Recently saw Man from Uncle. I didn't particularly care for what little I've seen of the original series (although I like Robert Vaughn and David McCallum alot in other stuff), so I'm not a good judge of how it works as a homage to the original but as a homage to 60s spy movies in general, it's pretty charming. Its worst failings are being a bit slow in places and a bit risque in others, but Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer are extremely funny and likable and Alice Vikander is less useless than alot of female characters in the genre. The clothes and period details are awesome, and Guy Ritchie is one of the best directors of action scenes western cinema has right now. Great location shooting in Italy.
-It Happened One Night: hadn't seen this in a long time, didn't really remember much but the "Jerico" scenes. I'd forgotten how much of it consisted of Clark Gable yelling at Claudette Colbert and threatening to hit her, and her (whom I'd always thought of as a pretty attractive woman) looking like a wrung-out dishrag. It's an interesting time capsule though, with the clothes, the cars, the complications of travel before highways and Howard Johnson motels, and all the lyrics to "The Daring Young Man On The Flying Trapeze". And Clark Gable is so very dashing in this.
-Hotel Transylvania 2: it's well animated, and pleasant enough, carrying on the first one's themes about culturally blended families. Also, it's nice that Mel Brooks, after assigning himself the vampire hunter role in Dracula Dead and Loving It, finally got a chance to play a vampire. But it's not as charming or inventive as the first one.
-Live Action Cinderella: I'm sorry, but Amy Jackson looks way more like a live action Disney Princess than any of the chicks playing actual live action Disney Princesses in Cinderella/Maleficent/the upcoming Beauty and the Beast. Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother was one of the three most attractive women in the film, the other two being Hayley Atwill as the heroine's birth mother, and a random Italian chick (I think?) playing a Spanish princess with no dialogue. Cinderella's weird superthin look in her ballgown was supposedly a combination of the actress's natural figure with aggressive corsetry, but looked like cgi to me and was kind of creepy. That being said, it's a cute, idealistic film with good performances and a great production design (Cinderella's family home is amazing to look at, and her ballgown with its puffy, swirling skirts looked like it was auditioning for a role in the next Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie).
Tammy and the Bachelor: I'd always heard bad things about this movie, making it sound like it was about a thirty-something guy hitting on a seventeen year old girl for an hour and a half. In point of fact, it stars Debbie Reynolds (who was 24 at the time and looked more like 29 to me) playing allegedly 17-yr-old (we only have her drunken grandpappy's word for this) bayou dweller Tammy, who is agressively pursuing Leslie Nielsen (31, looking more like 35) playing a character who's implied to be maybe 19 or 20 (he seems to be legally of age, but he's uncertain about whether to follow his dreams, and the sequel has him going off to college and Tammy falling for someone else). So, it works best if you just handwave it as an old movie with A LOT of "Dawson's Creek Casting Syndrome". If you can overlook that, and some unfortunate racial jokes, and power through the opening ten minutes or so, where the script comes off as kind of dull and insincerely preachy, the rest of it is fairly charming, with Tammy constantly proving to be insightful and down to earth in spite of her sheltered upbringing, and shocking everyone with her candidness. (Reynolds's comic timing comes in handy in these scenes, and even Nielsen, who usually had dull stuffed-shirt roles at this point in his career, gets some good laughs by reacting to her). Not remotely authentic in its take on the American South, but it's cute, and the scene where Reynolds performs the famous title track "Tammy's in Love" is a heartbreaker.
-Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation: This one spent somewhat more time fawning over Tom Cruise than the last two, which I didn't care for, and it was kind of depressing how old and seedy the returning male characters all looked, including Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner. Cruise was in impressive physical shape though, and I thought the film was well-directed and exciting, especially the underwater sequence set in Morocco, and the complicated sequence involving the British Prime Minister. I loved Rebecca Ferguson in this; she looked great (and a lot like Ingrid Bergman), acted well, and was really convincing in the fight scenes. Alec Baldwin, although horribly aged, was amusing as a sort-of evil CIA chairman trying to control the main characters: imagine Baldwin's version of Jack Ryan (from Hunt for Red October) after taking a wrong turn somewhere along the way.
