Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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A good movie and a bit of a classic but somewhat lacking the punch-in-the-guts ending of the book by John Steinbeck on which it is based. To be fair, there is no way that the movie censors in the 1940s would have approved a more faithful telling but the rather upbeat monologue that closes what is still a draining and tale of the plight of a group of small town farmers, forced off their land by the dust bowl of the Great Depression is somewhat jarring. It just breaks the mood.
The cast however is fantastic with Henry Fonda starring as Tom with a host of brilliant supporting actors taking on other roles. I think special mention must got to Jane Darwell as Ma Joad who is the rock of the family and perhaps, more than the others, manages to show the real dignity of the people who found themselves in this terrible situation. The scene where she is deciding which of her pitiful trinkets and keepsakes she has to leave behind is heartbreaking.
This is one of the great movies directed by John Ford and both he and Darwell won well deserved Oscars for this movie in 1941.
Idris Elba does his apprenticeship as an action hero and potential next 007 in this fairly run-of-the-mill thriller set in Paris.
Elba plays an unconventional CIA agent investigating a series of terrorist attacks for which pickpocket Richard Madden is the prime suspect.
There are a couple of neat plot twists and some nice action chases but all together it is not a particularly meaty script though it makes a nice change to see Paris on the screen in an English language movie.
I'm not much of a fan of the zombie movie genre but this is a reasonable attempt to bring it up to date. The setting is decidedly urban and modern with the action taking place in a high-rise development in Seoul, South Korea.
The plot focusses on one young man who is trapped in his apartment when a mysterious disease breaks out and turns its victims into flesh eating zombies. As the infection spreads and society breaks down, he tries to contact survivors by using modern technology.
So, as a movie released in 2020, this seems to be quite topical while many of us have endured some kind of lockdown and it is certainly well acted by a mostly young cast. However, the threat and tension feels a bit hackneyed and once you look beyond the modern gizmos and tech, it has actually all been seen before.
I think I'm a bit jaded by this sort of thing and I'm certainly not the audience that director Cho Il-hyung is aiming to please.
The stunning cinematography makes this a compelling movie to watch as, truth be told, the story loses it somewhat towards the middle. The stark black and white images seem to make the jungle setting all the more vibrant and claustrophobic as we follow an Amazonian shaman and his fellow travellers on a canoe trip along a river in two different times.
The plot involves a clash of cultures and the terrible effects that Western colonial forces have had on the native peoples, religions and environment as seen through the eyes and regrets of the shaman. It has echoes of Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" and a doom laden message that is at times uncomfortable viewing. However I was left in some confusion by too many aspects of the plot and was left somewhat disorientated by what was going on (which may have been the point). Nevertheless this is worth watching for the fantastic performances of the cast of largely unknown performers and for the glimpses of a way of life that has all but vanished for ever.