Tag Archives: Kim Basinger

Never Say Never Again (1983) Review

never-say-never-again-1983

Never Say Never Again

Time: 134 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] 
Cast:
Sean Connery as James Bond
Klaus Maria Brandauer as Maximillian Largo
Max von Sydow as Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Barbara Carrera as Fatima Blush
Kim Basinger as Domino Petachi
Bernie Casey as Felix Leiter
Alec McCowen as “Q” Algy (Algernon)
Edward Fox as “M”
Director: Irvin Kershner

When two Tomahawk cruise missiles get stolen by SPECTRE agent Ernst Blofeld and his fellow terrorists, special agent James Bond is called to retrieve them before it detonates.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

After rewatching through all the official James Bond movies, there was another movie I wanted to get around to… that being Never Say Never Again. It was intriguing for many reasons, not only was it a Bond movie I hadn’t seen, not only was an unofficial James Bond movie, but it was also essentially a remake of Thunderball. Making it strange was that it also starred Sean Connery, who not only retired as Bond 12 years prior, but had already starred in Thunderball. This meant that in 1983, both Sean Connery and Roger Moore (for Octopussy) would both be playing James Bond. So I was curious about the movie despite its mixed reception. I wouldn’t call it a good movie but I still found a lot of enjoyment in it.

Never-Say-Never-Again-1983-featured

The plot is very similar to the original Thunderball story, nuclear warheads are stolen from US Navy by SPECTRE and use them to threaten the world with detonation. The story really isn’t the film’s strongest suit, it definitely overstays its welcome. Knowing the general plot of Thunderball beforehand does take away from NSNA’s viewing experience as it mostly goes through similar beats. The story is pretty forgettable, not that engaging and is rather uneven. I am one of the few people who didn’t like Thunderball all that much really, so the fact that Never Say Never Again is just a worse version of that film wasn’t a deal breaker for me. It is definitely more clunky and messy, but it’s not that much worse, and I had more fun with it at the very least. There are also some decent moments and aspects to the movie. The first thing that comes to mind in the movie is how old Sean Connery is and instead of trying to hide it, the movie works with it and makes Bond’s age to be a plot point. It actually acknowledges that 007 is old, which is interesting considering that Moore was three years older, yet Connery was the only actor to play an older Bond. Tonally, Never Say Never Again is a bit weird. It seems to be a merging between camp era Connery (You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever) with early Moore era (Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun). The tone is very off kilter at times, and this can contribute to the story losing focus as well as negating some of the more serious moments. However I was largely viewing the movie as a comedy, so this wasn’t too much of a problem for me. A lot of my increased enjoyment is due to the over-the-top silliness and humour (intentional or otherwise). Speaking of the humour, the movie can be quite fun. This really is the closest thing to a full on Bond comedy, and I thought it worked as that. It’s the self-awareness that made it work for me; as I mentioned earlier, it acknowledges Bond’s age. But there’s even some moments which go beyond camp and are fully self aware. Instead of a tense card game between Bond and main villain Largo, they’re competing in a dangerous Spacer Invaders computer game. Then there’s even a fight scene in the first act where Bond throws a glass of his own urine in someone’s face, you won’t see that in another Bond movie. For what it’s worth, I found Never Say Never Again to be more consistently entertaining.

