Not the 365 ~ movie round up.

Mission Impossible III(2006) and Mission Impossible Fallout (2018)

We are currently doing (and re-doing some of) the Mission Impossible Movies, somewhat out of order but other than a few follow ons you can guess at, it doesn’t really matter in which order you watch them. I’m not going to do plots as I’m reasonably certain everyone knows from the TV series let alone the movie franchise, that Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, and his bunch of merry men and ladies form the IMF (Impossible Mission Force, and not the International Monetary Fund) are duty bound to save the world by wearing latex masks and doing death defying physical feats. We have only these two on DVD and BluRay, and whilst Fallout is superior in terms of film & sound quality and a more cohesive directing style (Christopher McQuarrie for Fallout and J.J.Abrams for III) the action is terrific in both movies. What is more interesting, at least to me, is that in watching ‘the making of’ special features on both of these, all the CGI we thought had been done, actually wasn’t, and whatever you think of Cruise’s acting abilities, his committment to keeping it real is 100%. There are reoccurring characters throughout the series, Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn starts out in III,as does Michelle Monoghan as Julia Meade-Hunt, Ethan’s wife and ex-wife to be) Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust an ex MI6 operative who started her run in Rogue Nation which we’ve yet to see. Special mention goes to Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell who has been in all the MI movies to date. If you like action movies the MI series should be up there near the top of your list purely for the amount of innovation and skill the crew and cast go through in order to bring the quite gob smacking set pieces to your screens. When Tom Cruise is dangling from a helicopter at a great height, he actually is. These movies are all the better for not using green screens, and nice that people still want to make actual movies and not rely on a computer program for the good bits.

Fraggle Rating : Top Notch action entertainment.

Once Upon A Time in Hollywood (2019)

I’ve seen all of Mr.Tarantino’s movies, with the exception of Django, and for me this is his finest and most nuanced piece of work. Set in Hollywood and L.A in 1969, it concerns a fading character actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double and best pal Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) as they navigate a changing film industry. At this point in time The Manson Family were living in an old movie lot called Spahn Ranch, and though the murder by them of Sharon Tate et all is not a thing in this movie, the fact that we meet Manson briefly, and his followers, puts that thought in the back of your head. I hadn’t read any reviews or spoilers before seeing this movie (though not sure how that happened!) so I’m not going to do too much of what happens as it was much the better for not knowing. Tarantino has beautifully recreated Hollywood in the late 60’s, the cars, the clothes, the scenery, all lovingly filmed, it is a feast of memorabilia for the eyes. A cornucopia of excellent actors have cameo’s, Michael Madsden, Kurt Russell, Zoë Bell being frequent collaborators on Tarantino movies, and Damien Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino, have small parts which they nail. Tarantino has Rick Dalton living next door to Sharon Tate (a luminous Margot Robbie) and Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha) although Polanski is a bit part and her pal Jay Sebring (Emile Hersch) stays with her whilst Polanski is off directing a movie somewhere in Europe. Tarantino takes his time with his main characters, Dalton, Booth and Tate, and the actors give him great performances, with Pitt winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting actor, well deserved it was too. Special mention must go to Brandy the dog and really there shoud be an Academy Award section for mutts in movies, Brandy would be well up in the running! There are a lot of laughs along the way throughout the movie, and yes there is some Tarantinoesque violence but only at the end of the movie, and it’s a cathartic kind of violence that makes the world the movie is set in, a better place than it actually was.

Fraggle Rating: I can’t recommend it highly enough.

The Magnificent Seven (2017)

