Watched “Quantam of Solace” last night

For the thrid time, I watched Quantam of Solace, the second of the James Bond refresh movies.  It isn’t nearly as highly reviewed as Casino Royale and it is my least favorite of the new Bond films and the heavy-handed editing (quick cuts and shots) during the action scenes make them almost unwatchable, but it *is* James Bond and Daniel Craig as James Bond and good enough to watch.  It is a forgettable film though – twice before I’ve forgotten the plot.  With that in mind, here is my quick summary:

A few moments after Bond shoots Mr. White in Casino Royale, Bond takes White back to M for interrogation.  We learn that White’s org is everywhere, including M’s assistant from the first Bond film who starts shooting (whoa!) and allows White to escape.  Bond goes after White and ends up in Haiti, where he learns that a Mr. Green is leading another shadow organization within the larger organization that ostensibly is an environmental nonprofit but is actually taking ownership of all the water and utilizities under a corrupt Bolivian dictator.  Bond kills Mr. Green and brings down this organization, and also tracks down Vesper (Casino Royale) faux-boyfriend who is actually a mole for Mr. White’s org.  In the meantime, we see a couple of Bond girls (including one who dies in oil like the girl died in Goldfinger), a couple of chase scenes in a boat and a plane, two gatherings in tuxes, and a taste of the rugged Bolivian townslife.  I love Bond/M’s sardonic humorous exchange when they find Green: “We found his body in the desert… He had a quart of motor oil in his stomach, do you know anything about that?”

For me, the the movie needed to be more patient.  Casino Royale and later Skyfall have a lot of patience, letting scenes develop without a lot of cuts.  THere are so many cuts, and so many quick scenes, it is hard to observe things unfolding naturally – it is like the director is constantly forcing us to look somewhere.  Still, it is JaMes Bond and – again — Daniel Craig as James Bond (Craig is my favorite Bond, kind of a perfect combo of Connery and Moore).

Watched “Quantam of Solace” last night

Thoughts on the Movie “Manchester by the Sea”

Wife and I saw a movie last night.  We walked through the melting snow under a chilly but clearing sky to watch a movie down in Ballard as part of our journey to watch all the Oscar nominees before the Oscars.

I loved (!!) “Manchester by the Sea.”  I’m a sucker for serious (sad), slice-of-life films where people are working very hard to try to overcome something in their life. The story was touching, the characters interesting and the performances amazing and it’s not too over the top on anything.  Also, I loved how it somewhat slowly revealed the past pain.  At one point, I was actually thinking it would be my pick for movie of the year.  But ultimately “Moonlight” is still my pick of the year.

What could have been better in Manchester by the Sea (while emphasizing I loved the movie, and in fact wish it were a book so I could read the book 🙂 )?

Depth.  I love films that add depth.  What makes Citizen Kane great is all the depth to it, i.e. the plot devices added in the background, certain pictures hung a certain way, etc.  I love looking for things like that in film, like in Moonlight how after the character said he’d been called “Blue” once as a boy you could see all the blue in the background.  I kept looking for things here, but I didn’t leave certain they actually meant something (other than the obvious, such as Winter and Spring).  For example, the clock states “12:31” – I was thinking perhaps that was foreshadowing that he had 3 kids and now will have 1 (Patrick) again; Patrick crosses the street and there is a “No Parking On This Side” next to the graveyard and was wondering if that meant something like they will pull themselves out of their misery but am not sure that was true; when Lee was bouncing the ball then passed it to Patrick and said “Let it go” but Patrick chased him down with it, I thought that might mean something but am not sure it did.  The only thing I can wonder is that perhaps the movie — which ended at the beginning of Spring — was showing there was hope for their future but I can’t be certain that is true.  Anyway, there might have been things but I didn’t see them, which is a major difference between an enjoyable story/movie and a great one, for me.

Cinematography.  La La Land absolutely pops off the screen, and Manchester was in a beautiful setting and spent time showing us the shots, but the visuals didn’t pop like Moonlight or La La Land.

Anyway, my two cents.  But I loved that film!!!!

 

 

Thoughts on the Movie “Manchester by the Sea”

Loved the movie “Moonlight”

On Friday we went to the movie Moonlight, and saw it at the Sundance theater, where we can have a cocktail and a pizza with our movie.  I loved that movie, and here is why:

  • The performances.  From top to bottom, amazing.  All were great, but I really loved the performance of the grown up Shyrell(?, the main character), who did a great job of being street tough and hardened one moment then seeming vulnerable and that lost little boy again the next minute, mostly in his expressions and mannerisms.
  • The characters.  I loved them all, including the character Blue, the best friend and even the drug addict mom and her speech at the end.
  • The symbolism.  There is a great line, where the drug dealer tells the boy how when he was younger an old woman started calling him “Blue” because he looked blue in the moonlight.  “Do you still go by Blue?” the boy asked.  “You can’t let anyone else tell you who you are,” the man said.  The rest of the movie, I was noticing the spots of blue everywhere.  My favorite was when the mom was bathed in red light as she yelled, then that red light turned to blue when she closed the door – wow!
  • The feelings.  I felt sadness when I realized the drug dealer had died.  I was touched by the way he’d reached out to the boy, and so was touched when I realized he was dead.  The whole movie was touching.
  • The subtle way the movie was pulled together.  When the drug dealer told the boy you can’t let anyone tell you who you are when the boy asked if the drug dealer went by “Blue,” then when the boy asked the drug dealer if he (the boy) was gay and the drug dealer said the boy would just know one day if he were or weren’t, then when the grown up friend came out putting on the blue sweater – I was amazed at the subtle way the director put that all together without putting it in our face.  Amazing.

It was a wonderful movie.  One that I continue to think about two days later.

 

Loved the movie “Moonlight”

Watching Bridge Over River Kwai

Opens with graves by railroad. Ragged prisoners toil halfheartedly on radio. New prisoners march in like Bataan Death March. Two hardened prisoners dig a grave over terse conversation. We hear whistling from Col’s hut, fresh but ragged prisoners march proudly in in formation under command of their col. Two grave diggers speculate that new prisoners will suffer/die. We learn camp 16 is along important railroad and they will build bridge. Escape is impossible due to island jungle. Nicholson speaks to Col – officers not to do forced labor. Nicholson tours camp, informed most prisoners die, laughs that Syato not reasonable. Officers meeting, Jennings says escape hard but survival harder; Nich states he was ordered to surrender and will follow letter of law, wants soldiers to feel soldiers and not slaves, Jennings says he is a slave. Col lectures them that they are prisoners not soldiers, dishonored and officers will do labor; Nich quotes Geneva code, Col strikes him and says cowards; nich says will not do labor, machine gun appears as officers stand, but nich refuses, just as about to shoot prison doctor rushes in to stop, officers forced to stand in hot sun all day.

Watching Bridge Over River Kwai