Films and TV of the month: August




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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.






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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).







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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.






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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.






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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)
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.







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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
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


20 thoughts on “Films and TV of the month: August

  1. Great list, because, apart from “You Were Never Really Here”, I have not seen any and would like to see them. I enjoyed “You Were Never Really Here” much more than you but I guess it was largely because I felt these vibes from a movie “Drive” in there somewhere, and I am a big fan of that film from Refn. I also thought it was somehow all very strangely poetic/existentialist, and I loved the soundtrack/sound design there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. @dbmoviesblog: Thanks, hopefully you’ll find a movie you want to watch, but if not, it’s okay. Think I’m in the minority in disliking YWNRH as the critics have praised it. Some even go so far and say it’s the best film of 2018 so far. I don’t think deserves that kind of attention but what do I know? Joaquin Phoenix is a great actor but I found the movie tedious. To me, Drive works better because it’s quotable, memorable.and with a stronger story. I prefer Jonny Greenwood’s soundtrack for Phantom Thread. Thanks for defending YWNRH even though we disagree on this occasion 🙂


  3. You hit some big old favs in there of mine. I used to be obsessed with Fletch and Fletch Lives. Been such a long time since I’ve seen either of them now. Really got a buzz to revisit them. Can’t see how they will tag it into Stranger Things though!!
    Enemy Mine is a superb little film and I love the racial social commentary. Like The Defiant Ones in space. Actually your right, it’s more Hell in the Pacific. Didn’t know it was based on a book!
    I will go for Stanley Kubrick. A Life in Pictures first on your recommendion. I haven’t seen either before.
    Never Really Here I gave a 7. I liked the surreal element to it, like it blurred out reality. But yes it was feckin depressing as hell. Saving grace it was only about 80 mins of runtime. Yep nothing comes close to Taxi Driver.
    Just a personal feeling but Rogue Nation (probably Rebecca Ferguson legs) just edged Fallout for me. I do know i’m on my own with that though hehe. As they are really a continued story they make a great double bill. A perfect down the pub chat on that series.
    Nice selection of films Chris.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Wolfman: Chevy Chase made some great comedies in the 80s. Caddyshack (1980) is really quotable too. And of course the Vacation films are pretty funny. I have no idea how Fletch will be incorporated into Stranger Things, maybe the disguise aspect.

      A shame Enemy Mine is so underseen. Because it’s a really good sci-fi. Most folks remember Spielberg’s ET instead.

      I hope you enjoy A Life in Pictures. Provides a good overview of Kubrick’s career, looking at his key films. If you can stand Tom Cruise narrating that is 🙂

      Yes, Rebecca Ferguson is easy on the eye!

      Thanks for reading

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Loved all the Chevy films. One of those faces that isn’t actually funny in itself but with a change in expression and he has be giggling. Whatever ST does? I’m sure it will ace.
        Oooo not too sure on the Cruise narration!! Can imagine it makes it’s all over dramatic and Hollywood! I will investigate with caution.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I used to love Fletch. Curious to see how it holds up since I haven’t seen it in 30 years. Sounds like it does pretty well. The only other thing I’ve seen here is M:I – Fallout and I had a blast with that one. However, I was also confused when the opening credits were showing me everything that was coming up. Can’t believe I still haven’t seen Enemy Mine or Peggy Sue Got Married. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Wendell: Fletch is a fun time and worth rewatching. Th Beverly Hills Cop similarities are obvious though.

      M:I – Fallout will likely be in my top 10 or top 15 for 2018. A great thrill ride. The end credits weren’t much better either due to fast editing.

      Curious to read your take on Enemy Mine


  5. Wow. I really quite fancied You Were Never Really Here. I’ll still get to it, but my expectations will be somewhat lowered.

    Those Fletch flicks are hugely entertaining, eh? I know I need to grab them again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @J: If you are a fan of J Phoenix you may want to rent You Were Never Really Here. But I can’t recommend it.

      I haven’t seen Fletch Lives (1989). It’s on my radar though I heard it’s not quite as good.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved the novella You Were Never Really Here was based on and was really looking forward to the film, but it just didn’t translate well to cinema and the changed ending weakened the story in the book. I liked Phoenix’s performance though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Rol: I can imagine the novella is better because the film is rather empty and forgettable to me. How it won best screenplay at Cannes makes no sense. Phoenix carries the film with his performance as there is nothing else to focus on.


    1. @stephen1001: The action scenes in the Mission: Impossible films tend to stay with me and not much else! The stunts are epic in Fallout, worth seeing on a big screen if still playing in your area.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree that Peggy Sue Got Married is the weaker entry in Coppola’s filmography. It sets up some really cool things but never delivers on them. I want to see Film Worker for a different perspective on Kubrick.. I like seeing that you were disapointed in You Were Never Really Here. I will go into that one with caution. Thank you Chris

    Liked by 1 person

  8. @Vern: “l like seeing that you were disappointed” ha ha good line. Only in the blogosphere 🙂
    Sure, Filmworker documentary gives a different perspective on Kubrick, both good and bad. He was a genius but probably the most demanding boss you could have! Agree on Peggy Sue Got Married.


  9. Nice work here. I agree that Filmworker isn’t exactly essential, but it I enjoyed it as a Kubrick fan. Bummed you didn’t like You Were Never Really Here more (it’ll be in my Top 5 of the year), but hey, we like what we like!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Alex Withrow: Filmworker was ok I guess but I think the same could have been said in half the time. Vitali had some issues as an absent father to his kids, which was glossed over a bit. Would like to know why he wore a headband? Wasn’t explained. But the guy was a dedicated filmworker for Kubrick, of that there is no doubt.

      Glad you loved You Were Never Really Here .


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