Aquaman

A Middle Aged Movie Blog. Being the periodic journal of a film loving middle aged independent science fiction writing father of two and his ongoing adventures in cinema and home video

 

14/01/2019:
Visited St Helens for a boy’s day out to catch up on Aquaman (2019) aka Flash Gordon Goes Swimming, the DCU’s latest offering via Warner following the tragic demise of the disappointingly incoherent Justice League in 2017.

Directed by James Wan, of Saw (2004), Insidious (2010) and The Conjuring (2013) fame, the film is an epically enjoyable, camp, colourful, action packed spectacle, that’s a little excessive on plotting and runtime, but wonderfully realised and utterly vibrant.

One-time Game of Thrones alumni Jason Momoa is effective in the title role though his roadie-on-tour hair has more personality than the rest of his seafaring get-up combined. Still, that’s fine since Aquaman is so ineffably kitsch, trivialities such as meaningful dialogue are redundant.

The narrative is well staged with an impressive distribution of undersea creature effects and action set pieces throughout. The villains are interesting though there isn’t enough Black Manta for my liking, especially given he’s the most interesting character in the whole film.

Still, when it comes down to it, my only real gripe is a scene involving the appropriation of a boat by Aquaman, who, at a pivotal moment feels it necessary to sail out into the ocean in search of the film’s McGuffin when, apparently, he can swim faster than a crack pipe smoking dolphin.

A supporting Dolph Lundgren is welcome mostly cause of his status as a hard-bodied action legend. Further support is provided by Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

17/01/2019:
Watched Goldeneye (1995) with The Boy to introduce him to Pierce Brosnan era 007. Was pleased to confirm that the film remains a finely rendered action cartoon even if it’s slightly less traditionalist approach to the material has dated somewhat in the intervening years. Brosnan was never better in the role. The stunts are excellent throughout. The action set pieces, in particular a scene involving a high-speed tank chase, are thrilling. Sean Bean’s defective double 0, spouting lines such as “For England, James.” is a kitschy treat.
Other bonuses include the introduction of Judi Dench as M, Famke Janssen as domineering sex killer, Xenia Onatopp, she of the incredibly muscular thighs and Minnie Driver, who cameos in an early role as a hilariously tone-deaf gangster’s karaoke moll. Directed by Martin Campbell. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Famke Janssen, Judi Dench and Robbie Coltrane.

27/01/2019
After a week watching The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017) and Solo (2018) with The Boy, attended a screening of Superman (1978) at the Odeon in Manchester for a special screening to celebrate the film’s 40th anniversary year. The crowd was well behaved, my kids were well behaved, Jeff East was in attendance to introduce and a fun experience was had by all. Richard Donner’s classic still looks amazing on the big screen whilst Christopher Reeve remains the absolute apotheosis of all the Clark Kent/Superman performances to date.

I’m not ashamed to say that when the John Williams fanfare kicked in, I was close to stifling a sob. Fanboys are passionate creatures. John Williams scores, for a generation of film nerds raised in the seventies and eighties still retain their ability to rouse. The Star Wars theme and ET have this effect, as does Indiana Jones and the score for Jaws. Great to see the late Margot Kidder on the big screen in the role she was clearly born to play.

27/01/2019:

Attended the Reel to Reel in Widnes to catch a screening of Glass (2019), the third and reportedly final movie in what is now being billed as the Eastrail 177 Trilogy. The film brings together Unbreakable (2000) characters David Dunn, played by Bruce Willis, Mr. Glass played by Samuel L Jackson, and Kevin Wendell Crumb played by James McAvoy returning after his introduction in M Night Shyamalan’s low-key, multiple personality, serial-killer flick, Split released in 2016.

Though critical reviews have generally been damning, Glass is a wonderfully orchestrated, unconventional take on the genre that’s as much an ode to low budget horror fare, referencing the likes of The Exorcist III (1990) and any number of insane asylum set horror yarns from yesteryear, as it is a comic book movie about nobodies with superpowers. It is a daringly conceived rebuke against modern superhero myth making, handled with technical panache by the director, who squeezes every ounce of meta from proceedings that it’s possible to squeeze.

Yes, it has a twist ending, of sorts, and it struggles under the weight of its meta aspirations on occasion. However, stand out performances from James McAvoy and Samuel L Jackson as Mr. Glass elevate proceedings considerably.

Aquaman
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