Review

In a Nutshell: Paris can Wait (2016)

Paris can Wait, aka Bonjour Anne, is a leisurely road-trip from Southern France to Paris. I can’t help but almost get that Tour de France feel where we’re given wonderful insight into the places of interest along the way.

Successful film producer Michael (Alec Baldwin) is so focused on work that he neglects his wife Anne (Diane Lane) and their promised holiday. Due to ear problems, Anne can’t fly to Budapest with Michael and instead, decides to meet him in Paris. Business partner Jacques (Arnaud Viard) offers to drive her as he’s heading that way too. But, instead of a quick drive, they meander from town to town, stopping to taste the cuisine and visit sites along the way.

Sweet, fun and reminding you of what’s important in life, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Directed by Eleanor Coppola, it brings a subtle reminder to take a step back from the hectic day-to-day life.

Bond. James Bond…

Ah, finally, a reason to write about Daniel Craig‘s blue swimming trunks role as James Bond. In my favourite one of the lot…Casino Royale (2006). I know die-hard fans don’t like the latest rendition of 007 but for me, he’s given the Bond movies a lift. I’ve enjoyed 3 of the 4 he’s been in but Casino Royale is my favourite. And it doesn’t have only to do with the actor in question. I feel the latest Bond movies have a different “feel” to those that came before. To be honest, I quite like this “feel”. They come across more realistic. More believable. But then I’m no Bond expert.

The story takes place during Bond‘s early days as an agent and has him trying to take down Le Chiffre (played by wonderful Mads Mikkelsen) during a high stakes poker game at Casino Royale, Montenegro. Of course there are events leading up to this tournament. As well as resulting events (one of which is Bond falling for Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), the treasury employee providing the finances for the poker game). But, as is to be expected, things are not what the seem.  We’d have no story otherwise, would we?

Casino Royale had me hooked from the opening with the Chris Cornell piece “You Know my Name” (if you haven’t heard it yet, listen to the version featured in the movie – it is slightly different to that found on the single/album. Actually, scratch that, both versions are great (click here to have a listen)). Oh, and that chase scene in Madagascar must be one of the best. Accompanied by the perfect music which I listen to fairly often. If you aren’t engrossed by this stage…

Mads Mikkelsen makes for a great blood-crying villain financing terrorists (actually, he’s great in any role). I’ve just read that it is a genuine condition called Haemolacria where tears may be blood-tinged. Le Chiffre even states that it isn’t witchcraft when a business associate is a bit creeped out.

This has got to be my favourite scene (well, after the swimming costume scene…oh gosh, did I type that aloud?):

Just look at him. There’s a special tenderness that Bond shows here. A never-to-be-repeated moment. I’m convinced he genuinely feels for her here. Well, part of the Bond‘s story is that he’s still a young agent, vulnerable to his feelings which, from here on out, will never be the same.

On a totally different, more personal tangent…there’s something else about this movie. There have only been 8 movies I’ve watched (from what I can remember) that have had me emotionally hooked. I can’t explain…other than: after watching these, I’ve had my head in the clouds, had the scenes go over and over in my head as I fall asleep at night, had this strange feeling of almost having lived the story, a dazed feeling that won’t repeat on second watching. Crazy, right? I can’t say why or what but they just resonate so deeply. They trigger something. And no…it has nothing to do with the leading men. It doesn’t even come down to the romance or drama genre. It is totally random. Casino Royale is one of these 8. There’s nothing that stands out for me as a reason why. In fact, I can’t imagine a movie like this having such a profound, inexplicable effect on me but it does. Yes, yes…I’m a total nutter.

Casino Royale is directed by Martin Campbell and also stars, amongst others,  Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Tobias Menzies (you’ll recognise him from Rome), Simon Abkarian, Jesper Christensen and many more.

For some more 007 posts head on over to Maddylovesherclassicfilms. And for my addendum to this post…go here.

Ironclad…brutal but good…

Having just written about George and the Dragon (here) with James Purefoy, I was in the mood to watch another Templar role of his but this time a more serious one. Ironclad (2011).

