That was it! Thanks.
You Were Never Really Here…
Lynne Ramsay is a very impressive filmmaker who tells her stories with sound and action, rather than dialogue laden exposition - a rare thing.
I’d love to see what she’d do with Bond. But of course she’d never do it because she appears to in no way whatsoever take studio/producer notes. And that’s why i love her movies.
Re-watching the 1968 “Far From The Madding Crowd”
A beautiful looking movie and Christie never looked so radiant;
what a Domino she would have made!
(and what a great Bond Terence Stamp would have made!)
Casino Royale, it’s just so damn good.
I watched the Tom Cruise & Cameron Diaz spy film “Knight & Day” and thought it was pretty bad. I understood what they were going for but it’s just didn’t work. I really like James Mangold as a director but other then a couple of good action moments this felt like a studio work for hire film. It was really by the numbers.
Really enjoyed I TONYA. I was dubious prior to seeing it because on how Harding was portrayed as too much of a victim, but the film starts with a title card that informs the audience how the truth is a bit of a exaggeration and just to take it with a grain of salt.
Director Craig Gillespie made the right decision on making the film a mockumentary and adding some dark humor on these sad characters, and it works for the most part. I wouldn’t say the film was a honest depiction of the working class, especially on Harding but Margot Robbie brings a lot of substance to the role. Allison Janney is brutally funny and the standout is Paul Walter Hauser as Shawn, the inept bodyguard. He was right out of a Coen Brothers movie, he is a riot.
I just watched the Pierce Brosnan and Milla Jovovich film “Survivor” and I thought it was pretty good for your standard issue B movie thriller. Nothing you haven’t seen before in Bourne or Jack Ryan but I enjoyed it anyway. An agreeable timekiller.
I rewatched Logan on TV last weekend. Beautiful film, perfect closure for Hugh Jackman’s tenure as Wolverine. Not as bold as Old Man Logan graphic novel, which I must say concerned me at first, but than again a straightforward adaptation of the comic book wouldn’t be as appreciated.
A bit off topic, but I hope the next actor who gets to play James Bond will be as dedicated to the role as Jackman is with Wolverine.
9 films in 17 years (albeit 2 are more like cameos.)
It is really rare for me to watch a film without much prior knowledge going in, and in this case I’m thankfully glad I didn’t with the film, A QUIET PLACE. I only knew that John Krasinski directed it and starred his wife Emily Blunt, but that’s it. I was genuinely surprised to how gripping and scary the movie was. Believe me there are plenty of jump scares and it’s worth watching in the cinema. It is a very taut and emotional psychological horror film reminiscent of THE BIRDS and to a lesser extent SIGNS. But this is much better than the latter film.
You just had to bring up Signs…
Avengers Infinity War
I admit I’m a Marvel fan. These movies are fun to watch on preview night with like minded folks who get the jokes and have comic book knowledge (which I don’t, but still love super hero movies.) So I was probably more surprised than most fans at the turns this 19th entry of the MCU takes, especially with the ending. It felt uneasy if not unsettling and those that leave before the most important post-credits scene in Marvel history may also find it unsatisfying and controversial. That could be a byproduct of Marvel trying to address its villain problem (more on that later.) To be fair, part of that is due to only telling half a larger story arc, yet it doesn’t pull off its cliff hanger conclusion as well as Empire Strikes Back or even Back to the Future II.
Still, there are many parts of the film that are exhilarating with jaw dropping, cheer inducing moments. It is surprisingly well balanced given the number of characters it has to juggle. Admirably, most of them continue their character development arcs and build on the relationships forged (or destroyed) in previous movies. The new team-ups are a joy to behold as Thor fulfills Ragnarok’s promise to be in a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. The two most similar MCU heroes Tony Stark and Doctor Strange meet and predictably don’t like the egos they see in their mirrored characters. The two Peters share pop culture references only to disagree about them. Rocket gets a new BFF after bonding with Yondu in GotG2. Meanwhile, Cap and his team battle Thanos’ lackies (named Children of Thanos despite being full grown adults.) As this is Marvel, there’s a big battle at the end involving an army of mindless CGI alien hordes that looked a lot like the final battle in Phantom Menace. It’s predictable, yes, but also why fans buy the tickets.
