No Time To Die

November 18, 2022

Internet Movie Database Movie Reviews

Bond comes back from retirement to face yet another villain armed with world-ending technology…

I am conflicted about Bond. For a long time I was a purist: I loved the books and refused to watch any Bond movies that didn’t at least give a nod to a Fleming book or story…but this is the Franchise That Will Not Die, and so must be fed.

And I really really liked (yes, he’s stepping down) Daniel Craig as Bond; I think he’s the best one since Connery, and have actually gone to see all of his movies in the role, unlike other Bonds whose non-canon movies I eschewed (yes, I’m looking at you, Timothy Dalton. And especially The Man of Wood, Pierce Brosnan.)

But…this one was really good. Daniel Craig was really good. The cinematography and special effects and all were really good…and wow, this movie had a lot going on. It was like they all got together and said, this is Craig’s last Bond film, let’s just throw EVERYTHING into it. And they did. And it was a lot of plot devices, reveals, backstory, imminent catastrophe, you name it…but it mostly worked well, and I enjoyed it as much the second time I saw it, six months later.

So okay. It’s the Bond that makes the movie, not the origin material.

So now we have to wait and see who the new Bond will be…

But this movie? Yes, go see it, it’s serious bang for your buck. Well worth it if you like the genre.


The Tomorrow War

November 18, 2022

Internet Movie Database Movie Reviews

Aliens will kill most of Earth’s population in the future so soldiers are being drafted in the present and sent to the future to fight and die…until Chris Pratt takes care of business.

OMG. This is the reason that, as much as I love time travel movies, they really should be kept out of the hands of idiots. This movie had a lot of boom and whango, as we say Chez Otter, but very little about it made sense. There were so many plot holes related to time travel that I’m not even going to go there. Mr. Otter and I spent most of the movie yelling, Why are you doing this? at the screen, and pointing out the obvious paradoxes and inconsistencies.

And I really like Chris Pratt, but not here. Even he couldn’t save this dog.


The Day The Earth Stood Still

November 18, 2022

Internet Movie Database Movie Reviews

From the short story Farewell to the Master by Harry Bates

An alien comes to earth with an ultimatum: abandon war, especially nuclear war, or the Earth will be destroyed by other alien races.

This is, of course, a legendary SF movie. My family always had the TV going on Sunday afternoons to watch whatever cheesy old SF and horror movies were playing (back in the days when you had to watch whatever the Television Gods decreed, rather than choosing for yourself.) This was a big favorite, and my sister had a huge crush on Michael Rennie, who I will admit is easy on the eye.

I saw bits and pieces of it, and of course Klaatu Barada Nicto is a famous catchphrase…but I really don’t remember ever having actually watched it all the way through, until Mr. Otter mentioned it and I said, I’ve never seen it. Well, that was a gap in my cultural literacy that got addressed pretty quickly!

For what it was, a preachy cold war movie about eschewing violence, it was pretty good. The special effects weren’t bad for the time, and the story, although pretty far-fetched (none of his abilities was ever explained, he could just do all this random stuff. And he was exactly like Earth humans…hm.) it all held together pretty well.

The story was interesting enough not to be draggy, and of course the ending, “The decision rests with you…” was great.

The Otter liked this classic and was happy not to be disappointed by it!


Don’t Look Now

November 17, 2022

Internet Movie Database Movie Reviews

From a short story of the same name by Daphne DuMaurier

Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie are in Venice, trying to get over their grief at the death of their only daughter…then WEIRD STUFF starts happening.

This was at the same time compelling, creepy, slow moving, strange and atmospheric, and ultimately satisfying. Sutherland and Christie are great at showing the strain on their marriage their daughter’s death has caused, and their ups and downs are very believable. The wierd psychic stuff is kind of low-key; you have to watch for what is happening to put it all together at the end. And the ending, the final payoff, is very satisfying.

Worth tracking down and watching!


Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

November 17, 2022

Internet Movie Database Movie Reviews

Shang-Chi finds out that A) his father is a Bad Guy and B) he has to use the power of the Ten Rings to save his mother, who everyone thought was dead, and they must also defeat an evil dragon.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

It was actually much better than that description makes it sound. This was a compelling, beautifully made MCU movie (in one post-credits scene the heroes are taken to Kamer-Taj by Wong the Librarian) and very enjoyable…except for one small quibble: the evil dad, Wenwu, was a way more interesting and compelling character than Shang-Chi.

I mean, yes, the MCU is full of people like Captain America who are kind of vanilla; they’re unsalted good guys, probably okay for a snack but not what you are really craving. But to have such a contrast between the two stars of the same movie, and have the bad guy be the one I was really behind for the whole thing, evil or not, didn’t really work for me.

Yes, Loki is a bad guy that everyone likes…but he gets his comeuppance regularly, and bounces back for more. In this movie, the bad guy was just BAD. Until the very end, when he sacrifices himself and gives his kid his power source.

Hm.

I’m going to watch this one again before coming down too hard on it…I’m finding that the MCU movies are so full of stuff both from previous stories and their own that I usually like to see them twice before writing a review…and as I said, it was beautiful and I did get caught up in the story…so I’ll be kind to this one til then.


