes the plot more interesting and it actually is used in a way that is central to the story.

    That being said, as the only "hope" of humanity, after Coop finally meets with Murph, where his age is about 34-35, she surpasses him, being about 100 years old. The reason is that on that planet where time passes much slower, there was a mess up that caused decades to pass.

    And about being the hope of humanity, Coop realizes, that he was meant to save the next generation of babies that Brand is carrying on her ship, but he was not meant to save Earth, well, kind of. He was meant to provide Murph with the missing piece de resistance needed in the formula that helps Earth's people escape the blight.

    So basically, he provides the missing ingredient in the "formula" which could have only been found when going through the wormhole and gathering "quantum data", but she finishes the equation and gets everyone the heck out of Earth.

    At the end of the movie, the driving force that Coop uses to communicate is love. Throughout the movie, you can tell he's thinking about his kids. Even though one of them gave up on the chance that Coop was going to save them, Murph continues to believe that her dad was trying to help.

    This is why "they" knew the importance of getting Coop to go on that mission, regardless of the one-way trip the people of NASA lied to them about.

    THE connection of a father and daughter that surpassed time and space, which brought the salvation of human life and the dawn of a new generation of life in a faraway galaxy.

    I guess I could have started with that, but the movie is still fresh on my mind. It's amazing, it's touching, it's human. Bar the space-time continuum, the wormhole, science-y stuff.

    This is a film about the human connection in the family. It transcends age, race, time, space, gender, status, etc.

    It all started with one man, and his relentless determination to come back home.


    "Murphy’s Law Doesn’t Mean That Something Bad Will Happen. It Means That Whatever Can Happen Will Happen." --Interstellar, 2014

  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 185MI6 Agent
    edited January 21

    INTERSTELLAR is in my personal top 10 film list of all time.

    It wasn't initially. I saw it theatrically in IMAX on opening weekend and thought it was OK...well done but didn't grab me. I watched it again about 2 years later and 'got' it. I think a lot of my issues with that first viewing came down to the sound mix...the Hans Zimmer score is very high in the mix and some of the dialog is hard to make out. Regardless, on blu ray, the film worked. I've watched it probably 5 times since then and it's only grown in my estimation.

    For me, it's Nolan's masterpiece. It's the only film of his that has a really strong emotional core to it. Most of his films are great technical exercises but nothing more. THIS film actually engages on an emotional level to an amazing degree. Love love love it to death.

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,268MI6 Agent

    Interstellar is on at the Prince Charles cinema in London, tomorrow afternoon.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,268MI6 Agent

    I've mentioned the 1977 Clint Eastwood film The Gauntlet before - it came out the same year as The Spy Who Loved Me and is mainly the antithesis as it's about a cop who has to transport a witness - Sandra Locke - to a court house to testify against a local mafia kingpin or something only it turns out he's a high-ranking cop or politician... the police are easily turned on Clint and his blonde, it goes a bit Midnight Run. In both such films there's the sense the quarry is more attuned than their chaperone to the political realities.

    One scene is v similar to the Bond movie, as the pair try to evade a helicopter across barren terrain - only they're on a motorbike chopper not a Lotus Esprit. Odd how only decades later I realise that in the Bond film there is simply no other traffic ever in that scene.

    The Gauntlet tries to have it both ways as it's a very stupid film. The whole corrupt cops thing is radical and of its time and the overkill of the shooting is also paranoid conspiracy thriller, that said it's really just a McGuffin too. These are the new villains, that's all. Clint's star persona is very winning though he does appear to be playing a slow on the uptake guy, his chemistry with Locke is pleasing.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,268MI6 Agent
    edited January 24

    Hombre (1967), a star vehicle for Paul Newman.

    Engrossing Western with new liberal ideas regarding the Native Americans, voiced in monosyllabic sulky tones by the titular star, Newman is in gruff mode channelling his inner blue eyed blond haired Daniel Craig aka Reasons to be UnCheerful. He is a white man raised among the Sioux so has a foot in both camps - he is forced to quit his comfort zone when his father dies and he is set to inherit his house, which is run by a floozy landlady on the cusp of middle age, he has no truck with that and ejects her.