But this movie has darker tones throughout as Marvel tries to address its villain problem by bringing true stakes to Thanos’ plot. He manifests our real world fear of random terrorism but also has an ecological motivation for his genocidal actions. He really believes his cause is just and is willing to make personal sacrifices to achieve his goal. But he’s clearly a joyless psychopath. And this movie is his story. It’s supposed to be tragic. But when the credits rolled instead of clapping the audience was like, “What? That was not fun.” (Again, stay 'til the very end for some hope.)
Fans have been speculating about character deaths based on actor contracts, announced movie release dates, and box office calculus. But Marvel is trying to give a shock to its system by being unpredictable. This fake out means half the deaths probably won’t stick. And that’s what leaves this film jarring when it’s aim was devastating. Why undo all the world building and good will generated by most of Phase 3 when we know the next three entries involve time traveling potential to undo the undoing? Yes it is surprising, but no it doesn’t feel like sacrifice. In that way the Russo Bros. directors are not unlike Thanos: they’re doing this because they can, not because they should.
I still really enjoyed this movie, but don’t expect it to exceed Black Panther’s box office. It’s not a standalone like Guardians of the Galaxy or Doctor Strange. You need to see those films to follow this one along with Captain America Civil War, Thor Ragnarok, and the first Avengers. To catch all the references, add Captain America The First Avenger, Age of Ulton, and Homecoming to the list.
I may feel differently about this movie after Phase 3 is done and Avengers 4 finishes the story. It would also be more satisfying if we could see the movie set in the past that they haven’t yet released.
Captain Marvel is going to be set in the 90s I believe and, unless I’m mistaken, I think Antman and the Wasp takes place before Infinity War
So, since it was a Sunday yesterday and I’m currently trying to escape real work, I watched THE LAST JEDI again.
When I saw it for the first time I was having a great time, loving all the twists and turns, being surprised all the time and emotionally engaged.
Quick detour: Star Wars was one of my greatest first real life-changing movie experiences and The Empire strikes back cemented that. Return of the Jedi already held some disappointment for me but it still had enough moments for me to embrace it. With the prequel trilogy I was in my early 30´s already and I did not take them so seriously anymore, therefore I could enjoy them as a nostalgia exercise that actually got more entertaining for me with every following film. With The Force Awakens I already was in my mid-40´s and actually craving to be nostalgic (to convince me I could still feel that enthusiastic about a space opera) and I unashamedly loved it.
Although, the second time I watched it, the same thing happened which now happened with my reception of The Last Jedi. I noticed things I did not enjoy.
I still think the hatred that only the internet allows and encourages is silly and says more about how society has changed for the worse (the childishly needy), there are some points made by those who reject the film that I do understand better now. Also because I actually took the time to watch the 90-minute documentary “The Director and the Jedi” after the film.
Rian Johnson has grown up in a different time.
Shocking discovery, I know. But he naturally comes with a sensibility that could not help but change the approach to Star Wars - although he constantly said that everything he did felt like Star Wars to him.
But Johnson has two things on his mind making this film: he wants to take the characters seriously (like every big budget fantasy now wants to) and he wants to break with the conventions of these films in order to render them surprising and contemporary.
However, he chooses to ignore which IMO is central to Star Wars: the solemn fairy tale quality that does not allow for self-referential irony, and the spirit of adventure that prohibits taking characters to a darker place.
At every turn, Johnson puts a spin on The Last Jedi´s story. Luke is not willing to go along and help. Kylo Ren helps Rey and wants to get her on his side. Poe is gung ho but gets this Han Solo-aspect taken away from him. And Finn pivots from trying to escape heroism, embracing it and finally getting robbed of it. Leia is broken and hurt, instead of leading with optimism.
