Present Future

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Are you a fan of all things science fiction?

Well it can’t have escaped your notice that our vision of the future and
what will take place in it is constantly shifting and this is very evident in the
world of movies.

More often than not a future movie story line actually reflects what’s happening right now or at least at the time it was made.
Think back to all those classic American 1950’s B movies – what were they full of?
Alien creatures trying to take us over or mutated monsters – what was taking place in America at the time – fear of Russian invasion or attack and the birth of the nuclear age.

Whether the vision happens to be a dystopian or utopian future, we can’t help ourselves and make comment on what happening in our own world currently. In fact even when movies were in the infancy we wrote about the future in present terms, one need only think about the worlds of Jules Verne or H.G.Wells, they dressed it up a vision of the future, but they were really talking about what was happening right now in their time.

To look back at these future visions now whether in print or on the cinema screen, we tend to look and smile and that’s not even taking account the shaky special effects!!
This vision seems to our current eyes dated and more backward looking rather than forward thinking. But before we get too full of ourselves, is our current vision of the future going to look equally outdated to those who come after us.

Current filmmakers also can’t help but borrow ideas from future movies of the past. Think of a movie like Blade Runner and the future world predicted in it. How many times have you seen a scene in a movie and your mind drifts back to that movie instantly even though you are watching a totally different one.

Back To The Future indeed!!

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American Made

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” I feel the need, the need for speed “, went the tagline uttered by Tom Cruise in a rather well know movie that had planes in it. Well Mr. Cruise has donned those Aviator shades and a smile that could blind you at 40 paces. Doug Liman directs.

But the plane he flies at the beginning of this movie are a little bigger than the fighter jets of times past and carry passengers of TWA, that’s Trans World Airlines in case you might be wondering.

Tom Cruise portrays Barry Seal, a TWA pilot. But how can I put this kindly the real Barry looked nothing our Tom. That aside,you see Mr Seal found his job, well boring at times and liked to do a small amount of smuggling on the side. A certain American secret agent portrayed by Domhnall Gleeson says to him that he is prepared to look the other way if you can do a little bit of aerial photography on certain people in Central America that like to deal in drugs. Barry very quickly finds himself not only working for the American Goverment but also for the drug cartel that he is supposed to be spying on.

I ask a question of you now, do you like Tom Cruise? If so you will like the tale of Barry Seal, if less so then you might like it a little less. Some movies linger in the mind a long while others not, that is not to say that Tom Cruise’s portrayal of Barry Seal isn’t good.
It just means that this movie doesn’t stay with you much longer than its running time.

80 Minutes Or Less

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Right about now you are wondering, ” I never saw the trailer for that” or
” That’s a movie I would like to see!!” or ” Was Nicholas Cage in that movie?”
Well before you start handing over your cash, it might be time to think again.

So what am I talking about, well I am talking about the movies that last less than 90 minutes in lenght. But before I really get started please discount most animation, documentaries or short films as most tend to be fairly good. Getting clearer?

Yes, these particular movies as a general rule are bad, we are not even talking so bad there good or fit into the cult status. No these are just bad full stop. Let’s get real here
for a minute no one says ” I am going make a bad movie, but it happens”

So here below is a handy checklist for why things go so horribly wrong.

– We had a brilliant idea and we got the green light from the studio, but they got nervous and withdrew or cut our funding. But we thought we’ve started it, so darn it we will finish it!!

– We had a friend of a friend, who said I know someone who could write a good movie script, turns out they really were not all that good and no amount of CGI or special effects are going to save this movie!!

– The director/main star/producer left the project due to ” creative differences”, insert other assorted people who left the movie set for the same reason.

– We had someone who worked on a bigger movie previously and they did quite a good job on that, so maybe they will sprinkle some of their magic pixie dust on this one too!!

Now of course there are countless other reasons why movies turn bad,how long have we got. So should you happen to glance at the running time and think” Oooh, I can make my bus or train home with time to spare”, well think again and go to that slightly longer movie and get a taxi home instead!!

P.s As with everything in life there are always exceptions to the 80 minute rule, but these blog post tend to be quite short and I am not go through the whole of cinema history!!

 

Atomic Blonde

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“The name is Blonde, Jane Blonde”
Well it’s not, it’s actually Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), but any spy film can’t help but being compared to a certain other well known spy franchise. In fact the Jason Bourne franchise has stolen a bit of Bond’s thunder of late, so you kind of have to throw that into the mix too, if we are comparing. How does it measure up, well here is this week’s review.

Lorraine Broughton is MI6 most elite spy and it is 1989 in Berlin just before the wall is about to fall and she is called on to retrieve a very important list and take down an espionage ring into the bargain.

David Leitch is a newcomer to the director’s chair, but he has experience as a stunt coordinator and he is certainly called on to draw on that experience in the fight scenes of which there are quite a few, in fact the movie is heavy on these as Lorraine Broughton kicks and punches her way across Berlin. She tends to hit first and ask questions later, presuming she has not dispatched them first.

This movie also likes dipping into the late 90’s playlist with a bit of Bowie too. The movie very rarely stops to take a breath and there are more than a few twists, turns and double crosses, a little too many to mention in fact. Does all of this mixed together work out? Well it probably works best when watched on a surface level as it is based on a original graphic novel and a lot of the action is truly comic book, similar to the superhero genre and violence that tends to take place in them.

