Went through my annual a Christmas Die Hard marathon. I can’t believe it never occurred to me before that Die Hard with a Vengeance is basically a 90s Goldfinger.
Watched the following while on a beach holiday the last 8 days:-
Pretty Woman (1990)
Hotel Transylvania (2012)
Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
Bad Times at The El Royale: 6/10
Drew Goddard is an impressive writer and his directorial debut Cabin In The Woods was a surprising instant cult classic for me. He’s great at misdirection and making complicated plots a thrilling ride. However, El Royale sees him flex his directorial muscles a little too much, leaving it over stylised to the point that it feels like a Tarantino fan movie. The over reliance on shocking violence and the threat there of compounds that issue.
The leads performances are all committed and a joy to watch, with the exception of Hemsworth being a little too hammy (though it’s Goddard obsession with the guys physique that tips the character into pastiche the 70s cult leader stereotype).
Because Goddard is a great writer it keeps you thoroughly hooked. There’s a ‘for crying out loud’ moment at the end when Goddard relies upon a horribly hackneyed cliche to frame his ending, which tbh sowers one’s enjoyment of the whole movie. It seems Goddard got bored of his own screenplay at the end and just wanted it over with.
A shame, because one standout feature was that the characters were all given time to establish their motivations (hence such a long runtime for a contained story). All the more frustrating when the ending cuts corners.
White Boy Rick: 6.5/10
I was eager to see this bond directing candidate’s latest. I’m a fan of ‘71, but think much of that movie’s success is down to Jack O’Connell’s enormous screen presence and excellent acting chops; imo he’s the next Tom Hardy and would make a great successor to Craig’s Bond, despite being slightly short).
White Boy Rick has great performances. McConaughey‘s is outstanding, showing all the cracks, his vices and virtues. In one particular climactic moment his decision whether or not to act illustrates both weakness and strength all at once; a triumph in the hardest aspect of storytelling - the greytone complexities of real life.
That of course comes down to the script and that itself relies upon true events (though how accurate such moments are we can never really know).
Where many movies sensationalise, this film seems to play down - I’m guessing that that’s in faith with true events. This leaves much of it a little flatter than it could’ve (perhaps should’ve) been. I, Tonya didn’t seem to sacrifice the truth of what happenned (though again, how do I really know?), but it was a far more cinematic experience. When all’s said and done White Boy Rick feels more biography than cinema.
But you have to take your hat off to an ending that stays biographic and is all the stronger for it. There must’ve been pressure from the studio to sex up the ending a little, but it resists and it’s a real kick in the gut (in an artistically good way). I won’t give it away, suffice to say that it doesn’t sell out and that leaves an impression.
N.B. As a bond director… nothing here to suggests he’s an obvious choice. I still find McKenzie a more attractive option, with Starred Up and Hell or High Water both being outstanding movies (and Outlaw King is far more enjoyable than its reception suggested). And anyhow, I’d wager that Nolan or Villinueve will debut Bond 7.
The Ch4 drama Top Boy is a better calling card for Demange as a talent to watch.
I Killed My Mother
I was pleasantly surprised by JLaw’s performance. At this point I don’t judge that harshly on how an actor puts on a foreign accent as long as it’s not done too terribly. She managed to do it quite well. The film had me hooked for the most part but the climax was really underwhelming.
This just dropped today. Yes… Just Yes.
The non-linear editing really makes it hard to get into the film. Fantastically eclectic soundtrack, and acting but can’t help but wonder in Steve Carell was slightly miscast.
I watched “It Follows”.
After carefree teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) sleeps with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary), for the first time, she learns that she is the latest recipient of a fatal curse that is passed from victim to victim via sexual intercourse.
This horror thriller is well-made, carefully shot, very moody, lots of deliberate nods to Halloween (1978) and it rarely lets up with the pace. Pretty good stuff. It shows how “teen horror movies” have really matured in the last 20 years.
I’m a big fan of It Follows. Well done on all fronts.
North Sea Hijack
Wow, it had been decades since I last saw this Roger Moore vehicle, one of those late 70´s, early 80´s movies about an anti-terror commando which, for some reason, always are enjoyable for me.
But this one, I remember as a kid, had disappointed me since back then I wanted Roger Moore to be, well, James Bond. Which he clearly isn’t in this film. So maybe that’s why I never revisited it.
Big mistake. Although, maybe the years let me mature enough to appreciate how tightly plotted this film is, and how much fun it is to see Moore tackle that kind of weird character. And I loved it from start to finish, especially for its simple way of telling the story without any fuss. Just plain old fashioned thriller antics. No fistfights that go on for ages without anyone feeling pain. No long-winding character explanations with lowest common denominator motivation (ooh, I am a father too, I do this for my children, blablablah). And no CGI.
So, yeah. Highly recommended, if you like that sort of thriller. And Sir Roger, of course.
At first I was hesitating. And I have to admit I turned it off after 15 minutes when I started this likely Oscar contender two weeks ago. I appreciated the neo-realistic storytelling, with long takes and slow camera pans, but I wasn’t in the mood for this film. Today I gave it a second chance - and I was hooked and mesmerized and moved. Caron really made a marvelous movie, and the way life is depicted without any forced urgency is masterful. When spoiler happens it hit me hard and made me cry. Movies very rarely accomplish that for me.
So, do yourself a favor, set a specific time when you feel relaxed enough to give yourself to this film for a few hours, and then experience ROMA. It really is one of the best films of the year and the last decade.
I had to watch it twice to love it. So I know where you are coming from.
NSH is a must see and a personal favorite. If anyone has ever wondered why Roger was sporting a beard at the MR premier, here’s your answer. Great solid fun and Roger is so anti-Bond it’s brilliant. So many great lines and exchanges. Anthony Perkins, James Mason and David Hedison are all epic. Among by favorite bits -
Ffolkes: We drink scotch here the way it should be drank… Neat.
Admiral: Bit early isn’t it?
Ffolkes: It’s been four hours since breakfast… That’s late.
I’m going to have to check out North Sea Hijack. Never heard of it unfortunately, but any movie with both Roger Moore and Anthony Perkins, I’m in.
Decent book too
Quite and, of course, was filmed as ‘Esther, Ruth & Jennifer’ - The clapper only read : ER&J when I was there.
When you were there?
Where was there?
For me it’s Lord of the Rings… Just can’t sit through it
My first UK trip with my parents in June of '79. We had lunch at Pinewood the day of the Moonraker premier and walked the lot. The outdoor tank had miniatures of oil platforms and the main building had one room done up as the PM’s briefing room. It was quite an experience for an 11 year old 003.
Very splendid indeed.
How did you get into Pinewood with such apparent ease? Were your parents in the industry?
Were you already a Bond fan?