Well, my weekend plans were up-ended by a relative's last-minute family emergency. Nothing left to do but clean the old apartment, chase after already-out Black Friday deals and talk movies! :-DJason Reitman's GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE (2021, IMAX) makes a strong argument why SOME sequels to decades-old classic movies SHOULD be nostalgia-driven. Unlike "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens" (the movie "Afterlife" resembles most), "Ghostbusters" is a premise/franchise that only lived up to its full potential once (excluding off-shoots like the 80's animated series). Maybe it was meant to be a one-and-done '84 classic... but that doesn't mean its fans don't want to relive that special magic feeling at least one more time, something rewatching the original for the hundredth time can't deliver anymore. The filmmakers don't make the mistake of coasting on nostalgia, using it in "Afterlife" as a cushion and crafting interesting/likable characters, situations and moments that (at least in the opening night IMAX screening I attended) literally brought the audience to tears after having them laughing and cheering their asses off. I'd love to rewatch this outside of an opening weekend environment to see if Mckenna Grace's Phoebe is as amazing (the best new character in the franchise in decades!) as she seemed last Wednesday. It's not perfect (Carrie Coon and Finn Wolfhard aren't given much to do, Paul Rudd mugs way too much, J.K. Simmons is wasted even more than in the theatrical cut of "Justice League," etc.), but Jason Reitman is too good a filmmaker to not allow every character in "Afterlife" (new as well as returning ones... but with an emphasis on the former) to at the very least not be boring or dull. Highly recommended, unless you think "Ghostbusters II" was great... in which case this will be third best.Speaking of Finn Wolfhard, he co-starred with Mackenzie Davis in a 2020 movie called "The Turning" that I reviewed for Scary Movie Month. I couldn't believe this was the same chick that played enhanced super-soldier Grace in Tim Miller's TERMINATOR: DARK FATE (2019, 4K UHD Blu-ray), because she looks/acts completely different in both flicks. Rewatching it for for the first time in ages, it's a little worse than 2015's "Genisys" because the filmmakers abuse their ability to stage action set-pieces (planes crashing, helicopters firing, Terminators fighting) just because they can. Hard to believe James Cameron took time off from working on his "Avatar" universe to co-produce this as-bad-as-its-imitators "Terminator" sequel instead of remastering "The Abyss" or "True Lies." :'( It has some positives (Gabriel Luna's REV-9, Schwarzenegger's 'Carl' backstory is effortlessly entertaining, the opening action chase in Mexico, etc.), but you know your "Terminator" sequel is mediocre-at-best when visibly-phoning-it-in Linda Hamilton is reduced to play pretend senior citizen badass warrior.Had to rewatch Cameron's TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY (1991, Special Extended Edition Blu-ray) with the Forever Cinematic commentary track to (a) chase away "Dark Fate's" bad vibes and (b) appreciate the art of physical momentum, curated choice of then-cutting edge SFX shots and excellent actors (Robert Patrick's T-1000 remains top dog of badass futuristic hunters) working in perfect harmony. Great commentary where one of the three commentators has never seen the Special Edition, and has an on-mic freak attack at the treasure trove of new-to-him scenes (Kyle Reese dream sequence?) unfolding. Great listen for diehard "T2" fans. :-D
I had completely forgotten they were making a new Ghostbusters movie. Is there nostalgia for that? The first one was ok...I guess.Just remembered that it was remade a few years ago. I had no desire to see it, but I should see it if only to piss off the woman haters.I really liked Dark Fate. Arnold was terrific in it. I thought the action was really well staged and the splitting into 2 terminator was terrifying. It was bound to not live up to the original films, but I'm fine with that.
The way l see it the first two Cameron "Terminators" are like a perfect song, and every sequel/spinoff after that are cover versions of the original (some better/worse than others). Color me surprised that "Dark Fate" isn't leaps better than the other "Terminator" sequels (other than being the newest, having the best SFX tech and reuniting Cameron, Schwarzenegger and Hamilton) given its pedigree. "Salvation" is my personal bottom-of-the-barrel low point for the franchise, for whatever that's worth. 🙃🙂
Good weekend to everyone. This week I went back to watching movies again. Turner Classic Movies provided most of what I saw, but I also got into some new purchases. ROYAL WEDDING (1951, dir. Stanley Donen) – An American song-and-dance team of siblings, Fred Astaire and Jane Powell, go to London to perform in a show and find romance. Though this MGM musical looks great and has a couple of memorable numbers (Astaire dancing on a ceiling), the simple-minded script left me disengaged for long stretches. There is not enough of a story, and some of the songs do feel dated for the time. FEAR (1946) – This is a respectable Poverty Row noir based on Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment until… the conclusion. The ending would have been even more infuriating if the film had been longer. A young Darren McGavin has a tiny part in it. THEY LIVE BY NIGHT (1948, dir. Nicholas Ray) – As the film started, I realized that it was adapted from the same story used for Robert Altman’s Thieves Like Us. Two very different versions, though. I really liked the first half of They Live By Night, which is very gritty and full of interesting character actors. The noir aspect is strongest in that part of the film. Then the story turns into more of a love story, trying to evoke sympathy for the main character that I did not honestly feel. This part becomes a little too Hollywood with a night club scene. Everybody is heading for a fall, so the conclusion definitely brings the downbeat tone back. Nicholas Ray did not make a bad film at this point in his career. I acquired a bunch of Mondo Macabro releases, one of which I could not resist re-visting.THE SLAVE / SCACCO ALLA REGINA (1969, dir. Pasquale Festa Campanile) – There is something about the Italian films of the late 1960s and 1970s that keeps me diving into this period of cinema history. The Slave reflects facets of this fascination: a rapidly changing society, a certain kind of decadence, the merging of high brow and low brow, and the breakdown of censorship. The general story of The Slave is about a bored rich woman who desires to submit to the will of others. I especially enjoy how trippy the visuals get. The blu-ray looks terrific, and in this viewing there were little things I did not notice before. The score by Piero Piccioni, so much of its time, is a delight. I upgraded my copies of the Death Wish sequels to blu-ray. Putting on Death Wish II to take a look at the disc, I let the film run until I fell asleep. Sometimes the mean-spirited nature of that film just suits my mood. Bronson's performance in this is one I have warmed up to, and Michael Winner keeps the pace quick for the period. It is funny in parts, too.