78043

Sean Connery returns to play James Bond, after a 12-year absence. I will say that a lot of the humorous tone of this version probably would’ve been better handled had it been someone like Roger Moore playing him. Nonetheless, he is surprisingly sharp and his charisma is back on display, he slips back into his role with ease. He looks more invested into this compared to his last appearance in Diamonds are Forever (which read like a paycheck performance), and Never Say Never Again is ultimately a better sendoff for him. There is a self-awareness to the whole movie and Connery has that same energy too; he embraces this much older Bond with ease. Overall, I enjoyed seeing him as Bond again one more time. Being already familiar with the characters in the first Thunderball, it was interesting to see the similarities and differences with the versions. I quite liked Bernie Casey as Felix, and Rowan Atkinson is in this too as a surprise comic relief character. Max von Sydow also appears in one scene as the best Ernst Stravo Blofeld we never got to see. The Bond girls aren’t really much to ride home about. Kim Basinger is a very good actress, but her character Domino is bland like she was in the original movie. Barbara Carrera plays Fatima Blush, a very different version of Fiona Volpe from Thunderball, who is in a similar position as the henchwoman for main villain Largo. Fatima is an incredibly over the top character with a very hammy performance. Very sadistic and maniacal, she seems more like Xenia Onatopp from Goldeneye than Fiona Volpe, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Fatima was an inspiration for that character. However, the standout performance of the movie is that of the main villain. Klaus Maria Brandauer plays Maximilian Largo (who was called Emilio Largo in the Thunderball movie). Brandauer is distinctly different from Adolfo Celi from the original Thunderball. He’s not nearly as recognisable with his appearance, but he’s better in just about every way. Instead of a coldly menacing man with an eye patch, this Largo is a young, smiling and unhinged megalomaniac. He goes from being calm and charming in one scene to flying into rage in another. By the end of the movie, he goes into wacky 80s villain territory and is a delight to watch. At the same time, there is this human element to him, with him being insecure and jealous. He’s genuinely interesting to watch, and almost feels more like a Craig era Bond villain more than a Connery era one. One of the highlights of the movie for sure.

Never-Say-Never-Again-1983-13

Interestingly, Never Say Never Again is directed by Irvin Kershner, his work here isn’t great but is decent enough. It definitely misses certain classic James Bond trademarks like the Gunbarrel sequence in the opening due to copyright, which is understandable. However even beyond that, on a technical level it isn’t on the same level as the previous Bond movies. The visuals really aren’t anything special, it certainly looks subpar compared to pretty much every movie in the official series. It sounds nothing like a Bond movie, from the soundtrack to the sound effects. The title theme song and the score from Michel Legrand just feel really out of place here. However, the action was quite entertaining and solid. It is a balance between the action of the 60s Bond movies and the action from the 80s. The underwater sequences aren’t that good but there are mercifully less of them compared to Thunderball. Not to mention, those scenes have actual speed and dynamism and so are fun to watch instead of feeling sluggish and dull.

Never-Say-Never-Again-1983-4

I would not call this one of the best James Bond movies by any means, in fact it would probably place in the bottom third. I can understand why a lot of people don’t like it; its very messy from the writing to the direction. I do think a lot of my enjoyment was with the mindset and headspace I had going into it. I treated this as a Bond comedy, and it was enjoyable as that. I certainly wouldn’t recommend watching this before Thunderball, but NSNA was interesting to watch, especially when it came to seeing the differences between the versions. However, even outside of that, there are a lot of aspects I enjoyed. Some of the supporting cast are good, including a superior version of Largo. The action is entertaining, the offbeat tone made it entertaining, and Sean Connery was fun to watch as James Bond, with the film giving him a better sendoff compared to the official one 12 years earlier. Again, Never Say Never Again is not a good movie, but I enjoyed it for what it was.

Fifty Shades Darker (2017) Review

Time: 113 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Sex scenes & offensive language.
Cast:
Dakota Johnson as Anastasia ‘Ana’ Steele
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
Eric Johnson as Jack Hyde
Eloise Mumford as Katherine “Kate” Kavanagh
Bella Heathcote as Leila Williams
Rita Ora as Mia Grey
Luke Grimes as Elliot Grey
Victor Rasuk as José Rodriguez
Kim Basinger as Elena Lincoln
Marcia Gay Harden as Grace Trevelyan-Grey
Director: James Foley

When a wounded Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) tries to entice a cautious Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) back into his life, she demands a new arrangement before she will give him another chance. As the two begin to build trust and find stability, shadowy figures from Christian’s past start to circle them, determined to destroy their hopes for a future together.

full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Full disclosure, I knew this movie was going to be horrendous before going in. 2 years ago I watched and reviewed Fifty Shades of Grey which was one of the worst movies of 2015 (second only to Hot Pursuit). And its sequel is one of the worst movies of 2017, no surprise here. Everything from the first movie is here, bland acting, an uninteresting story, random “erotic” sex scenes, you name it. There might be some hilariously bad moments here but its not really enough to warrant watching the whole movie.