    On his return - and this is where it gets a bit woolly - as a wealthy white woman demands a new stagecoach run for her and her

    older husband on that very day, offering to pay over the odds ie buy the wagon and the horses and so on. It's never made clear why the wealthy couple need to go that very day, you assume the reason may come later, maybe it did and I missed it. Nor why, having arranged it at short notice, the pair should find for company a handful of folk including Hombre, who seems to be making a very quick return journey - doesn't he have to stick around and arrange the sale of the property? - and the very same landlady he ejected, plus a couple of others.

    The unappealing white folk who keep him company and in part snub him when they find out he is linked to the Sioux rely on him for help later on the journey. Newman appeals and appals but his patter when he gets to talking is a bit smart given we think he's been living mostly among the Sioux all this time, essentially he's Paul Newman. You can see watching this that he and McQueen must have been vying for the same roles a fair bit - culminating in their tussle over billing in The Towering Inferno and final lines of dialogue in that picture - though Newman had more range, he could do congenial too.

    Connery's wife Diane Cilento is along for the ride, could she have been Tracy in OHMSS if Connery had stayed on for the gig? Blonde as per book, a bit wild, Italian heritage. (He went on to do the not wholly different Western Shalako instead, which to this day I've never seen from start to finish). Everyone in the cast of Hombre is now dead except for Barbara Rush, born 1927, who gets some of the worst of it in the film and was by no means the youngest character in it.

    They don't make films like this now, there would have to be some laboured aspect to it, it would be 3 hours long, almost like the Bond films these days have to make heavy weather of it to disguise that it's all been done before. At the time Hombre would have been new ground, with modern lovely cinematography, new liberal attitudes and pretty boy Newman doing a new take on the sort of 'I stick my neck out for nobody' character that Bogart often exemplified, plus a upgrade in sexual references and violence.

    No spoilers but I'm not quite sure what the moral of this story is in terms of how it pans out. I do belatedly realise that it would be great to see a few Westerns like this at the cinema as the key appeal is the sheer vastness of the terrain, largely lost on TV.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,268MI6 Agent

    Killer Elite, a generic action flick with Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Nero.

    It says it's based on a true story by former SAS member Ranulph Fiennes but really it's just wholly implausible, a none too convincing sheik kidnaps De Nero and forces mate Statham to take out some SAS men who killed his sons in the Oman war. Interesting thing is, it's set in 1980 so some of the action if of that time, lots of cars of that vintage so taht's an angle. Total rubbish though it does pick up in the latter half. I've just seen it and I can't think what to add to that. That said, I watched to the end - and the end does have almost a Midnight Run finale re the money, a probably unintentional nod to the De Nero film.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,235MI6 Agent


    Having read Chico's assessment I have no need to see the film nor do I want to. It sounds gloriously impossible and overwrought. As soon as he mentioned 4-dimensional beings I rolled my eyes. The beauty of Memento which @Chico mentions and Insomnia is that they are founded in a strong sense of the reality and the absurdities and violence of it. Most of Nolan's subsequent films deal with unrealities. It is one of the reasons I don't want him doing Bond. Of his war films, Dunkirk was spectacularly dull and I haven't seen Oppenheimer.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,235MI6 Agent

    A nice take on Hombre, @Napoleon Plural a film I have not seen. It reads like a reimagining of Stagecoach.

  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 185MI6 Agent

    FERRARI (2023) with Adam Driver and Penelope Cruz. Directed by Michael Mann

    Not as racing heavy as I guessed it was going to be. There's some at the beginning of the film and then the entire third act is the Mille Maglia, but that's about it. Instead, the film is more of a study of Enzo Ferrari (Driver) and his wife Laura (Cruz) as they deal with marriage and business problems. It's very well done and acted beautifully but it overall felt lacking in terms of 'meat on the bone'. I guess I was expecting something along the lines of FORD V FERRARI, a film I consider to be one of the better films of the last 10 years.

