Monday, September 22, 2014

Midnight Run - Movie Review

There are movies that teach you to look on life in a whole new way. They unveil to you greater depths of spiritual understanding and impress upon your soul heart-wrenchingly beautiful scenes.

This is not one of those movies.

What it is, however, is a whole lot of fun. In many ways, Midnight Run is an oversized parody of other 80's buddy flicks.

Robert De Niro, in a unique turn, plays John Wesley "Jack" Walsh, a down-on-his-luck, smart-aleck bounty hunter. Charles Grodin is a mild-mannered embezzler, Jonathan "The Duke" Mardukas, on the run for breaking bond.

Promised $100,000 if he brings in Mardukas by midnight on Friday, Jack Walsh quickly finds and apprehends him in New York. The Duke's aviaphobia prevents the pair from travelling by plane to Los Angeles, so they take to the road. Of course, everything goes wrong, as they are pursued by another bounty hunter, the FBI, and the mob through a series of madcap adventures.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Chariots of Fire - Love Right Through

Affection goes as deep in me as you I think, but only God is love right through, Howard; and that's my self.
~Sir Thomas More, A Man for All Seasons

The story goes that when U2 rock guitarist The Edge met Christian author Brennan Manning, he asked him, "Can I glorify God by being the best rock guitarist I can be?" Manning replied, "Absolutely you can. If that’s your calling, you can."

I suspect Eric Liddell would've agreed with Manning. Most everyone knows Liddell as the subject of the 1981 film Chariots of FireWhile the film certainly has its issues (over-use of slow-mo, groan-inducing voice-overs, a conviction of its own self-importance), it remains the best sports movie I have ever seen. Vangelis's score, much-parodied and imitated, is still absolute magic in the film, and the direction, if not astounding, is competent (I enjoyed several impressive long-takes.) I've sorted through half a dozen topics, but what ultimately compels me is the two central characters—and therefore they form the focus of this review.

Friday, September 12, 2014

British Mystery Coming Soon - 2014, 2015

Starting Thursday, October 2, Gracepoint will hit the small screen in America. Folk have been quick to assure us that it will not be a point-by-point remake (at least, after the first two episodes) of the original, superb series Broadchurch - but I'm not entirely convinced. (Update: my review of the first episode.)

 Since my last update list, I've seen a few more things turn up.

Besides more seasons of Foyle's War (complete - here's a brief interview from the elusive Mr. Kitchen), Broadchurch (finished filming), Father Brown (filming), and Sherlock (being written) we have...

Friday, September 5, 2014

Becket - Movie Review

I've been on a history of the British monarchy kick, from Henry V to A Man for All Seasons to Chariots of Fire (hey, Prince of Wales). The royals have long been popular on the silver screen, and Becket is a pillar of the genre, despite numerous inaccuracies and a general spicing-up-of-facts goin' on.

Book-ended by scenes at the tomb of Thomas Becket (b. 1118, d. 1170), the rest of the film is a flashback to his life, from a wild youth, to a career as a statesman, and then his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Central to the drama is the bond between Becket and Henry II, to the point that the film is almost less a biopic than the story of a relationship. Peter O'Toole is at his best here, throwing himself into the dissolute, petulant king with gusto (a role he would reprise in 1968's The Lion in Winter). He nearly steals the show from Richard Burton's gentle, erudite Becket, but if O'Toole provides driving force of the narrative, it is Burton that channels it.