And all this works by itself, makes sense and is interesting. But is it still Star Wars for me? No. It has lost the innocence and fun.
Why am I even writing this? Because again, I believe, the to me ridiculous idea of turning pulp fiction into something respectably clever (see the CraigBond era) works agains the sheer entertainment value.
The Force Awakens still held on to that adventure spirit, much more so than The Last Jedi, although it already made one huge mistake: not getting the band together. C´mon, as long as you had the three actors willing to do at least one more film, you should have brought them into this first sequel instead of putting Luke in only the last scene with no dialogue. The real fun would have been seeing these three be together for one last time. Kill off Solo anyway, fine, Mr. Ford just did not want to do more than one movie, but develop the whole narrative from this point onward.
Instead The Force Awakens wasted much of its time with a meandering story - and The Last Jedi commits the same mistake. For me, the whole Maz Kanata sequence in TFA was as useless as the Canto Bight sequence in TLJ. Take both out and you have much more interesting and compelling narratives.
And to think that they wasted huge resources on building that casino set for TLJ and all the practical and CGI effects for this - what a missed opportunity. In that time they could have put Finn and Poe together to have a real interesting adventure with Rey and Luke.
There are many more things that TLJ employs without a real benefit: Benicio del Toro´s weird stuttering performance as a codebreaker, Captain Phasma (again), the caretakers on the island.
One thing, however, I still enjoy and consider Johnson´s biggest achievement: killing off Snoke. This actually is a great idea IMO, since it keeps the third film in this trilogy from ending on the obvious note of getting rid of another emperor-figure. Instead, Kylo Ren will need to step up to be the big villain. And he should, since this whole saga is about the Skywalker family - and sadly, none of the others are around anymore.
I would not mind nor be surprised if Rey´s heritage will still be revealed as important - with Kylo´s words just being smoke and mirrors. But in any event I hope that Abrams will give this saga a more fulfilling closing, with more fun and more adventure, making sense of the Maz Kanata-sequence finally, and - YES - returning Luke to play a deciding role in the proceedings. C´mon, if Yoda can start fires as a force ghost than Luke should also retain some powers. Not having him in the last episode would be another major mistake.
But wait - why do I still put all these thoughts down here when I am too old and too cynical to actually care about all this? Do I nevertheless feel bound to these stories because they ignited something in me as a child? And do I therefore feel a sense of ownership which at the same time I reject in all the haters on the internet?
Well, I am writing on a fan site here, and I also have argued as passionately or even more about this 007 guy.
Maybe the true lesson of this and The Last Jedi is: keep your feelings about the past in check. The future will be different from what you expect. And that does not have to be a bad thing. It certainly won’t change the past. Hold it dear if you want to. But don’t expect nor demand that it will all feel and look like you think you experienced it back then.
Have a great week, everybody
Avengers: Infinity War (no spoilers)
Well, it was everything I’d hoped it’d be and more. My hands were sweating throughout and I almost leapt out of my seat on two occasions through sheer joy and horror.
Infinity War pulls no punches. It’s serious. People are mercilessly slaughtered. It’s epic.
Thanos is the most interesting villain I’ve seen in a comic book movie. He is very well-rounded and has a great amount of screen time.
Its a very funny film too. A lot of the laughs come from those moronic Guardians and their interaction with Thor. Everyone else is on top form.
I don’t know how the Russo brothers managed to pull off juggling so many charcters successfully (well, almost) and lets everyone have their moment. The action is incredible and the CGI (especially the mo-cap on Josh Brolin’s Thanos), is excellent.
And the ending. WOAH.
Im going to see it again.
It will beat Black Panther’s box office by at least half a billion, trust me
Avengers: Infinity War is crazy. Greatly looking forward to Avengers 4 next year.
I would also be shocked if Infinity War doesn’t pass the $2 billion mark.
Samuel Fuller’s film Forty Guns (1957) has something similar.