    In the Michael Mann roster of films, I'd put this in about the middle tier.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,193Chief of Staff

    PRISCILLA (2023) Dir Sofia Coppola

    Based on an autobiographical book by the lady herself, this covers well-trodden territory to the extent of being on the dull side. No surprises to anyone who's seen one of the many similar movies before.

    No actual Elvis music apart from "Guitar Man" sung by an impressionist plus an instrumental version of "Love Me Tender" once or twice. Jacob Elordi, whose name has cropped up in our "Next James Bond" thread, is a convincing enough Elvis and the young actress playing Priscilla (whose name escapes me) is also very good although I don't recall the real one being so tiny.

    Unfortunately it stops before she gets around to making "Naked Gun" movies. 🙁

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,268MI6 Agent

    ^^^ This is the sort of film we seem to have seen in cinemas since the pandemic, do you know what I mean? Sort piss dull, it comes and it goes, no real urgency to even see it on Netflix let alone fork out £20 or more on the big screen. It's sort of furlough cinema, we will make this film to keep things ticking along and people in the industry employed....

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,235MI6 Agent

    ^^^ I am looking forward to Jonathon Glazer's new movie which has just given him his first Oscar nomination The Zone of Interest, a foreign language film and taken from Martin Amis' best selling book. Glazer is a brilliant and underrated director. Set during WW2 at and near Auschwitz, this sounds like another holocaust movie, but by focussing on the everyday life of the German commandant, Glazer underlines the latent horror that thrives inside human nature and occasionally manifests itself through abhorrent actions, changing individuals forever by the experience. A difficult and emotionally harrowing experience, I expect.

  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 185MI6 Agent

    I've heard great things on ZONE OF INTEREST.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,138MI6 Agent

    THE RUNNING MAN (1987)

    The year is 2017 and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Ben Richards is framed and jailed for using his helicopter gunship to kill a crowd of protesters. Arnie and two other inmates soon escape prison in a fun but violent sequence, but Arnie is arrested at an airport. This brings him to the attention of the slimy and corrupt gameshow host (played superbly by Richard Dawson) of the nations most popular programme, The Running Man. He knows that the publicly hated Ben will be a big rating booster. So Arnie is entered into the show where it is kill or be killed.

    Of course Dawson has underestimated Arnie’s fighting prowess and as he takes on the show’s bizarre villains, who are armed with flame throwers, chainsaws and other weapons, but in true pulp fashion they all fall victim to their own weapons with Arnie ending each killing with a suitably groan inducing pun. Off-screen Dawson is evil to everyone, firing a cleaner for instance, but once the cameras start turning he’s the epitome of family-friendly jollity.

    Stating a year is always bad because when that year finally comes around the movie could look dated, and that how it looks now, both in its special effects and its misjudged view of what 2017 would look like - mainly the same as the 1980s, with big hair and shoulderpads and disco dance sequences set to some rather good funky Harold Faltermeyer rhythms. Accomplished action director Andrew Davis (Under Siege) was replaced during production by Starsky And Hutch actor Paul Michael Glaser, who really doesn’t handle the action sequences brilliantly, they’re a bit jerky and lack cohesion.

    But it’s a fairly decent effort and worth watching for Richard Dawson’s gameshow host, alone, and a decent part for our own Yaphet Kotto.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,193Chief of Staff

    ....and not a mention of Stephen King!!! 😱

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,138MI6 Agent

    😵‍💫 Put it down to a rapidly ageing brain that’s losing millions of cells every day 😂

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 185MI6 Agent

    Never really cared for THE RUNNING MAN. Even back in 1987, it all looked incredibly cheap in terms of production design. The action is poorly shot too. The only thing that really works in the film is the humor...in that regard, it has a surprisingly solid hit/miss ratio.

    The biggest crime is in altering the premise of the Stephen King (Richard Bachman) source novel. That original novel is fantastic and goes in much more interesting directions than the film. Doing the novel justice would have required a much larger budget, though.

