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  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,105MI6 Agent

    DEEP IMPACT (1998)

    I’m a sucker for end-of-the-world movies and two similar comets-colliding-with-Earth stories were released in 1998. For me, this one is better than Michael Bay’s Armageddon, with Bruce Willis. Deep Impact was the serious one of the two, which is probably why it took less at the box office. 

    NASA discovers that a comet “the size of Everest” is on a collision course for Earth. Tea Leoni is a reporter for MSNBC who discovers a hot story of a top political resignation. A woman named “Ellie” seems to be involved but instead of being a mistress to a politician she finds out that “Ellie” is jargon for “Extinction Level Event.” There’s still hope for mankind though, because US President (Morgan Freeman) tells a press conference, of which Tea Leoni is elevated to the first questioner in return for her silence, of the Messiah Project, which will send a manned joint US-Russian spacecraft to plant nuclear bombs in the comet and disintegrate it.

    The Messiah crew includes Robert Duvall, called out of retirement because of his gravitas with the public. Tea Leoni, in a sub-plot about her resentment for her father (Maximilian Schell) for divorcing her mother (Vanessa Redgrave) is just one of several soap-opera style sub-plots leading up to the climax. Elijah Wood stars as the kid who first discovers the comet.

    Will Earth survive? Well, in these sort of movies the audience pays to see the action so if nothing happened the audience would feel cheated. In Krakatoa, East Of Java we pay to see the volcano explode, so in Deep Impact we pay to see the comet hit the Earth, otherwise word would get out and there goes the box office.

    Much credit must go to the wrters and director for building interesting characters and keeping the tension high, and we get scenes of destruction and scenes that produce tears in the eyes.

    Well done to all concerned - I really do love this movie .

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,154Chief of Staff

    I agree, it's better than "Armageddon". Maybe I should rewatch the two of them soon.

  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 183MI6 Agent

    DEEP IMPACT is much better than ARMAGEDDON, one of the more stupid mainstream blockbusters I've ever seen. If you want to laugh, do a search on youtube for Ben Affleck's dvd commentary on the film...he really rips into just how stupid it is.

    If you've never seen it, look for GREENLAND with Gerard Butler. It's kinda like DEEP IMPACT in terms of tone but the smart decision is made to ensure that the audience is only made aware of what Butler and his family know. Very well acted with some solid twists in it.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,220MI6 Agent

    EFFIE GRAY (2014)

    A misleading biographical historical drama relating the story of art critic John Ruskin and his failed marriage to Effie Gray, the muse of pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Milias. Swathes of the real story are cut asunder in a screenplay by Emma Thompson that attempts to put a modern slant on a Victorian scandal. Dakota Fanning makes an entirely vacant heroine. Greg Wise cuts an impotent and disturbingly domineering, yet essentially childlike, figure as the genius Ruskin, a man for whom perfection is everything, to the point it becomes purity, thus a thing never to be defiled. His confusion of religious faith and cultural and societal expectation forms the basis for his doomed marriage, yet is only hinted at; Thompson prefers to push a domestic abuse angle, including a poisoning episode that resembles Hitchcock and is a quite dreadful impersonation. The film looks pretty, if stark, a bit like some Milias paintings. Nice music.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,746MI6 Agent
    edited January 31

    Poor things (2023)

    This movie got a lot of good reviews and is nominated for the Oscars, so I thought I'd watch it. But even more important I think is that it's a (very) origonal idea for a plot that isn't from an IP like a book, TV-series or comic. You know - like most movies used to be. The plot is absolutely unusual as you would expect from the director who made The Lobster or The Favourite. The main character played by Emma Stone kills herself in the begining of the movie. A mad scientist named Godwin Baxter (William Defoe) finds her as she is dying and discovers she's pregnant. He saves her by putting the brain of the unborn child into the woman's head. You don't see that in a lot of movies! He calls her Bella Baxter and Godwin brings her up as his daughter. While her body is that of a grown woman, her brain and mind is that of a baby, then a toddler , later an teenager etc. I like that it's not an idealized or romantisized version of toddlers or any other age we get. Emma Stone does a great job of portraying the body language and acts and emotions of a child. I wouldn't mind if she got an Oscar for this.

