After saying goodbye to 1968, I kicked off a run of 1978 movies last night with the original Halloween film. The absolute star of this movie is the fantastic soundtrack by Carpenter — that iconic theme is just as good now as it ever was, and its use really does make it feel like it’s an integral part of the Meyers character. As for the rest of the film, sure, there’s a lot of silliness (why does she keep dropping that damn knife after using it), and the audio dubbing is at times atrocious, but it was pretty fun to watch, and I’m glad I’ve gotten this refresher ahead of the release of the new Halloween film this year, that’s a direct sequel to this (with Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role, as well as the actor who played the original Michael Meyers). I really hope the same audio cues show up as well.
Last week’s Hitchcock film was Topaz, which I think is a much better spy thriller than Torn Curtain. I quite like this movie, and it shows just how diverse Hitchcock could be — we celebrate him as the “Master of Suspense,” but I think he covers quite a few genres, and is just as good at comedy too (not in this movie, but just in general). Well worth watching.
The latest movie marathon I was doing was for 1968, and although I had initially told myself I’d do 10 movies, I’ve decided to stop after 7, which are all listed below (and can found collected here). There were still a few movies I would have watched, like Bullit (which I admittedly had already re-visited a few years ago), Yellow Submarine, and Barbarella, but I’ve had a hard time getting in the mood to watch them, so I think it’s better that I just move on to something else. Next stop: 1978.
I had the original game on PS3 and never managed to play more than about 4 hours or so. I kept telling myself that I’d go back and play more, but as much as I loved the Uncharted series, this game just didn’t really speak to me — I wasn’t really into the drab post-apocalyptic city setting, or playing a zombie game. And so that was that, and I sorta forgot about it. But it’s a game that kept getting mentioned all the time as a classic, which happened even more once they officially announced the sequel. I kept telling myself I should try revisiting it, and eventually picked up the Remastered edition on PS4 during a sale. But again, I had a hard time pushing myself to play it. I don’t know what got over me last week, but I finally decided to give it a go, and wow, I’m sure glad I did. I ended up playing through it in about 3 sittings, a couple of them being 5+ hour sessions. I did need to get through more than half of the game before I really got sucked in — pretty much around the time you skip from summer to fall — but from then on I was absolutely hooked (I especially loved the winter period). What I especially liked in the second half is that it started feeling less like a zombie game, and more like a story about these two people encountering various challenges — and the fact that the outdoor setting started becoming so varied was very welcomed as well. I do feel a bit uncomfortable about how things ended — I don’t support at all Joel’s decision, or the way he handles it (by killing everyone around him) — but it doesn’t take away from the rest of the enjoyment I had for the game. I do plan on playing the sequel, and just hope it’s not just the killfest we’ve seen so far.
So yeah, I finally watched this, and gotta say that although it has some fun moments, I much preferred Black Panther in terms of Marvel movies. Most of my favorite moments involved the Guardians of the Galaxy — not surprising considering how much I enjoy those movies — and outside of the big action sequences, I found myself bored by a lot of the character moments. And as much as I like Cumberbatch as an actor, I still don’t like his portrayal of Doctor Strange, and so all scenes with him were a bit annoying for me. And that ending. The fact that so many of the heroes “disappear” pretty much takes away all urgency — there’s no way they would permanently kill off so many of them. And sure, they wanted to end with a strong impact, but to end that way felt disappointing to me, and really made it feel like just half a movie — and sure, I know that’s what it is, but I can’t help feel unsatisfied. I’m not saying it’s an awful movie, it has its thrilling moments (like the kick-ass Thor coming in to the battle) but I don’t think it should be as feted as it has been (and for the record, I’m not a big fan of the previous Avengers movies either).
Last week’s Hitchcock film was this one, which is another one of my favorites. Based on a play, I do love the constrained setting — not as extreme as Rope — and the interactions between the characters is really thrilling to watch.
Continuing with my Sunday night Hitchcock revisit, a couple of weeks ago I watched what is possibly my favorite Hitchcock film — and it’s one of the reasons I waited so long to watch it, since I’ve seen it so many times. It’s a masterpiece in terms of construction and execution, and the frequent no-dialogue storytelling — as we follow the action in the various dwellings through only the peek of the camera — is a joy to watch.
As I just wrote, after finishing the Rebels series I decided to go back and finish watching The Clone Wars. I did like that series, but for some reason had only watched the first 2-3 seasons. I picked up in the second half of season 3, which I’ve now finished, and I’m liking it quite a bit — and it was especially interesting to watch the sequence of episodes that involved the three Force users that we see on the temple wall towards the end of Rebels. I prefer the aesthetic of The Clone Wars over Rebels, as it uses a more realistic look in terms of style and lighting, and more defined features on the characters, and more detailed vehicles. Seeing as how I’m enjoying going through the remaining seasons, I’m now that much more excited that we’re going to get an extra season.
I recently got around to watching the fourth and final season of Star Wars Rebels. I can’t say I was super crazy about the series in general, but enjoyed certain sections of it — basically, anything that involved the return of Ahsoka Tano, my favorite Star Wars character. Since finishing it, I went back to watching The Clone Wars, which I had never watched in its entirety, and I’m now also realizing that I much preferred the look of that series, more than the slightly simplified/cartoony aesthetic they used on Rebels. I also didn’t really like most of the characters, especially their design — Sabine Wren would be the exception. So overall, I had fun watching most of it, but can’t say that I really loved it, and so I’m not sad at all that it ended. I am quite looking forward to seeing what Star Wars: Resistance (the upcoming series) will be like.
After re-watching the entire Mission: Impossible series last week, I was primed to watch Fallout, especially because of the incredible critical acclaim it was getting. I was not disappointed, and I’m so glad I went to see it in IMAX, because the jaw-dropping stunts and action sequences were an absolute joy to see on a screen that big. It’s maybe too early to say where I would rank it with the other films, but it’s certainly tops for me (equal to the first one and third one), and has the best and most exciting action sequences of the series. And man, no one runs in a movie like Tom Cruise, you gotta hand that to him. Exciting, thrilling, great characters, beautiful and complex set pieces to take in, this had it all. I also really liked how it tied into so many story threads from the previous movies. It really does wrap things up nicely, but at the same time, seeing as how good this was, I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing Cruise do a few more of these.