As the May film thread opened with a Craig Gillespie, so shall June's.
Absolutely brilliant, against all the odds for me personally (I was never a fan of the original animated 101 Dalmatians and never interested in the book even as a young Straggler, and didn't see the Glenn Close incarnations). But the trailer for this looked brilliant, and I am a longtime Emma Stone fan (I've long said she is the first actress to come along and basically be the new Audrey Hepburn).
The 133 minute running time made me trepidatious but although there was one slightly slow bit, it did not feel overlong.
So, with no interest in the 101 Dalmatians thing (and frankly having forgotten all but the basics - i.e. Cruella wants to make a Dalmatian coat), this felt like a standalone film to me and it actually worked on those terms despite obvious prefiguring of the later stories.
It's a pretty interesting approach from Disney. Essentially both leads are villains; we are of course given back story to Cruella, it being an "origin story" and all that, but it's pretty unambiguous in a central section, that she's "turned bad" (although cleverly it's presented, via several story reveals including a fairly brutal first 15 minutes) that there is some PTSD going on.
There is absolutely no romance between any characters. There are no song and dance numbers (although the choreographer had his work cut out just getting Stone and Thompson's competitive strutting to be perfect!).
What it does have is an absolutely brilliant soundtrack of bona fide 1960s and 1970s classics all used very smartly to match the onscreen action.
Speaking of 1960s and 1970s, much of the film is set in mid-late 1970s London and the period detail, whilst presumably "rose tinted nostalgia", just FEELS perfect. Rover police patrol cars. A shot of a brown Austin Allegro. A box of Kellogg's Cocoa Krispies cereal with Sweep on the back.
None of which is worth anything without a good story and screenplay, and this film really delivers. Most "origin stories" waste the first hour, this one gets on with things from the first minute via a well-considered voiceover. Cruella has a proper story arc and really rather complex characterisation (there's a kind of split personality thing going on, that I haven't seen done quite this way since The Long Kiss Goodnight; in the latter half, Stone playing Cruella pretending to still be her mousy former self is some superbly nuanced, layered acting despite the camp and cartoony aspects of the whole thing).
But what's the most fun is a central section that has Cruella as some sort of cross between Vivienne Westwood and the KLF, a fashion design punk art terrorist saboteur.
I'll revive my scoring system for this.
Not since Game Night 3 years ago, has a film had me thinking "this has no right to be THIS GOOD". It's the same level of storytelling perfection as Paddington 2.
Disclaimer for wannabe pedants who will be wrong. ARGUABLY there could be said to be one "song and dance number" as a cast member performs The Stooges' I Wanna Be Your Dog in a showy stage extravaganza, but it is entirely within the narrative of the film i.e. part of the story as opposed to a musical break from the narrative. So my point in the OP stands
Excellent war film which seems to be mostly accurate historically, action scenes to rival Thin Red Line and tv's Band of Brothers. A bit like Rorke's Drift moved to modern day Hindu Kush.
Just noticed a newish film on Netflix called Outpost, not the same as Amazon's The Outpost which I recommended above.
I watched the airdrop part of "A Bridge Too Far" a few days ago. Repeated historical inaccuracies apart what an amazing spectacle of the sky and the paratroopers dropping out. Worth seeing just for the spectacle and knowing it was really done. (Like the large numbers of real Heinkel 111 and ME109 derivatives bought from the Spanish airforce that made it unique among war films, despite any other criticisms of the film)
The other part of "A Bridge Too Far" that impressed me at the time of release was the creeping barrage and infantry action when the column was engaged by the Germans. A bit too brutal for me now. Nice to hear the familiar clang of casings ejected from 25 pounder breeches though. Having trained on one as a student in 1974-5 I always wondered whether that one might have featured (they seem to have got a lot from somewhere)
A World Without Thieves. I watch it once or twice a year, endless elements to it to get into. Filmed on location which I like.
On the genre of war films I found Paths of Glory (1957) to be a great film. On a par with 12 Angry Men as a film and that's saying something.
