vineri, 28 iulie 2023

Oppenheimer (2023)

How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer's deadly toy?

Sting -Russians (1985)

Oppenheimer rocks I said, after seeing it last night...

(My Romanian chronicle here.)

Christopher Nolan's first film for Universal after the debacle with Warner Bros. over TENET,  it's a very ambitious one. Based on the American Prometheus book it's written for the screen by Nolan in sole credit. Biopic, thriller, political film, historical, meta-phorical, all in one person POV, tough ride clocking at 3 hours and a career best for Cillian Murphy as Robert J. Oppenheimer. I guarantee Oscars next year for Murphy, supporting Robert Downey Jr. and Nolan might win as well. It has a brilliant cast with so many great actors, I'm not gonna mention them here, but it's been the best ensemble cast in a looong time. Still, Tom Conti, man....

Interesting score by Swede Ludwig Goransson (second film for Nolan after Tenet), wall to wall music and a grand sound design and editing, shot in IMAX by Dutch Hoyte Van Hoytema, his fourth flick for Nolan after Interstellar, Dunkirk, Tenet) and a last year great photography on Nope.

No, I haven't seen it in IMAX  as I didn't go to Bucharest for this but I strongly advice anyone who has that opportunity to do it, it's worthy as he shot it on 70 mm film and IMAX even printed a black and white stock for the 1st time ever!

Anyway you take it, in these hard times at the Movies (the year of (klaus)-Barbie ;() it's a brave film and I am amazed the audiences are rooting for it, full houses no less, in Romania and all over the world, and on imdb it went straight to #3 in theirs Top 25, where Nolan has three films in Top 25 positions now. Metascore of 89, I guess it will also be a good commercial success as opposed to Tenet or this summer's Indy V and M:I 7 (Part One) which failed to connect with moviegoers :(

4 out of FIVE, 8 out of TEN (I'll go for a 9 but I gotta see the film again and then conclude:)

I tried to watch again Fat Man and Little Boy (1989), about the same subject, with Paul Newman as general Groves and Dwight Schultz as Oppenheimer, but it's almost unwatchable now, after this new and definitive endeavor on the Manhattan project and R.J. Oppenheimer's life. Even with music by Ennio Morricone, photographed by Vilmos Zsigmond and directed by Roland Joffe (who right now directs a mini-series in Romania!!!)

*Paul Schrader described the film as the "best, most important film of this century" after he attended the New York premiere of the film.

sâmbătă, 15 iulie 2023

Mission:Impossible 7 Dead Reckoning Part One (2023)

 a 2hr 47 mins part one new Mission: Impossible, don't you guys overdo it?

Every new Mission film (as every new film) gets a longer running time as opposed to Hitchcock's rule about length of the film according to human bladder...

I didn't like the MacGuffin at all, you don't really have great bad guy here and it seems like a cut  together melange of action pieces trying to top those before -as those M:I movies are. This one tries to quote/rip-off the original one with Brian De Palma style red herrings, shot compositions, the train and the return of Kittridge (Henry Czerny). New femme fatale is introduced, Venice party rave style reminds of John Wicks, etc. The plot is mumbojumbo (mambojambo?) and we all know it. It's just pretext so why so serious? Well, Ethan Hunt  (Le Cruise) is, 'cos he needs saving the world (Again) on its own. And to top himself with another world record stunt, or I should say the much too much publicised stunt that sells these M:I films since Burj Khalifa in the fourth one. 

And Tom Cruise it's not getting any younger...he's gonna be 61 one by the time this one comes out. It's his and his only, his sole production and presenting credit, his director attiree, mr. Christopher McQuarrie who only directed a film of his own (The Way of the Gun), before becoming Cruise's main man...(Jack Reacher, 3 M;I and one coming up), scripts for Valkyrie (where they met), Edge of Tomorrow, The Mummy (!!!), Top Gun deux: Maverick. Maybe you remember, this is the guy who wrote The Usual Suspects back in 1995......Well I guess if he's happy with it, why should we be envious;)? As he works in such problematic enterprises (Covid shutdowns, reshoots, rewrites, studio madness over budgets, you know, the usual drill), this is the true Mission: Impossible, behind-the-scenes.

A 291 mill. $ budget for half of a movie...studios (Paramount) can't say no to the Cruiser especially after he saved the world B.O. with Top Gun 2. I'm afraid Part Two will fare even worst...