If you are a film maker or a knowledgeable movie buff, you can call yourself a cineaste apparently, a term I learnt reading proper eminent movie critic’s blogs/reviews. I would imagine most cineastes would tell you the movie Seven Samurai (1954) directed by Akira Kurosawa, is on or near the top of their all time best movie lists, and didn’t or doesn’t need a remake. Luckily I’m not a cineaste just an enthusiastic punter, so I’ve not seen that epic movie, or laud it beyond any other. Also luckily John Sturges decided to take Seven Samurai and turn it into an epic Western, starring Yul Bryner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Robert Vaughan, Charles Bronson et al. Now THAT was a western that didn’t need remaking, and I will be re-watching it shortly, but today we have a remake of the remake directed by Antoin Fuqua, who was inspired by Shinobu Hashimoto’s writing- a frequent collaborator with Kurosawa. Denzil Washington has been in a couple of Fuqua movies, ‘Training Day’ and ‘The Equaliser’ remake, and takes the Yul Bryner type part in this version of the seven. I do like Washington in most things, and he does a steady job here. Chris Pratt was chosen for the Steve McQueen type character when Fuqua offered him the part he sang ‘Oh Shenandoah’ to the director who exclaimed ‘He’s it, he IS Steve McQueen’. Well that’s patently not the case as Mr. McQueen is pushing up daisies. He’s not in Steve McQueen’s league here, or anywhere else I suspect but he does a competant job and is the main ‘light relief’. Ethan Hawke takes a similar part to Robert Vaughan and he’s the standout for me in this movie. Fuqua was very politically correct by hiring a diverse cast, substituting the original Hilario (Jorge Martinez de Hoyos) with a young widow played with gusto by Haley Bennett. James Coburn’s part is taken by Byung-Hu Lee and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo takes over the Brad Dexter part. The only actor I did think a bit strange was Peter Sarsgaard  in the baddie rôle, he looked like he was high on some nefarious substance with rolling eyes all over the shop. The plot is very similar of course, but somehow the warmth and pathos of the original is lacking. The action sequences are well done, and no-one phones it in in the acting department, but there’s nothing new or innovative here and it just seems a bit pointless.

Fraggle Rating : a serviceable western, especially if you haven’t seen the original, but found I was haunted by the ghosts of Bryner, McQueen et al throughout, and that’s the one to go for.

Chernobyl 1986 (2021)

A while back we watched the excellent HBO 5 hour mini-series Chernobyl (2019) starring Jared Harris, covering the nuclear plant disaster and the political idiocy and tragic ramifications that followed. It covered the fallout of the events and the stories of its real heroes and victims in as faithful, informative and confrontational detail as the drama allowed. In answer to that the Russians have made their own movie about it, which has just turned up on Netflix and is a bit of a mixed bag really. The director Danila Kozlovskiy also is the main star, the fictional Alexy, who is a firefighter and has worked at the reactor. The movie starts out with him re uniting with an ex-girlfriend, Olga (Oksana Akinshina) and discovering he has a 10 year old son. Alexy comes across as a bit of a dick in truth, but very quickly we get into the explosion and Alexy becomes a bit of a reluctant hero. Somehow he manages to be at the scene of the reactor burn-out, then at the hospital, then in the evacuation of the nearby towns, then in the strategy meetings, and finally in the dramatic dive into the radioactive waters of the reactor to save the day. A fair amount of dramatic licence is used here, and the scale of the deaths, diseases and ruined towns which are to this day still radioactive to a dangerous degree, is barely touched upon. Surprisingly a few of the characters do blame the bureaucrats for the cutting of corners which compromised safety, but mostly the focus is on the heroics of the firefighters and Alexey himself. The movie does have it’s saving graces though, with Oksana Akinshina acting her socks off, and the scenes taking place in the reactor site are quite amazing, the soundtrack in particular is almost a character itself as you hear the groans and clangs of the collapsing structures and the wierd sounds that a nuclear fire makes.

Fraggle Rating: worth a watch for the Russian take on this and the brilliantly filmed radioactive underwater scenes and firefighting scenes. On Netflix where you can choose a horribly dubbed verson, or have it in Russian with subtitles, which is much better.

45 thoughts on “Not the 365 ~ movie round up.

  1. I suppose some people make remakes in the hope that some of the magic of the original will rub off on them, but the returns must diminish to nothing when you remake a remake and don’t have anything original to add. Some of the acting in the John Sturgess film is a bit iffy, though. I’m thinking of the German lad whose name no one can ever remember.

