Peter's Blog

Just commenting on things that interest me

Category: Movies (page 1 of 3)

Yesterday by Richard Curtis

Let me start by saying that it’s a genius premise for a movie.

No – I don’t mean the idea that you could write about a world where a guy discovers that he’s (almost) the only person to know the songs of The Beatles.

I mean the idea that you could create a movie which really just features a series of Beatles songs one after the other!

I went to see this movie a few weeks ago with the family. We all enjoyed it really, but that was more about the songs than anything else.

I am a long-term fan of Richard Curtis (he was involved with Blackadder, Spitting Image, Four Weddings, Love Actually, About Time, etc. after all) so I was happy to go to see it. Not his best work though.

It does score 7.0 on IMDB though (which unbelievably is the same score as Four Weddings!) The Rotten Tomatoes ratings are probably a better guide being 63% and 89% respectively from critics and audience (Four Weddings got 96% from critics).

Himesh Patel does well in the lead role, and Lily James (although she doesn’t have much to do) really lights up the screen. And hats off to Ed Sheeran for being willing to appear as himself and for having to good humour to say and do the funny things which were asked of him.

Here is a picture of these three (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images):

Rutger Hauer

Rutger Hauer passed away on the 19th of July, aged 79.

It must be great to know that you have created something which will never be forgotten. I am referring, of course, to his portrayal of Roy Batty in Blade Runner (1982).

The genius behind Blade Runner was Ridley Scott, of course, but Rutger made an unforgettable contribution.

He is also remembered for other movies, including 1986’s The Hitcher.

And for his role in a series of ads for Guinness.

Here is his iconic final scene in Blade Runner, which apparently was improvised to some extent.

Blade Runner – Is Deckard a Replicant

At some point during the making of Blade Runner, Ridley Scott decided that it would be brilliant if Harrison Ford’s character were a replicant.

Some kind of irony, I suppose, that Deckard was retiring replicants but was a replicant himself without even knowing it.

So he added the unicorn scene in the Director’s Cut so that we could all be let in on the joke.

And then Hampton Fancher, Michael Green, Denis Villeneuve, Harrison Ford and Scott himself became involved in making a sequel. So they had to face this question. Obviously Ford was going to look a lot older in the sequel. So what would that mean?

So the decision they made was to leave the question just as open as it was at the end of the first movie.

But for me (as for Harrison Ford) Deckard was always human. And the unicorn scene was a mistake.

The reason I think Deckard was human was because he was clearly no match for the replicants in combat. He was lucky to survive each encounter with a replicant. He only survived the final encounter with Batty because the latter allowed him to. And he felt pain, as the fight with Batty so clearly illustrated.

And the reason I thought that Deckard  should have been human was that he represents us. In his encounters with Rachel. In his encounters with Batty. The movie only makes sense if he is a human experiencing those emotions. Feeling empathy for Batty. Falling in love with Rachel. And Batty chooses to let him live. Not because Deckard is another replicant. But because Deckard is human. When he says “I’ve seen this you people wouldn’t believe” he is referring to “you humans”, in my opinion.

So Ford is right, and Scott is wrong.

And Fancher and Villeneuve (presumably out of respect for Scott) decided not to set the record straight.

Here is the great “Tears in Rain” scene from the original movie.

Blade Runner 2049

So as I mentioned in my last post, I went to see Blade Runner 2049 on the opening night. This posting contains SPOILERS.

It is hard, of course, for a sequel to live up to a classic (the 1982 movie has a score of 8.2 on IMDB and 90% on Rotten Tomatoes). I know (from interviews on YouTube) that Denis Villeneuve was very conscious of this. But he had Hampton Fancher on to write the story, and Ridley Scott on board as Exec Producer, and Harrison Ford on to reprise his role, so he went for it.

The movie has a score of 8.5 on IMDB and 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. So they did a lot that was right.

The thing I liked most about the new movie was (of course) the way it looked. They did an amazing job.

I also liked the way they way they extended the questions from the original about what it is to be “real” and what it is to be alive (or “human” as most people seem to say).

The things I liked least were:

  • The fact that we knew that K was a replicant before we ever entered the cinema (from things we saw him doing in the trailer)
  • The overly long scene with K, Joi and the prostitute
  • The role of Niander Wallace in the movie (and the fact that there was no resolution for this at the end of the movie)

The thing which surprised me most was when the young Sean Young made an appearance! I’ll need to watch that again because I was so busy trying to figure out how they did it (and noticing what looked like bad CGI) that I wasn’t paying proper attention to what went on.

One thing I would suggest which would have made the movie better, IMHO, would be to have asked Vangelis to do the soundtrack. They brought everyone else back, why not him! It was particularly obvious to me when they brought some of his music in towards the end.

So overall (like the majority of fans I think) I was very happy with the sequel. It is a good movie and picks up lots of threads from the original.

Blade Runner 2049 – Nearly Here!

There has been lots of publicity recently for the upcoming Blade Runner sequel.

Warner Bros have released a series of trailers, TV spots, shorts and featurettes. And the director and cast are appearing everywhere, notably:

  • At Comic-Con
  • On all of the talk shows, including the Graham Norton show last week (Ford and Gosling)

Reviews seem to be generally positive. The Guardian calls it “a gigantic spectacle of pure hallucinatory craziness“. Rotten Tomatoes seems to have 47 reviews and is currently scoring the movie at 96%.

The movies opens this Thursday and I have bought my tickets for my local cinema. Interestingly:

  • The move will start at 20:49 in the evening
  • The cost for two tickets (a “Deckard Double”) was €20.49.

