10 items from 2016
From Fail Safe to Dr. Strangelove, Hollywood’s reaction to the atomic bomb has veered between grim horror and black comedy; Mickey Rooney’s The Atomic Kid considers our nuclear future with the gravitas of a Bowery Boys movie. Rooney plays an unlucky schmoe trapped in an atomic blast and, instead of gaining extraordinary powers or shooting up 50 feet, he’s merely coerced by the FBI to help trap a spy ring (to the disappointment of kids everywhere). Co-star Elaine Devry was the only female in the cast and, not so coincidentally, was married to Rooney at the time (a fact played up in the movie’s advertising).
- TFH Team
Mubi is showing Sidney Lumet's Fail-Safe (1964) May 7 - June 6 and Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) May 8 - June 7, 2016 in the UK.“Yes, it’s a hard day. Goodbye, my friend.”— General Koniev, Fail-Safe“Jack, this is Helen.”— Helen Grady, Fail-SafeTiming was everything during the Cold War. A matter of life and death, democracy or communism, us versus them. And, for true megalomaniacs, my motion picture against your motion picture. In January 1963, Stanley Kubrick filed a lawsuit to halt the production of Fail-Safe, an upcoming adaptation of the recently published novel by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler. A political thriller about nuclear war, it was being directed by Sidney Lumet and starred Henry Fonda. Kubrick’s charge was plagiarism: Fail-Safe, the director claimed, was a copy in all but name of Peter George’s Red Alert, the 1958 novel that »
Hollywood has been warning the world about the threat of nuclear war and the danger of nuclear power for decades, from On the Beach and Dr. Strangelove to Fail Safe and The China Syndrome. Those concerns will be explored again at the Atomic Age Cinema Festival, set for Wednesday at the Raleigh Studios’ Charlie Chaplin Theater in Hollywood. Actor and activist Esai Morales, who will serve as a panelist, told Deadline that he hopes that the festival will be a "wake-up call"… »
In the battle between the two “Jungle Book” movies, Disney appears to have the upper hand.
The studio just enjoyed a massive $103.6 million opening weekend for its live-action update of its 1967 animated classic and is already hard at work on a sequel that would bring back director Jon Favreau and focus on more of Mowgli’s adventures. Warner Bros. won’t counter with its own version of the Rudyard Kipling tales until 2018, 30 months after the Disney version took multiplexes by storm.
The history of competing studio projects with similar story lines is nearly as old as the movie business itself. Think of how 1938’s “Jezebel” and 1939’s “Gone With the Wind” pitted two scheming Southern belles (Bette Davis and Vivian Leigh) against each other, or when 1964’s “Dr. Strangelove” and the »
- Brent Lang
Gavin Hood’s drone-strike thriller tries to create taut drama with a starry cast. But the message is masked by snoozeworthy scenes of them talking into phones
In pondering why Gavin Hood’s drone-strike thriller Eye In The Sky failed to involve me very deeply, I keep coming back to other movies like it. These are the films in which soldiers, spies and politicians stand around in different locations worrying about moral issues as the clock ticks down to zero-hour and the political complications and unspeakable dilemmas become ever more excruciating: Sydney Lumet’s Fail-Safe, and various wishy-washy Dlc-liberal movies by Rod Lurie, Andrew Niccol and George Clooney/Grant Heslov. My conclusion is that, like many of them, it allows the Big Issue to become the main character, and neglects to allow the drama to unfold among the characters.
In Eye In The Sky, people in different locations – military bases in England and Nevada, »
- John Patterson
Legends Of Tomorrow mounts another ill-thought-out attack on Vandal Savage this week, in a 1958 adventure that was otherwise pretty good…
This review contains spoilers
1.8 Night Of The Hawk
Okay, let’s get this bit of housekeeping/complaining out of the way first: Night Of The Hawk was yet another Legends Of Tomorrow episode that culminated in a botched opportunity to bring down Vandal Savage. Ray blasted the immortal tyrant out of a window and then, for all we know, the Waverider crew just wandered off and left Savage to regroup once again.
I know that capturing the villain and putting them in a cage has already been done recently by Skyfall, The Avengers and Jessica Jones, and that Vandal Savage obviously can’t be properly killed until the season finale for plotting reasons. But still, couldn’t the writers come up with something else to do with »
In taking a week off from its main plot to battle time pirates, Legends Of Tomorrow delivered one of its best episodes yet…
This review contains spoilers
‘Legends Vs. Time Pirates’ sounds just as naff as ‘The Red Dwarf Crew Meet A Space Squid And Hallucinate For Half An Hour’ on paper. But luckily, the most naff-sounding episode premises often end up delivering the best entertainment. My expectation levels were low for Marooned, but it ended up being one of my favourite Legends Of Tomorrow episodes so far.
Putting The Waverider team in a situation where everything’s gone to pot but there’s no major plotline to progress allowed for this episode to be highly unpredictable, and for the characters to bounce off each other in surprising new ways.
The character pairings we may have expected Legends to stick to have seemingly been shattered altogether now, »
This review contains spoilers.
1.6 Star City 2046
Set in a futuristic Star(ling) City with new versions of the Green Arrow and Deathstroke duking it out across an almost-totally-destroyed cityscape, this week’s Legends Of Tomorrow had a lot going for it. Unlike most of the prior episodes, Star City 2046 wasn’t shackled to the ongoing quest to defeat Vandal Savage and instead allowed the Waverider crew to cover all-new ground.
And, when they were out exploring this catastrophically-ruined locale, a lot of fun was had by all. For one, we got to see Dominic Purcell’s Heat Wave and Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold showcasing how different they’ve become, as the former wished to stay in this criminal’s paradise while the latter wanted to get back to saving the world. »
This review contains spoilers.
1.5 Fail Safe
On top of the Pentagon being broken into and a huge aircraft crashing in Russia, Legends Of Tomorrow’s 1980s Cold War jaunt has now added another huge inconsistency to the timeline: a nuclear blast has gone off on Soviet soil, thanks to Stephanie Corneliussen’s unstable new Firestorm blowing up.
And yet, instead of panicking about history being ruined and Earth being plunged into a nuclear apocalypse in the mid-eighties, the Legends retire to The Waverider, crack open the vodka, and pat each other on the back for a job well done. Jeez, I’m not sure I understand the logic of this show at all. But still, there’s something very likeable about Legends regardless.
This gulag-themed episode opened intriguingly, with »
Where do I get my Big Brother campaign pin and yard poster? Michael Radford's elaborate Orwell adaptation sticks closely to the original book, even after decades of deriviative dystopias have stolen its fire. John Hurt is excellent as Winston Smith, and Richard Burton is his inquisitor. Nineteen Eighty-Four Blu-ray Twilight Time Limited Edition 1984 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 111 min. / Ship Date December 8, 2016 / available through Twilight Time Movies / 29.95 Starring John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton, Cyril Cusack, Gregor Fisher, James Walker, Phyllis Logan. Cinematography Roger Deakins Production Designer Allan Cameron Art Direction Martin Hebert, Grant Hicks Film Editor Tom Priestley Original Music (2) Dominick Muldowney / Eurythmics Written by Jonathan Gems, Michael Radford from the novel by George Orwell Produced by Al Clark, Robert Devereux, Simon Perry, Marvin J. Rosenblum Directed by Michael Radford
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
George Orwell's pessimistic 1948 novel 1984 is probably the most important political book of the last century. »
- Glenn Erickson
10 items from 2016
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