I started to watch a movie, The Counselor. I thought that it might be good, because the cast was high-priced and appears frequently in the media: Brad Pitt. Penelope Cruz, Javiar Bardem, and Michael Fassbender.
The film started with a sex scene, which was poorly done. Although I am certain that the director thought he was being “creative”, he failed. This should have been a sign. The second sign was that the dialogue, i.e. the script was not bad, it was terrible. Very bad.
I kept watching, but soon realized that I had no idea what this film was about, besides about drugs in the United States—a major theme/hangup for that country—or what each character was supposed to be. Production values were good, which means that they spent money. That was not enough to keep me wasting my time.
My recommendation: don’t waste your time!
According to boxoffice mojo, this film cost $25 million to produce and sold $16 million in tickets in the US. Someone lost some money. Perhaps, Americans are not as dumb as one suspects. BBC film critic, Mark Kermode, listed it as number two on his Ten Worst Films of 2013. I agree, although I might bump it down a number one!
I have read that porn “actors” call the dialogue fast forward (for obvious reasons). That did not work in this film, because there was nothing worth seeing later in the film. One expects better from Ridley Scott. And, Cormac McCartthy is reputed to be a good writer. Based on the quality of writing in this film, I will not spend money on his books.
One can excuse the actors, because they might need the money to eat. They merely mouth the words found on the script. The production company, on the other hand, is guilty of stupidity and lack of judgment. They deserve to lose whatever money they did, although most was probably borrowed, meaning they suffered only a slightly bruised ego.
Here is the latest from the Hopeless Romantics Department: I just watched a movie for the umpteenth time, which I continue to enjoy, despite many viewings. This feel-good film provides a happy end to a nasty business: Washington politics. I am taking a Dave, a movie from 1993. Of course, this could happen in real life—the conspiracy bit, not the happy ending. But, for a few moments, one can imagine a better world…if you just do not switch to the news!
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...
Having nothing to do and little choice, I watched Fargo. I reached the following conclusions:
I watched a fine British-produced (with several American actors) set of films, known as the Worricker trilogy by David Hare. The lead character, Johnny Worricker is played by Bill Nighy, who we all loved in Love, Actually). The writing of compelling stories, acting, and production values are excellent. If it ever makes the difficult journey across the Atlantic and is aired at a television near you, then there are many worse uses of your precious time on this earth. Start with Page Eight, followed by Turks and Caicos, and finish with Salting the Battlefield.
The author has been an out-spoken critic of security services running Great Britain, which comes out loud and clear in these films. He is also no fan of the incestuous relationship between his country and the United States. He seems to hate a guy called Blair, which is legitimate.
There are some movies that I like; have seen more than once and would watch again; which have received bad reviews; are derided as schlocky romantic comedy; were not a box office success; or are considered to be not for men. I don’t care what others think or have thought...
An incomplete list includes Notting Hill, Steel Magnolias, Six Days and Seven Nights, Love, Actually, You’ve Got Mail, Bodyguard, Casanova, Out of Sight, Country Strong, Ruthless People, Sleepless in Seattle, Pretty Woman, First Wives Club, Good Woman, Gosford Park, Lemony Snicket, Meet Joe Black, Sand Pebble, Mermaids, Tea With Mussolini, The Net, and Out of Africa, Seabiscuit, A Perfect Murder, White Mischief, Rock of Ages, and Sabrina.
On the other hand, I could not even watch to the end Hollywood attempts to copy Richard Curtis, such as Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve. Don’t waste your time, but rather get started on my favorites...
I can tolerate historical inaccuracies in movies, but not geographical ones. The problem is that filmmakers know that Americans are ignorant about the world, so they choose savings and ease of production over accuracy.
Recently, I watched The Man With The Golden Gun, a James Bond film with Roger Moore, with many scenes in Asia. They blew it completely with their depiction of Bangkok. For some reason, they decided that Bangkok needed hills and a location beside the sea. They got the scenes on the klongs right, but a car chase in Bangkok traffic would be impossible. Scenes, which were supposed to take place in China, were filmed in Thailand. They were spectacular, but not were not at the location pointed out in one scene in the film. The scene of Chinese military personnel was supposed to put up a smoke screen to fool viewers.
Perhaps, people with no knowledge of geography enjoy the illusion of accuracy. I like to find fault and to test my knowledge.
Two movies that I enjoy and have seen several times are Out of Africa and White Mischief. I avoid the word “favorite” with such broad categories of the arts, such as film, books, music, and painting. One cannot narrow the field of great work to a single choice.
Anyways, I find the period of these films to be fascinating. That said, I am happy to be able to witness a facsimile of that life on film and am pleased not to have lived then or there. I am certain that even rich folks suffered from heat, dust, disease, insects, and wild animals, not to mention boredom, bad manners, and having to endure uncivilized natives. Fortunately, I did not live during that time, because men had to wear tuxedos for dinner every night and drink too much alcohol.
Given the choice in a fictional world, I would pick Greta Sacchi over Meryl Streep...
One thing I noticed about most western films is that the costumes are too new and too clean. The designer might do a good job in creating an illusion of old-time fashion--and hope to win a prize--but credibility suffers. I do not imagine personal hygiene to have been as high a priority in this day and age of metro-sexuals and Proctor & Gamble.
For example, I watched a movie with Clint Eastwood, Joe Kidd, in which his white shirt after a spell in jail looked as pristine as anything worn in The Great Gatsby. After days and nights roaming the wilderness, all actors looked as if they just departed the costume department. All hats looked like they had just been bought in the store.
Most war movies are not much better.
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.