",They Live By Night" is so good. Never looked at truckers or fish markets the same after seeing this. 😉😝If l had more money and time (or felt more adventurous) l'd take a deep dive into the Mondo Macabro library. So many potentially cool, off-kilter cult films to discover. 😎🧐
Crime and Punishment is my favourite book ever. But it's never been well adapted to the screen, as far as I know. You're comments on Fear (1946) seem to reinforce that.
It does not help that the narrative trick of "it's-only-a-dream" is pulled is FEAR, undercutting everything that happens before it. I am glad the film was only 68 minutes.Are you thinking about THIEVES' HIGHWAY, J.M.? The plot you describe resembles that film more than They Live By Night, which is about bank robbers in the depression.
Yikes! 😳😱 I'm an old man... put me out to pasture already! 😢😭😛
I get movies mixed up me more and more. If I did not keep a list of what I watch, I would forget a lot of what I see.The Mondo Macabro catalogue is definitely interesting. As with any label, the films are a mixed bag, but they scratch that itch to see something different. Some that I have enjoyed most are Symptoms, Don't Deliver Us From Evil, Inquisition, Alucarda, The Slave, and The Devil Incarnate. I got some blind buys this time. Hopefully they turn out to be worthwhile purchases.
I only own three Mondo Macabro movies ("For Your Height Only," "Suddenly in the Dark" and "The Fan/Der Fan"), but I'm never parting with any of them. Hope I can bite the bullet and take a chance with more of their new-to-me catalogue.
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Ghostbusters Afterlife (2021 Cinemark XD)Regrettably i found the movie to be so-so at best...letter grade C. I knew it was polarizing folks with its leaning into the nostalgia angle but i was ok with that...heck i liked it. I also like the cast (Egon's granddaughter is excellent) and revisits with some cameos. What i didnt like was the overall tone. The story starts with a down-and-out sad family dynamic and never shakes that vibe. Even worse, it egregiously, applies that tone to returning characters. Ghostbusters movies can and should be about many things...but a prevailing mood of dourness is not one of them. Its a storytelling choice to motivate emotion when overcoming adversity but i did not like it. I should note that my son LOVED the movie .Ive come to the realization that reboots of all-time-classics wont really work for me but there's a new generation that will love em.(Note: with regards to the word 'reboot'. This flick very much uses the The Force Awakens playbook: 1) Take popular IP. 2) Years later make a "sequel" bringing new and old cast. 3) For story, take safe road of repurposing original story. 4) End Result: You cant capture the originals magic if you're just redoing it. The results are inevitably going to be a so-so reboot).Still...completeists and fans will and should see it. There is good stuff within. And the filmmakers really really worked to make a tribute to Ramis's Egon. Looking forward to others thoughts on it
I've had a great week movie watching! Terrible week otherwise, but movie watching is what counts right? Thank goodness there is movies to escape the banality of everyday life. I watched Jeremiah Johnson (1972) which was so good. I've been ranting incessantly to my kids ever since about leaving it all and going to live in the woods. Completely idiotic, I know. Redford is great, and almost unrecognizable until he shaves his beard. I cried when he comes back to find his family slayed.Followed it up with All Is Lost (2013) which is fantastic. Love that movie. It's the 3rd time I've seen it this year. Probably my favourite Redford performance.Of course, naturally, followed that with The Revenant (2015). I love this movie and watch it every year. It's unfortunate that so much of the discourse around it had been "did DiCaprio deserve the Oscar?" I don't care about awards, it's a breathtaking movie one way or another.Also watched The Siege of Jadotville (2016) which was a decent war movie. Based on a true story. The director has mostly only done U2 videos, but the action is staged pretty good. The political backdrop to the story leaves much to be desired (despite having Mark Strong who is good as always), but worth a watch anyways.
