Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Baby Driver 2017

     Baby is a fast driving getaway driver and he has been boosting cars since he was 12 years old.  Every day he has a new playlist and he has several iPods.  He uses a hand held recorder to capture something random that is said to him.  When he goes home, he uses that one short statement to make a soundtrack.  He lives with his foster father and Baby has tinnitus.  He masks the constant sounds in his ears with the music.  He has a cell phone and it's a new one for each job.  When he gets the call, he goes.  It’s usually always a different heist team and a different kind of job.  Baby doesn’t care about the job, the team or the heist.  All Baby needs to do is drive and get away from the police cars.  He never gets rattled and it doesn’t matter how tight the situation is or how many police cars are after them.
     Edgar Wright found inspiration for this film after thinking about a post-heist car chase set to the 1994 song Bellbottoms by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.  I really like the cars and I like the driving.  I would like to know how to spin my tires and be constantly seconds ahead!!  I would also like to test-drive this many cars, speed all the time and get away with it!!  I don’t want even one police car to be behind me at any time!!  I would give this film 5* for the driving and the cars but only 3* for the movie!!

112, Action directed by Edgar Wright with Ansel Elgort, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, Micah Howard, Lily James, Morgan Brown, Kevin Spacey, Morse Diggs, DJ Jones, Sky Ferreira, Lance Palmer, Hudson Meek.

Note:  Imdb 7.7 out of 10, 93% critic 86% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*, Metacritic 86 out of 100 with 53 critics 7.7 out of 10 with 954 reviews, Amazon 3.8* out of 5* with 847 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Atlanta, Dunwoody, New Orleans, Louisiana; Gainesville Georgia.  There was no CGI or green screens used for the car chase sequences.  The Halloween masks were supposed to be of Michael Myers but legal permission could not be obtained and Mike Myers masks were used.  Joseph is Baby’s foster father, he is deaf in the film and also in real life.  They both use American Sign Language to communicate.  Baby’s extensive collection of sunglasses are from the cars he has stolen.  He also obtained many of his iPods from these cars.  There is a slight ringing in the background when music is not being played and this shows Baby’s tinnitus.  Emma Stone was offered the role of Debora but she dropped out to make La La Land of 2016.
Cars used in Baby Driver:  This is not a comprehensive list but only the main vehicles:  2006 red Subaru Impreza WRXSTI (sold for $69,100 after the film), 1979 Lincoln Continental Mark V Collector’s Series, 1959 Chevrolet Impala Convertible, 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche, 2008 Dodge Avenger, 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat (700hp), 1995 Ford Explorer, 2014 Mercedes-Benz S 550 (W222).

Monday, January 22, 2018

Far from the Madding Crowd 2015

     The setting of this film is Victorian England of 1870.  Bathsheba Everdene is helping her aunt by working on her farm in Dorset.  She meets the new neighbor Gabriel Oak and he asks her to marry him.  She believes this is quite sudden and she really doesn’t know what to say?   Soon after, Bathsheba inherits a farm from her uncle and she leaves to take charge of the property.  Oak has a turn of unexpected bad luck when he loses all his sheep and his farm.  He leaves Dorset, he learns that Bathsheba is looking for a farm boss and he goes to apply. 
     I had forgotten that I had already seen this film in 2015.  As soon as the first tragedy occurred, I remembered that there is one tragedy after another.  The word madding means acting madly, frenzied or maddening.  That probably does describe the main thought of this film?  Almost all the characters are constantly near this feeling?  They are struggling against their aims for their lives and their social circumstances.  One small mistake can turn everything completely in a different direction.  I thought this was interesting and good.  I was drawn into the characters and analyzing their mistakes or choices as the film went along.  4* (I really liked this movie) 

119 min, Drama directed by Thomas Vinterberg with Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, Juno Temple, Bradley Hall, Hilton McRae, Jessica Barden, Harry Peacock, Victor McGuire.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 85% critic 75% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 1205 reviews, Roger Ebert 3*, Metacritic 71 out of 100 with 40 critics 7.5 out of 10 with 59 reviews, The Guardian review by Peter Bradshaw 3* out of 5*.
Special Note:  Filmed in Dorset, Buckinghamshire, Somerset, Osfordshire, England, UK.  All of the cast members are British except for Matthias Schoenaerts, he was born in Antwerp, Belgium.  This movie was filmed in 53 days.  Thomas Hardy took the title from a line in Thomas Gray’s 1751 poem titled Elegy written in a Country Churchyard.  “Far from the Madding crowd’s ignoble strife.”  The first film version of this novel was a silent film released in 1915, exactly 100 years from this version.  There is a 1909 film with the same title but it’s not based on the book, it’s a Thomas Edison comedy.  Other films from Thomas Hardy books are The Claim, Jude, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the d’Ubervilles and Under the Greenwood Tree.  The biblical name of Bathseba is pronounced BathSEba but in this film it is pronounced BathSHAba?

