This week Phil swapped Keanu Reeves out and instead we got… Nicholas Cage 🤣. Neither of us are Cage fans, my has he made some howlers, (National Treasure springs to mind) but he is the star of the film of one of our favourite books, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernier (who in spite of sounding French, is actually a British chap). It is a lovely movie, I’ve seen it in the past and thought it so back then, now I’m more discerning I can pick a few holes in it. A 2001 movie, directed by John Madden, it is set in Cepahalonia, in 1943. An Italian garrison arrives on the island which surrenders, and Captain Corelli is in charge of a battery of men who have never fired a shot in the war as yet. He is a happy chappy, and plays the mandolin (Cage learned to play it for the part and have to say he was really good at it), and loves singing. He trains his soldiers to sing in harmony too. He ends up being billeted in the home of Dr. Yiannis (John Hurt) and his educated but stroppy daughter Pelagia (Penelope Cruz) whomst he falls in love with, though she is betrothed to a guy called Mandras, a bit of a numpty played by an unrecognisable Christian Bale. Mandras goes off to join the resistance and eventually she warms to the Cap’n, and they get it together. The soldiers briefly become part of village life singing and dancing with the natives, but it doesn’t last long. The Italian government surrender to the allies, and happily expect to be going home. However the Germans (their first allies) insist on disarming them. They arange with the Greek resistance to fight the Germans, but instead they are all massacred, with the exception of Corelli who is protected by his pal falling on top of him. Mandras finds him and takes him to the Doctor and Pelagia, where they patch him up, using the strings of the mandolin to fuse the ribs together, and get him on a boat to escape the Island. Then to add insult to injury there’s an earthquake on the Island that destroys most of the village, but eventually life goes on, and there’s a happy ending for Pelagia. The story is fine, though it took many liberties with history, and with the book which had more tragedy in it than the movie portrays, and in spite of having an Italian Dad, our Nick’s Italian accent was all over the place. Still the cinematography is gorgeous (John Toll) and the music lovely. It didn’t do well with the critics, but for all it’s faults it was good to see it again and I enjoyed it.
My choice on Saturday was a new movie I was awaiting on Netflix, Extraction (2020) directed by Sam Harvey, from a story written and produced by the Russo Brothers ( who produce, direct etc the Marvel Universe movies). Starring Chris Hemsworth as Tyler Rake a black market mercenary and former Australian SAS guy. He is a troubled guy having lost his son to leukaemia, and having had his missis leave him due to him not being there for her and his son at the end. He is hired to rescue a young boy who is the son of an Indian drug lord, and has been kidnapped by a Bangladeshi drug lord. That’s the whole plot really, it is one action scene after another, as he rescues the lad early on in the movie and then has to try and escape with him whilst everyone and his dog is chasing them. The boy Ovi, is played by Rudharaksh Jaiswal and his acting is spot on, he is scared, and brave and compassionate and that comes through really well. There’s also a baddy who is really a goody played by Randeep Hooda who has his fair share of action. Chris Hemsworth brings out the hurt inside his character really well, and is obviously excellent at the derring-do stunts he has to perform. The filming of said stunts is quite amazing, there’s a scene of a car chase that is shot from inside the car and it is a real rewind and see again moment. The fights are well choreographed, like John Wick movies on steroids. Not for the faint hearted if you are not a fan of hand to hand combat and a fair amount of explosions and carnage, but if you are, this is at the top of it’s game. Mixed reviews by the critics, who praise Hemsworth for his performance but moaned about the story and excessive violence. Duh, I’ve read that about Rambo movies, John Wicks movies et al, blah de blah, it’s not meant to be taken so seriously!! I didn’t think it any worse than other action movies, and a whole heap better than most, and we really enjoyed it.