JayDee's Movie Musings

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Glad you liked it so much, JD. I doubt you'll be surprised to hear that I'm with you in regards to this being a better performance than Lector. Not Remains Of The Day level, IMO, but better than the non-Kosher doctor. Truly menacing, disturbing and chilling.
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Chappie doesn't like the real world
RPretty much agree with you on all points regarding Magic and I also went in thinking it would be an evil dummy come to life movie. Much better that it went the route it did.

Keep up the good work on your reviews. I enjoy reading them.



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Skepsis - Sorry to scare you so! I hate to see how you'd have coped watching the whole film.

Keep up the good work on your reviews. I enjoy reading them.
Thanks mate. Always nice to hear.


I had actually been going to ask for people who regularly read my reviews but don't post or rep to either post here or PM me/send me a comment stating that they do. Just interested to see how many people are actually reading, especially with some of the rep being a bit lower of late.

I'm very insecure and in need of validation you see!



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Meant to ask after my Tightrope review if anyone had any other movies starring Genevieve Bujold they would recommend.



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Just had a look at Dead Ringers. Sounds....interesting.

Anyone got any else Bujold recommendations? Come on Mark, with your knowledge you've always got advice.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Well, it depends on if you want the best movies or just want to ogle Genevieve. Probably her biggest and best in both regards is Anne of the Thousand Days. Probably my fave of her earlier films are the cult classic King of Hearts and The Thief of Paris. Many people hate Swashbuckler and Earthquake (much better than The Omega Man) but I like them well enough. She played dual roles in DePalma's rip-off of Vertigo, Obsession, but she's very good in it. If you want to see her in some quirky Alan Rudolph movies, I'd suggest Choose Me, The Moderns and Trouble in Mind, in that order, and Choose Me is one of her best performances. I'm not actually that familiar with her more recent work.
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Genevieve Bujold has a small but amusing role as a sexy Mrs. Robinson type in Don Mckellar's end of the world gem, Last Night (1998). Well worth a look that one.



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Mark - Now that's what I'm talking about! Thanks for all the recommendations, will have a look into them.

Actually while I'm here, following Magic are there any other good films (outside of the Rocky series) in which Burgess Meredith has a prominent role?

Well, it depends on if you want the best movies or just want to ogle Genevieve.
Oh why not have a bit of both. No I've just been very impressed with her as an actress in both Coma and Tightrope. She's come across as strong and intelligent as well as sexy, but in an unassuming way as if she is not consciously aware of it. Not sure if that's a common role for her or if it was just those two films.


UsedFuture - Thanks for reminding me about Last Night. Have heard about it a few times over the years in glowing terms but never got round to tracking it down



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Burgess Meredith... OK. I'd say of his early films, you have to see the first and best version of Of Mice and Men in which he plays George opposite Lon Chaney, Jr.'s Lennie, and also watch the Garson Kanin screwball classic Tom Dick and Harry where Meredith is a hoot. One of his other early major roles was as WWII journalist Ernie Pyle in Story of G.I. Joe. He even directed his own crazy murder mystery in 1949, The Man on the Eiffel Tower! He was in some other major films (working with Ernst Lubitsch, Jean Renoir and Otto Preminger, among others) and a million famous TV series until Rocky, and then he was also very funny in Foul Play and very good in Magic (didn't you see and review that one?), so those are two keepers. One other thing I'd mention is that if you want to just laugh at some stupid stuff with terrific casts, you could do a lot worse than see Grumpy and Grumpier Old Men. With everybody in it, Meredith still stands out as filthy old Grandpa.



Burgess Meredith! Rocky's trainer, a hard man and a good man!



Leben findet einen weg...
I had actually been going to ask for people who regularly read my reviews but don't post or rep to either post here or PM me/send me a comment stating that they do. Just interested to see how many people are actually reading, especially with some of the rep being a bit lower of late.

I'm very insecure and in need of validation you see!


You're reviews are always good mate. I always enjoy reading them.
You put effort into them, which makes them all the more interesting.

Ok, I don't post a reply for every review you make but try my best to give a +rep for them and a comment, particularly if it's a movie I have seen or would like to see.
Otherwise it's pointless me repping and commenting for something I have no basis to give rep on or have no real interest in seeing... just a personal viewpoint, but I still have a read nonetheless.

Other than that, your reviews are top mate.
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Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
very good in Magic (didn't you see and review that one?)
Well I think we know who hasn't been paying attention in class don't we boys and girls?!

