Farewell, My Lovely

The hot day continued, so I browsed for another film on YouTube, and came up with this particularly good 1975 film, another Raymond Chandler story.

Robert Mitchum starred as Philip Marlowe, hired to find an ex-convict’s girl. The story starts getting complicated quickly with plenty of characters and sub-plots to follow. The ending was not predictable at all, and for it all to make complete sense I think I need to watch it all again, or read the book which as fate would have it I loaded onto my Kindle yesterday, so I will get onto that.

At first I wasn’t sure if Robert Mitchum was going to be a good Philip Marlowe, but soon I was enjoying watching him play the part. I dare say that he was as good, if not a tad better than The Bogart, but perhaps that is the heat talking. Robert is the only actor to play the role of Marlowe more than once on the big screen. Richard Burton was the first choice for the role, but he was too busy to do it.

Also in this film was Kate Murtagh who was great as the gangster-like madam of a brothel, apparently based on a real life person by the name of Brenda Allen. You will also recognize Kate from the cover of Supertramp’s “Breakfast in America” album (see below). Ah! The lives some people have! She is 97.

We also got to see a young, and not particularly brawny Sylvester Stallone.

Left picture: Kate on the left, Stallones on the right.

Other well-known faces in this were Charlotte Rampling, Anthony Zerbe, Harry Dean Stanton, and John Ireland.

The actor playing “Moose Malloy”, the ex-convict, is Jack O’Halloran who you will recognise from Superman II.

It was well made, engaging, and the entire cast were all great. I can’t think of any complaints at all, except that maybe there could have been a bit more action. If this was made today with Tom Cruise or Liam Neeson as Marlowe, then it would certainly have a lot more action with epic gun battles and ten minute car chases added in for 21st century audiences…so I am glad this was made in the seventies when story and quality acting were all that mattered.

Two good films in one day, not bad.

Date watched: July 14th
Score: 8.5/10
Film count 2018: 42

The Player

I last watched this 1992 film way back in 2008, having watched it one time before that.

Even though this is now the third time I have seen this I had forgotten most of the story and even who was in it apart from Tim Robbins. Along with Tim, the main cast included Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward, Whoopi Goldberg, Brion James, Dean Stockwell, and a very funny Lyle Lovett.

There was also quite a cast of cameos, which unsurprisingly holds the record for the most in one film. It included people like Cher, Malcolm McDowell, Burt Reynolds, Leeza Gibbons, Jeff Goldblum, Jack Lemmon, Bruce Willis, Lily Tomlin, Harry Belafonte, and James Coburn. There were 40 in all, so it was fun spotting them all, with many were just in the background for a few seconds.

The story was pretty good, it never slowed down and there were no dull moments. Tim was most excellent in his role, and he was pretty much in every scene. There were plenty of references and in-jokes throughout the film, this website lists some of them.

So this is well worth a watch, especially for films buffs, although it would help if you are familiar with eighties and nineties actors, and films in general.

I may just watch it again some day.

Date watched: May 26th
Score: 8.5/10
Film count 2018: 35

Logan

I have not really been into Marvel films lately, they have been a bit disappointing. But not this one which I would rate as one of the best I have seen so far, along with Deadpool.

The story was different to most comic book films. It was a pretty depressing story most of the time showing a superhero falling apart and basically ready to give up. The other characters in the story were pretty much in the same boat, and if it wasn’t for the introduction of the new breed of super-duper heroes it would have been a real downer of an action film.

Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart were great in their roles. Hugh had been playing the part of Wolverine since X-Men in 2000, quite a run. The role was originally written for Russel Crowe, but Russell suggested Hugh for the part, a wise move. Patrick Stewart also started his portrayal of Charles Xavier in the X-Men film.

Dafne Keen who played Laura was great in her part, and she was only 12 years old. I can’t find anything on the interwebs as to whether she will be in future Marvel films. She is currently in filming for a comedy with Andy Garcia.

Good stuff, I liked it.

Date watched: March 17th
Score: 8.5/10
Film count 2018: 23

Cobain: Montage of Heck

I had been wanting to see this for a while, but was not able to find it on DVD or elsewhere, so when I found it on Netflix in the “just added” category I immediately watched it (just after finishing Death Race 2000).

It is a well made documentary of Kurt’s life from birth to his death in 1994 (only a few weeks before Ayrton Senna’s death…bad year). There is a lot of archival footage which mostly came directly from his family, along with audio recorded by Kurt before his Nirvana days. There are also interviews with his mother, father, sister, ex-girlfriend, Krist Novoselic, and Courtney Love of course (this documentary was her idea). Dave Grohl was interviewed for the documentary, but for various reasons he was left out.