Movies have gotten me through many rough times, Paul. 2017 was a particularly rough year for me, but it was one of the best years of movie-watching in my life. There were so many films and cinematic realms I discovered at the time.
After seeing Prisoners of the Ghostland there are now 3 Nic Cage movies in my top ten for 2021... (+Pig and Willy's Wonderland).
woot! im so looking forward to it!
GHOSTBUSTERS AFTERLIFE (2021) was... good? Not all of it worked for me, but I found myself enjoying it more than I thought. It was never going to be the instant classic that the original was, but it's a pleasant Saturday afternoon time-waster. SNAKERS (1992) is something of an oddity. A techno-thriller with a light tone, but it's not intense enough to be a thriller and not jokey enough to be a comedy. But it has a ton of movie stars being charming, so I'm glad I saw it. SHANG-CHI (2021) holds up nicely on second viewing. I daresay it's pretty freakin' rad. CAVEMAN (1981) Does this even count as a movie? I simply can't imagine people going to the movie theater, buying tickets and popcorn, and then sitting down to watch this thing. KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD (2017) Simply baffling. There are so many characters, so much CGI, and such a fast pace that I don't even know what I watched. The fight scenes replace King Arthur with a CGI version of him, and it's really obvious and distracting. Charlie Hunnam is a big dude. He couldn't have spent a few weeks in swordfight training? THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (1979) Pretty low-key for an action-heist movie, but still fun. Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland have great chemistry, and they're clearly having fun doing the Ocean's thing.
Hey, without the failure of his "King Arthur" movie Guy Ritchie wouldn't have agreed to make the live-action remake of Disney's "Aladdin" to pay the bills. So... everybody wins??!! :-(
Like Mac, I also watched Phil Alden Robinson's SNEAKERS (1992, HBO Max) for the first time on the Jury Room 4.0's Discord watchalong. Holds up well as a thriller that stays within the tech limits of the early 90's (within reason... it is, after all, written by the same guys who wrote "WarGames"), but mostly serves a slew of recognizable faces (Akroyd, Kingsley, Earl Jones, Strathairn, Poitier, Phoenix, McDonnell, etc.) at the service of Robert Redford's charm. Falls apart at the very end ("Let's Make A Deal: NSA Edition"), but even then you can't help but smile at the audacity of the filmmakers thinking they're pulling one over the audience. A perfect once-and-done movie.Speaking of old-fashioned star vehicles, caught Gordon Douglas' THE DETECTIVE (1968, FX Movies), starring Frank Sinatra, for the first time. Best known for its "Die Hard" connections (Frank's Joe Leland character is technically a proto-McClain that entitled Sinatra to a crack at the role in the '88 "sequel" before Willis got it, Hart Bochner's father plays an important role in "The Detective," etc.) and sparking the divorce between Frank and his then-wife Mia Farrow, most people don't realize "The Detective" is a decent cop flick... except during its offensive-as-hell stereotypical portrayal of homosexual men. :-O LGBTQ issues notwithstanding, Sinatra plays a no-nonsense NYC detective trying to make sense of a case that led to his promotion at the expense of an innocent man's life. Frank breezes through "The Detective" like 'the man' he knows he is, and the supporting cast surrounding him (Jack Klugman, Lee Remick, Ralph Meeker, Tony Musante, Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Duvall, etc.) is excellent. Blink and you'll miss a young Tom 'Dick Cloth' Atkins in his feature debut. Like "Sneakers," "The Detective" is a good one-and-done flick.Kenneth Branagh's BELFAST (2021, theater) feels like the writer/director exorcising personal demons about growing-up at the height of the Catholic vs. Protestan Northern Ireland riots of the late 1960's/early 1970's. Rather than being all bleakness and doom (it gets pretty dire and sad at times), it's mostly an uplifting tale of growing-up poor but happy among family and friends. Jude Hill's Buddy may be the youngest in a stellar cast of UK thesps that include Judi Dench, but seeing life through his kid eyes (including the escape from oppressive reality offered by "Star Trek" and American cowboy movies on TV, or Raquel Welch color movies on the local theater) reminded me of what it was like becoming a young adult in the middle of a war zone (El Salvador) during my formative years (1980's). Like he did in "Dead Again," Branagh makes striking use of B&W to create mood that matches the tone of the material. Highly recommended, one of the better and more sincere prestige pictures currently hitting theaters. KURUP (2021, theater) feels like a ripped-from-the-headlines Bollywood version of "The Fugitive." A mix of facts (Sukumara Kurup is India's real-life longest wanted fugitive) and wild fiction (Arab prince hires Kurup to sell oil under tha table, Kurup once being best friends with the police detective chasing after him, etc.), "Kurup" at least takes itself seriously enough to NOT have musical dancing numbers. Dulquer Salmaan plays Kurup as both victim of circumstance (his dumb relatives did the crime he's accused of) and opportunist (he's just that good at being one step ahead of authorities). Latter scenes fleshing out moments we've already seen give "Kurup" a narrative momentum that makes one forget we're essentially watching a feature-length flashback. 'It's okay' but no "Fugitive."