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,268MI6 Agent
    edited January 26

    The Magnificent Ambersons

    Orson Welles' masterpiece about the decline and sidelining of a rich aristocratic American family at the turn of the century was famously butchered by the film studios in his absence, following poor test reviews. One of those wielding the scalpel was Robert Wise, who went on to direct West Side Story and The Sound of Music.

    I like The Sound of Music but that could do with half an hour removed from it - namely all the songs, of course. Trust me, and you know this is true, when you have a film with Nazis, you need to get to the Nazis right away, not faff about singing on a mountain top. I mean, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Where Eagles Dare, The Great Escape - would any of these be improved by songs? I rest my case.

    The Sound of Nazis - now that would be a movie. Opening aerial shots swooping across the Austrian countryside, to the increasing sound of jackboots and snippets of speeches from Hitler,

    Anyway, Robert Wise is a disgrace for overseeing the cutting of half an hour from The Magnificent Ambersons.

    Having seen it, it should have had another hour cut on top of that!

    Oh, but seriously, it's awful. I can't see how it could ever have been good. Unless the studio also recast the film, added most of the scenes and rewrote the dialogue too. It starts off with scene setting stuff, Orson the narrator, explaining about the rich aristocratic family in their big house. It doesn't quite ring true - you don't see this family interact with anyone or have any friends really. It's a device we saw in Citizen Kane and I didn't warm to it then - the opening news reel that goes on and on, it made sense in the cinema at the time I guess, as news was shown that way in lieu of TV coverage, but even so, it breaks the law of show, don't tell. Kane does feel a bit like this, even as the film goes on, the faceless journalist asks questions, then we cut to another scene - I honestly don't care as much about his overall rise and fall and corruption along the way as I should.

    But in this, I can't fudge it. After half an hour, there isn't a character even interesting in the film, let alone to root for or relate to or be entertained by. The theme is this only child brat who is spoilt and due his comeuppance. But there's no drama to speak of. In, say, Wuthering Heights, we have such a character early on, but he's up against Heathcliffe and he's the main character. You know there'll be consequences. Worse, while the child actor here is a nasty, one dimensional brat at least he has some brio - as a teen returning from school in horse and cart, he whips one of the plebs to get out the way! But the adult actor is Tim Holt and he seems miscast, he's almost like ex-chancellor George Osborne without the charisma. I didn't realise he was meant to be the same guy, he seems way-faced, petty, charmless.... you can't base a film around him.

    There's a narrative trick of having the village residents huff and puff over the conduct of the youngster but again, it's good for scene setting - at some point you think, is this film actually going to get going? Will the little creep run into somebody so there's useful conflict? He's not a tragic figure because you never get the sense he has a crossroads in his life where he might turn good instead.

    Joseph Cotton is in it, but while they're meant to be opposed to each other later in the film, it's feels wrong, as he's the older suitor to his married mother, and... well, if the kid had been the reason they'd split up early on, that would make sense, well not really... but it was her fault alone they didn't get hitched, and that's conveyed in a comic scene, related in that second hand, scene setting way.

    It's just possible the editing nixed some humour or pace that would have made sense of all this but if so the cuts must have been alchemy in reverse. There's a nice scene in the snow with lovely music - it's said Bernard Hermann scored it originally but after it got cut he ensured his name was taken from the credits - but this movie put me in mind of The Avengers - not the Marvel franchise but the turkey with Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman - where you have the makings of a fine trailer but the film, no matter how you dice it, it's gonna come out bad.

    The whole saga is related in a dreary, second-hand of way with the emphasis on impressive camera work. At the end, Orson Welles does an end credits where he narrates the players and participants in pompous style. It's all really weird.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 185MI6 Agent

    I rather like THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS myself but yeah, you can tell there are lots of missing pieces in there. I know they're still scouring the globe in the hopes of finding the missing footage...maybe one day.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,761MI6 Agent
    edited January 26

    Did you just criticize an Orson Wells movie, NP? You know you can't legally do that. The punishment set by the Parliament is watching all the Transformers movies on repeat for a month.

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