    it's of course not by accident that bella calls Godwin "God". Godwin was himself experimented by his own father when he grew up and had a very strange and difficult upbringing. godwin also has a lot of Doctor Frankenstein and his ,onster in him. He recruits one of his students, Max MacCandles (Ramy Youssef), to help him bring up and study Bella. Godwin doesn't want Bella to leave the house and for a range of reasons her life is very strange and at times disturbing. As she mentally starts growing up she runs off with Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo) who both takes advantage of her and educates her by showing her the world. His character is a long way from Bruce Banner and I suspect Ruffalo had a blast in this role. Defoe has almost made a career of playing colourful and eccentric characters, but Ruffalo and Stone have the looks to make a living from romantic comedies and action movies. I admire how they (especially Stone) have dared to take on such unusual and challenging roles.

    The world is very much a version of cyberpunk that is very striking and inventive. I like that very much. We also see how "God" has experimented on animals and created large birds with the head of a pig and other ..... ungodly hybrids.

    "It's not for everyone" is a clishe, but it certainly applies to this movie. if you're tired of superhero movies and other calculated blockbusters and wants to see something very different this is very well made and obviously different. But if you don't have much experience with arthouse movies I wouldn't reccomed you started with Poor Things. Try something by Wes Anderson ot Tim Burton first. But if you're into this sort of thing I can absolutely recomend it.

    Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlbR5N6veqw&t=2s


  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,220MI6 Agent

    Thanks for that review @Number24 as I was planning on watching this, given the sparkling reviews and all those Oscar nods. Hmm. Then I watched the trailer and I thought: "Oh, God, it's one of those films." You say above that it isn't a MCU, which indeed it isn't, but it still looks just as unreal as a comic book. Perhaps this is the new satire, but it just reminded me of Connery's final movie, the horrifically acted CGI monstrosity of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The trailer only lasted one minute and I was already thinking: "How can I sit through two hours of this adult fairy tale without flinching every time the camera pans across a vivid entirely computer generated landscape?" Dear Lord.

    I'm banking on The Zone of Interest to restore a semblance of reality back into cinema. I didn't get tickets for the Jonathon Glazer interview at the BFI - they sold out extremely fast - but UNDER THE SKIN is being repeated on Friday night, so I'll be absorbing that fantastic science fiction fairy story which basically encompasses exactly the same scenario as POOR THINGS but from the perspective of a first contact alien. It also doesn't use the bells, whistles and fake lighting of CGI but is filmed on the streets of Glasgow. Sci-Fi with brains.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,746MI6 Agent

    Other than the steampunk setting Poor Things is very different from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Poor Things isn't a comercial movie, and it knows it. I also think it's the plot and the acting that stays with you after watching Poor Things.

  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 183MI6 Agent
    edited January 31

    THE THREE MUSKETEERS: D'ARTAGNAN (2023)

    This is part one of a new take on the classic tale. Part 2, MILADY, will hopefully become available here in the US soon.

    I've never read the original book but I've seen all of the films which have been made so far. This new take doesn't differ all that much from the other films in terms of plotting, so it really comes down to the quality of the execution to make it stand apart. The good news is that this is very well executed with lush production design, authentic looking costumes, solid acting, and some truly first rate action.

    Oh, and Vesper Lynd herself, Eva Greene, plays Milady.

    The wife and I thoroughly enjoyed this. The only fault that we found is that it purposely ends on a cliffhanger...so dangit, I hope MILADY gets released on streaming soon.

  • Sir MilesSir Miles The Wrong Side Of The WardrobePosts: 26,480Chief of Staff

    @Number24 Poor Things actually IS from a book, published in 1992 and won several prizes for literature…originally set in Glasgow 🙂

    YNWA 97
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,746MI6 Agent

    I just discovered that myself. 😂

    At least the resource material isn't very famous like Harry Potter or LotR. (or is it?)

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,966MI6 Agent

    Never Let Go (1960)

    Dutchman (1966)

    Petulia (1968)

    Goldfinger (1964)

    Having watched all of these, this weekend, at BFI Southbank, I've now finished tinkering with my reviews of them:

    https://www.ajb007.co.uk/discussion/comment/1066625#Comment_1066625

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,220MI6 Agent

    MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (1996)

    I reviewed this movie a year or two back. I didn't intend to watch it, but there was nowt on and Dad enjoys it. Very traditional suspense thriller with the emphasis on the suspense - sometimes literally. Exceedingly good product with some superb visuals. When I watch it, I wistfully wish a few James Bond films are as clever, easy on the eye and mind, and tantalisingly lovable as this. Sterling entertainment that serves as a template to how modern action thrillers can work in both a Hitchcockian and a 'Die Hard' style. Sadly almost no others - including this film's numerous sequels and much recent OO7 - achieve the marriage. Tom Cruise at the top of his toothy game. Brian de Palma directs with much gusto and invention. Loved it.

