What Movie Have You Seen Today?

I’ve seen it. If you’re in it for Connery, well…he’s there. :slight_smile: He looks great but his character 's very unBondian. Everything seems to hinge on Gina Lollobrigida being gorgeous and personally I just don’t feel it . YMMV.

The scenery in particular and the cinematography in general can be great, but overall it feels like a much older film, and not in a good way. On balance its one great contribution to cinema history was providing some awesome suits for Connery to wear again in “Goldfinger.”

Thanks, David. That’s very interesting. Fascinating, too, about the suits. I know he wears a white dinner jacket in it, and assumed he’d already done GF by that point. Another step, then, towards cementing the Bond image which came with that film.

Matt Spaiser’s “Suits of James Bond” site provides a terrific overview of just how much of Sean’s GF wardrobe was recycled from “Woman of Straw,” including arguably the most famous suit in the entire series. If nothing else, that film should prove a fertle resource for enterprising Youtube creators looking to make an “alternate cut” of GF.

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January is legendarily Hollywood’s dumping ground, the place where bad movies go to make what they can so the studios can move on. On the surface, that is exactly what Underwater appears to be, another ripoff of films like Alien or The Abyss that the studio puts out there to make a quick buck and move on. The film did take a loss, with a budget of around $50 million, it only took in $40.9 million at the global box office, providing the studio with a loss. With all of this going against it, surely this is a clunker of a movie. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Underwater finds a drilling crew working in the Mariana Trench suddenly facing the collapse of their facility after an apparent earthquake. The destruction of the facility begins almost immediately, not wasting time on character set up and world building, things which happen organically over the course of the events of the film, and this is a positive aspect of the film. This allows the film to jump into exactly what it does well. As what is left of the crew comes together (a claustrophobic and tense series of events in and of themselves), they find that only the captain remains (played by Vincent Cassel), as all of the escape pods have been deployed, leaving them stranded at the bottom of the ocean. The plan is quickly devised to, with the aid of pressurized suits, walk across the ocean floor to another drilling facility in order to escape to the surface.

What transpires from here is a series of events that leave the viewer squarely on the edge of their seat. Critics of the film would be quick to point out that Underwater is essentially Alien set at the bottom of the sea rather than in space. These critics would be right to a degree, as there are some moments that feel as though they are taken straight from the Alien franchise. But things eventually do move beyond their similarities to Alien and into something more akin to H.P. Lovecraft.

Underwater is at its best when it has its crew crammed into tight spaces desperately trying to make their way out of the facility. These are some of the most tense moments I’ve seen in horror in recent years, evoking both a severe sense of claustrophobia as well as a severe dread of being so far below the surface of the ocean, cut off from anything resembling civilization with no hope of rescue and little hope of escape.

The performances in the film only serve to strengthen these feelings. Kristen Stewart continues to show an ability to pick interesting films, as no doubt she could probably have her pick of horror films to take part in. Her performance here is the one that drives the movie forward for most of its duration. Vincent Cassel, T.J. Miller, Jessica Henwick, and John Gallagher Jr. round out the cast, and they all fill their roles nicely.

It should also be noted that, for a film with a limited budget, Underwater doesn’t really show signs of being curtailed in any way due to financial constraints. The special effects are very good, and both the interior shots of the collapsing structures, as well as the outside shots of the bottom of the ocean floor, both feel fully realized and consequential. When the characters are outside, walking across the floor of the ocean, you truly get a sense of what that might be like. It’s very hard to get one’s bearings in these moments, and that is not due to any shortcomings by director William Eubank. He provides these moments with edge-of-your-seat tension and leaves the audience disoriented enough to never really truly have a feel for where they are in the vast expanse of the ocean, but this is never done in a way that feels as though it’s accomplished solely because of any error by the way of the director. It’s an intentional and effective choice that only serves the film.

Underwater will, thanks to its box office takings, most likely recede into the abyss of the typical reputation for January horror releases. This shouldn’t be the case, though. While never really offering anything particularly new to the genre, as we go from a series of Alien references and then into the world of Lovecraft, Underwater does what it does very effectively. I never found myself bored by this film, and often times found myself creeping closer to the edge of my seat as the characters struggled through tight situations and the dark, murky ocean water, all while being hunted by something. It’s incredibly effective throughout and could stand at the end of the year as the most effective horror movie to be released in 2020.

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Currently watching Dunkirk (about halfway through). I must say, it’s good so far. However, this is one time where I really wish Christopher Nolan would’ve not stuck with his usual cast. Cilian Murphy and Tom Hardy (2 excellent actors) seem very out of place in this film.

Ghostbusters II is way better than the flak it gets. I could barely make it through the Angel Has Fallen teaser. If I saw the second movie, I blocked it out of my mind.

A nice Connery movie to check out is The Great Train Robbery, also a good read by Michael Chrichton.

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Re-watched Flash Gordon…
I had always as a child been more of a Flash fan than Star Wars. I had the video played it endlessly, my Dad managed to get make me a Flash Gordon figure ( painting a Han solo figure with an orange jacket and blonde hair) to play with amongst my Star Wars toys. Then over the years the memory of Flash faded away and was a half remembered curiosity like some of the cartoons I watched as a kid. I never re visited properly until lockdown…
Camper than a row of tents at Christmas, totally bonkers and a leading man that is a total outsider in the movie they are starring in.
We ( my boys and I ) loved it!
Dalton and Topol made me think again on what might have been in an alternate FYEO.
A big streak of kinky running alongside the high camp ( Ming’s daughter could have been a great Bond villain) and Mike Hodges doing a great job making sure there is scenery left after all the chewing the rest of the cast do on it. Jason King in a a Gold gimp mask!
So why did I prefer it as a kid to Star Wars? As I watched and saw my 9 year old engage with it in a way that he doesn’t with Star Wars, I thought it must be because it’s so much like a pantomime.
The 14 year old was equally engaged but I suspect because of Ming’s daughter.
Great bit of lockdown viewing - recommended highly

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That was cleverly resourceful of your dad to take the Han figure and turn it into Flash. I can see that working well.