I’ll just get the obvious out of the way: like the first movie, it’s based off erotica which was basically Twilight fan fiction, the plot is uninteresting and non-existent, the romance is terrible, there are random sex scenes that are somehow boring, basically most of what made the first Fifty Shades movie so terrible is here. In the first movie, the first half was kind of funny, whereas the second half was unbearingly boring. Here with Darker, it’s a mix of the two. I will say it’s not quite as boring as Fifty Shades of Grey but it’s not really that interesting or entertaining either. I will say that there is more going on, but it doesn’t count for much when it’s impossible to care about it all. The main thing happening is the romance, which was poorly done, nothing different from the previous movie. There is a bunch of subplots, one involves a former submissive of Christian who is stalking him and Anastasia (that comes and goes and disappears), there’s this subplot about Anastasia’s stalker boss (Eric Johnson) that’s pointless and completely random and there’s a subplot of Christian and Kim Basinger’s character which only is present a few points in the story, there’s a whole lot of parts that don’t matter. There is particularly a scene involving a helicopter which is so hilariously pointless and serves no purpose to the plot and lasts for 5 minutes. In fact it is worth noting that there is also some unintentionally hilarious moments, with the random things that happen. I didn’t hate this movie as much as the previous movie, probably because I knew what to expect. Aside from that, this movie is pretty much the same, that being utterly horrendous on pretty much every level.

The two leads, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan like in the previous movie were bland and lack any kind of chemistry. I can’t even blame them for their performances, they don’t have good material to work with. There are no notable supporting performances, I do wonder why Kim Basinger was in this movie, she does play I guess a significant part but she’s only in a few scenes.

Fifty Shades Darker this time is directed by James Foley who directed Glengarry Glen Ross, and know his direction doesn’t elevate the movie particularly. It is around the same level as the first movie, fine enough but some aspects are quite bad. The sex scenes are like the first movie’s, for the most part it’s just cliché Hollywood sex scenes that try to be seem kinky and it feels more boring than actually erotic. The music in here honestly makes many of the scenes hilarious, it has countless amount of cheesy pop songs, it almost feels like a parody, especially when its being played during the sex scenes.

Fifty Shades Darker is pretty much the same as the first movie with some slight differences, with it having unintentional hilarious moments and its not quite as boring but it is still as bad. But I can say that on its own, its awful. Fortunately this trilogy ends next year, so we don’t have to wait too long for this to all be over.

The Nice Guys (2016) Review

large_f5d40ad5a4c731767de1ada21b613b6f-77685f64a7a8955b9cc13e0aeb4fc0b5-niceguys[1]

The Nice Guys

Time: 116 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Contains Violence, Nudity, Sex Scenes & Offensive Language
Cast:
Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy
Ryan Gosling as Holland March
Angourie Rice as Holly March
Matt Bomer as John Boy
Margaret Qualley as Amelia Kutner
Murielle Telio as Misty Mountains
Keith David as Older Guy
Kim Basinger as Judith Kutner
Director: Shane Black

Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a down-on-his-luck private eye in 1977 Los Angeles. Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a hired enforcer who hurts people for a living. Fate turns them into unlikely partners after a young woman named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) mysteriously disappears. Healy and March soon learn the hard way that some dangerous people are also looking for Amelia. Their investigation takes them to dark places as anyone else who gets involved in the case seems to wind up dead.