For all it’s faults as this director is still finding his feet, it is an enjoyable watch if you like that sort of thing. It will most likely not stick longer in the mind once you step out of the cinema door but forgive it that and you will find it an enjoyable watch. After all this movie is coming out during the summer, we are not looking for deep and meaningful here, the winter months and the run up to next year’s Oscars will take care of that.

Valerian & The City Of A Thousand Planets

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It is nearly 20 years since Luc Besson made The Fifth Element, it combined Hollywood sci- fi with a European stylish flair and a unique vision of the future. Even today it still is a great watch. Now why do I bring this point up, I liked Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets and before this movie had been made the previously mentioned movie had been the most expensive European movie to date. What I feel may not work in this movies favour, is that repeated watchings may expose it’s flaws. Certainly there is lots to see and admire up on the screen and you can see where the movie has been spent, but I feel maybe that the two central leads might not strong enough actors yet to make this film memorable over time.

I suppose I better get down to the review then. Well, we find ourselves in the 28th century and on Alpha, an ever expanding space based metropolis which has had to leave the confines of the space around Earth, due to the fact that we keep encountering new species and it appears that Earth based space at least is limited. All these races use Alpha to interact with humans but we have encountered quite a few at this stage hence the move away from Earth.

Enter special operatives Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) who are required to maintain order on Alpha and the other human settlements. But all is not well on Alpha of late, a malevolent force is expanding within the metropolis threatening its very existence. They are tasked to find out what is causing the disturbance.

As I said earlier in the review, I liked the movie but ultimately the sci – fi future vision has moved on, even in a universe far far away. This movie considering it is set in the future can sometimes feel like a movie made many years ago, maybe referring back to the other movie mentioned at the start – 20 years ago.

Enjoyable yes – memorable over time, less so.

The Big Sick

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Hope that I haven’t scared you too much with my picture this week, it’s okay it’s just your regular friendly movie review. This week’s selection is The Big Sick, it has been a while since we’ve had a comedy to review.

Just before I start into my review, my little movie experience while asking for my movie ticket “I would like one for The Big Sick at ten past six”, it’s easier to write than say believe me, quite a tongue twister let me tell you, I’m digressing aren’t I.

As it happens the lead character’s name has not been changed
as Kumail Nanjiania, who happens to be a Pakistani comic portraying himself.
Well, while doing his set up on stage he given a friendly heckle by a girl
called Emily ( Zoe Kazan ) at one of his stand-up shows.

P.s The real Emily also helped to write the movie’s screenplay.

Over time their relationship blossoms, but he is Pakistani and she is not. As in many cultures, his parents expect that he will marry a girl from that country and do quite a lot of staged semi comedic meet and greets to make sure that this happens, unaware that his real affections lie elsewhere.

Suddenly Emily develops a life affecting illness and is placed into medically induced coma. While staying at the hospital with her, he meets Emily’s parents portrayed by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter. As Emily is trying to recover, they start to bond with each other and Kumail finds himself liking them more and more. This turns out to be a slight problem as Emily’s and Kumail last meeting before her illness took hold, was not stellar.

It’s a hard thing to switch from things going well and then not so well, but this movie manages to pull it off. Maybe this is in part thanks to the fact that this is a story based in truth. Such is life, with the good comes the bad with a little bit of humour mixed in.

If you have been longing for a good romantic comedy to come along,
then this may be the one for you.
Both affecting and comedic in equal measure, worth seeking out.

Dunkirk

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This movie in essence is a movie from a certain point of view, in fact having now seen it and I was not really counting, the only troops, sailors and pilots for which we are told the story of is the English ones with a smattering of small amounts of French ones. We never actually see the Germans portrayed, well not in person at least. More an observance than a criticism. But if what I have said about that makes you think, should you go and see it. Yes you should, is the answer.

Even if your knowledge of the history of the Second World War is scant at best, there is probably a good chance that in saying ” Dunkirk”, that you may have a mental image forming in your head as I speak.

But just in case – here’s the history lesson. At this stage in the war in May 1940, Germany had advanced into and overtaken the troops of many countries in Europe . In entering France they trapped and encircled the allied troops to the beaches of Dunkirk.
The troops on the beach could nearly touch the shores of home, they were so close, but they were not home.

This is graphically displayed both on the land and sea as the troops try to seek a route home as they are harassed by the advancing Germans. The story also takes place above the heads of the troops as the Royal Air Force tries to prevent a greater loss of life happening beneath them.

There is of course a lot more to this story in the movie, but as I like to stay spoiler free if possible, I will just urge to go and see this movie. There is dialogue in this movie, but it is really the action that happens which tells the story, the pictures fill in the gaps that the dialogue leaves. As the movie is relatively short to tell this story, you are made feel like you are in the thick of the action for a good part of the time. It can make for an uncomfortable watch at times but don’t let that put you off on going to see it.

This is probably, if not the best movie that the director Christopher Nolan has made, well it’s certainly one of the better ones, will it become a modern classic – well only time will tell. There have been many classic and well made war movies in the past, so the bar has been set quite high.

It is an intense experience and watch, but a worthwhile one that honours those who took part in this historical event. Go see it, I feel you won’t be disappointed. In fact try and go to see it on the biggest screen you can, it deserves to be seen on that size of movie screen.