Category Archives: Movie score 6.5

Whitney: Can I Be Me

This doco about Whitney (whose music I absolutely loathe) is by English filmmaker Nick Broomfield (he made the excellent The Leader, His Driver and The Driver’s Wife and Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer) which is the main reason for watching, as his films in the past have been great, and I thought it was an odd choice for him to make this, being an official doco. Overall it was actually quite badly filmed and put together but was quite gripping as well, mainly because of watching Whitney and her total loser husband Bobby Brown, spiral out of control.

Date watched: 12th October
Score: 6.5/10
Film count 2017: 59

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

James and I watched this last night after a toss up between watching this or Return of the Jedi.

The last time we watched this was in December 2013, you can read the review for it here. My opinions of the film have not changed much, but I would add that some of the dialogue was diabolical.

It was a big improvement over the previous two episodes though, and had some pretty good action scenes.

Only 33 days to go until Episode VIII.

Date watched: November 11th
Score: 7
Film count 2017: 126


Kind of interesting but gets boring then picks up towards the end even though it’s totally predictable, but it looks good and the actors are ace, especially Michael Sheen as an android. It does justify the nastiness which happens to Jennifer Lawrence’s character though, it pretty much says it’s OK to stalk people and ruin their lives, they will come around in the end. There has been quite a backlash to it’s creepy premise.

Laurence Fishburne got $20M for about 20 minutes of screen time. He took the money pill.

Date watched: 17th October
Score: 6.5/10
Film count 2017: 55

The Miami Story

Mob crime even back in 1954 seemed to be bad enough in Miami that even the film studios got in on the action.

The film starts off with a narrator, who talked in a very authoritative voice throughout the film, explaining that crime in Miami was pretty bad until the city decided to mop up crime. We then meet an actual U.S. Senator sitting behind his desk telling us that crime in Miami is a thing of the past because of the fine job the cops and good citizens of Miami are doing to rid the place of Tony Montanas.

“Crime is a thing of the past here in Miami!”

The story starts off with the assassination of two Cubans as they stepped off a flight from Havana.

A bit excessive with the tomato sauce!

We then meet Tony Brill, a dirty nightclub owner who the city want to arrest because of all the illegal stuff he is doing, but is too crafty to make a mistake and get busted. He has a pretty good scam going, and with the help of his right-hand man is raking in the dough, and has plenty of pretty ladies. He was the guy who ordered the killings of the Cubans as he thought they were moving into his territory.

Tony Brill (no nickname)

An ex-convict, with the most excellent name of Mick Flagg, was a real savvy dude in the world of crime until he went straight, is coerced by a group of influential citizens of Miami into taking down Tony and his organisation for once and for all. With the help of the police and a posse of Cuban henchmen he sets about his plan, which of course is cunning, efficient, and involves a dame or two. Of course there are a few problems he has to overcome such as the kidnapping of his son by Tony, but with quick thinking and pure brawn he saves the day and gets a new wife out of it all.

Mick Flagg and son.

Overall the story was pretty standard but moved along nicely and had a few 1950’s style thrills. The acting was a bit wooden, along with the direction and cinematography. But, it was only 75 minutes long, and it was interesting to see 1950’s Miami which seemed to be quite a happening and prosperous place even back then.

Date watched: June 29th
Score: 6.5/10
Film count 2017: 73

Man in the Attic

I wanted to get back to watching old films, so when perusing on YouTube for anything Bette Davis I came across this 1953 film starring Jack Palance.

The story follows Jack’s character who is a mysterious professor who is suspected by his landlady to be Jack the Ripper. The story loosely follows actual events, but there is no horror in this at all, it is just a mystery story.

Mostly this is pretty tame stuff, but Jack’s creepy performance made it fun to watch. Good ol’ Jack…

That’s about it really.

Date watched: May 13th
Score: 6.5/10
Film count 2017: 65

Suicide Squad

I had time for one last film on the flight, so I chose this one.

And again, the reviews were pretty harsh on this, yet I found it to be reasonably watchable. There was plenty of CG, although at times it was so busy that I had no idea what was going on, and it didn’t help that it was dark a lot of the time. The story too was messy and didn’t make sense at times, I guess that is what happens when turning a comic into a film.

I also had problems accepting some of the characters. One character named “Captain Boomerang” was chosen for the Suicide Squad because he was gnarly with a boomerang… hmm, OK. That was all he could do, no other super-duper powers, and he didn’t use his boomerang all that much. He of course was an Aussie, so he said Aussie things for comedic purposes.

The Joker was a bit lame too, and wasn’t in it as much as he should have been. Jared Leto as we all know overdosed on the method acting. I have never been a fan of method acting, not that I know much about acting, but it seems to be a bit absurd. Here is a story I always remember:

Dustin Hoffman has long been known as one of method acting’s most earnest exponents. A showbiz story involves his collaboration with Laurence Olivier on the 1976 film Marathon Man. Upon being asked by his co-star how a previous scene had gone, one in which Hoffmann’s character had supposedly stayed up for three days, Hoffmann admitted that he too had not slept for 72 hours to achieve emotional verisimilitude. “My dear boy,” replied Olivier smoothly, “why don’t you just try acting?” (Hoffman subsequently attributed his insomnia to excessive partying rather than artistry).

Despite the criticism I found this a reasonable watch, not as bad as it is made out to be, and like Independence Day: Resurgence it is just silly fun.

Date watched: April 6th
Score: 6.5/10
Film count 2017: 56

Sleeping Dogs

This is a film I have been wanting to see for years, so when it popped up on Mubi I had to watch it.

This was Roger Donaldson’s first film, made back in 1977, and starred a young Sam Neill with this film being the third of his career. There was also a cast of New Zealand’s Who’s Who of actors and actresses of the seventies, including Ian Mune (he also wrote the story), Ian Watkin, Davina Whitehouse, and Donna Akersten (Meet the Feebles, Bad Blood). Warren Oates played an American Army dude.

From Wikipedia: In the scene where Warren Oates steps out of his jeep and meets “Smith”, he is actually holding a page of the script, fearing that he’d forget the lines. Oates acted as if the paper was a list of directions to the motel. Ha!.

Sam Neill

The story was simple, and somewhat full of holes and unexplained things. It was a bit disappointed actually, I was expecting a bit more depth. It is basically about the government deciding that repressing the people was a good idea, with Sam’s character involuntarily becoming a member of the resistance and hunted by government thugs. There is one scene in the film which was a talking point at the time (this was a big film when it came out in NZ) involving riot police beating up protesters with plenty of blood flowing. This was quite unthinkable at the time, but a few years later this would actually happen when the South African Rugby team visited NZ, causing riots.

Seeing 1970’s New Zealand was interesting, and there was plenty of beautiful landscapes to look at which made me terribly homesick.

This was the first New Zealand-made feature film to be filmed in 35mm. The next Roger Donaldson film I must see is Smash Palace, which I may have seen a very long time ago, but I have forgotten.

Date watched: February 15th
Score: 6.5/10
Film count 2017: 36


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