Friday, August 18, 2017

What We've Been Watching: Horror, India, Action, Satire, and James Bond

European mercenaries searching for black powder become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures.

To our great surprise, we found this a solid action movie with a classic, if simply put, message of trust and giving of yourself for others. The action pieces were inventive and the whole thing was gorgeous, as one would expect from this director. Sure it was no Hero but it was also not nearly as disappointing as Rogue One.

Bud Baxter is a minor clerk in a huge New York insurance company, until he discovers a quick way to climb the corporate ladder. He lends out his apartment to the executives as a place to take their mistresses. Although he often has to deal with the aftermath of their visits, one night he’s left with a major problem to solve.

A Billy Wilder classic that I watched because Rose said it was a comedy. Actually, satire is a better description. Not as funny as Some Like It Hot and not as dark as Double Indemnity, this film falls in the middle tone-wise as Billy Wilder gives us his take on infidelity and the cost to everyone involved. I loved the performances and the clever contrasting and parallel situations and characters which all helped to make the point. And Jack Lemmon - of course, fantastic as always.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner for modern times, with a horror twist. When a young woman brings her boyfriend home to meet her parents, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead to a truth that the boyfriend never could have imagined.

A well acted tale that shows talent which makes me eagerly look forward to director/writer Jordan Peele's future movies. This much lauded movie does what a lot of good horror does, draws our attention to social conditions by exaggeration to make us think about the horror underneath.

Where Peele does something new is in the group of people he skewers before the outright horror begins. Taking well-meaning, liberal white people to task for the shallowness of their racial equality is a place that no one's gone before, because it is unfashionable to point out such things.

It really felt like a 70's horror movie in a lot of ways, and I mean that in the best possible way.

A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.

It is hard to believe this was made by a first-time director, except when I recall several other advertising directors who've wowed the film world.

This is a really skillfully told story that, as others have pointed out, is really two movies in one. The first is that of little Saroo who is lost 1,000 miles from home and lives as a street urchin in Calcutta which is a sort of modern-day Victorian nightmare. The second is of the adult Saroo, who after adoption forgot his childhood memories and had a happy life in Tasmania. Until a sense memory brings it all flooding back and sends him on a journey to see if he can locate his lost family.

I was lukewarm on the story until I had to watch it for a group discussion. The whole thing blew me away. Really, really well told story that feels genuine.

We continue watching the James Bond movies in order. It's the rare weekend when we aren't spying with 007 so we've gotten as far as Moonraker, which was much better than we thought it would be.

This has been an interesting project and I can finally say I've seen George Lazenby's turn as Bond, which I enjoyed immensely. I had no idea they were rebooting the franchise as early as that. It makes me eager to see how the Timothy Dalton movies hit me. But we're still at least a couple of movies away from that.

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