John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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Slightly overrated British gangster film from 2000 that is saved by some excellent individual performances.
At the time quite a few mediocre British crime films seemed to be flooding the market. The prerequisite being that the cast had to talk with a Cockney (London) accent and follow a football club called West Ham United!
Sexy Beast steers away from your usual action sequences like car chases and police pursuits and features some good dialogue between some good cast members.
Ray Winstone plays Gal, a retired forty something ex-con from England who has now set up home in sunny Spain with his wife DeeDee, and friends Aitch and Jackie.
The Eldorado lifestyle seems to involve plenty of sun(burn), swimming pool set up and dining out. A far cry from sunny London!
Their peaceful life is shattered when it is revealed that Sociopath Don Logan (Ben Kingsley) is en route to Spain to try and persuade safecracker Gal to partake in another job, masterminded by Teddy Bass (Lovejoy actor Ian McShane).
Logan seems not to be a character that will take no for an answer and what follows is about an hour of attempting to persuade Gal with some frightful scenes, revelations and consequences for everybody.
It is in these scenes that Kingsley oozes Sociopathic rage. The dialogue scenes between him and Winstone are a delight even if the Cockney accent proves a problem to some international audiences!
The film doesn't go on to long, but to compare it to some of the classic British gangster films like The Long Good Friday is a disservice to them.
I watched the first few minutes of the film and thought I was watching some grainy, student film! It is very low budget and bereft of the modern colour, CGI and big budget backing of films released today.
However I stuck with the film and it had a terrifying storyline. A group of people barricaded in a farmhouse whilst the population of zombies increases exponentially outside.
Throughout a black character, Ben (Duane Jones) seems to be the only sane character amongst the group in the house. Being calm, organising the others for survival. Bravo.
Some of the other characters display what shall I say, wooden acting abilities.
The film obviously made a positive impact because there have been remakes and the George A. Romero directed zombie films have spawned a 'franchise' over thirty years or so.
It is a film that grows on you. Indeed I have waited two days before scribing any thoughts.
I watched an original black and white print although I read of some colorized versions?
The film was made in 1968 at the height of racial tensions in the U.S. that is why I mentioned the Ben character. The film does have a racial undertone between Ben and Harry in the house.
The ending is one of those not to be revealed cinematic moments and only adds to the film and pushes up the rating.
A film that began for the first twenty minutes or so with a 3 becomes a 4 by the end. I highly recommend.
Unbelievable to think this was the first mainstream film I can remember watching that brought the subject of Autism to the public's attention.
It follows the story of Autistic Raymond Babbitt (excellently portrayed by Dustin Hoffman).
Institutionalised since the 1960s but now the beneficiary of his late fathers inheritance of $3m or so USD.
Of course Raymond does not understand the magnitude of the inheritance but his brother Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) does.
Charlie has also just found out he has a brother at the reading of the will.
Charlie is a yuppie, struggling businessman with debts to service in his home city of Los Angeles.
Raymond is living alone except for the company of fellow patients and staff in a Cincinnati institution.
Charlie befriends Raymond (I dont think he has or realises he has any choice in the matter!) and 'kidnaps' him from the institution to visit L.A.
A simple three hour or so internal flight becomes a multiple day road trip when Raymond refuses point blank to fly, never mind drive on the fastest highways!
In a series of locations and situations a bond develops between the two very different brothers. Charlie softening his stance significantly in the process.
Hoffman in particular gives a great performance showing the affects of his character's mental health condition on both brother's.
Oh QANTAS have never crashed is my most memorable line, especially when preparing to fly to Australia!
Late 1990s film about an upper middle class U.S. street that makes Coronation Street look like Sesame Street with its secrets and frustrations!
You also have an Oscar winning Best Actor performance from the now disgraced Kevin Spacey but let's consider the film itself.
Spacey plays 42 year old Lester Burnham. He seems to be suffering from a mid-life crisis on that he is in a loveless marriage to Carolyn (Annette Bening), with one child who is at the puberty age, Jane (Thora Birch).
Carolyn herself is an estate agent. Not a particularly successful one at that who faces 'competition' in the business from Buddy Kane (Peter Gallacher?).
Lester has some going through the motions job in media. It contributes to the mortgage repayments kind of thing. Anyway his company is trying to make workforce cutbacks and he has to try and justify his employment.
To the right of his house are a gay couple both called Jim.
To the left is an ex-U.S. Marine Colonel Fitts (Chris Cooper) with a 'secret' that is revealed in the film who has a controlling nature over his son, Ricky Fitts.
Ricky is a dope dealer in his spare time (as you do) as well as having a strange/deranged habit of filming Jane through the windows, sometimes in private situations.
Jane has a 'best' friend. A blonde, model-aspiring, good looking school friend of a character called Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari).
That just about provides the ambience of the neighbourhood!
The film shows 42 year old Lester (scary) develop a crush on Angela. Going on a keep-fit regime and developing a dope habit in the process.
Also developing a new found confidence by telling bis employers a few home truths hence losing his job, buying an old car and 'bashing the bishop' in bed next to his wife!
Director Sam Mendes is probably more well known to audiences for his James Bond film collaborations Skyfall and Spectre but this his perhaps his career peak film.
Watching the strange interaction between the characters develop and their messed up lives.
The film develops into a shocking ending which I won't spoil but it is not what you expect!
Spacey rightly or wrongly won the Oscar and at this time is probably his best performance aside The Usual Suspects from 1995.
If you have not seen this film, I strongly recommend.
1941 romantic screwball 'comedy' although no laughs in the traditional knock knock sense.
It follows a gang of three card sharps who 'rob' unsuspecting passengers on ocean liners.
In this film the target is Charles Pike (Henry Fonda). Pike is the rich son of a brewery owner.
One of the trio of con artists is Jean Harrington (Barbara Stanwyck) who actually develops a relationship with Charles beyond ripping him off and ending in marriage before following the story arc seen in so many of these rom coms.
1. Boy meets girl.
2. Boy loses girl.
3. Boy wins girl back.
4. The end.
The card sharp storyline allows some slight deviation from the 'normal' story arc.
2. Boy loses girl after finding out she is trying to rip him off.
3. Girl wins boy back in this film when Jean meets Charles again in the form of an English aristocrat act and causes Charles great confusion when he thinks it is Jean...it is!
I found this film a little overrated if I am being honest. It has a certain innocence about it. I suppose that is partly from the era it was made.
Some comedy is added in Charles Pike being a bit of a geek. In the form of a snake expert.