On paper, sequels look like an easy money-maker for movie studios. They know that there is a built-in fan base who know and love the characters. The question is, does this sequel hold up to reputation of its predecessor?
In 2008, Indiana Jones once again returned to the big screen in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It’s been quite a few years since the audience saw Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford). It’s 1957 and The Cold War is red-hot. A young man, Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) bring Indy a cryptic message from an old colleague, Professor Oxley (John Hurt). Following the message, Indy and Mutt travel to Peru. Hot on their trail is Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), a Soviet spy who will do anything to complete her mission. It’s up to Indy, Mutt, Professor Oxley and Indy’s ex-girlfriend, Marian Ravenwood (Karen Allen) to discover the secret of the crystal skull and prevent it from getting into the wrong hands.
Compared to other sequels, this film is is pretty good. It holds true to the Indiana Jones cannon while introducing/re-introducing characters that don’t feel forced or out of place in this world.
I recommend it.
The Cold War is often used as the backdrop for some of fiction’s greatest spy stories.
In the 2011 film, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, (based upon the novel of the same name by John le Carré), George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is a former spy who thinks that his working days are behind him. Then a Soviet spy is found within MI6 and George is called back to work to discover the identity of the spy.
I’ve never read the original novel nor had I seen the 1979 adaptation starring Alec Guinness. The only reason I went to see the film was the cast, most of whom are British and have starred in adaptations of Jane Austen novels. As I recall, I didn’t quite get the intricacies of the narrative and by the end of the film, I remember being confused.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.
The story of a romance between a human female and a non human or super human male is not new to readers or audiences. This basic narrative has been rebooted many times over in many different ways for generations. The question is, can the writer or writers make their narrative stand out from similar narratives?
The new film, The Shape Of Water, takes place in 1962 Baltimore. Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is a mute woman who works for a government facility in the janitorial department. She spends her time with her co-worker and friend (who talks enough for both of them), Zelda (Octavia Spencer) and her middle-aged bachelor neighbor, Giles (Richard Jenkins). One day, a new classified experiment arrives the facility under the control of Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon). Elisa and Zelda are told to keep their time in the laboratory short, but Elisa’s curiosity gets the best of her.
The experiment is an Amphibian Man (Doug Jones), who Mr. Strickland would like to kill and experiment on. But Dr. Robert Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg) has a conscious and a secret reason for keeping the creature alive. Can Elisa save this creature and how will that forever change them both?
Using a fairy tale, Beauty and The Beast motif, this film is one of my favorite in 2017. I loved the basic fairy tale narrative blended with life in the early 60’s. Both The Cold War and The Civil Rights Movement are so seamlessly blended into the plot that the audience forgets about the history lesson they are receiving. I would not be surprised if this film did well come awards season.
I recommend it.
The Shape Of Water is presently in theaters.
Today is the 54th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
For many, he is emblematic of his era. Charismatic, charming, handsome and well spoken, he accomplished a lot in this short three years in office. He is remembered as the President who would take the first step in easing the tensions created by The Cold War and paved the way for his predecessors to ensure that African-Americans had the same rights as their Caucasian peers.
He was also the first Catholic President, a direct descendant of Irish immigrants, the youngest President to date and appeared to be a loving and loyal family man.
While he was imperfect as both a man and a President (Marilyn Monroe was rumored to be one of his many mistresses), today, we look back on the early 60’s with a view covered by rose-colored glasses. Especially considering the man who presently holds the office.
History is always seen in hindsight. I believe that we remember JFK as one of our greatest Presidents not only because he was taken from us too soon, but also for what he represented and what he still represents.
In the wake of The Cold War and the success of the James Bond films, The Avengers hit our televisions in the 1960’s.
In 1998, the big screen adaptation of The Avengers was introduced to movie audiences. Taking the places of Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg as John Steed and Emma Peel were Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman. They have to stop Sir August De Wynter (Sean Connery) a villain who plans to use the power of nature to destroy the world.
Before I continue with the review, I have to warn that I have not seen the original television series, so my knowledge of the narrative and the characters is strictly based on the movie and the general pop culture references from the series. Based on what little information I have, the problem I see with this film is that it is a superficial reboot without the substance or style of its predecessor. I have a feeling that fans of the original series would like to forget that this reboot was ever made.
Do I recommend it? No.
The Cold War was a scary time in The United States. Americans genuinely believed that the Soviet Union were at any moment aiming nuclear rockets, ready to kill millions.
Adam (Brendan Fraser) was raised in a bomb shelter. His parents, Calvin (Christopher Walken) and Helen (Cissy Spacek) believe that the nuclear war between America and the Soviet Union started in earnest. They raised their only son in the shelter. After 35 years in the bomb shelter, it is the only world that Adam knows.
Adam is sent to the surface to get food and supplies. He is extremely surprised that not only is the world intact, but it has changed since his family went underground. He also meets Eve (Alicia Silverstone), who is the cynical ying to Adam’s naive yang. Eve agrees reluctantly agrees to help Adam find the food and supplies that he needs. As they work together, something changes within their relationship. Will they end their partnership once Adam has acquired what he has come up to the surface to find or is there something more?
This movie is not completely subpar in terms of the romantic comedy genre, but it’s not the best that the genre can offer audiences. The chemistry between the two leads is questionable during some scenes. But it’s cute, which in terms of the genre, means it not all bad.
And the swing dancing scene is very cool.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.