Yes Mark, Magic was actually my most recent review, just a few days back. That's the reason why I brought Burgess Meredith up. Clearly I need a better PR man to get the word out on my reviews.


Anyway thanks for all the recommendations again Mark. Happily I already have access to a couple of those - Foul Play and Grumpy Old Men. I'd taped the latter a while back for my growing Matthau and Lemmon love, didn't realise he was there as well.

Oh and as for Genevieve Bujold just realised she's in a Sherlock Holmes flick I picked up cheap a while back but not watched, Murder by Decree. Though it doesn't appear that it's a major role

If you want old men doing funny, you should look at The Sunshine Boys.
As a result of my growing Walter Matthau man crush (assuming it's that version and not the Woody Allen/Peter Falk one) that has actually been on my radar for a little while. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be available in the UK so quite pricey to try and track down for a blind buy.



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
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Year of release
2011

Directed by
Martin Campbell

Written by
Greg Berlanti
Michael Green
Marc Guggenheim
Michael Goldenberg

Starring
Ryan Reynolds
Blake Lively
Peter Sarsgaard
Mark Strong

The Green Lantern

+

Plot A cocky test pilot, Hal Jordan (Reynolds), is granted an alien ring which bestows superhuman powers on whoever is chosen to wear it. After his initial reluctance he chooses to accept both the ring and his place in the Green Lantern Intergalactic Corps. A large degree of his determination comes from his desire to impress his crush Carol Ferris (Lively), a fellow test pilot. Soon however Hal is called upon to defend the Earth from Parallax, a super-powered being who feeds on fear and wields it as a weapon against the willpower of the Green Lantern Corp. With numerous other Lanterns falling in Parallax's path Hal may just be the last chance both for Earth, and the whole universe.

Am I the only one who found this to actually be kinda decent? Well maybe decent isn't the word as it's certainly not a good film but at least it's quite good fun in spurts. And as a result I'd probably give it the slightest of edges over The Incredible Hulk for instance in terms of enjoyment. It really is the absolute epitome of the big dumb summer blockbuster massive mindless action, loads of effects, a half-hearted romance (though saying it's half-hearted is being very generous to the film) and sadly little intelligence or wit.

While I may be a massive comiic book fan I had absolutely no exposure to the Green Lantern mythos so this was all new to me Hal Jordan, the ring, the Corp etc. So I had no expectations about it, and nothing that I held sacred to be angered about it. And perhaps due to being a newcomer I struggled to get past just how daft it all seemed a group of alien beings having the power of green, while their weakness is the colour yellow! Other superhero films with really out there premises (such as Thor) work because they were able to give some kind of realism to their story and immerse you in the worlds they create.

Film trivia There were a lot of people in contention for the main roles of Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris. Sam Worthington and Chris Pine were considered for Hal; while Bradley Cooper, Jared Leto and Justin Timerlake all screen-tested. And for the role of Carol Keri Russel, Eva Green, Jennifer Garner and Diane Kruger were all considered.
I've always liked Ryan Reynolds, ever since first seeing him in the sitcom Two Guys and a Girl. Here he is on very familiar ground, certainly not stretching himself. He's the same charming, charismatic and extremely arrogant character that he plays more often that not. His Hal Jordan starts off as a character who is rather hard to like and I didn't feel he ever quite made the full 180 degree turn into loveable hero. While you could perhaps blame Reynolds for not being quite good enough to pull it off, for me it was the fault of the script which never really gives him enough of a heroic journey to reach the status of loveable rogue that Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark achieved. None of the supporting cast (and it's quite an impressive list) really make an impact but that's mostly down to the screenplay undermining them with poor characters and bland dialogue. Particularly underused and wasted are Tim Robbins as Senator Hammond, and Blake Lively's Carol Ferris. Her character arc is horrible as she actually recedes greatly instead of grows in any way. She goes from tough, kick-ass fighter pilot at the beginning of the film to weak little love interest by it's conclusion.

Sadly were the film falls down more than anywhere else is in its villain stakes. As scientist Hector Hammond Peter Sarsgaard at least gives it a good go but he just doesn't have the character to back it up. Resembling the Elephant Man he only has powers for a short stretch of time, and his whole drive seems to pretty much just be jealousy over the relationship between Hal and Carol. And as for the big villain of the piece, Parallax, well he's an angry cloud! It's hard to really buy into something so ridiculous as a great threat. So neither villain really delivers, both fairly weak.

