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As far a I recall, having read the Iliad twice in the past, this is a faithful rendition of the basic story, and it rocks and never lets up from beginning to end. Casting is great, Kruger is breathtaking as Helen (and Byrne equally captivating), Bloom is spot on as pretty boy Paris with some vestige of courage, Pitt and particularly Bana are rock solid as the key antagonists. This is a great story and the movie gives it all of the spectacle it deserves, it's a shame they never ran with Bean as Odysseus in the obvious follow up movie. Greek historical buff and all, it took me literally a decade to watch any portion of this and until this year to watch it from beginning to end. I figured it was just Hollywood trash but I was wrong. Just a great historical movie.
So how much is too much?
I put on a spoiler alert even though I'm not telling you how things go. There is no doubting the intensity of this film and the mano a mano between Teller and Simmons (who is flipping great). It raises the celluloid question of how much motivation for a student is too much? Simmons and Teller certainly explore the limits, as each gives up everything else in the grind towards perfection. I almost gave up several times myself because the intensity was more than I wanted to watch, but I did come back in the end. And it was a good thing I did because the ending literally makes the movie. Dare I say, the end is the only finale they could rightfully have. So hang in there because it's worth the trip.
Tattletale Corpse (2016)
A second chance for last words
Van Scott plays coroner who comes into possession of secret government formula that gives recent corpses another few minutes of life. Into his simple mind comes several money-making scenarios and off we go. The production values are how should we say it helped by blue screen and other footage, nonetheless the basic concept of the movie and the plot twists are quite engaging. Fran Rafferty steals the show as the television evangelist who comes to a profitable arrangement with the coroner and his lovely scheming wife, played by Noel. This is fascinating stuff and with better production values could go somewhere.
Hidden Figures (2016)
The Devil in the Details
First I want to say nice movie. But with Biblical movies I am often upset when they deviate from the Bible, I mean what's the point? Why not just use the Bible story? To a lesser extent I feel the same way here. I felt right from the get go that this story about three really smart black women working for NASA in the days of the segregated South was being overplayed Hollywood-style. If you're going to show me discrimination, show me discrimination to these persons like it really happened, not the way it presents most effectively in a Hollywood production with an anti-discrimination agenda. The way this played was so obvious and almost cartoon style that I felt suspicious about the whole deal even where much of the story was absolutely true. So take out the manufactured racial and sexual misinformation because I'd like the real scoop on these wonderful, talented and courageous folks.
As I understand it, Katherine Johnson was accepted as a peer by the other persons she worked with - so please tell me THAT story (which to me is much more interesting than the movie contrivances)? Show Katherine being a true educational and workplace genius accepted by her white male co-workers when outside the KKK has meetings and blacks are directed to the back of the bus. All you do by distorting the facts for the subjects of this movie is to give the detractors something to work with. I would have preferred, and appreciated more, a straight movie about what these women achieved along the lines of Race, which didn't seem contrived in the least. For me, dishonestly presenting the details (on which the movie focuses way too much) just denigrates the amazing true story.
Excellent Star trek entry
So interestingly enough as I go along through life the episodes of Star Trek I enjoy the most are not the ones I treasured during my watching, rewatching, and re-rewatching of the first series. This one now seems quite fine. Moss plays a traveling Shakespearean actor who might or might not be Kodos the Executioner, a planetary governor who eliminated half a colony to stave off mass starvation 20 years before, and now thought dead. Kirk becomes enmeshed in the mystery and despite concerns by Spock as to his priorities seems determined to learn the truth. There are a few problems - like how was a young Kirk on Tarsus IV and how come only nine living people can identify Kodos, but if you can put those sorts of things aside this is fun stuff. In retrospect they could have done better with a few more of these personal dramas than with some of the later half-baked plots. Kirk, Spock and McCoy agonize and quibble back and forth to a satisfying conclusion, good stuff.
Nothing like Al Pacino on no sleep
I was having trouble getting to sleep the other night and this came up on cable, I may have missed the first couple of minutes but I think I got the gist as it went along. Al and his homicide squad partner come up from LA (where their unit is under investigation) and assist Alaskan police on a murder case in mid-summer. Al never quite adjusts to the 24 hour sunlight but that's only one of his many issues. Swank does really well as the local smart, hard-working and appreciative help. Al gives a nice textured performance, everyone sort of has shades of this or that in this movie, as things progress we learn a little more about the characters and what led to the murder. At points Al's eccentric behavior may test credibility but the story moved along well, this is a serviceable cop drama.
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
There never was and never will be a Star Trek episode or movie that approaches this. It is the creative peak of the Star Trek saga, in fact this should fit very nicely into a list of the top ten sci-fi movies of all time even if you're not a Star Trek fan. Everything is right, from the special effects, the epic characters, the majestic musical score, through the dialogue and plot. And add to all that we get Kirstie Alley as a strangely alluring Vulcan officer. If one could complain, Ricardo's wonderful portrayal of Khan gets a tad shrill at the end, but whatever. Above all these other things is Nimoy's portrayal of Spock, a wonderful actor in a truly classic role, never done better or more effectively than here. This movie set a standard none of the sequels could match, it is one hell of a great movie from beginning to end.
Never Say Never Again (1983)
Never say never
I loved the Bond films of the 60s, particularly You Only Live Twice and Diamonds are Forever (the last two for Sean on his first run). I think Connery is the one and only Bond, he made the role his own even if Fleming had something a little different in mind. But looking back the really early Bonds were a little slow to develop and don't age so well. And the Moore Bonds are not watchable for me at this point. Which is why this may now be my favorite Bond movie. Sean is back, self-assured as always, this time there is a lot going on and many scenic locales to visit. Basinger is a solid Bond girl, Carrera is made for the femme fatale role, Brandauer is a little weak but somewhat effective in a delicate sort of way. The basic plot has been done a million times before but it's great to see Connery one more time in his most famous role.
The Discoverers (2012)
This is a nice little gem I just discovered on cable. It features Griffin Dunne, the hapless (and ever-present) victim from American Werewolf in London. He's an out of luck professor struggling to get by and see his 6,000 page epic on Lewis and Clark's expedition published by someone. Divorced, he plans to take his two teenage kids to the Pacific when family troubles interfere. This is fun slice-of-life, Dunne maintains (usually) his composure among all the troubles he faces, including flak from his teenage daughter (marvelously played by Martin) and distracted teenage son. Into the mix steps Cara Buono, of Beer League, to ease his pain. I'll watch Cara in almost anything and she is great in this. Stuart Margolin (Angel from The Rockford files) plays Dunne's dysfunctional dad. The highlight is the kids' forced march on a "discovery trek", but the movie as a whole works well with a nice wrap.
Definitely, Maybe (2008)
Another light romantic comedy
Reynolds is a political consultant, the set up to this is that he is in the process of being divorced and he tells his daughter a story. In the story he is involved, to some degree or other, with three different girls. He changes the names of the girls so his daughter can't tell and then runs her through his love life over several years. Daughter has to guess which one he ended up with (along with us in the audience). The premise is kind of cute if a tad implausible (you would think daughter would be able to pick out her mom from the facts), but as it is this is more light comedy than drama and the wrap up is satisfying, if again a tad implausible. I'm usually there for Rachel Weisz but she didn't do too much for me in this one, while Isla Fisher did just fine.