-Goosebumps: it's kind of dull prior to the first monster reveal (maybe 20 minutes in?), and nothing about it is particularly unique except maybe Jack Black's performance as R. L. Stine, but overall it's a moderately funny, mildly scary and very likable horror-adventure-comedy, that kind of wants to be a cross between The Monster Squad (the 80s movie, not the 70s tv series), The Goonies, and Gremlins. Heck, even the actors playing the teenagers are pretty likable. Also, as a writer gearing up for NaNoWriMo, I really enjoyed the writer-related aspects of the plot-I can't say more without giving away too much.
So I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens on opening night. It was brilliant. I'll share some spoiler-free thoughts.
Just to preface, I grew up in a childhood heavily influenced by this saga. My younger brother was the one that was really into it, but I grew up alongside him and absorbed the culture as well. We did the action figures, the LEGOs, the Battlefront video games...if it was Star Wars related, we partook in it. And, of course, we rewatched the movies over and over and over. The original trilogy has always been my favorite, though I grew up with the prequels.
So TFA was larger than life. I left the theater feeling like a child again. There are some stories that completely suck you in and take you along for the ride--Star Wars has always been like that for me, and this new installment was no exception. Seeing the original trilogy characters again was like greeting old friends, and the new characters are an absolute joy to follow so far.
It's true that TFA borrows a lot from A New Hope, as far as throwback lines and plot structure goes. But I didn't mind it all that much. I thought it was a great way to both give the audience a nostalgia trip and to help bridge the gap between the old and the new. It all felt very fresh and crisp, and was much darker and more mature than the prequels, even the depressing Revenge of the Sith. Abrams did a brilliant job capturing the spirit of the original trilogy while making this film something unique and new.
I'll stop there--don't want to inadvertently spoil something for anyone! If you're on the fence about seeing it, do go--I highly recommend it.
Old is gold, though new is pretty good, too. Filmi music obsessive. Hopeless romantic. Amateur Raj Kapoor scholar. I have a blog; click here to read it.
Finally saw The Force Awakens. I kind of pulled back from following the hype and the news in mid/late November when it was interfering with my writing, and I think that was beneficial in terms of not letting me spoil all the surprises for myself or build my expectations up to ludicrous proportions. Because this thing was never going to be "A New Hope", which redefined American popular cinema at a pretty radical level. It was only ever going to be a homage to and expansion of A New Hope, building on the foundation for a new generation of fans.
It's a consistently fun, entertaining movie and I enjoyed it a lot, about as much as I enjoyed JJ Abrams's first Star Trek movie. I think this one held together somewhat better than Star Trek Rebooted, but I felt like the film had an obligation to protect the "old school" stars from embarrassing themselves, which they didn't fulfill (except maybe with Mark Hamill, who was by some accounts the most sedate and least Hollywoodized of the three personalities anyway, and perhaps didn't need as much protecting). Carrie Fisher has admittedly ruined her health several times over,* but they could have found her some more flattering clothes, dentures that fit, a plastic surgeon who wouldn't give her ducklips. Harrison Ford was funny and charming in his scenes with Chewie and the young people but looked out of place in the action scenes and ill at ease in the dramatic scenes.
Of the new gang, I found Domnhall Gleeson unsatisfying (dude, you are no Peter Cushing), and Adam Driver quite good, although the story kind of leaves his character with nowhere to go except more villainy.** Oscar Isaac suffered from the same problem as Harrison Ford: good at being cocky, not good at drama (or uncomfortable with what Abrams was asking for in that department). John Boyega and Daisy Ridley were very likable, funny, and comfortable with the somewhat melodramatic brand of angst Abrams was asking of them.
Edited to add: John Williams's soundtrack has taken some flak, but I felt like this was about as good as his soundtrack for Revenge of the Sith. I listened to Rey's Theme on youtube a few times in between endlessly replaying T-Series's Christmas presents to people like me the video promos to Dil Cheez Tujhe De Di and Soch Na Sake.
*I admire her for her humor, for her interest in writing, for her concern for her equally dysfunctional mother, for her efforts at cleaning up her act, and above all, for the Princess Leia of A New Hope, who was something of a role model to me growing up. But all those drugs Ms. Fisher snorted or injected back in the day definitely left a mark.
**Or rather, from a story-telling POV they could maybe pull off a redemption arc but it would be a very hard sell for most audiences.
