Friday, 19 July 2019

Django: A Few Dollars for

Because largely anyone could do a Django movie, getting the timeline of their release dates isn't easy. So let's just go with A Few Dollars for Django next.

Django finds a dead would-be sheriff and takes his badge, and thereby adopts his position as Sheriff in the town when he arrives. However, while he is there for some bounties, he gets caught up between the cattlemen and the farmers. One wants their animals to roam, the others want barbwire to restrict passage. As people take the law into their own hands, Django has his hands full and it is those very bounties he is after that is the key to resolving everything.

As I've been saying, anyone does Django... so much so in this case he is called Regan throughout the movie. Have the lead be a grizzled bearded man who is good with a gun, slap the Django name on the movie title, and there you go. Certainly this has some very typical story beats of 'new chap is sheriff and has to clean up the town', but it feels like there is enough mad libs in the plot outline to distinguish it from other such movies.

There is a decent gun battle or two, and I won't be surprised to find out that Sandalio Hern√°ndez is a character actor (certainly the character Smitty is a heck of a character). And I hope they were well trained horses, because they react very believably to gun fire.

Not a great story, but a typical western.

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Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Brughtbirn

But what if Superboy... BUT EVIL!!!????!!?!???! No, like, you aren't listening! What if SUPERBOY!!! But we did a completely unoriginal and obvious Evil Take on him!!!???

Small town Kansas has an alien baby land and brought up by a small town couple. Then, come age 12, small town kid starts showing abilities and a complete lack of any kind of moral core as his evil spaceship flicks his switch to evil. And then evil kid goes around being evil.

This movie basically assumes you know the Superman mythos and so skips a lot of set up to get to the evil part. Actually... to be honest... it looks more like this movie was just an excuse to show off some gore effects. (Which were so obviously gore effects that I didn't for a moment buy them as anything other than effects.) Certainly the story isn't doing anything impressive.

And while I'm no acting critic, the kid really wasn't very good. But then no-one seemed to be particularly trying. As I said, it's more about effects.

Some one has this idea and got money for it, and that's as far as people really cared.

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Monday, 15 July 2019

The 39 Steppes

Next Hitchcockian masterpiece: The 39 Steps!

By a complete accident, random stranger man gets caught up with a lady spy, who is struck down. He then decides to complete her mission of stopping important documents being leaked and heads to Scotland, barely escaping the police as he does so. He continues to barely escape, before running straight into the bad guys, but escapes and avoids more police while getting back to London, there the last step is taken.

Two movies in, and I'm sensing a pattern: Random stranger gets caught up in spy plot. I don't remember that happening in Psycho, but clearly Norman Bates was in over his head and it was all Marion's fault. Anyway, this chap seems not quite on top of things as Roger was, and is more lucky than good. As you could probably tell from my summary, it should have been called The 39 Escapes!

Robert Donat plays well 'guy with moustache' and Madeleine Carroll is the 'lady who gets treated as an object' (apparently consent wasn't a thing back then). I can't say that I recognise any of the other names, but we'll see if any of them grow on me as these movies go on.

Odd question: are those train carriages typical English carriages? With the compartments and being able to walk down one side. I can recall them in several movies, but can't say I've ever seen any in person.

Anyway, at not even ninety minutes, this movies ducks in and out. It's not an astounding work, but another one I can check off.

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Friday, 12 July 2019

Django: Shoots First

I got a random collection of that SpaGetWestern Django, so why not watch? First up I have Shoots First.

Django encounters a bounty hunter bringing his pa in, and takes over after an exchange of bullet. (He does indeed shoot first.) It turns out his pa is part owner of a town, so Django steps into that responsibility. However, his partner isn't as interested in having a partner at all, so after having arranged pa's dismissal, he goes after Django as well. And so we get more bullets and bad guys and a couple of revelations. Fortunately there are also pretty ladies around, although they have their own plans.

Okay, so I missed some previous movies, but it's not like there's a deep and complex lore here, especially when the Django movies can be produced by whoever decided they wanted to do more. (Okay, not quite, but close enough to mean I'm probably going to encounter a variety of actors in the role.)

Pretty nice start to the series (for me). We aren't dealing with overly complex plots, but there's enough going on to keep my attention and it isn't just one strand to go on. The characters are pretty simple, but that doesn't mean they don't have their own things to do.

Sure, I'm on board for this. (Although I only have another four, so it's not a huge train ride.)

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Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Far From Spiderman

So ends Phase 3... and we have no concrete announcements for Phase 4. A murky future lies ahead...

Since we are ending Phase 3, we get some fall out from Endgame to deal with, but then we are off with Peter in a class trip to Europe. However, while over there, there are attacks from big monsters and Peter gets caught up in that, although not to worry, Mysterio is there to take the lead. Because what Peter really wants is to be with the girl. And fortunately there are no issues happening to cause any problems in that relationship at all...

This is very much in the Endgame space, with what happens with Tony Stark hanging over Peter's head a lot. So much so that the motivation and the character beats work well for this movie and that flows nicely. (There is also a huge coincidence/just-so-happens factor, but without that most movies wouldn't exist.)

Also nice is that this keeps the movie simple. You know what is happening, and there aren't a billion plot threads to follow. (Although no doubt by this time there are hundreds of "easter egg" videos on YouTube to point out things people either got obviously or didn't care about.) That said, there are some nice stingers to tie into wider arcs, so we'll see what, if any, of that pans out.

And the best part? Only two hours. A nice easy movie to watch compared to the last go around.

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Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Creedy 2nd

I've watched all the other Rocky movies, so of course I had to watch this.

The Creed v Drago comes back in this rematch as a sequel not only to the fourth movie but also the first Creed movie. Creed faces having to fight as he thinks he has to prove himself to his father as well as becoming a father himself. But it isn't even that simple as so Rocky needs to step in to help out.

This is a great character piece, as the Rocky movies generally are, that happens to include some moments of boxing. Indeed, the best moments are the ones around the boxing matches when we get to see the characters interacting and being human. We have great performances from Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson and of course from Sylvester Stallone himself.

Say what you will about Syl, he does great in these movies, and it's always great to see him in them. Although he's now bowed out so we'll see if the Creed set of movies even continue. Sure, there are more they can do, as it is a series of boxing movies, but they become centered around Rocky, even when they are about Creed, so we'll see.

In the meantime, whether you've seen Rocky movies or not, this is a good movie (although I doubt it will make much sense if you haven't seen the other movies).

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Monday, 24 June 2019

Northwest by North

The Embassy is doing a Hitchcock set of screenings, so this seems like a good time to catch up when times align. First up, North by Northwest.

A complete coincidence has a group of bad guys thinking that Roger Thornhill is George Kaplan. And from such small beginnings... Roger Thornhill proves to be a very able not spy and is caught up in big events and manages to survive quite well, coming across dashing women (well, one) and thugs, while managing to avoid gadgets and slow moving death traps.

Bond references? Yes, but this is a far more down to earth adventure than anything that English chap does through. Thornhill is not an agent, but does get caught up in a similar sense of events, and aside from some movie reality suspence is quite believable as things play out. (It's amazing how well action men managed to go on with not much food, while being able to cross large distances, and, most importantly, find many women to instantly attract.)

That said Cary Grant is quite attractive, as in Eva Marie Saint, so what the heck, of course they will go for each other. And hey, James Mason! (Although I kept thinking of Eddie Izzard doing his James Mason impersonations.) And is that Martin Landau I spy? Yes it is! And Hitchcock's own cameo is quite amusing.

These classic movies are classic for a reason, and I'm willing to affirm this classic status.

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