  • LoeffelholzLoeffelholz The United States, With LovePosts: 8,988Quartermasters

    I vastly prefer this film to Armageddon; it isn't even close.

    Greenland was a great deal of fun!

    Check out my Amazon author page! Mark Loeffelholz
    "I am not an entrant in the Shakespeare Stakes." - Ian Fleming
    "Screw 'em." - Daniel Craig, The Best James Bond EverTM
  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 183MI6 Agent

    ARGYLLE (2024) with Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Henry Cavill, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O'Hara, Samuel L. Jackson, and a cgi cat. Directed by Matthew Vaughn.

    Howard is a novelist named Elly Conway who writes a spy fiction series about a superspy named Argylle (visualized by Henry Cavill). While traveling via train, she meets up with Sam Rockwell who reveals to her that he's actually a real life spy AND her books are actually 100% accurate to reality...like, they're documenting secret things that spy organizations and agents have actually done. The syndicate from her book is actually out to get her in order to find out what is going to happen in her NEXT novel. Action and stuff happens.

    What I described above is revealed in essentially the first 20 or so minutes. To describe anything further would be to go into spoilery territory.

    But how is the movie? Well...it's ok. The wife and I enjoyed it for the most part but it has several problems:

    1. Bryce Dallas Howard is very miscast, in my opinion. I didn't buy her at all in the first hour, even though she did have decent chemistry with Sam Rockwell. She gets much better in the second half for reasons I can't go into.
    2. It's too long (almost 2 hours, 20 minutes). The comic timing feels off, especially in the first hour. There are potentially funny scenes in the first half that feel like they're ruined by bad comedic timing that, with some tweaking, could be vastly improved.
    3. The marketing isn't being really truthful regarding who the star of the film is. Without spoiling anything, if you're going to this expecting Henry Cavill to be the lead, you're in for a disappointment. This is very much a Howard/Rockwell co-lead movie.

    There's a lot here that does work, though. Some of the twists in it are fun...to that end, go in clean without spoiling anything if you're going to watch this. Also, the disco soundtrack is lively and engaging. Most importantly, there are two action set pieces in the third act that are simply amazing to watch...well executed, thrilling, and genuinely funny. My theater was roaring with laughter at those two set pieces.

    Not sure if I can really recommend this or not. If you're in the right mood, this could prove to be an interesting diversion. If not, then this will be tedious up until that third act where everything really starts humming.

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,262MI6 Agent

    Oddly, Argyll (sp) isn't on my radar except by accident, it's odd. It's like cinema just isn't promoting itself. Same goes for the pop charts - just why isn't there a chart show these days, or a video channel for anything other than 1980s hits, or Christmas hits in Nov and Dec? I mean, the videos are all done, they're good, it's free telly. The artists benefit. We all do. I digress.

    That said, my sister says she enjoyed the new Andrew Scott film which is getting 5 stars everywhere, and another Bond alumni Jeffery Wright is in American Fiction, also getting good reviews.

    Layer Cake with Paddington stars Ben Wilshaw and Sally Hawkins.

    In this outing, our furry friend is given a consignment of tasty cakes to offload, only to discover they are knocked off, and the Dragon (a departure into folk law I'm not sure Michael Bond would approve of, then again it is about a talking bear) is hot on his trail, as is Mr Gruber who has long had it in for the hapless bear....

    Okay, okay, this is one of Matthew Vaughn's early films and I do wish he'd done Casino Royale, based on this, as it is so engrossing and well shot, with a touch of the bizarre. It never flags, there is always something of interest even though it seems clear that Craig is better working with an ensemble cast. Everyone is good in this, and it's as if Bond's first kill is when we see Craig take someone out in this. Michael Gamdon is on fine form and Ben Wilshaw unrecognisable from his later Q character, he is such a good actor. Sally Hawkins is good too though she and the other lowlife gangster seemed more part of a Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels type film.