The Martian. I hadn't liked the trailers ("I remember when this was called Robinson Crusoe on Mars" was my main comment at that point) and have been avoiding Ridley Scott's movies in recent years, but this was actually really good, I would say better than either Gravity or Interstellar, and I liked both of those movies when I saw them. It plays to Scott's strengths-his sometimes abstract style of filmmaking and his insane attention to detail-but since it's about humans versus natural forces, it doesn't give him room to be obnoxious about religion, politics, or deep interpersonal relationships, all of which I feel like he handles really badly in his other movies. I didn't like Jessica Chastain that much in Interstellar, and I didn't like her here either,* but everyone else did good, and it was particularly nice to see Matt Damon, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Sebastian Stan playing more benign characters here than in Interstellar, Serenity and Captain America Winter Soldier (respectively). It's a good film for New Year's Day because it's about getting through seemingly impossible catastrophes by keeping calm and solving one problem at a time. Optimism tempered with realism, and delivered without a lot of emotional grandstanding.
*she has a pretty cool character in The Martian-a calm, competent woman in a position of authority who isn't romantically involved with anyone in her crew-I don't know, I just find her voice kind of annoying.
The Intern. I saw this because the non-Bollyviewers both really like Robert DeNiro (I admire him but not enough to compensate for the fact that most of his movies don't sound like my kind of thing) and we all three really like Anne Hathaway. This film was a fairly low-key, low-conflict kind of story (hardcharging young dotcom founder has a senior citizen assigned to intern with her, he ends up mentoring her and some of the other people they work with), except for one subplot about Hathaway's homemaker husband that threatened to get melodramatic but was actually resolved in a fairly quiet way. We all liked DeNiro's character, who is a genuinely nice guy, and the non-Bollyviewers (who are baby boomers, but a fair bit younger than DeNiro) strongly identified with him. Hathaway managed to make a character who could have been very unpleasant come off as well-meaning but humorously neurotic and only occasionally annoying. And she had fabulous clothes. The casual, "just hanging out with the characters" vibe kind of reminded me of some of the Malayalam films I've seen.
Firangi with terrible taste in actors, movies, and music. Any commentary is not to be taken seriously.
dancelover: Chiloka is back as of Sept 17, 2022. This is Very Good, especially for Screenwriters!
Sept 24, 2022 4:17:53 GMT
dancelover: Chiloka had not been updated since the beginning of 2017. ( Since Sept. 6, 2022, Chiloka has not been reachable. (((.
Sept 11, 2022 18:00:58 GMT
dancelover: A very useful website for Kannadan updates has been Chiloka.com, a site maintained by some fans.
Sept 11, 2022 17:56:35 GMT
dancelover: From the first such films thru the end of 1995, they needed lots of updating. Starting in Jan. 1996, someone else has been partially updating them, with Director, 3 Actors, confirmation they were in Kannadan, and sometimes Screenwriters.
Sept 11, 2022 17:54:57 GMT
dancelover: Since January 2022 I have been updating IMDb's records of Kannadan-language films.
Sept 11, 2022 17:50:20 GMT
dmitrirex: Been gone for a while but great to see that BollyWhat is alive and well!
Feb 20, 2022 21:42:01 GMT
dancelover: I just got my first COVID shot - phizir vaccine.
Apr 5, 2021 17:09:37 GMT
dancelover: Headline in Times Of India regarding recent U.S.A. events: "Coup Klux Klan!"
Jan 11, 2021 14:29:31 GMT
dancelover: Hhhaaapppyyy Gnu Year!!!!!!!
Jan 1, 2021 4:57:12 GMT
dancelover: Trump is Dumped!
Nov 7, 2020 19:46:46 GMT
dancelover: Still here, working Malayalam films on IMDb. Now completing 1994 M. films.
Oct 29, 2020 5:32:09 GMT
dancelover: They both keep growing, growing, growing, & coming at us!
Jun 28, 2020 18:11:26 GMT
dancelover: The Covid-19 virus is the kudzu-vine of viruses!
Jun 28, 2020 18:10:06 GMT
dancelover: I'm back! Dancelover is back!! Covid's quarantine kicked me off the internet for 14 weeks, but now I'm Back!!!
Jun 24, 2020 22:19:19 GMT
dancelover: I have been busy filling in gaps in IMDb. Their records for South India films are shockingly incomplete. I have been working Malayalam, and some Kannadan.
Dec 25, 2019 21:01:30 GMT