Clever!

Can’t wait!

Worst Movie Ever Made!

There is a certain relief that comes with knowing that you have watched the worst movie ever made. I did that just recently thanks to Netflix.

The worst movie ever made is called “Left behind” and stars (if that is the right word) Nicolas Cage. It scores 3.1 on IMDB (I wish I had checked that before watching it) and 2% on Rotten Tomatoes.

It is incredible to think that Cage won the best actor oscar back in 1995. His output recently has been infamously bad.

But the premise of the movie sounded interesting (“A small group of survivors are left behind after millions of people suddenly vanish and the world is plunged into chaos and destruction”) but everything about the movie is bad, bad, bad: story; dialogue; acting; directing.

Unfortunately the lovely Lea Thompson was also involved. She was nominated for best supporting actor for “Back to the Future” back in 1985.

Now there may be moves which have a lower score on IMDB. But I find it hard to believe that any of these had the budget of this movie, or had an oscar-winning actor. Some bad movies are even enjoyable, because you know that everyone is doing their best.

So I have to thanks Netflix for giving me access to the worst movie ever, and also the worst TV show ever: “The OA“.

I need never be afraid again!

 

 

Star Wars – Opportunity Missed

In 1977 a movie was released which changed movie-making forever. That movie was Star Wars.

Star Wars is one of my favourite movies of all time. I would have been 15 at the time I first saw it. I loved it so much that I went back to the cinema a few days later with a cassette recorded hidden under my coat so that I could record the audio for the entire movie! I still had that recording until a few years ago!

The genius behind the movie was George Lucas.  He was the writer, director and exec producer.

The movie scores 8.7 on IMDB and many movie-makers have paid tribute to it as the movie which made them want to make movies.

In 1980, Lucas released the next episode and it has a slightly higher score on IMDB. Many fans say that it is their favourite of the series.

The third movie was released in 1983 and has a lower score, thanks (in my opinion) to the introduction of the cuddly but annoying Ewoks. But Lucas had released the first Indiana Jones movie by this time and his fame (and fortune!) were assured.

If we ignore TV (and there seem to have been quite a few things about Ewoks in the intervening years!), Lucas returned with Episode I in 1999. This movie introduced the first computer generated character: Jar Jar Binks. Like many fans, I HATED the Jar Jar character. People felt that (like Ewoks) he had been introduced to appeal to young children. Lucas reacted to the fans’ hatred by reducing Jar Jar’s role in Episode II. In Episode III he only had a few scenes and no dialogue.

But…

In October 2015, a Reddit user by the name of “Lumpawarroo” published a theory that Jar Jar was actually a Sith. I am including a video below which beautifully presents the evidence that this is in fact the case.

This is mind-blowing genius! It turns Episode I on its head. It dramatically changes the story arc for episodes I-III.

But unfortunately Lucas chicken out for some reason, introduced Count Dooku, and sidelined Jar Jar.

Such a pity. You are left to imagine the fabulous scene where Jar Jar’s true nature is revealed and he gets to fight with Yoda. How fantastic would that have been!

Patriots Day

Speaking of terrorist attacks (as I was in my last post) I watched the move Patriots Day very recently. It stars Mark Wahlberg and covers the bombing of the Boston marathon on April 15, 2013 , when three innocent people were killed, including an eight year old boy. Hundreds of people were injured, including 16 who lost limbs.

Although based on the events of the day, and the few subsequent days, it is obviously not a documentary. And even though you know what happened, it does make compelling viewing.

One of the things which comes across very strongly in the movie is the unified way the people of the city reacted to the atrocity. The phrase “Boston Strong” began to be used, and almost immediately became a popular hashtag on Twitter. For me this reaffirms what I was saying in the last post: if the intention of these attacks is to frighten people and weaken their resolve, then it actually seems to have the opposite effect.

There seem to be a number of differences between this attack and the recent ones in the UK:

  • The two attackers (whom I will not name) were brothers
  • The elder brother was married, with a young daughter
  • The two attackers had no intention of being killed in the attack. The investigation uncovered lots of CCTV footage of the two men, and one shows the younger brother running away from the scene
  • The attackers intended to continue their campaign, and were apparently intent on going to New York to commit another atrocity

Three days after the attack, the brothers killed a MIT policeman, and the elder brother was killed, having been shot several times by policeman and (incredibly) run over by his brother.

The younger brother remains on death row.

I should have killed you when I had the chance

My favorite cartoon is Scooby Doo. Once of the parts of the cartoon which I looked forward to was when the villain would say: “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids”. Genius!

A guy on YouTube, who goes by the name of “Jukka-Pekka Bohm”, obviously formed a fixation on the phrase “I should have killed you when I had the chance”.

I can’t imagine how much work was involved in doing this, but in the video below he has string together 88 clips of people in movies using this phrase! (or something very close to it).

My hat is off to you sir!

#OscarsSoIrish

There has been much talk recently (justifiable without a doubt) about #OscarsSoWhite.

But for us here in Ireland the excitement is around #OscarsSoIrish!

Irish people and movies have achieved a record-breaking number of nominations:

  • Room and Brooklyn for best picture
  • Michael Fassbender and Saoirse Ronan for Best Actor and Best Actress respectively
  • Lenny Abrahamson for Best Director
  • Emma Donoghue for Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Stutterer, from Irish director Benjamin Cleary, for best live-action short.

And I think we should also claim the following:

  • American actress Brie Larson for Room
  • English writer Nick Hornby, who adapted Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn.

Can’t wait for the 28th. Fingers crossed!

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