Watched "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool" on iPlayer last night.
A watchable if somewhat middling film, worthwhile for yet another towering performance from Annette Bening as the faded Gloria Grahame. An easy reference point is My Week With Marilyn, another "slight" little British film with "TV Movie" written all over it, elevated by a stunning central performance (this is also on iPlayer so if you feel like watching a slappable drippy Eddie Redmayne, you can watch that too).
Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool is about the dying days of former Hollywood star Gloria Grahame, in her late fifties. Not very cheery. Stephen Graham and Julie Walters put on their well practiced "rent-a-Scouse" accents and are just fine apart from Graham's terrible wig. Jamie Bell plays some sort of cross between a discount Christian Bale, and Christopher Eccleston, and does very well with this.
But they are all very much in Bening's shadow.
There are a few scenes that really shine and make it worth the watch.
Watched Dream Horse and found it quite good. OK, I’m biased, as some of it was filmed in Blaenavon which is only a moderate walk from my house and I spent two days as an extra on the film and what did I get (except the money)? A few clips of me from behind. One of which was in a grotty, musty smelling, green long jacket that wardrobe gave me to wear so you couldn’t even see my cute little arse. The first day I was a stand-in for Gerwyn and spent a few hours driving up and down the Blaenavon hill in a bus and then a hearse (without any seatbelts so I said to the driver that if we went off the road and died at least we would be in a suitable vehicle which broke the ice between us and we spent most of the time making each other laugh. So maybe it’s not surprising that bit was cut) and I was curious about where that would fit into the film but it wasn’t there at all, so the mystery continues and maybe I have to wait for the directors cut for that bit. As I’m a baldy and Steffan Rhodri (Dai Coaches if you’re a fan of Gavin and Stacey) isn’t, I had to get on set early and spend an hour with makeup giving me an approximation of his hair. At the end of the day they removed the hair using white spirit to soften the glue and I was told to go home and have a shower to remove any traces of the glue (I did ask if I could keep the hair to surprise the family, but was told I couldn’t as it may be needed for any reshoot). At no point did anyone say not to wear my motorcycle helmet on the way home. So I get home and go to remove my helmet but it wouldn’t move. I tried to think of a scientific solution, then briefly considered A&E, then resorted to brute force. Ripping a plaster of a hairy arm hurts. Ripping ECG pads off legs and a hairy chest is worse. Ripping a glued on motorcycle helmet off your head is something else. Luckily I found that Damian Lewis has a webpage that lists the locations the film used and there was the shot I was hoping to see to prove I was there.
I am avoiding this one out of sheer prejudice! The legacy of The Full Monty has a lot to answer for Thanks for the tale though, and glad you enjoyed it.
I've sat through the trailer three times and that's more than enough
I saw "The Father" yesterday. Very thought provoking for me, as my father is 78 and fully lucid but who knows what the next decade will be. Hopkins was absolutely masterful and extremely well served by the supporting cast. But it's the writing, direction and editing, which together put the audience into the head of this bewildered old man with deteriorating mental faculties, which really make this a masterpiece. I ALMOST welled up a few times.
Unlike a reviewer in the Sunday Times, I didn't really get anything extra out of the fact that Hopkins' character is named Anthony and shares Hopkins' birthday (something I wouldn't have known had I not read the review), nor do I think there was anything deliberate about casting Olivia Colman AND Olivia Williams (as characters not named Olivia). It stands alone, beyond whatever "in jokes" or whatever these might have been (I would hope both Oliviae(*) were cast because they were right for the roles; certainly it was great to see Williams back on the big screen in a major release)
Cheers for the review - I'm hoping to see that one early next week, and I'm similarly in the situation of having a rather aging parent.
Well I can’t say “enjoy” as such! But I hope you report back with your thoughts. Difficult to say much without giving anything away. Where I’ll agree with the Sunday Times review is that this is not like all those slightly syrupy “dementia dramas” eg Still Alice. This something more artistic.