Peter's Blog

Just commenting on things that interest me

Category: Movies (page 1 of 4)

Coronavirus, Leo Varadkar and Sarah Connor

So Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been dominating our lives for weeks and week now.

But we do have some control over what happens. We can choose to stay home. We can choose to wash our hands. We can choose to do social distancing.

And we are lucky (unlike some other countries) to have good leadership at this time of crisis. Leo Varadkar is doing a great job. So is Simon Harris. So is Tony Holohan. So are our front-line workers.

But my admiration for Leo Varadkar went up a few notches back in March when he used a line from the Terminator movies during a very serious speech. He quoted the line: “There is no fate but what we make for ourselves”.

At first I was astonished – I thought I must have misheard.

But no – he really did say it. Fair play to him.

Here are the speeches by Leo, Simon and Tony (the line is at 6:14):

Another thing to hate about The Rise of Skywalker

In a recent post I mentioned three things that I hate about The Risable of Skywalker.

Well here is a fourth thing which I missed completely.

Apparently, TRoS has the worst music of any Star Wars movie.

Now obviously John Willians is a genius, and his contribution to the success of Star Wars cannot be overstated.

But apparently something went wrong with TRoS (probably all of the re-shoots and re-edits) and the musical cues from the previous movies are messed up in this movie.

Here is the information from the expert on the subject:

Three Things I hate about The Rise of Skywalker

There are a lot of things I did not like about “The Risible of Skywalker” as I choose to call it.

But my expectations were so low that there are only a few that I hate.

Palpatine is back

So this is the ninth and final movie in the Skywalker.  J.J. Abrams (Jar Jar Abrams as Nerdrotic so appropriately calls him) has been brought back in to rescue the series after the dreadful Last Jedi. He needs a climax, He needs a super villain. he pulls his writing team together and they come up with this idea: Let’s bring Palpatine (Darth Sidious) back

This is quite surprising as:

  • There was no mention of him in episodes 7 and 8
  • He was killed in episode 6

But no problem. The team has a great idea. He can be a clone.

But there is a problem. A serious problem.

The killing of Palpatine at the end of episode 6 was incredibly important. It was the culmination of the first two trilogies. It was what Luke had been training to do. It was the redemption of Anakin/Darth Vader and the end of his story arc.

So bringing him back is a serious misjudgement and a betrayal of the story of the first 6 movies.

Rey is a Skywalker

At the end of the movie, Rey declares herself to be a Skywalker in a very forced scene.

There is no logic to this. There is no basis for it.

It is completely out of the blue and completely ridiculous.

Rey is a Palpatine. She is not a Skywalker.

Maybe Rian Johnson has the right idea in his movie when he said that she was a nobody.

Being a nobody makes a lot more sense that this ludicrous ending.

Opportunity Missed

So when JJ was looking around for a super villain, and a way to end the 9 movies, and a way to pull everything together, there was a perfect candidate standing in the wings.

I did a post in 2017 based on the theory (by Lumpawarroo) that Jar Jar Binks was a Sith and was secretly manipulating people and events under a guise of ineptitude.

This is not my theory but it is genius.

This was a much better option than bringing Palpatine back from the grave.

And it would have helped to redeem the first trilogy, and to re-purpose one of the most reviled characters.

What a win that would have been!

Apparently JJ was aware of and happy with this theory. What an opportunity he missed. Further proof, if any is needed, of his own ineptitude. Jar Jar Abrams.

 

I’m not going to include a photo from this movie.

Instead here is a photo from happier times and a better movie.

Three Things I hate about The Last Jedi

Today is “May the Fourth” and I’d like to talk about Star Wars.

I wrote previously about Star Wars Episode 7, which I choose to call “The Farce Awakens”.

This post is about Episode 8 which I am calling (spoiler!) “The Last Jedi Movie I will ever go to see in the cinema”.

This movie (coming a year after “Solo”) is surely the last nail in the Star Wars coffin.

It scored 7.0 on IMDB and had a audience score of 43% on Rotten Tomatoes (the 91% critics score is a complete mystery to me).

I *did* go to see the movie in the cinema when it came out. I haven’t seen it since then so I am just going to talk about the three things I hated so much that they have stuck in my mind.

The way they treated the character of Luke Skywalker

Mark Hamill has spoken at length about his disagreements with Rian Johnson about the way he was forced to portray Luke. I completely agree. From the moment that Luke has to throw away the light sabre, to the moment when he comtemplates killing Kylo Ren; to when he milks some strange creature. There is no respect for the character. Also, there is no hint of the optimism that characterised Luke in the original trilogy.

Leia’s Death Scene

When Leia was floating off into space dead, I was happy. I though it was a nice serene death. And, of course, we knew that Carrie Fisher was dead so it seemed fitting. But then Rian Johnson had her come back to life (how long can someone survive in the vacuum of space) and then fly back to ship. This looked absolutely ridiculous!

Luke’s Fight with Kylo Ren

So the climax of the move is the fight between Luke and Kylo Ren. But at the end we discover that Luke isn’t really there and the whole things was just a waste of time. Literally. There were no stakes. There was no chance that either of them would win. Or that either of them would die. Just a complete waste of time. I know there was something about Luke buying time for the others to escape but in reality it was just pointless. Episode 4 ended with the blowing up of the Death Star before it could destroy the rebel base. How things have gone downhill in the movies since then.

There were lots of other annoying things in the movie. But these three have managed to stick in my mind.

Now I happen to think that Rian Johnson has made some very good movies, before and since.  So I am mystified as to what went wrong here. But it certainly was awful, and it certainly was the last Star Wars movie that I will be seeing in the cinema.

I’m not going to include a photo from the movie. But here is one of Luke, Leia and Han from happier times!

Things I hate about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The title of this post is a bit misleading for two reasons:

  • I loved this movie
  • There is only one thing I hated about the movie

This is a great movie. And Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt are outstanding in the two main roles.

It didn’t score very well in IMDB: 7.7. This is less than most of the other movies which Quentin Tarantino directed.

And it didn’t score all that well on Rotten Tomatoes:  85% for critics and 70% for audience.

But I really enjoyed it. One of the high points for me was when Brad’s character was insisting that he wanted to see George  Spahn at the  Spahn Ranch. Fantasic tension.

On the other end of the scale … the thing I hated was the portrayal of Bruce Lee. I don’t think there was any need to portray him as an arrogant idiot. And, in spite of Tarantino’s defence of the portrayal, I don’t think there is any real basis for it.

I’m not the only one who had a problem with this. IMDB (in the trivia section) reports the following people as taking issue with it:

  • Shannon Lee, Lee’s daughter
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lee’s student and friend
  • British Chinese martial arts actor and choreographer J. Cheung who apparently turned down the role of Lee, citing its lack of respect to Bruce Lee and his spirit
  • The Chinese Government who apparently refused the film a certificate for release in the country

Dan Inosanto, Lee’s number one student, has also come out against the portrayal.

I think the movie would have been better without that piece, but apart from that it is excellent.

Here are Leo and Brad doing their stuff:

 

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!

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