Score after first viewing:
full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Score after second viewing:
full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1]

The main reason that I was interested in this movie was the people involved, that being Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe and director Shane Black. Shane Black is a very talented director, who created the underrated Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and of course, Gosling and Crowe are very great actors. Having seen it now, I am so happy to say that The Nice Guys is one of my favourite films of the year so far. The great direction, entertaining and committed acting (particularly from Crowe and Gosling) is topped off by a fantastic screenplay, making this a must see film.

aEMBBMuK3BhKIuFu7iFSTXC41Bi[1]

Shane Black is an incredible writer and director, so it’s no surprise that the script for The Nice Guys is absolutely fantastic. And as you probably could tell by now, this movie is hilarious, all the jokes hit, and they hit hard. In retrospect it’s a dark comedy and the tone need to be balanced out well and it really was. The dialogue is on point, well suited for every character. The mystery is actually intriguing as well, so it’s not just a fun and entertaining watch, it’s interesting to watch these characters unravel the mystery.

the-nice-guys-movie[1]

Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are the main stars of the movie and are absolutely fantastic. It would be so easy for the dynamic between them to be similar to other buddy cop movies, where two guys who are vastly different, who don’t like each other are for whatever reason paired together. These characters aren’t complete opposites of each other (they are just a little different from each other), they work together well, both are clearly capable at what they do, and so the characters aren’t clichéd and the movie doesn’t follow some of the clichés that a lot of similar movies do. Somehow most the other characters are also memorable. The biggest showstealer for me however was Angourie Rice, who plays Ryan Gosling’s daughter, she was absolutely fantastic. Her character is the smart kid who’s often trying to help the main leads and even though this character is done hundreds of times before, it’s not written in a clichéd way and she sells this character as being quite capable.

7eebfc9d7e484d2c9e375c58eca43d68[1]

The action was surprisingly great, very appropriately filmed as if it was in the 70s. The cinematography was quite great and beautiful. The production design was ripped straight out of the 70s, the time period is very easy to buy. This film really feels like it could’ve been filmed in the 70s, just with better film stock. I have no idea if that was Black’s intention, but if it was, major props to him.

prime-immagini-ufficiali-per-the-nice-guys[1]

The Nice Guys is one of the best movies I’ve seen in 2016. Everything from the script, to the direction and the acting (especially from Crowe and Gosling) is done perfectly. I definitely recommend that you see this movie, especially if you have a love of film, it’s entertaining, it’s smartly written, it’s absolutely fantastic.

Batman (1989) Review

burton_galeria_23082013[1]

Batman

Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Jack Nicholson as Jack Napier/The Joker
Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale
Robert Wuhl as Alexander Knox
Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon
Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent
Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth
Jack Palance as Carl Grissom
Director: Tim BurtonIn Gotham City, a dark knight known as Batman (Michael Keaton) helps to defeat evil and keep the city’s citizens safe. When Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) is transformed into the evil Joker, he promises to take over Gotham City. It is up to Batman to stop him in his tracks before it is too late.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

With Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy being one of the most well-known comic book adaptations of Batman, it’s easy to forget where it started (not including Adam West). Tim Burton’s Batman had an immense impact on many things, culture, superhero movies and movies in general. It still does hold up to this day and even though I like Christopher Nolan’s trilogy more, Batman is still a great film that is worth watching by everyone.

1989-michael-keaton--1399x900[1]

First, what should be mentioned is the differences between Burton’s and Nolan’s take on the Caped Crusader. This film starts out with Batman already existing in Gotham City, we don’t see an origin story of how Bruce Wayne became him. We do eventually learn about his past later on but we don’t learn about it in the order of a usual origins story. It actually shows how The Joker became how he is, whereas the roles are reversed in the Dark Knight Trilogy (Batman is really Joker Begins as opposed to Batman Begins). I like how they showed Batman’s origins in Batman Begins more, but this version works quite well. One other great thing is the tone used, it was a darker sort of movie than most superhero movies at that time (like Superman) and it was really a changer for superhero movies. Batman also has the right around of dark comedy infused (mostly with The Joker), which is something that Tim Burton is mostly good at.

