Movie Review #5568: DAMASCUS COVER
Spy flick from Netflix set in late 80s with an undercover government agent sent on a mission to extradite countrymen from a foreign power. Trouble is all is not what it seems and no-one but no-one is able to be trusted so our fellow has to navigate through minefields of intrigue, twists and turns to finally uncover what is going on.
Great story that includes a romantic subplot and isn’t too hard to keep track of despite the usual pitfalls and betrayals with vets John Hurt (in his last role) and Jurgen Prochnow turning up in supporting slots. Adequate outings from the leads and we’re taken bouncing from one jaunt to the next, piecing it all together as we go.
Probably a cut above the usual political thriller and our main man has an almost Bond-like approach without the cheese. Nothing that hasn’t been done before, but does it in a classy manner that keeps us ticking over until the very end.
Movie Review #3976: CROOKED HOUSE
Agatha Christie outing on Netflix with all the classic whodunnit ingredients: highly dysfunctional rich family, hidden agendas, despised intruders, red herrings and a gumshoe engaged to solve the mystery, which of course he ultimately does.
Lotsa twists and turns as we run through the proceedings, flicking our suspicions from one possible culprit to another while knowing full well it’s usually the most unlikely character who turns out to be the killer.
Good performances from veterans Glenn Close and Terence Stamp with X-Files’ Gillian Anderson turning up in a most unflattering brunette wig! The rest of the cast is adequate but a few go a little unnecessarily OTT and we’re left wondering whether they’re being set up to be the killer or merely overacting. And it doesn’t actually take too much to figure the culprit yet the conclusion is a bit unexpected and perhaps even a little disturbing.
Set in mid50s England, the cinematography is suitably gloomy and the depiction that ‘it’s always raining’ probably pretty close to the mark. Amusing albeit routine but one to check out for Agatha fans.
Movie Review #4765: THE SILENCING
This Canadian effort on Neon is a mystery thriller centred on an alcoholic father grieving his missing daughter and now living somewhat off the grid.
The discovery of the bodies of other girls in the wildlife sanctuary he manages sparks off a game of cat’n’mouse, dragging in the local sheriff and her rather troubled brother along the way.
After a few red herrings and unexpected turns we see the killer becoming obvious and it’s just a matter then of bringing him to justice.
Nice scenery set somewhere north of the Canadian border but does suffer a little from plot disjointedness and a few why-didn’t-he’s before coming to a reasonably predictable conclusion. Nevertheless a half-decent thriller that might have done better with a tighter script and a few hole plugs.
Adequate performances from the leads although I wondered how many wounds the leading guy’s body could take before he’d pass out.
Movie Review #4765: THE FORGOTTEN BATTLE
Dutch WWII movie on Netflix which is essentially three tales that bisect at varying stages. There’s the German soldier, the Dutch doctor’s family & the downed Allied glider crew each with their own story, all built around the Battle of Scheldt, the offensive to wrest Antwerp from German control and open it up to Allied shipping.
Gritty but not bloody, violent but not OTT, it resists the temptation to descend into shock tactics but does portray well the carnage of war and the horrendous waste of human life. One wrong step in any direction and it would have spelt the end for each of the three main protagonists with numerous comrades falling by the wayside during various melees.
Cinematography is the usual dark European fare but it uses the illumination of explosions to great effect.
No big climax at the end just a carry on as you were segment that fades out with the customary what happened notes.
Didn’t recognise any of the names but then given I’m not familiar with the Dutch movie industry I didn’t expect to.
Well worth a look for war movie fans.
Movie Review #5986: NO TIME TO DIE
Umpteenth Bond outing and apparently Daniel Craig’s last after 15yrs in hot seat starting with 2006’s Casino Royale.
This is probably the best of his, although turning up in a beige suit with blue shirt and burgundy tie is not exactly in keeping with Bond style or colours. Still, the Aston Martins are there as are the usual gadgets, but have to say they are downplayed and only used sparingly.
Usual love interest is around with a few surprises in tow and the bad guy is none other than Rami Malek, of Bohemian Rhapsody fame. Usual aim of takeover/blow up/poison the world is part of the evil plan and Bond has his work cut out sorting out the messes.
He gets a few allies along the way too, including old CIA cobber Felix who seems to survive every explosion, assassination, car smash and maiming thrown his way in the various Bond movies including being mauled by a shark. But he turns up here with all his limbs intact and seemingly in need of help from gold ole 007.
Usual spectacles, car chases, island lairs, flying cars and nasties which all add to the flavour we’ve come to expect from Bond. Doesn’t disappoint but I think the next Bond needs to look to Q for a little more reinvention.
I'm a movie nut from way back with my first ever being The Hallelujah Trail from 1964. Ever since, I've been mesmerized by the giant screen, and the darkness that went on forever. Despite the infernally uncomfortable seats, (plus having to stand for God Save the Queen), I've been enticed ever since to duck into a theatre whenever I can for a few hours of escapism.