    Some of it is confusing and only last night I picked up on a final twist after the "Layer Cake' speech. That's not good is it. But it is filmed so well I don't really mind.

    Like a classic Bond, I can watch this again and again.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,220MI6 Agent

    I just had a drink in a pub called Argyll...

    Anyway, back to business...

    QUATERMASS AND THE PIT (1967)

    Ten years on from Hammer Films’ Quatermass 2 and eight years from the third BBC television series, Nigel Kneale developed a screen adaptation of Quatermass and the Pit, throwing his experimental rocket scientist into a tale of the paranormal, collective memory, alien invasion and the lurking latent evil within the human race. Dr Who has a lot to thank Nigel Kneale and this Hammer film trilogy for as the children’s sci-fi show randomly stole ideas from these adult stories for years. This one mostly resembles The Daemons, but there are influences noticeable in The Ice Warriors, Image of the Fendahl and The Ark In Space. The role of the army sceptic – here played by our own Julian Glover – would become the basis for Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart and UNIT.

    Putting aside the debt owed by Dr Who, Quatermass and the Pit is a successful slice of mid-range intelligent science fiction. Here, Quatermass investigates strange goings on during routine excavations at Hobb’s End metro station. He comes to believe humans must not have evolved naturally on Earth, but needed the gene pool of a race of super-intelligent alien locusts to make those first steps to humankind. The tacit lesson being taught is that even alien races have the same foibles as ‘us’ for these strange insectoids had carried out a form of ethnic cleansing, a genocide so severe it eventually resulted in the race’s complete extinction. The paranormal angle seems to have been created more to provide some ghostly supernatural ‘horror’, basically a hurricane force wind and a screeching tornado howl that destroys first a local pub [not the Argyll, I need to add] and then the entire city of London. To be honest, the film isn’t a horror movie at all; it is most definitely sci-fi and much better for it.

    Andrew Kier was chosen over Brian Donlevy and he offers a calmer, older and more considered version of the hero. James Donald was given top billing for playing the anthropologist researching the curious remains. Barbara Shelley is good as his assistant. The film has some shoddy production values, including dreadful S/F/X, that do it no favours. Overall though, it is a sturdy product that doesn’t quite grab you in the chops like #2 did, yet nonetheless is intriguing and memorable chiefly for the central premise and the good performances which underpin and enhance the fairly rudimentary and stereotypical interaction between the characters.

    This was director Roy Baker’s return to helming cinema movies after some years slumming it as a TV director. He also changed his stage name to Roy Ward Baker, leading many to believe this was a debut from a new artiste. Baker would go on to work often and relatively successfully for Hammer Films for many years. 

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,220MI6 Agent

    THE COURIER (2009)

    A depressingly ultra-violent film taking place in ‘real time’ about a motorcycle courier who saves a police witness and becomes embroiled in a cat-and-mouse hunt in a London carpark. Gary Oldman phones in his performance as the crime boss who wants the witness assassinated. Olga Kurylenko was fresh from Quantum of Solace, where her ballsy, revenge ridden role at least displayed her intelligence and physical capabilities; this time she’s ex-Special Ops which allows even more opportunity for her to be beaten up, shot and tortured. I know we are supposed to be all for women’s rights and liberation or whatever you want to call it, but there is something upsetting about watching a woman being beaten to a pulp over and over. The film is humourless, unsubtle, badly acted and by dint of its repetitious nature intensely boring. The filmmakers appear to believe that loud music, violence, posturing and infantile profanities constitute entertainment. This is quite possibly one of the worst films I have ever seen. Please, I beg you, just take my word and do not watch it. 

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,262MI6 Agent
    edited February 11

    Not in the spirit of this thread's title, but the movie Aftersun is on tonight (Sunday) at around 9pm and it's meant to be very good. It's on BBC2, so no ad breaks! There's a good one after it too, but that goes on to 1am and it's a school night etc

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,220MI6 Agent

    Did you watch it ?

    Meanwhile in the House of Drago...

    HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE (1953)

    A dated comedy in which three young single ladies rent an expensive New York apartment with the intention of snaring a rich husband. The morals of the piece are lost among the risible comic antics and the so-so love affairs. Marilyn Monroe looks delightful in Travilla gowns and spectacles. Betty Grable looks too old to be playing a twenty-something gold digger. Meanwhile, Lauren Bacall’s character is distinctly unpleasant to everyone. Poorly scripted and filmed by Jean Negulesco with one eye constantly on how to demonstrate the virtues of Cinemascope. The format is best displayed in the unusual opening musical overture, where Alfred Newman conducts the eighty-piece ‘Twentieth Century Sinfonia’ on his Gershwin-esque homage to New York City, Street Scene, a composition he wrote twenty years previously, and where you can sit back for seven minutes and watch the whole orchestra play as if you are in the front row of a concert hall. Otherwise an extremely drab affair enlivened only sporadically by a few one liners and some physical humour from Monroe, mostly poking fun at her character’s shortsightedness.   

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,262MI6 Agent

    ^ I read that the book itself was a classic of its kind.

    Aftersun

    British drama in which we observe the activities of a single father and his 11-year-old daughter on a holiday in a resort which we later gather to be in Turkey, though the hotel and surroundings could be Benidorm or anywhere. The way it plays out is very understated and a refreshing change from a previous night's viewing of Atonement which I had already seen and liked a lot, but it's a bit overwrought and on the nose. (Or is it meant to be, given it is about an unreliable narrator?)

    There doesn't seem to be much drama in Aftersun. So much so that you start to create it yourself as you begin to worry about what might happen to the father and daughter instead, and it does seem to set things up that way. You find yourself in the position of being a parent or carer, where all your problems come in threes and fours and you can't quite tell which are the important ones and which aren't. Afterwards, you might think, ah, I missed the important one.... You start to feel anxious for the duo.

    It's nicely played and I was surprised to learn that the actor playing the father was the guy playing the lead as a student in the series Normal People only a couple of years ago. If you'd paid top dollar to see this at the cinema you might have felt cheated as the production values are even cheaper than the sitcom Benidorm (and the cast is a lot slimmer and less starry too) . As well as a rating on movies, should there be a sliding scale In terms of paying? I mean, Wonka is likely to be a £25 visit or thereabouts, and the money is all up there on the screen, but not here. Or am I misunderstanding economics? Would you get more people opting to see a cheaper film, or instead would fewer cinemas book such films, figuring it would hit their takings?

    I admit the overall conclusion of Aftersun almost passed me by and I had to verify it on the imdb reviews page, had I seen it in the cinema it might not have done, being more immersed in it.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,966MI6 Agent
    edited February 14

    Reviews of 1965 films all seen during the BFI John Barry season:


    'The Ipcress File'

    BFI John Barry Season — ajb007

    'Four in the Morning'

    'Boy and Bicycle'

    https://www.ajb007.co.uk/discussion/comment/1067050#Comment_1067050

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,220MI6 Agent

    TORA! TORA! TORA! (1970)

    A historical war movie that tries really hard to be authentic and accurate, but unfortunately ends up being listless and unexciting. Not even the fabulously filmed Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbour can raise the temperature. Perhaps the perspective is wrong. It is very hard to make a war film celebrating defeat and mismanagement, and Tora! Tora! Tora! falls into a well of unenthusiasm.

    The production was a joint American and Japanese venture and it treads carefully around the ultranationalist background of the Japanese Imperial Army and the country’s political leaders, such as Hideki Tojo. Hence, Sō Yamamura’s Admiral Yamamoto is a sympathetic, cautious leader and his underlings are portrayed as impressionable warmongers; although this considered approach is undermined by his final speech about the attack waking “a sleeping giant” having no evidence in fact. It is true that Yamamoto was not of a hardline right wing chapter, preferring to consider political implications in the context of how they affected the military’s role in warfare. He was perhaps too gentlemanly for the command he was given. A similar position is struck over the Japanese Ambassadors. The American military and diplomatic services meanwhile appear to be completely indolent, unprepared and bogged down in procedure and red tape. While mostly factually correct, you end up wondering where your sympathies are supposed to lie. There are no heroics displayed in the political sphere or on the battlefield – Pearl Harbour is basically a massacre, so it’s hard for actors to be valiant – and we all know where the Pacific War eventually ended.

    The original screen treatment was from the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa and would have run for over four hours, concentrating on the cultural and personal battles as much as the political and military ones. David Lean had been earmarked for the English speaking sections but he dropped out of the project, leaving the Japanese Master to helm the whole show. Kurosawa left the film after three weeks suffering from anxiety; probably because his script had been butchered and he found the American film crews difficult to work with. Richard Fleischer, Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku took over, but lack subtly.