    Great reviews, as always. I like the sound of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mission Impossible? I prefer the TV series with Peter Graves. Tiny Tom never works for me, except in ‘Collatteral’ (2004). He was great in that.
    Haven’t seen that Tarantino yet, but want to.
    Seven Samurai? One western remake was enough for me. I liked the Mag 7 well enough at the time though.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve watched all the MI films as they’ve been released and quite enjoyed them. Never enough to buy them mind you. Maybe once the franchise is definitely finished I’ll scoop them up cheap…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mission Impossible movies are ones whose plot I tend to forget, although they are quite spectacular to watch. I liked very much Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, I have no issue with violence but yes a bit with some excess of cruelty so, although I was not aware of Polanski and Manson, to my tastes it was a nice movie. I won’t watch the Magnificent Seven remake, if there is a version with Yul Bryner I want that one, and if there is “diverse” casting they seldom are good, I mean, I am a red skinned person, I guess the part where writers (and if you believe it I respect that, different thoughts are good and real diversity) think people that are from other races than white are obsessed with racial issues or need to see people similar to ourselves in Hollywood is inaccurate. But worse than that what is worse and boring is predictability, I watched a movie with Gerald Butler, about him and his family escaping an end of the world by a meteor I think, around half an hour in the movie it was clear all characters that were politically correct diverse were good hearted Samaritans, as if they were no humans striving to be better as real people; and those that not were diverse (what a strange way to say it) were intended in harming the family… so I just turned it off as it was going to be the same for one hour and half more. Chernobyl sounds interesting and like you I always try to watch movies in their original language. Thank you, fragglerocking. Sorry for the rant.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. An interesting one. It was entertaining, yet, typical of most Tarantino flicks: style over substance. Yes, it was a very cool, the cinematography was great, the soundtrack even better, the violent ending was thrilling, and Quentin showed how much he knows about film history – but the storyline was lacking. It just felt flat – like a group of scenes stitched together. The pacing was poor, and the dialogue was nowhere near usual Tarantino standards. If it wasn’t Tarantino who threw it on someone’s desk, I doubt we would have seen it made, especially with that cast.

    But that’s just my opinion! 😃 Great as usual, Fraggle.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sigh. I commented here, I really did, a long, in depth one all about Once Upon In Hollywood. Was it the best comment ever written? Quite frankly, we’ll never know.

    Anyway, to paraphrase, I said, like many of Tarantino’s films, it was more style over substance. Great music choices, cinematography, acting, bloody violent end and Quentin lovingly showing off his knowledge about that period of film just didn’t feel like enough – the flat storyline, poor pacing and poor (to his usual standards) dialogue really let it down. If you ask me, if anyone else puts that on a producers desk, it’d be in the bin before the first ten pages, let alone getting that cast. It was much more persuasive before. WordPress, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Seen the first two entries and want very much to see the second two. I wasn’t quite as impressed by OUATIH but did find it more thoughtful than Quentin’s other stuff. And the action scenes in MI: Fallout were fantastic. Was waiting to watch Chernobyl until I after I read the book it’s based on.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. There were a couple of Chernobyl books came out the same time. One by Higginbotham and another by Plokhy. I may be wrong about the series being based on one of them. According to Wikipedia it was taken mainly from an oral history Voices from Chernobyl by Alexievich.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I didn’t have to pay for that it just came up on google, I meant read it pronounced red, not read it pronounced reed. What a stupid word to be so confusing in print!


  8. Well here they both are, resurrected from the Spam folder, strangely the only spam I’ve had in ages. I think Phil would agree with you about the pacing, for instance the length of time with Brad Pitt just driving, but I really didn’t mind it. It wasn’t what’s expected of Tarantino that’s for sure, and maybe you’re right, no-one else could have got away with it, but I really enjoyed the whole shebang, and we’ll agree to disagree on this one, we’ll always have Blade Runner! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Just bought the book of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, keen to see how is wanders from the film, which I loved second time around. All the MI films are watchable, but the last two have peaked. III is arguably where they found the mojo. Magnificent 7 is Ok as a remake, but never touches the original. Sounds like you’re seeing the classics!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Chernobyl is the only one I haven’t seen. LOVE MI:Fallout. It was my #1 movie that year. Also love Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Just finished reading Tarantino’s novelization and now I’m ready to watch the movie again (for the 6th time). I had fun with Mag7. It is what it is. Good cast.

    All in all that’s some fun viewing!

    Liked by 2 people

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