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Naked Spur 1953

     Jesse Tate is a prospector and he has set up camp in a wooded area.  Howard Kemp is a bounty hunger and he’s after Ben Vandergroat for a reward.  Ben is wanted for the murder of the marshal in Abilene, Kansas.  Howard talks to Jesse about seeing anything during his recent travels.  Jesse tells Howard that he saw the remains of a campfire and he’ll take him to that location.  Howard and Jesse think Ben is holed up at the top of a rocky hill called the Naked Spur and he’s sending down boulders to create landslides.  Lieutenant Roy Anderson is a recently discharged Union soldier and he offers to climb up the hill.  Ben is there on top of the mountain with his girlfriend Lina Patch.  Jesse and Roy become very interested when they learn there is a $5000 reward for bringing in Ben dead or alive.
     There is danger every minute after the men take Ben into custody.  He could escape at every turn and now there is rivalry between the men for the reward money.  Howard saw Roy’s discharge papers and it says Roy is morally unstable and it is a dishonorable discharge.  Ben is Lina’s father’s friend and she is convinced that Ben is innocent.  It’s possible she will try to set Ben free.  Jesse has been prospecting for a long time, he’s never found much gold and $5000 sounds like a lot of money.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)     

91 min, Western directed by Anthony Mann with James Stewart, Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan, Ralph Meeker, Millard Mitchell.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10, 100% critic 75% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 154 reviews, TCM Leonard Maltin 3.5 out of 4* user reviews average 4.4* out of 5*
Special Note:  Filmed in Lone Pine, California; San Juan Mountains, Durango, Rocky Mountains, Rocky Outcrop The Naked Spur near Durango, Colorado.  Included among the 1001 Movies You Must See edited by Steven Schneider.  The setting of this film is March of 1868.  The revolver is a mistake because it's the Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army.  The rifle is not a Winchester Model 1866 Yellow Boy but a later model.  The $5000 reward would be $92,000 today.  The DVD cover shows Janet Leigh in a low cut blue dress.  She didn’t wear anything like this in the film?  Leigh started acting with her first film The Romance of Rosy Ridge in 1947 at the age of 20.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Murphy's War 1971

     During the closing days of WWII, Irishman Murphy is one of the crew members of the merchant ship Mount Kyle.  A German U-Boat sinks the Mount Kyle and the Germans kill all the crew members with machine guns except for Murphy and a pilot. Dr. Hayden is pacifist Quaker doctor living in a missionary settlement on the Orinoco in Venezuela.  When Murphy and the pilot arrive separately at the settlement, she treats their wounds.  Later, two rafts bring the German crew to the settlement and they begin looking for any men from the boat.  Murphy is not at the settlement when they arrive and he survives but the pilot is killed.  Murphy is very angry about the deaths of all of these men.  He discovers that the U-Boat is hiding farther up river.  Murphy starts to think of a plan for vengeance.
     Dr. Hayden and Frenchman Louis (also on the island) are telling Murphy that the war is nearly over and he needs to forget about the U-Boat!!  He can’t seem to let any of the atrocities go unchallenged?  There is a bi-plane and two boats in the water near the settlement.  He think he might be able to use them for his plan?   3 ½* (I liked this movie)

107 min, Drama directed by Peter Yates with Peter O’Toole, Sian Phillips, Philippe Noiret, Horst Janson, John Hallam, Ingo Mogendorf, Harry Fielder, George Roubicek.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 59% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 115 reviews, Roger Ebert 2 1/2*.
Special Note:  Filmed in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela; Malta; Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England, UK; Twickenham Film Studios, St Margarets, Twickenham, Middlesex, England, UK.  There was only one proven case of a U-boat intentionally machine-gunning survivors.  U-852 was on a secret mission and survivors could not be allowed to report the presence of the U-Boat.  Commander Eck gave the order and he was tried and executed for his actions.  Peter O’Toole and Sian Phillips were married at the time of filming.  The U-Boat was actually a Venezuelan submarine, the former USS Tilefish (SS-307).  The amphibious bi- plane was a Grumman Duck that is now on display at the US Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Once Upon a Time in Vencie 2017