    Production design is okay. Jerry Goldsmith’s score sounds like leftovers from Planet of the Apes. The cinematography is very good. There is a particularly beautiful sequence of the Zero fighters taking off at dawn and flying over the ocean accompanied by a rising sun which makes you ponder if war should be this gorgeous. The film’s major drawback is its lack of star names or any personal story. There is nobody for an audience to identify with, either by face and name or on a narrative level. It has a procedural, documentary style, and as such it is interesting, but not emotionally involving.

    There had already been one great movie about Pearl Harbour called From Here to Eternity, and that classic movie does everything right regarding character, place, time and experience, albeit from a solely American point of view. Tora! Tora! Tora! cannot hope to compete and it doesn’t. Worth a look if you feel like it, but a middling success at best.    

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,220MI6 Agent
    edited February 15

    THE LONG HOT SUMMER (1958)

    Tensions run high in the deep south of Mississippi as notorious drifter Ben Quick ingratiates himself with local businessman and farmer Will Varner and his combustible family. The story is based on a couple of William Faulkner novels, so the dialogue scores points for being feisty and near-the-knuckle, certainly for 1958.

    Paul Newman smoulders as Ben Quick, his blue eyes flexing like icebergs in spring, while future wife and recent Oscar winner Joanne Woodward is prissy and haughty as the passionate iceberg that genuinely needs melting. Orson Welles offers is roaringly grumpy as Varner, caught between admiration for the ambitious newcomer and waning affection for his stuck up daughter and wastrel son [Woodward and Antony Franciosa]. Lee Remick’s daughter-in-law has all the feminine qualities Varner prefers in a wife or daughter, comely, capricious and flirtatious. He admires her as one might a breeding mare, for Eula’s slut reputation survives even past marriage: the local youngsters continue to call for her company from across the estate fences. Angela Lansbury inhabits the matronly Minnie, Varner’s bit-on-the-side who ensnares him into an unlikely marriage. Her surely pivotal role in his change of heart over almost everything is curiously underplayed. There is little tension towards her from the extended Varner family either, for Minnie is accepted into the household without comment; an oversight one feels in such a bitterly twisted and culturally ingrained cast of characterisations. Martin Ritt directs with some muscular tension and plenty of sweat, but the movie, while interesting, doesn’t do very much.

    The characters, setting and even the themes of disappointment and inter-familial rivalry are well recognisable. Other movies from the same year tackled similar subjects: Richard Brooks’ adaptation of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and the epic western The Big Country. The sentiments of the deep south were also well represented in Stanley Kramer’s searing The Defiant Ones. The Long Hot Summer preceded them all, but somehow feels less relevant. Newman channelled much of Ben Quick into his career-making Brick Pollitt in Cat… while Welles is a poor substitute for Burl Ives’ magnificently fearsome parental turns in both Cat… and The Big Country. Having said that, both actors share some fine moments; best of all is a small scene where they play cards and Newman, having endured Welles’ psychoanalysis, pays out his losses and quietly says: “Deal me from the top this time”, a line that receives no more than a shrug from Welles, yet a moment which encapsulates Quick’s chancer’s nature and Varner’s duplicitous plutocratic self-ego in mere seconds. Woodward, Oscar or not, is prettily effective, but as the story progresses the character traits we initially admired in Clara Varner are worn away and she morphs into just another wanton Southern Belle.

    The ending is too cheerful by half for such a rancorous narrative. Good photography from Joseph LaShelle and a sprightly music score from Alex North. A good, but flawed movie, a bit flabby, but the central performances just about carry it. Newman was awarded the Best Actor at Cannes for his efforts.

     

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,262MI6 Agent

    On the subject of Pearl Harbor @chrisno1 this evening (Thurs 15 Feb, UK telly of course) on PBS America (channel 83 or thereabouts), at 8.40pm there is an hour-long documentary called Pearl Harbor: World On Fire, it's part 1 of 2. Second part same time tomorrow (Fri).

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • IstvanTheHun007IstvanTheHun007 Posts: 73MI6 Agent

    Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh", by John Frankenheimer and starring Lee Marvin & Robert Ryan. 4 hour director's cut blu-ray.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,220MI6 Agent

    Annoyingly @Napoleon Plural my TV listing showed the Pearl Harbour show repeated at midnight... only I failed to notice PBS America is only available online between 00.00 & 13.00. So I have missed it. Tine to search for a repeat then. Hmmmm...