Odd coincidences: the train chase like the opening scene of Indy V and a Rome central a car chase like in Spectre and stunts on the Spanish Steps like in Fast X or XI, anyway the one from this summer.

Score by Lorne Balfe, the Scott's second film in the franchise after M:I 6-Fallout in 2018. Liked that movie much better. And the score (see here on my top 2018 soundtracks). See ya next summer for Part Deux! No more reshoots I hope;)

3 out of 5, 6 out 10!

sâmbătă, 1 iulie 2023

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023)

Saw the fifth INDY on premiere day -June 30, on a huuuge screen and liked it (it's already controversial and I don't understand the badmouth, never compare with the original trilogy! That was four decades ago...I was fearful to be dissapointed. After all I am a fan for life of the character and his adventures. Less crystal skulls. The film, after a wait of 15 years since the fourth one, was touching and heartfelt old-fashioned and James Mangold did a great job! There are four screenwriters credited including David Koepp and Mangold himself. Probably more hands and brains there. It's a dignifying end chapter, with old wisdom and even bitterness of a lost era. Also a lost era of filmmaking.

John Williams' score is magnificent and elegant (the Maestro is 91 now and came again out of retirement, as he did it again for The Fablemans, I guess this will be his final score...just when you hear the musical theme you get goosebumps, well, I did), Harrison Ford (81 in 13 days!!!, and he was 78 while filming) is THE INDY (the de-aging at the beginning it's Ok as they said it will be, not grand but works here as opposed to The Irishman and other films) and the girl, Helena (his goddaughter) - brit Phoebe Waller_Bridge (Fleabag series) is a very nice female companion, like a version of Katherine Hepburn on the African Queen days, Mads Mikkelsen is brilliant (as always and he made history as the villain in both Bond (Le Chiffre in Casino Royale) and Indiana Jones franchises!, same as Julian Glover...), Boyd Hollbrook great baddie, plus some nice cameos (no spoliers here!). I liked the new kid, Teddy (Ethann Isidore), Thomas Kretchmann ("Spoils of war go to victors"), Toby Jones (Basil Shaw, Helena's father), Olivier Richters-the tall henchman (2m18”!!!), the nice and touching Antonio Banderas part (Renaldo), Shaunette Rene Wilson (an agent like Cleopatra Jones).

It's the first digital Indy and it was shot beautifully by Mangold's attired cinematographer, Phedon Papamichel (from Identity to Le Mans/Ford vs. Ferrari, sans Logan...). Points go to Adam Stockausențs production design (he worked for Wes Anderson and Spielberg-in Bridge of Spies, Ready Player One and West Side Story). You sense the Spielberg touch and homages all the way (making it up as it goes along;).  I have no clue if Lucas was involved. 
In the end credits Mangold's thanks go to Milos Forman and Alexander Mackendrick. Nice.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny it's also the longest film of the series (2h34'min) and the first one without opening credits, plus the Paramount joke on the logo, cos it's the first Disney distributed and so forth...also it's the first to have an underwater sequence (and eels!). If you buy the MacGuffin and gimmick in the final act it's cool, if not bummer, and I have a feeling most of the audience won't :(

The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival one month ago and I heard from then mixed reactions, more pointing to a thumbs down than up...I saw Indy IV in Cannes in 2008 and I really really wanted to like it, but alas...I saw it last time last week and still the final act is horrendous, and it's all Lucas fault. Plus Shia doesn't really shine as Mutt...earlier this year I saw again Indian Jones and the Last Crusade which is my second favourite Indy flick after Raiders of the Lost Ark which I saw 1st time on video when I was 12, one year after its release, on a black and white TV in my house, with another 50 mesmerized people, brought impromptu by a guy I didn't know, and it changed my life (and his;), but that's another story...

Unfortunately BO predix not so good :(, though so...the film cost 295 mill. $ to be made (plus probably another 100 mill $ for marketing and advertising), more than 1000 people worked on it, at Pinewood studios, in Morocco and Sicily,  with New York exteriors, tons of special effects, extras  plus the Covid problems, a lot of post production but also a lot of set dressing and practical effects.

Also in the film can be heard The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour and David Bowie's Space Oddity, cos' it's all happening in 1969...there's a small nod to The Godfather and Nino Rota (1st Sicilian shot, done on a crane I think)...

Anyway, I will go and see it again on that huuuge screen! see if it gets better or not, or holds on to my fearful first but now enthusiastic encounter with a dear dear old friend. Well, we've been friends for 40 years...

T B Concluded...