Shortly after the signing of the Magna Carta, King John (Paul Giamatti), aided by Danish mercenaries, sets out to restore his absolute reign and dispose of those barons who had signed the document. For strategic purposes, he heads for Rochester Castle. Through as series of events, Templar Thomas Marshall (James Purefoy) with the support of Archbishop Langton (Charles Dance) and Baron William d’Aubigny (Brian Cox) gather a group of men to put a stop to the tyrannical king. So the fight to keep Rochester Castle from falling to King John commences. And what a gory and bloody fight it is. If you’re squeamish, give this one a miss. Lots of decapitation and limbs being hacked off. Make no mistake – this one is brutal and violent.

While not historically accurate, similar events did take place. That aside, I still find Ironclad good and watch it when I’m in the mood for something “less light”. It also triggered me to go research the real events that took place.

As always, I enjoy James Purefoy and he suits these type of roles. As a character, underneath all the toughness he is brave and human. He doesn’t just drop his Templar vows and fall for the temptations of Lady Isabel (Kate Mara) but gradually lets go of his past giving him so much more depth. Their developing relationship is perfectly understated (yes, I’m a sucker for romance in these kind of movies). If you haven’t seen Mackenzie Crook in a more serious role (you’ll probably know him from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise), you’ll be surprised here. I thoroughly enjoy his screen presence (he’s also wonderful in the series that was cancelled way too soon Almost Human). Other faces you’ll recognise are Jason Flemyng, Derek Jacobi, Jamie Foreman, Rhys Parry Jones, Aneurin Barnard, Annabelle Apsion and Vladimir Kulich.

So, if you’re in the mood for something heavier have a look out for Ironclad.

Swashbuckling with dragons and a princess (of course)…

I don’t know any swashbuckling movies. Really I don’t. Note to self: come back to the Swashathon for the joy of reading entries.

Then Realweegiemidget, you came along and told me I’m being silly and that I have the perfect entry. And there you have it…or, rather…here you have it…may I present my entry for Swashathon, a Blogathon of Swashbuckling Adventure: George and the Dragon (2004).

Don’t roll your eyes. Come on…it isn’t that bad. I think it such a cute movie that has you smiling (at both the good and the silly jokes/lines/actions).

We have George (played by one of my favourite actors James Purefoy), a knight returning from the Crusades with his friend Tarik (Michael Clarke Duncan). Tarik is keen for the two to track down mercenary El Cabillo but George just wants to settle down on a parcel of land with two head of cattle and possibly even a wife. King Edgaar (Simon Callow) can provide this small request but is in a tizz because his lovely Princess Lunna (Piper Perabo) has gone missing. George agrees to find her and joins up with the princess’ betrothed Garth (Patrick Swayze) on this search. However, all is well with the Princess – she’s simply decided to guard a dragon egg. Possibly the last of its kind. Tarik has his own path that ties up at one point. You’re in for horse chases, battles, galantry, thugs, knights, nuns, priests, the works with no bloodshed (other than some pinotage burgundy) and the odd swashbuckler being knocked over the head with a humongous bone (the remnants of dragon dinner). That’s about all I’ll reveal.

I always enjoy watching George come to terms with the “gentle as a lamb” Lunna, fight off loads of enemies, compete with Garth for status and be the tough man who will “do the dirty work” in dispatching a dragon egg. James Purefoy is great in these roles and perfectly balances the light comic moments with trying to be the serious knight.

George and the Dragon works well because it doesn’t try to hide the mix of American and British accents or the combining of modern mannerisms and props (think “skateboard” and “licorice” – yes, you read that right). It is what it is (I hate that expression but yes…) and shouldn’t be taken seriously at all. It sure looks like lots of fun was had on set. And so you, dear viewer, should also have fun. Definitely don’t overthink this one. In fact, don’t think at all. Watch. Laugh. Enjoy.

 

 

Free Fire…good fun…

I’ve had Free Fire (2016) on my radar for a long time now mainly because of Cillian Murphy and Sam Riley. Finally I got around to watching it.

