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 Posted:   Mar 18, 2023 - 11:25 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)


This film is a cross between James Bond and Mission: Impossible. Cary Elwes is “Nathan,” the head of a freelance group of operators who usually hire out their services to the British government. “Orson Fortune” (Jason Statham), their main operator, has a taste for expensive wines and lavish private jets. The British are alarmed by a theft from a top-secret private computer lab. But since all the lab personnel were killed, they don’t know what was stolen, only that it is for sale on the black market to the highest bidder. It’s Fortune’s job to find out what was taken, who is selling it, and who the buyer is.

Much to Fortune’s displeasure, he has been assigned two new helpers, because his prior main assistant has been poached by a rival group. Along with Fortune on this mission is computer expert “Sarah” (Aubrey Plaza) and weapons expert “JJ” (Bugzy Malone). Fortune takes care of all the hand-to-hand combat. The team needs to get close to “Greg” (Hugh Grant), a suave multi-billionaire who acts as the facilitator for the illicit transaction, bringing buyer and seller together for a cool $10 billion finder’s fee. In order to get an invitation to one of Greg’s parties, the team dragoons Hollywood action star “Danny” (Josh Hartnett) into the plan, since Greg is a big fan of Danny’s.

Hugh Grant, in his third film for director Guy Ritchie, gives a performance that is worth the price of admission here—just the right combination of polish, imperiousness, and menace. Statham is the same as he is in every film—terse, a tad too serious, and quick with a punch. Aubrey Plaza, who had a much meatier role as the star of last year’s EMILY THE CRIMINAL, is mainly eye candy here, notwithstanding her character’s prodigious and (as is standard for these types of roles) hard-to-believe tech abilities.

This film is a lot more straight-forward and less convoluted plot-wise than Guy Ritchie’s British crime films. The characters are less quirky as well. That adds up to a more routine experience than one expects from a Ritchie film. In OPERATION FORTUNE, Ritchie feels boxed in, as he was by the conventions necessary for his 2015 THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. Only in this case, it’s a strait jacket of Ritchie’s own making.

Christopher Benstead provides a standard action score for the film. The production cost $50 million, more than double what the superior THE GENTLEMEN (2019) cost. So far, OPERATION FORTUNE has only grossed $37 million worldwide, compared to $115 million for THE GENTLEMEN. At least the money is up there on the screen, with plenty of lavish homes, yachts, and planes in view.

 Posted:   Mar 21, 2023 - 2:59 PM   
 By:   Prince Damian   (Member)

Knock on any Door(1949)7/10
With Humphrey Bogart, John Derek and George McCready

Derek is arrested for murdering a coppa. Humph is defending him. McCready is the prosecutor. Cue some flashbacks to explain how Derek arrived where he was. Also plenty of courtroom sparring, obviously.
Recorded off the telly and billed as 'little seen'. I certainly wasn't familiar with it. It was a change seeing Bogey playing an honest guy. I think he pulled it off, especially in his final court summation. McCready was also good. And while not playing the villain he still managed to be slimey.

 Posted:   Mar 23, 2023 - 12:14 AM   
 By:   Moonlit   (Member)

Some I'd been meaning to revisit....

Florida Project (2017)- was one of my favorites at the time. It feels almost effortless. About a young irresponsible mother who lives in a hotel by the highway.

It Came At Night (2014)- about the black plague.

It Follows (2015)- about STDemons and possibly sexual assault as one put it. Running and staying ahead of death. Rather unique idea.

 Posted:   Mar 23, 2023 - 1:09 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)


This is the third filming of Erich Maria Remarque’s 1928 novel. The 1930 U.S. film won the Oscar for “Outstanding Production” (precursor to “Best Picture”), and the 1979 British-American television adaptation won the Golden Globe Award for “Best Motion Picture Made for Television.” This current film of the experience of a German soldier during the First World War is the first film adaptation by Germany. It recently won the Oscar for “Best International Feature” as well as the BAFTA Award for “Best Film.”

Set in 1917, three years into World War I, the film follows 17-year-old “Paul Bäumer” (Felix Kammerer) as he enlists in the Imperial German Army alongside friends “Albert Kropp” (Aaron Hilmer), “Franz Müller” (Moritz Klaus), and “Ludwig Behm” (Adrian Grünewald). They listen to a patriotic speech by a school official and unknowingly receive uniforms from soldiers killed in a previous battle (a gruesome opening to the film). After they are deployed in Northern France near La Malmaison, they are befriended by “Stanislaus ‘Kat’ Katczinsky” (Albrecht Schuch), an older soldier. Their romantic view of the war is quickly shattered by the realities of trench warfare on the Western Front, where thousands of men perish fighting over hundreds of yards of territory.

Everyone knows that the novel and its films are no flag-wavers and are decidedly anti-war films, illustrating the futility, hypocrisy, and horror of the war. This film is a triumph of production design, deservedly winning a Oscar for it, along with the photography of same. It looks as if a considerable portion of Czech countryside was torn up to construct the trenches, bunkers, and battlefields riddled with shell craters for the film (reportedly, 30-acres filled with two and a half thousand extras). Color-wise, everything that is not muddy or bloody is gray.

You can’t fault the performances. But the Oscar-winning score by Volker Bertelmann is sparsely used in the film. I heard the three-note motif from the score more in the Oscar telecast than I did in the picture. The rest is mainly tonal drones or screeches. The film has been hard to see on the big screen. It was given a two-week run in select theaters last fall before moving on to Netflix on 28 October 2022, where it remained in the site’s Global Top 10 Films for 11 weeks. Because of this, box office returns for the $20 million production are not readily available, nor are they particularly relevant.

 Posted:   Mar 24, 2023 - 11:49 AM   
 By:   Bill Carson, Earl of Poncey   (Member)

Luther..the fallen sun.

Netflix film 2023

Oh dear. In the first few series of this, the serial killers were genuinely chilling. But here they have made the killer so far-fetched and so elaborate they become silly. Didnt help that they cast animation movement specialist Andy Serkis, who was about as chilling as half an ice cube.

And in turn Luther's (Idris Elba) solving the case to get to the killer from almost no clues at all is equally silly.
The ending got dafter n dafter, and they end up on the snowy wastes of Norway.

If the original series were probably 8.5/9 out of 10, this would be a 7.

Equally hideous was the end title song, originally perfect for Massive Attack and Hope Sandoval's voice, is instead "sung" lee-marvin-like, by Idris Elba. frown

 Posted:   Mar 24, 2023 - 3:29 PM   
 By:   Prince Damian   (Member)

Young Guns of Texas(1962) 4/10
With Chill Wills, James Mitchum, Jody McCrea, Alana Ladd and Gary Conway

Conway is searching for $30000 in army money. It's been stolen by his brother. He is joined by the others in his quest. Along the way Mitchum and Ladd get married, complicating things. Her dad dislikes her new hubby.
A pretty pedestrian affair with the feel of a TV movie. The main draw is the young stars, children of three of the greats. While they are fine they don't mage to lift the film. Old timer Wills adds a bit of quality. Not much happens until the end.shoot out with some Indians.

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