I just read an article in The New Yorker about Disney’s Maleficent with Angelina Jolie. Perhaps, I have already mentioned seeing this movie in London during my recent visit or, perhaps not, because I neglected writing anything during that trip. I am better at recall nothing than something!
Anyways, I enjoyed the movie more than expected. I even found the 3-D to be better than expected and to add to the viewing enjoyment. Of course, it goes without saying that Angelina was excellent, because she has been excellent in every role she plays.
If anyone wants to believe me, then they should not miss this film with or without 3-D. You will surely root for the villain, who turns out to be nice. Do not read the following, if you want to be surprised to discover the story...
I watched again--for the third or fourth time--a great movie: Seabiscuit. If you have not seen this, I can highly recommend taking the time to savor the story, the acting, the script, and the cinematography. Few films are better, few stories are more inspiring, and few experiences are able to rekindle belief in man and beast. (The book is also worth reading.) Secretariat is also a good movie, but does not approach the greatness of Seabiscuit...even if some might say the former was a greater horse.
Regardless of you interest or lack thereof in horses or horse racing, these are interesting stories with lessons to be learned. I know almost nothing about either subject, but enjoyed both movies. I will watch them again, once some more water has flowed down the Rhine to the sea...
Noticed in a review about the new film, Grace of Monaco, which has received the worst reviews ever, that the cameraman has a tendency to film Nicole Kidman in extreme close-up. This is one aspect I hate about modern camera operators in both film and television.
The news is so boring, that cameramen tend to play with their cameras. Not content to let viewers see a person in a normal perspective, they are wont to show ears, noses, mouths, and eyes in extreme close-up. No one stands so close to another person, unless kissing or yelling drunkenly at someone else. If I could, I would smash the camera of anyone submitting viewers to such visual torture.
One of my favorite authors is John Le Carré. Of his 21 (I think) novels, my favorite is Honourable Schoolboy, followed by Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley’s People, which are also sold as a trilogy titled Karla versus Smiley (which is the publisher’s method to get people to buy the same book twice...which I did.).
I was reminded of this as I watched the British television adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy with Alec Guinness. This is an excellent and credible production. There has been a recent movie version, which prejudice tells me will not be as credible.
Perhaps, my liking is a generational thing. Young folks might not like these books as much, because they did not live through the times or have a connection with the events. The television adaptation was produced closer to the “actual” events, so the scenes were realistic or, at least, believable. I imagine that the movie folks would be less likely to capture the feel and look of the times, believing that audiences would not know the difference. After all, they filmed a Civil War movie in Romania.
This revulsion to lack of credibility explains my rejection of the new Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge, to name just two make-overs. Neither captured the feel of the period, as I interpret it from photos and books. I demand realism, plausibility, and credibility in books and films. Unless it’s a cartoon...
While watching the movie Dave, a word popped into my mind: Heile Welt. That is what Germans call an ideal world that occurs only in one’s fantasy. The film/story is a perfect example of this. We might be happier if good could win out over evil in Washington, but that ain’t ever gonna happen. Nice people are bowled over by greedy, arrogant, self-serving in a world where money reigns.
There are many manifestations of a Heile Welt, but each occurs only in the mind of the dreamer. One must grin and bear harsh reality--with the occasional grumble, while let one grin...
I had not seen Flashdance, so I recorded the film when it showed up on the movie channel. I knew the main song, but did not know the story. With nothing to do that could not be put off, I decided to watch it.
From the first scene, I was captivated by the cinematography. Not many films are this good in terms of camera angle, lighting, and editing.
I had not seen the lead actress, so I checked her out on IMDB. After this film, she seemed to have descended into obscurity. After seeing her performance in Flashdance, I cannot understand her being banished to the fringe. This proves once more that no justice exists in show business.
If you have not seen this film, you should. Even if you do not like the story, check out the production values. This is filmmaking at its best. The opening scene is a masterpiece.
The new James Bond film premiered in London today. We decided to try to get seats in the 10 am screening...and were successful. All screenings for the rest of the weekend were sold out
I continue to be of the opinion that Daniel Craig is not a good James Bond. He would be be a better villain. The actor should be masculine and have a twinkle in his eye. The latest manifestation does not come across as being intelligent and talented...or a marksman. The Bourne and Taken films are more believable.
And, I get a little sick of “Hollywood” explosions: they lack credibility for anyone with half a brain. A believably explosion is enough. And, it would be nice if filmmakers understood physics.
One of the benefits of visiting London is the wide variety of films and shows. Sadly, few movies were of interest. I do not know who decides to spend money on films now in cinemas. I thought about seeing The Candidate, because I imagined that it might be humorous, but decided against anything related to the upcoming election. Instead, we saw Taken 2, which I found to be as good as the first one. I find these films more believable than the current Bond things. The only problems is: we wanted to visit Istanbul, but now my wife refuses to go. See the movie to understand her reason.
The first Taken showed a father's worst nightmare. The second might be seen as a blessing to unhappy husb
I watched the beginning of the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour, which I missed the first time around in 1967. I’m not sure if this film made it to US theaters, but it certainly did not reach Vermont.
I watched long enough to learn that the film includes the song Fool on the Hill, which is significant for me: being a fool, having spent time on hills, nobody seems to like (or is it the other way around?), appreciating sunsets, and being usually ignored.
From the little I watched, it seems like this film, besides showcasing the Beatles and featuring their faces a number of times, shows how sad life was in England. Of course, little has changed outside the wealthy sections of London (plumbing certainly has not improved), despite having access to some modern inventions.
This blog allows me to add to the overabundance of commentary about James Bond, which has sprung up during the 50th anniversary of the first film of one of Ian Fleming's books.
First of all, I want to express dismay at what commercialism has done to ruin the franchise, as it has done with other franchises and films. But, we all know that Hollywood runs on money and studios will climb into bed with (ie. change any franchise and/or script) the highest bidder. The best examples of this are replacing the Aston Martin with BMW's and switching Bond's preferred drink from vodka to beer. Beer! Dutch beer! Poor Ian is surely spinning in his grave and dreaming about placing his boney hands around the producers' necks and squeezing for an eternity for selling out to Heineken. (Side note: I recall having my first beer at the Officers' Club, when I arrived in Germany with the Army, many years ago: Heineken. I also recall saying, more or less, "Ah, it's good to have a German beer", because I dislike American beer, only to be laughed at by fellow officers and to be informed of my geographical error.)
Secondly, I want to jump on the bandwagon with people exclaiming certainty about the "best" Bond actor and "best" Bond girl. Of course, my opinion is the only one that matters in both instances. After reviewing all 22 films, I still find Pierce Brosnan to be my favorite. He embodies the correct combination of suaveness, manliness, and humor, which I believe the author attempted to create for his iconic character. Sean Connery is too manly (if there is such a thing), tries too hard to be suave, and lacks humor. Roger Moore is not man enough, is too suave, and unfunny. Timothy Dalton comes close to an Ian Fleming-type character, but lacks stature. The new guy is worthless, so I will not comment again on how casting this actor has ruined the franchise for me. As far as the Bond Girl is concerned, Sophie Marceau (The World Is Not Enough) wins gold, Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day) wins silver, and a number of actresses tie for bronze. Case closed. No appeal permitted.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.