He was !

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Geostorm

Laughably bad in an enjoyable way, sort of like “Kong, Skull Island.” It had the same dog storyline from Independence Day, so of course when I saw Dean Devlin wrote and directed it I thought, “that makes sense.” It was like “2012” crossed with “The Day After Tomorrow” with a bit of “San Andreas” thrown in, only the effects were worse. Ironically, the geostorm in question was caused by a virus, albeit computer, and they blew up the arena where the DNC was held. I only say that because I was also watching the Tulsa rally on Fox during commercials.

Along with his “… Has Fallen” series, Gerard Butler is playing laughably bad roles. That a buff guy like him designed an entire space station and weather control system strains beyond believability. I don’t see big budget non-franchise action movies like this getting greenlighted too much post covid, and that’s a good thing. Still, enjoyably dumb summer movie.

Into the Wild

A recent news story about the “magic bus” being airlifted out of the Alaskan wilderness as well as a discussion with friends about Eddie Vedder’s soundtrack led me to stream this movie the other night.

Emile Hirsch plays Christopher McCandless, aka “Alexander Supertramp” who upon graduating college, shuns all societal ties to go on an experience-laden adventure from West Virgina to Alaska. It has quite a cast with William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden as his well-meaning, successful but dysfunctional 90s parents, Hal Holbrook, Kristen Stewart and a brief but key appearance by Zach Galifinikas. McCandless abandons his car after refusing a graduation gift of a new one, thereby shunning 90s consumerism despite a successful liberal arts college education. He rafts down the Colorado to Mexico, yet encounters worse third world conditions upon returning to his country in the locale of Los Angeles. He temporarily joins a hippie culture meeting people of all ages, each encouraging him to establish relationships and yet he rejects them all in search of a Jack London/Keruoac existential adventure.

The story is told in two timelines, the first being the beginning of the end, and the latter in sequential flashbacks leading up to how he arrived at “the magic bus” in Alaska. Due to a few key miscalculations, he cannot escape his fate but in the end learns what everyone in society had tried to teach him, and yet society’s mores completely failing at that objective, and in fact, teaching him the opposite–that experiences should be shared with others to be truly happy.

The film’s theme of rejecting society’s, specifically American commercialism and white liberal educational entitlement, lands better during a pandemic than it did during times of economic success. His rejection of Hal Holbrook’s sincere offer is heartbreaking, yet understandable in light of the domestic verbal abuse of his biological father. His rejection of the advances of a fifteen year old Kristen Stewart underscores his moral center, much like Brad Pitt’s character in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. So you feel for “Alexander Supertramp” and yet see his choices painting him into a corner, much like the central character in Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” album. He wasn’t able to accomplish what his inspirations Jack London, Jack Keruoac, or David Thoreau did, but his story is still a cautionary tale of the costs of societal greed and his remedy of avoiding all human relationships. Somewhere in between is a happy balance.

I absolutely love this movie. Sean Penn is a phenomenal director, someone whose talents are right up there with the very best working today, and I think he would be recognized as such if his output came even close to matching that of more prolific directors.

Pierce is back:

I agree with all of this!! Recently watched it with my kids (for their first time too).

I believe I had a Flash Gordon action figure.

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I’ve recently watched a lot of movies.

With my wife I’ve watched Sully and After the Wedding.

With my daughter I’ve watched Groundhog Day, Speed, Monty Python & the Holy Grail, Airplane! and The Others.

On my own I’ve watched The Vanishing, The Bourne Idenity, The Bourne Supremacy, Slender Man and (not a movie)…the wonderful After Life with Rick Gervais.

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You lucky chap!

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Back to the future part two and the 1948 Oliver twist

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

It’s not even close, this is the best of the sequel trilogy by a country mile. It does exactly what you expect a Star Wars film to do: the unexpected. It doesn’t rely on groan inducing nostalgia and embarrassing fan service. It actually gives an arc to all of its important characters: Luke, Rey, Finn, Poe, and Rose. It celebrates diversity instead of sidelining it. It dares to take risks. It completely subverts our expectations for Rey’s parentage and is all the better for it (which is made absolutely meaningless in TROS). The Last Jedi actually makes you think and appreciate this world. It gives you what you didn’t know you wanted instead of force feeding you what you already had (too much of a good thing is a bad thing Abrams). In my opinion, it’s for this reason that this is more a Star Wars movie than either TFA or TROS, both of which feel like expensive fan fiction. J.J. Abrams was maybe the absolute worst choice to reboot Star Wars. Also, most puzzlingly, this is the only film in the sequel trilogy to feature space battles. If only, Disney hadn’t caved to the most toxic fans and let Rian Johnson do Episode IX instead of Abrams.

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Thankfully not singing

Well, it would been Colin Trevorrow doing 9 but I get your point, and I say this as someone who thinks the sequel Trilogy is easily the strongest of the 3.

Johnsons own Star Wars Trilogy remains, at the moment, the only film post Solo not scrapped or moved to Disney+ as a tv series.

Selfishly speaking, im glad he wasnt expected to do 9, as , coupled with No Time To Die’s delay freeing up Daniel Craig, we got Knives Out! A brilliant film that could lead to a brilliant series.