James Bond is infinitely entertaining. These series has so far done nothing but demonstrate to me that he is someone I will never get tired of, and he oozes potential. If only the big budget blockbusters of today could all match up to the sheer enjoyment level supplemented by “Goldfinger”, the third Bond outing this time directed by Guy Hamilton (who would later return to the series with “Diamonds are Forever”, “Live and Let Die” and “The Man With the Golden Gun”). Sean Connery proves even more sufficiently that he completely understands the character of James Bond. People complained of Roger Moore’s age in “A View to a Kill”, but I think I’d pay anything to see the 85 year old Connery give the role one last bash.
I finally got around to seeing “2001: A Space Odyssey” today, new years eve 2014. I woke up early so that I could watch as much as I could before my family awoke and began to make noise. I could have watched it in my room on my little laptop or even my small TV, though I knew I needed to make the best of efforts to get the best of experiences. I knew I needed silence, for this reason I made sure to leave my phone in another room. I knew the story would be told mostly visually, so I made sure to draw the curtains and isolate myself from the sun. I knew that I needed to concentrate and think for myself, and for this reason I ignored the questions of my sister who had joined in during the last 15 minutes of the film. “This film is stupid”, she said, and no doubt it did look it.
It is always a shame to hear that a great film wasn’t appreciated by its contemporary audience, but it unfortunately happens far more often than might be initially expected. “The Night of the Hunter” is a gem — a gem that has been painstakingly crafted into the best of its kind — a gem where how it came to be is just as important as what it sets out to convey — a gem that manipulates light into a thing of beauty in a way that seems almost impossible and sometimes uncanny. Light and dark swathe the sets created in Charles Laughton’s magnum opus which just so happened to be his only film of his career. If he decided not to direct again because of the attacks from the critics and audiences of the time then its hard not to feel like the brightest candle had been snuffed out just as it got burning.
What we get now, are horrors, slashers and action movies that are too focused on throwing action right in your face without so much as saying please first. What “Alien” realises, like “Jaws” before it, is that part of the splendour of these films is mostly found away from the explosions. “Alien” is special for many reasons but particularly because it knows exactly how much to show you and how little as well. Ridley Scott uses restraint perfectly and the end result is one of the best science fiction movies of all time but also one of the best movie movies of all time.
The Apollo missions are what comes to mind when talk of rockets and space exploration takes place. After all, Apollo 11 was what landed the very first human beings ever on the moon, and the names of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong are still remembered to this day. Perhaps that’s because since then we haven’t accomplished anything much greater than that with people at the helm. Now, machines are able to take the helm in our place, as shown by the Mars Rover. There was a time when astronauts had celebrity status but even this has changed since. “The Right Stuff” portrays the events of the Mercury missions that took place before Apollo, and were chiefly concerned with getting Americans up into space at whatever the cost. Most won’t have any prior knowledge of the Mercury missions, or who was involved with them, and I certainly didn’t. This is something “The Right Stuff” taps into, the fickle nature of humanity and its tendency to move from one celebrity fad to the next, and it is a masterpiece.
You might have thought that watching a silent film in this day and age requires a certain tolerance. The ability to be able to ignore the shortcomings of the era and to have to put yourself in the shoes of the desired demographic to truly enjoy it. Brilliant movies are timeless, I realised this during my viewing of “Metropolis”, a 1927 silent directed by Fritz Lang. That film has a run time of 153 minutes depending on the version you watch and it doesn’t drag that masterpiece down to the depths of such over bloated productions like “Pearl Harbor” for example. “Battleship Potemkin”, like “Metropolis”, is a timeless film and it’s accomplishments are made all the more impressive by the snack like run time of 66 minutes.