Let’s say…there’s nothing much to this movie. Pretty much a weapons deal going down in an abandoned warehouse between two (I think) dodgy gangs. And you guessed it…it goes wrong. From there on all parties involved shoot at each other. For the remainder of this 90 minute movie. While you wonder why it is such a long movie of…shooting…it does actually pass quite quickly. I couldn’t stop watching because I had to know who would be left standing even though the outcome of this type of movie is often predictable. And I didn’t want to miss any of the dialogue.

What made this one really special was the character of Vernon, played by an actor I’d never heard of before: Sharlto Copley. Initial thought “ok, some actor putting on a South African accent”…then “hmmm, this guy does a convincing South African accent”…and finally…”oh wow, he is a South African! No wonder his lines flow so naturally. He’s brilliant”. I’m not sure if my husband and I were laughing at Vernon or at ourselves because he reminded us of our expressions, mannerisms and…South Africanisms almost from an “outsider” perspective. Boy did we laugh.

Keep a listen for the sound effects and minimal music especially during shooting scenes (well, during the more intense shooting scenes).

Directed by Ben Wheatley, Free Fire has Sharlto Copley stealing the show and also stars Cillian Murphy, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Babou Ceesay, Noah Taylor, Jack Reymor, Mark Monero, Enzo Cilenti, Patrick Bergin, Sara Dee and Tom Davis. And that’s the entire cast.

I enjoyed this. I actually did. In a weird way I think it is one for my collection.

In a Nutshell: The Fate of the Furious (2017)

This is one of the few action franchises that I actually enjoy. On the whole. Some of them are a little hit and miss but The Fate of the Furious makes up for my disappointment in the 6th and 7th installments. It is pure fun. Total escapism yet not totally predictable in how it will unfold.

Here we have Dom go rogue and team up with Cypher, a real mean cyber villain. And that’s pretty much it…the remaining team trying to stop the bad guys from destroying the world (or large parts of it).

Lots of car chases, lots of action, lots of fun. The team is back and is pretty much on par with Fast Five, my favourite to date. Hmmm, The Fate of the Furious might just beat Fast Five to the finish line.

Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Charlize Theron, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, Kristofer Hivju and Scott Eastwood join the team.

Genre Grandeur: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Musical Movie)

Absolutely no doubt, the grandeur musical for me is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve watched it – many, many times as a young girl and since I’ve bought it on DVD, quite a few times as an adult.

It has Adam (Howard Keel), one of 7 brothers living a way out of the closest town, wanting a wife. Where better than to start than the nearest (yet far) town? Looking over many prospects, he finally casts his eye on Milly (Jane Powell) who, quite an independent woman for her time, decides she is ready to marry. And Adam is it. Ceremony over, they head back to Adam‘s place where she is introduced to the reality – 7 backwoodsmen living in a right old mess with little manners. While she changes the situation, the remaining six brothers decide they too would like wives and head off to town to get some (unwilling ones though). What better situation than an avalanche and a snowy winter to keep the ladies from getting back to town…and keeping them close to the brothers. Of course, by the end they’re not keen to leave.

With some wonderful songs that I’m humming right bow (“Bless your Beautiful Hide”, “Wonderful Day” and “Goin’ Courtin'” always stand out), this musical is a delight. It has some bittersweet moments too. Adam’s return to his home always has me a little teary-eyed. The barn scene is absolute pure fun.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was nominated for 5 Oscars of which it won one: “Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture”. The remaining nominations were: “Best Picture”, “Best Writing, Screenplay”, “Best Cinematography, Color” and “Best Film Editing”

While it may be criticised these days for the theme, don’t think too much. Just enjoy it for what it was back then. Sit back, hum along and have fun.

Head on over to MovieRob to see the other Genre Grandeur entries for this month. The genre was chosen by  Audrey of 1001 Movies and Beyond. Next month’s choice of genre comes from Ghezal of Ghezal Plus Movies with Film Noir.