  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 183MI6 Agent

    NEXT GOAL WINS (2023) with Michael Fassbender. Directed by Taika Waititi.

    Meh.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,220MI6 Agent

    Some time ago, I wrote reviews on all the Star Trek movies - except I forgot to complete the canon - belatedly here is

    STAR TREK BEYOND (2016)

    Star Trek Beyond is beyond my comprehension. Oh, sure, it is about Idris Elba’s two hundred year old Star Fleet Captain out on a revenge mission using the galaxy’s ultimate weapon – but quite what is happening, why and to whom and by whom, where and when is entirely indescribable. And you know what? I just didn’t care. I noted that Simon Pegg cowrote the screenplay with Doug Jung [whoever he is] and it is a crushing disappointment on his C.V. The thing isn’t even very amusing. Every incident, meeting, discussion and revelation comes with noise, violence and inconsequential visuals attached. The movie simply slid by me in a blur of stupendous special effects and enormous plot holes, mostly scientific ones, although as we are in the realm of science fiction I suppose I ought to give lea way. The director is Justin Lin and he usually helms the Fast and Furious franchise, so we ought to know what we are getting: mindless, conventional and ridiculously spectacular action paired with dialogue so banal you couldn’t dream it in your worst cinematic nightmare. And that’s exactly what we get.

    Maybe I am being unfair.

    No, I’m not. This was just awful.  

  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 183MI6 Agent

    Rather liked BEYOND personally. It's not the strongest plot but it does a good job of having the characters bounce off of one another, which I personally found to be very entertaining.

    As to 'who is Doug Jung', he actually has a cameo in the film as Sulu's husband (seen on the Yorktown station).

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,220MI6 Agent

    There were a couple of Roger Moore films on the box yesterday, so I indulged :

    ESCAPE TO ATHENA (1979)

    An uneven mix of The Guns of Navarone, The Great Escape and Operation Crossbow with a dose of counter-culture MASH thrown in for good measure, Lew Grade’s ITC production Escape to Athena is a pretty to look at but inconsequential wartime thriller which has too many cute ideas and not enough solid meaty action. Set in 1944, Eliott Gould and Stephanie Powers play USO artists whose plane is wrecked on the Greek island where Telly Savalas’ former orthodox monk is leading a revolt against the Germans. Initially it appears he only wishes to free the prisoners at the local POW camp, but his secret agenda involves destroying both the U-Boat pens and the communications centre the German’s have built inside his old monastery. Eyebrowraisingly, even for Sir Roger, this is also the location of a mobile V2 rocket silo. Who’d have thought it! David Niven plays a British archaeologist. Americans Richard Roundtree and Sonny Bono appear totally out of place. Roger Moore has top billing as the sympathetic Prison Camp Commandant who happens to be an antiquities expert, while Anthony Valentine sneers as the SS villain. We even get Claudia Cardinale as a brothel madam. So the cast is all in place, the fault lies elsewhere.

    The humour delivered during the early portions of the film sets Athena up like a jokey version of The Great Escape, but there are some quite nasty incidents taking place outside the Stalag which sit uneasily beside the laboured laughs. Particularly excruciating is an army show put on by the USO pair while an insurrection takes place around the makeshift theatre. The sequence is bizarre, unfunny and occasionally rather violent. Most of the first half is a similiar mismatch in more or equal measure. Roger Moore at least impresses as the dodgy Commandant, proving he can act when he wants to, just perhaps that so often he really doesn’t want to. As the final third of the movie approaches the serious tones rise to the fore, but character traits have been so embedded the cast can’t shake off the selfish sentiments and we don’t care much for anyone’s survival. Everyone seems to be chasing Byzantine treasures – the war may as well not be existing. Director George Pan Cosmatos proves functional. The best sequences, like the motorcycle chase and the frogman fight, were orchestrated by stunt co-ordinator Vic Armstrong. Lalo Schifrin offers a decent overture to accompany the beautiful opening shots of Rhodes, but the end credits are played out to a disco track from Heatwave. It’s an infuriating lopsided little film which bombed at the box office. If I am honest, I sense a really good movie struggling to escape from Athena, but that’s about it.     

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