To give the film some credit the film's effects are for the most part quite impressive, and probably my favourite element of the film was how they portrayed Hal's powers, the way his creations come to life. It's just a shame then that there isn't more action as it's the pulpy sci-fi moments which are the most enjoyable.

Film trivia At one point the script actually included a Clark Kent cameo. He was one of the considered candidates to receive the Green Lantern ring of power.
The film does have several nice elements but the weak script just never allows them to gel together into something more satisfying. The story never really kicks into gear, the dialogue is bland and most of Hal's attempts at humour never really land.

Conclusion A film which has a decent level of ambition (big space opera meets action spectacle) but never comes close to fully realising it. Some nice effects and action, and Reynold's charisma at least keep it watchable, but are unable to lift it any further.



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
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Year of release
1990

Directed by
Stephen Frears

Written by
Donald E. Westlake (script)
Jim Thompson (novel)

Starring
John Cusack
Angelica Huston
Annette Bening


The Grifters


Plot Roy Dillon (Cusack) is a con artist. His absentee mother Lilly (Huston) is a con artist. And to Roy's surprise his girlfriend Myra (Bening) just also happens to be a con artist. While working a grift in a bar he receives a blow to the gut from the bartender that sends him to the hospital. While there he is visited by both Lilly and Myra, and it's quickly evident that they are not going to get along as their claws come out. When he is released from the hospital Myra offers Roy the chance to team-up for a big con. As he tries to deal with both of the ladies in his life everything quickly beings to fall apart, leading to a violent climax.

This is a film which feels extremely 90s. It just has that 90s sheen to it. It's tremendously cool, sexy and slick; quite Tarantino-esque in fact. While it may look very 90s (to my eyes at least) it's tone commonly feels rooted about half a century previous with its film noir sensibility and vaguely hard boiled dialogue.

I've always enjoyed watching the exploits of con artists, whether it be in film or TV. For the most part it is presented as an exciting and romantic world. And as we are watching con artists who deal in confidence; getting people to like and trust them, we usually end up liking them as well, finding them very likeable and charming. This however is a much darker affair, taking a look behind the scenes if you will at the life of the grifter. Instead of coming together to set up a sting on some poor unsuspecting sap this trio are out to con each other, and are willing to do whatever it takes to be the last one left standing.

Film trivia The studio behind the film actually wanted Martin Scorsese to direct the film himself. Scorsese however chose Stephen Frears to direct personally, while he would stay on as a producer. Scorsese also supplied the brief opening narration for the film.
It's a tremendously acted effort, all three of the main cast coming up trumps. Cusack gives a great, quite sympathetic performance as Roy Dillon. Roy is a conman with limited talent and purely small time aspirations. He really is no match for the wily, predatory instincts of his mother Lilly and his girlfriend Myra. Indeed the moment were the two ladies in his life meet at his hospital bedside you feel his fate is pretty much sealed. While Cusack is very good, due to the nature of their characters however he has a tendency to be outshone by the overpowering showings of Bening and Huston. Both women are vicious and vindictive; so easily able to just pick Roy apart and more than willing to do so.

Huston in particular is incredible. She really is an absolute predator, willing to do whatever it takes to come out on top. And if you need any convincing of that fact just look at the stunning, disturbing conclusion she has with her son. It's also really quite a sexy film with both Bening and Huston bringing the goods. For Huston that's actually a real feat considering she kind of resembles a transvestite Marilyn Monroe!

Film trivia Angelica Huston may have been Oscar nominated for her stunning turn as Lilly Dillon but she was hardly first choice. Geena Davis, Kate Capshaw and Cher were all considered for the role, while Sissy Spacek auditioned. And that's not even mentioning the actresses who were offered the role and declined Melanie Griffith, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brooke Shields and Debra Winger
It's a real revival film noir, harking back to those hard hitting, sparse and brutal tales of darkness populated by a series of unlikeable characters. It's a real story of murky morals full of conceit, narcissism and manipulation. And then there's the inclusion of a possible Oedipal angle. Dark, seedy viewing indeed.

Conclusion A pitch black, hard nosed neo-noir which also has a surprisingly fragile tone, none more so seen than in Huston's desperate Lilly. Huston and her two co-stars are all terrific.



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
For some reason I felt myself really struggling to come up with much for my Grifters review above. Hopefully it's just a one-off and not the fact that my momentum for writing reviews is finally wearing off. I know myself it's not as strong as most



Another one of my favourites in my collection
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Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Confession: I couldn't even finish The Grifters, due to Bening acting like a 5 year old girl.
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