Dune (2021)

October 21, 2022

Internet Movie Database Movie Reviews

From the novel of the same name by Frank Herbert

Yeah, right, summarize Dune in one line! Okay, here goes: Paul Atreides’ father is killed, making him Duke of a planet that produces the most valuable substance in the universe, which everyone is assembling to fight over.

LOL. Not even close. The book is, even with its ponderousness, a wonderful classic that all of you should have read by now. It’s rich, full of great characters and inventive storylines and danger and romance and…

It’s good, okay?

But there is so much happening in the book that the 1984 David Lynch version on the big screen has been considered a joke ever since. I liked it at the time, but I had read the book and knew what was happening; I understand that if one has not read the book, it is well-nigh incomprehensible.

There was also an excellent miniseries made in 2000 with William Hurt; it was 4 1/2 hours long, and did a much better job of telling the story and making sense out of it.

So now here is yet another movie version, with all the modern FX tech. Mr. Otter and I were pretty excited and went to see it as soon as it hit the theaters…and our opinion is… (drum roll please) PRETTY DAMN GOOD.

The story is edited down to comprehensibility, and it was well done. The plot moves and makes sense, as far as I can tell nothing important was left out, the FX were, of course, wonderful, and the actors were good. Except Jason Momoa, who is good eye-candy but can’t act to save his life, but he played the warrior who dies nobly almost right away, so that worked out fine.

Really, my only quibble with this movie were the words in the title at the beginning of the movie: PART I.

On the one hand, dammit. I hate waiting for the next part of ANYTHING.

On the other hand, good. Making this into several parts will allow them enough time to actually tell the story right…and it looks like they got a good start.

So the Otter is cautiously optimistic about this one. Stay tuned for more reviews, everyone!


Venom: Let There Be Carnage

October 21, 2022

Internet Movie Database Movie Reviews

Eddie Brock, the host of the symbiotic alien Venom, is trying to get his journalism career back and interviews a serial killer…who becomes the host for another Venom-class symbiote, and is out to get his super-powered lost girlfriend out of the slammer.

I really liked the first Venom movie with Tom Hardy, and had been looking forward to the next in the franchise…but of course 2020. So when it actually did get released, I was on the road with my friend Craiggers, driving halfway across the US. We were in Albuquerque, and had a free evening, so we went to see this.

And it was…okay. Way too much ‘this symbiote is now inhabiting this body’ for me, even for a comic book story that was kind of silly. Much less character development than the first one. But okay.

The teaser has Eddie Brock and Venom transported to a hotel room in the Spider-Man universe, so we’ll see what happens there…


The Madwoman of Chaillot

October 21, 2022

Internet Movie Database Movie Reviews

From the play La Folle de Chaillot by Jean Giraudoux

A very old-fashioned countess takes on the destructive industrialists of the modern world with the help of various eccentric people.

I have loved this movie since I was a young Otter. I made time for it every time it came on TV (back in the days when the Television Gods ruled what you watched, and if it wasn’t scheduled to be on television, you couldn’t see it…) I had not watched in, maybe, 40 years (yes, this Otter is old.) but when I realized that it was on one of the streaming services, I chose it for our Saturday Night Zoom Movie group.

And…it was fun. I like Katherine Hepburn, and she was awesome as the Countess who does not approve of the modern world and is attempting to keep the businessmen from destroying the part of town she lives in in quest of oil lying below the streets. One of the businessmen is Serious Honey Yul Brynner (with hair!) There is more slapstick than I remembered, campy late 60s slapstick, but it was fun watching Hepburn and her coterie take on The Bad Guys and win.

A charming evening’s entertainment.


Reminiscence

October 21, 2022

Internet Movie Database Movie Reviews

In a sort-of-apocalyptic future, a PI tries to uncover the truth about a client he falls in love with.

And let me say here that I really, really, REALLY wanted to like this movie. But no.

Firstly, it’s Bladerunner lite. Dark post-apocalyptic setting where most people come out at night? Check. Anti-hero detective tormented by his past as the main character? Check. Falls in love with the girl he’s going to have to arrest? Check. Big reveal in the denoument? check.

So yeah.

The pace was slow (especially for an action movie), many of the scenes were dark and muddy, and the ending was so ridiculous that I was rolling my eyes and shaking my head at the screen.

No need to even give you spoilers, just trust the Otter, don’t even bother with this dog. You don’t need it in your memories…


Free Guy

October 21, 2022

Internet Movie Database Movie Reviews

A mild-mannered bank teller finds out that he’s actually an NPC in a video game.

Okay, I’ll admit it: I really really like Ryan Reynolds. He’s not a Serious Honey, but he’s cute and charming and funny. And I have one of those movie passes where you can see all the movies you want to for one monthly fee. So, I thought, why not?

And I was glad I saw this. Yes, it’s silly and kind of predictable, but it was really charming. Reynolds is perfect for Normal Guy Rising to the Occasion, the writing was good, the plotting was solid and of course the special effects and animation were excellent. Following the Hero’s Journey as he realizes what his world is really like, and searches for a way out, is a great ride.

This was a really fun movie, and highly recommended.