Fletch (1985) (Michael Ritchie)
Watched as I read Stranger Things Season 3 will be inspired by 1985’s Fletch.
I couldn’t help noticing a Beverly Hills Cop (1984) vibe, the soundtrack by Harold Faltermeyer, the story of an undercover investigator fooling others to get ahead, the humour and sarcasm. But even with these similarities, Chevy Chase is very witty. Far more quotable than today’s movies. While it isn’t laugh out loud funny there are still many mildly amusing moments. I could see myself rewatching this one a bunch of times.
Enemy Mine (1985) (Wolfgang Petersen)
Rewatch. It is implausible both human and alien can learn each other’s language so quickly (I assume the book does a better job of this aspect), but I like how the friendship gradually unfolds and easy to get pulled into the story. The practical sets are beautiful and believable. You could argue it’s simply rehashing 1968’s Hell in the Pacific in space but is quite moving and I have fond memories of connecting with the characters and setting on a lazy Sunday morning in my teens. The sort of comforting fantasy/sci-fi that makes you forget everything around you, pure escapism. I felt I was a third character on the planet with Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett Jr. The naysayers will probably bring up Jerry’s almost comical gargling voice and I could see why that would put off some folks taking it seriously. Mostly avoids mawkishness and there’s enough warmth that I cared about their journey. The second half of the movie isn’t as strong although I’d still recommend checking it out if you like sci-fi and warm-hearted stories. Stays with you, especially Louis Gossett Jr’s likeable alien. Wolfgang Peterson’s previously directed Das Boot (1981) and The Neverending Story (1984).
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) (Francis Ford Coppola)
A poor man’s Back to the Future, this time from the perspective of a female protagonist. I felt the story is unambitious, devoting most of the running time to the romances when there was an opportunity to widen the scope. I will say the tagline on the poster “Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?” is effective and while watching I did think back to my earlier years.
Odd that Kathleen Turner looks older than the other characters and they don’t question her appearance? Nicolas Cage changes his voice to sound younger but it’s annoying to listen to. I like the confrontational sequence when they talk and the light comes through the basement window but overall the movie is too sentimental for my taste. Despite its three Oscar nominations, I would rank Peggy Sue Got Married among Coppola’s weaker efforts.
Local Hero (1983) (Bill Forsyth)
The phone box clip with the coins is hilarious but a little dated now. The therapist-Burt Lancaster scenes are pretty funny too. The baby question is another inspired, subtle moment of comedy. Unfortunately Peter Riegert is rather bland as the fish out of water lead. Mark Knopfler’s soundtrack is probably better than the movie. The story hasn’t aged particularly well. As another reviewer noted: “certainly wouldn’t make as much of an impact now (if released today). The world’s a different place — much smaller — and, the fact that the residents know the tremendous value of their property wouldn’t be such a revelation today”
A great ad for visiting scenic Scotland, but maybe the movie is slightly overrated. Yet it is the kind of powerful movie ending that could potentially change your life, so that counts for something. Apparently, a Local Hero musical will have its world premiere in Edinburgh in 2019.
Cathy Come Home (1966) (Ken Loach)
Recommended by Alyson, who wrote about the film here. The difficulty and expense of finding a place to live in the UK for a young family in the 1960s certainly is still relevant, even today many adults have to live at home with their parents.
A sad situation for Cathy and Reg. Not enough homes and long waiting lists. Getting pregnant despite not being able to afford another kid. An affecting drama by Ken Loach, calling attention to important issues.
Filmworker (2017) (documentary) (Tony Zierra)
It isn’t an essential watch, unless you are interested in the life and filmography of Stanley Kubrick . Not sure needed to be 94 minutes, but the relationship between Leon Vitali and Kubrick is intriguing. You hear about Vitali’s volatile father which made him understand how to be friends with the at times difficult Kubrick. Being his assistant was a dream which was sometimes very demanding as the director would give him endless tasks. Vitali certainly is an unsung hero for his dedication to helping Kubrick for 30 years. He admits he wanted the job even though it meant sacrificing his freedom by working insane hours, trying to please the director’s obsessive perfectionism. The behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the film sets are pretty forgettable although I didn’t know he was an actor on Barry Lyndon and Eyes Wide Shut, as well as so many other technical responsibilities such as print restorations, trailers, finding actors for Kubrick’s films, scouting locations, etc. Nice to see this hard working guy finally get his due, yet admittedly a minor documentary in comparison to Stanley Kubrick. A Life in Pictures (2001), which was more in-depth. Filmworker is really a film about Leon Vitali.
Oranges and Sunshine (2010) (Jim Loach)
An important yet predictable film. Only showing the families who wanted to be reunited isn’t the whole picture, there are going to be those who can’t handle it or don’t want it. Stories of suffering that we can agree on is tragic for those involved. Emily Watson is given a great role to play which she handles well.
You Were Never Really Here (2017) (Lynne Ramsay)
Lynne Ramsay impressed me with the powerful We Need To Talk About Kevin and Morvern Callar. Why so much praise for her latest?! A lifeless, non-story, lacking plot. It’s sad Joe is wrestling with PTSD and inner demons, and even sadder the predicament the girl is in, but I didn’t connect emotionally to the characters or unpleasant situations. Go watch Scorsese’s Taxi Driver instead, as You Were Never Really Here is an unnecessary and forgettable homage to Travis Bickle’s likewise unreliable narrator.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) (Christopher McQuarrie)
Better than Rogue Nation which I barely remember except the plane and underwater sequences. A great thrill ride with non-stop suspense for 2½ hours, the most exciting action movie I’ve seen in a cinema since Mad Max Fury Road. It won’t change your life but very entertaining and cinematic. I’m a fan of practical stunts and less CGI , this adds to the realism. The only aspect I disliked is the opening credits sequence which is a mini-trailer for what is to come.
Now that Danny Boyle has dropped out of the next 007 project, director McQuarrie is rumoured to be joining the 25th Bond film, which makes perfect sense as the action in Fallout is Bond-like.
What do you think? As always, comments are welcome