Blade Runner (1982) / 2015 re-release
Watched Final Cut in cinema for the re-release. Amazing. Love the soundtrack, love the visuals, love the details, love the ambition by Ridley Scott. Love the tears in the rain scene. A film that deserves to be seen on as big a screen as possible.
A dystopian vision of the future, other planets being colonized, the climate change making earth an undesirable place to live, incessant acid rain due to pollution. Obviously we are not there yet, but it's a warning about what could happen. This is just the setting, the real story is about artificial intelligence and questions, when are we human? How can we tell artificial intelligence apart from us? How should we treat a life-like replicant?
One of the great sci-fi films, together with Metropolis (1927) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Wild Tales (2014)
Six shorts put together into an anthology, a black comedy about revenge and betrayal. A bit repetitive thematically, yet still enjoyable. Many of the stories are memorable. Both funny and grotesque. Sometimes uncomfortably close to real life, sometimes over the top on purpose.
1.) A group on a plane are surprised
2.) A restaurant waitress meets an old acquaintance
3.) Two drivers provoke each other on a deserted road.
4.) A frustrated middle aged man is tired of injustices he faces in his daily life, the price of things, parking tickets, and so on.
5.) A hit and run driver and his rich family must deal with the aftermath
6.) A wedding doesn’t turn out as expected
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
The main reasons for praise are the spectacular car chase sequences. A great movie to just sit back and enjoy the ride. The movie provides almost non-stop action and the stunts are amazing. I wish the characters had more personality, so it isn't perfect. The dialogue was very minimal. More time could have been spent on fleshing out who they are.
I loved the visual style, especially Theron's black oily makeup and shaved head, Tom Hardy's mask and chain, the white bald look of the slaves, the beautiful brides, and of course Immortan Joe and his scary appearance.
Kung Fury (2015) (short)
Kickstarter funded 31 min short. A labor of love. Pays homage to movies from the 80s. The filmmakers let their imaginations run wild. The short is completely bonkers and over the top, the laws of gravity do not apply. This is obviously a stylistic decision, so you can't blame them for creating implausible scenarios. I liked a couple of the ideas such as the gun/phone and the animation sequence. I don't think it's quite the masterpiece some are proclaiming it to be, but it is something every fan of 80s culture should check out.
The accompanying song True Survivor sung by David Hasselhoff is really good. In fact there's also a video game which was released called Kung Fury: Street Rage.
You can watch the short on YouTube
The Duke of Burgundy (2014)
Beautiful opening credits featuring the dreamy soundtrack by Cats Eyes.
A woman visits a house in the country, and is there to help clean up the place. She puts up with her domineering butterfly collecting employer, who constantly belittles her. Apparently she has been to the house before.
The first 30-40 minutes captivated me, but once the twist is revealed the movie lost it allure. That said, there are a couple of dazzling scenes in the second half of the film, involving moths, and another scene where the camera literally travels into a woman’s vagina.
Has clever moments, and is atmospheric, but to me there wasn't enough story to sustain an entire feature length film.
Blazing Saddles (1974)
A parody of westerns, the double speed restaurant brawl, the gunfighter who is so quick you can’t even see it, the cliché final speech, and so on.
A great anti-racist movie. Mel Brooks lets racists see themselves for what they are.
“Well, that's the end of this suit!”
“I must have killed more people than Cecil D Demille”
“What do you like to do? Oh, I don't know. Play chess... screw... Well, let’s play chess”
A View to a Kill (1985)
If you missed it: 17 reasons why A View To A Kill (1985) is not the worst Bond movie
The Sound of Music (1965)
The children do things which seem overly dramatic such as cry at the dinner table and are all afraid of thunder at night, but the songs are classics, and Julie Andrews is unforgettable. A great ad for visiting the Austrian countryside.
Favorite quote: "You are much less of a riddle when I see you here at home"
Favorite songs: My Favorite Things, Edelweiss, (The Hills Are Alive With) The Sound of Music, The Lonely Goatherd, Do-Re-Mi, Climb Ev'ry Mountain, So Long, Farewell
The Yearling (1946)
Nominated for best picture. I was surprised by the harshness of the hunting scenes, since it's a family movie. The film is overlong, and feels a bit dated in the language and music, yet was enjoyable enough, and had its heart in the right place. The boy's performance is good, and Gregory Peck is memorable as the father, a role which has similarities with To Kill A Mockingbird (1962).
The Thorn Birds (1983) (TV-Mini-series)
Great story that captivated me from start to finish. Especially the “soul mate” relationship between Meggie and father Ralph is memorable and timeless. Part 4 of 4 was the weakest and least convincing, with a corny ending, although you could say most of the story is quite melodramatic. The acting is mostly strong, with some good performances by Richard Chamberlain, Barbara Stanwyck, Christopher Plummer, Sydney Penny, and Jean Simmons. The accents don’t always really fit with the Australian setting, and in the case of Rachel Ward took me out of the film several times. The mini-series was shot in the US, yet the farmland looks very Australian. The series was enormously successful, winning several awards, and became the United States' second highest rated mini-series of all time behind Roots.