Kurt was obviously talented early on, but also quite troubled due to his personality and family troubles. Things only got worse when Nirvana got big, and he met Courtney.

There were many shots of pages from his diaries and notebook scribbles (done through some nifty animations) that showed just how disturbed he was, it was hard to read at times.

Buzz Osboune, a close friend of Kurt’s, and the founding member of The Melvins criticised this film, saying it was “90% bullshit”. However, Krist came out saying Buzz talks like that sometimes, so who knows what to believe. There were some animated scenes depicting what Kurt had wrote about in his diary that did seem just a bit too far fetched, and from what I have read about Kurt it seems to be nothing more than his dark humour.

As the film nears the end it gets quite depressing, especially in the home videos taken by Courtney showing an obviously drugged-up Kurt. The scene where they give baby Frances Bean her first haircut is a downer.

So it is a fascinating, sometimes hard to believe, and ultimately sad look at the life of Kurt Cobain. After you finish watching this, put In Utero on the turntable to cheer yourself up.

Date watched: January 25th
Score: 8.5/10
Film count 2018: 5

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

James and I were excited about seeing this, so much so that we decided to drive two hours to the nearest 4DX theatre to see it.

There is a lot of praise for this film online, and a lot of vitriol as well. Some people say Star Wars is dead, that these new films are just plain awful, agree I do not. Episodes I, II, and III were pretty bad, but I still like to watch them as there are a few good bits here and there. This new series though does a much better job, and updates the series quite well. The new characters are great, and while the stories so far have been derivative, it is still entertaining. The choice of actors too is spot on I think. At the end of the day these films are just light entertainment, they are not meant to be Taxi Drivers, Sunset Boulevards, or 2001s.

I won’t go into any details, but I thought the story was well done, the acting superb (especially Adam Driver and Mark Hamill), the action scenes spectacular, and the special effects and cinematography most excellent. The humour though was a bit corny or silly, especially in the opening scene, but it is a minor niggle.

If I had to rank this against Episode VII I would say this is a tad bit better, although I would have to watch it again on DVD to be sure, watching films at the theatre skews things a bit.

As I said, we saw this at a 4DX theatre which is our first time to try one out. It was fun for a while, but quickly became tiresome and distracting. We were thrown about on our seats quite a bit, had water raining on us occasionally (although you can turn that off), had blasts of wind come at us from noisy fans, had some weird tickler thing brush against our legs, breathed in scents which didn’t really match the scene, and saw fog rise up in front of the screen which didn’t really add much. Once is enough. The 3D though was worth it.

So, I enjoyed this. I wasn’t expecting much going into it, I just wanted to be entertained which I was. There are a few questions about the story here and there, some of which may be answered in Episode 9, some probably not.

Now the wait until May for the Han Solo story which looks to be quite exciting.

Date watched: December 16th
Score: 8.5/10
Film count 2017: 142

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

I had been meaning to revisit this film for some time, so I did so last night.

I last watched this back in 2012, and my blog entry back then said that I always forget the story after watching it, which yet again is true, I had forgotten a lot of it.

But, as usual it was a fun film to watch, and Tim Curry was delicious as Dr. Frank N. Furter, he was always fun to watch. Reading up about Tim Curry I was surprised and saddened to see that he had a major stroke in 2012 and is now confined to a wheelchair.

After this was released in 1975 the reviews were not good, but as we know it quickly became a cult classic and is considered to the longest-running release in history, with 20th Century Fox keeping it in continuous release since 1975.

From Mentalfoss:

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was a flop when it was originally released in 1975, but as midnight showings continued it developed a rabid cult following with a penchant for shouting at the screen as the film played. Brian Thomson first witnessed this phenomenon at New York’s Waverly Theater in 1977, and when he asked what was going on, this was the reply:

“We thought it was pretty boring, and we thought if we yelled back [it would be more fun].”

This isn’t for everyone, and I mainly enjoyed it because of Tim Curry’s performance and some of the camp humour. I shall be watching this again someday, perhaps in another five years time.

Date watched: December 15th
Score: 8.5/10
Film count 2017: 141


An alternative poster, a spoof of Jaws which was released in the same year.

JCVD

This is great, the Mussels from Brussels plays a stressed out version of himself in this crime drama (it’s quite funny too). He is having a bad day and gets caught up in a bank heist in Brussels, and has a bit of a personal crisis inside. At one point he directly addresses the audience, it’s the best part of the film, Peter Bradshaw reviewed the film for The Guardian and called the monologue “a Godardian coup de cinéma”. Indeed it was Peter.

Everyone else is great too, the main bad guy is a deliberate lookalike of Sal from Dog Day Afternoon, in fact, the setup is identical to that film. Top stuff.

Date watched: 3rd December
Score: 8.5/10
Film count 2017: 64