     Steve Ford is an LA based Private Investigator.  Ford is involved in a personnel case when his little dog Buddy is stolen.  Unfortunately, it’s a notorious gang holding Buddy.  Ford will need to go against two vengeful brothers, the goons for a loan shark and other shady characters. 
     The best actor in this film is the little dog Buddy.  I was rooting for him all the way and not paying any attention to anything else about this movie!!  Bruce Willis has been making some BAD movies lately?  I also didn't like First Kill of 2017.  He must need to support his lifestyle and maybe he’s worried about getting too old?  1 ½* (I really didn’t liked this movie)

94 min, Action directed by Mark Cullen with Bruce Willis, John Goodman, Jason Momoa, Emily Robinson, Jessica Gomes, Kaleti Williams, Myles Humphus, Famke Janssen, Thomas Middleditch.

Note:  Imdb 5.2 out of 10, 18% critic 15% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Metacritic 28 out of 100 with 9 critics 3.4 out of 10 with 11 reviews, Amazon 2.9* out of 5* with 115 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Venice, Los Angeles, California. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Father Goose 1964

     The setting of this film is during WWII in the South Sea.  Walter Eckland is spying on Japanese planes flying over Matalava Island.  Catherine Frenau is a French schoolmistress and she arrives on the island with her seven students.  Everyone starts to get very worried when the Japanese planes begin to fire on the island.  Then the Japanese come onto the island using rafts from a ship.
     This is interesting because the characters played by Grant and Caron are complete opposites.  Grant is scruffy with a beard and he likes to drink.  Caron is neat, polite, courteous, well spoken and she doesn’t drink.  Surprisingly, they get into a slapping contest as a result of their dislike of each other!!  Caron also doesn’t want her students to witness this type of behavior.  There is a dangerous possibility that the Japanese will discover them on the island.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

118 min, Adventure directed by Ralph Nelson with Cary Grant, Leslie Caron, Trevor Howard, Jack Good, Sharyl Locke, Pip Sparke, Verina Greenlaw, Stephanie and Jennifer Berrington, Laurell and Nicole Felsette.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10, 79% critic 86% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 865 reviews, TCM average review 4.64* out of 5*, Letterboxd 3*.
Special Note:  Filmed in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, Jamaica and Stage 19, Universal Studios, Universal City California.  Cary Grant said that this role was the one most like his real personality.  He kept in touch with most of the students in the film as they grew up and had their own families.  Grant was offered the role of Henry Higgins in May Fair Lady of 1964 but he turned it down to star in this film.  He wanted Audrey Hepburn to play Catherine but she was committed to My Fair Lady.  Eights weeks of production were in Hollywood and four weeks on location at a Jamaican coconut plantation.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Strategic Air Command 1954

     Robert (Dutch) Holland is a third baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals.  He is with the team for spring training and he sees a B-36 fly over the field.  Dutch is recalled to duty and he leaves for MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa Florida.  He also serves at Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado and Carswell Air Force Base, Texas.  Dutch had recently wed Sally and she is distressed that he will remain in the Air Force and they will not return to St. Louis.  Every time the phone rings, she is petrified that something has happened to Dutch on a mission.  Dutch does go down with a B-36 in the Arctic but he is rescued.  All of the crew members bailed out except Dutch and the radar navigation officer.  They stayed with the plane until it was too late to bail and a rescue helicopter arrived for them later. 
     Everything about this film seems very authentic and the aerial photography of the planes is spectacular.  A special citation by the American National Board of Review was awarded for the aerial scenes.  This film had the full cooperation of the United States Air Force to maintain accuracy.   The planes need a lot of thrust and torque to get into the air and their structure seems too massive to lift!!  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

112 min, Action directed by Anthony Mann with James Stewart, June Allyson, Frank Lovejoy, Barry Sullivan, Alex Nicol, Bruce Bennett, Jay C. Flippen, James Millican, James Bell, Rosemary DeCamp, Richard Shannon, John McKee.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 51% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 606 reviews, Leonard Maltin 2.5* out of 4* user rating 4.5* out of 5*.
Special Note:  James Stewart was a B-17 instructor pilot, B-24 squadron commander and a bomb group operations officer.  He completed 20 combat missions and he was promoted to brigadier general.  He continued to fly in his later years and he did Operation Arc Light missions in Vietnam as a non-duty observer aboard a B52F.  Stewart’s character is based on the real-life military career and an actual mission flown by Brigadier General Clifford Schoeffler.  He crashed his plane on an Arctic mission.  A Boston Red Sox legendary player also inspired the character of Dutch.  Ted Williams was a WWII veteran recalled for Korean War service as a Marine Corps aviator at the height of his baseball career.