Had seen it before and only remembered the bus shooting. Three intertwining stories of people in desperate situations. The message I got is to dissuade us from using guns. The Japanese story about a deaf girl wanting sex felt a bit out of place. The Mexican story started slow but has a thrilling conclusion in the desert.
I prefer Babel over Birdman.
Jeremiah Johnson (1972)
Better than I expected. Western with Robert Redford playing a loner in the wilderness. He meets some people on his journey. I liked how it didn’t portray the Indians in a stereotypical way as victims having the land taken from them. Instead the film is critical of their religion and how it can lead to violence. The white man is also depicted in a nuanced, realistic way.
Meet Me in St Louis (1944)
Musical starring Judy Garland. The story is cute, even if the music feels a bit dated in places. The best songs are the title track and when she sings "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" to her sister.
Permanent Vacation (1980)
Debut feature by writer/director Jim Jarmusch. Essentially a student film, his episodic approach to storytelling is already evident. A restless young man drifts aimlessly in New York. My favorite part is near the end when he shares a conversation with a young man from Paris of a similar age and it’s clear they are both quite like-minded despite from different continents. It feels like they are actually listening to what the other has to say, whereas other scenes in the movie felt like monologues. I think that was probably deliberate.
Changing Lanes (2002)
I’ve seen it before and it’s a thriller that always draws me in. Scary you can bankrupt someone with a computer. It isn't perfect, Ben Affleck bumping into Samuel L Jackson's character by chance in New York would not happen in real life. Even so, it's a suspenseful movie.
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Rewatch. They had an Eddie Murphy week on TV, so I watched and recorded a bunch of his movies. Axel Foley is arguably his most iconic character. How can you forget that laugh? A killer soundtrack and good chemistry between the leads. It’s almost like the practical jokes are what I remember more than the villain. A classic from the 80s.
Beverly Hills Cop 2 (1987)
Rewatch. A good movie but you have to suspend your disbelief to buy into the number of times Foley fools people with them not checking his ID, that aspect is beginning to get out of hand. Christopher Nolan’s films are praised for the editing, cutting between several action scenes. Beverly Hills Cop 2 actually did that already in 1987.
I like the sun-drenched cinematography. It’s a fun and entertaining movie, but watching them back to back it’s noticeable how the story in many ways is a rehash of the first film. The ending is the weakest part which is a by-the-numbers remake of the ending from the original. There are a few illogical things in the script. Why would the crooks use bullets that can be traced? Why is Foley handed a Ferrari when his boss knows Foley is accident prone(i.e the opening of the first film)
Taken as a entire show I find Raw quite immature with lots of bathroom humor, yet the fast-talking woman, and the joke about eating crackers made me laugh.
Coming to America (1988)
Rewatch. I love it even though the fish out of water story is a rip off of Crocodile Dundee (1986). Pretty much the whole movie is memorable. To me the funniest part is when they go to the bar to try and find his queen.
Another 48 Hrs (1990)
Panned by critics, I had very low expectations. It was quite entertaining, even though it follows the formula of 48 Hrs (1982). Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy still have chemistry. I consider it underrated and almost as good as the original (which I also rated 6)
Beverly Hills Cop 3 (1994)
I hardy consider this a Beverly Hills Cop film, since it lacks the charm and humor of the first two movies. Kudos for trying something different, but it just feels off. His laugh is almost absent and it’s just too over the top. Where to start. The bank notes with Foley’s face on is too goofy. The scene with Billy trapped and suddenly able to escape makes no sense. Unrealistic they keep missing Foley with the machine guns. It also is stupid Foley would get a job at Wonder World dressed in a costume if security are looking for him.
The sarcastic clapping scene was one of the few things that worked.
Rewatch. I consider this among Eddie Murphy’s best performances. He plays two different characters and nails both. Just a pair of glasses and he totally transform into Jiff. Steve Martin’s character reminded me of the director Ed Wood. Pokes fun at scientology (“Mind Head”). The freeway scene is unforgettable.
The Big Bang Theory (Season 1)
Sheldon’s eccentric and arrogant reactions is what makes the show funny (or for some people annoying)
Raj’s and Howard’s behavior is a bit predictable (I guess Shelon’s conceitedness is too but it’s less obvious). You can understand the boys are attracted to Penny, she is easy to like. I definitely can see myself watching more seasons, I'm halfway through season 2. Very short episodes that are easy to digest, I've got to be careful with spoilers online that I don't ruin it for myself. I can’t get the theme song out of my head now!
Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA (2015) (PBS documentary)
Investigates how The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) uses its political power to stop gun regulation in America.
In the 90s, Clinton got a law through that reduced assault weapons and increased gun checks. During George W Bush’s presidency this temporary law ran out. The Newtown child killings put new negotiations forward to increase gun checks at gun meetings. Parents wanted high capacity clips used during shooting to be made more difficult to buy. No new law was passed to the dismay of many.
Agree or disagree? Seen anything great during May? As always, comments are welcome