batman-michael-keaton[1]

Michael Keaton was really good as Batman, he is able to play both Bruce Wayne and Batman, which is also something every actor needs to do with every superhero character; they need to be able to play both the person with and without the mask. We don’t see as much of Wayne’s past and he manages to act mysteriously with subtlety. Jack Nicholson was fantastic in the role of The Joker. He is really funny, gleefully evil and he absolutely steals every scene he’s in. It’s like they took The Joker directly out of the comics. Now in comparison to Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight, Nicholson’s performance isn’t as realistic or scary, but it doesn’t take away from his enjoyable and entertaining performance. Other actors like Kim Basinger and Michael Gough are also great in their roles.

4223400-batmanreview-pic-2[1]

The look of the film is dark; particularly the set designs such as the city and they suit the movie, Tim Burton can always be trusted to at least get the look right and he does so with flying colours. The action was also pretty good, they aren’t really comparable to modern movies, but back in the days you didn’t really get action scenes like these. The soundtrack by Danny Elfman also suits the tone; it’s dark and brooding and very suitable for the movie.

batman_logo_desktop_1920x1080_hd-wallpaper-910704[1]

Apart from the first two Superman movies, no other superhero movies in the 70s and 80s really succeeded in being really great films. Even though I prefer Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy in terms of Batman adaptions and comic book movies in general, Batman is still a big part of the history of superhero movies and should be given credit. It is visually great with an interesting story and great acting from everyone. Batman is in my opinion Tim Burton’s best movie and it’s played a significant part in film history.

L.A. Confidential (1997)

5142-0[1]

L.A. Confidential

Time: 138 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Violence
Cast:
Kevin Spacey as Jack Vicennes
Russell Crowe as Bud White
Guy Pearce as Ed Exley
James Cromwell as Dudley Smith
Kim Basinger as Lynn Bracken
Danny DeVito as Sid Hudgens
Director: Curtis Hanson

In 1950’s Los Angeles, someone’s killing imprisoned mob boss Mickey Cohen’s gang. After some shotgun slayings of the patrons at an all-night diner, three very different cops are all after the truth, each in their own style: Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), the golden boy of the police force, willing to do almost anything to get ahead, except sell out; Bud White (Russell Crowe), ready to break the rules to seek justice, but barely able to keep his raging violence under control; and Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), always looking for celebrity and a quick buck until his conscience drives him to join Exley and White down the one-way path to find the truth behind the dark world of L.A. crime.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1]

L.A. Confidential is the best representation of 1950s Los Angeles I’ve seen in film. It is also a magnificent movie with a brilliant script, stellar performances, great production designs and countless other things that make a great movie so great. It is truly one of the best movies of the 1990s and one of the greatest films of all time.

la-confidential-guy-pearce[1]

The writing of this movie is absolutely perfect, it is always entertaining from start to finish, and every piece of dialogue is constructed flawlessly to suit the characters, along with fitting the era of the 50s as well. The story is very interesting and takes many twists and turns as it progresses. It also successfully shows these three main characters and the ways they go around serving justice. The screenplay rightfully earned the Oscar for best screenplay adapted from a source, the book written by James Ellroy, which I haven’t read yet.

laconfidentialbdcap2_original[1]

All the actors do the roles very well, especially in portraying the type of characters they play. Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe and Kevin Spacey play the main characters and are absolutely excellent. As I said above, they have different ways of serving justice, as well as having different personalities. This film brought to audiences the attention of Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe; this brought them to huge success and kicked their careers off. Along with those three excellent performances, the film also has some other great performances from actors like Kim Basinger, James Cromwell and Danny Devito. The most surprisingly thing is that apart from Kim Basinger, no one here got any Oscar nominations for acting, but then again, great performances don’t always get Oscar nominations, we’ve seen this happen in the past.

la3[1]

The cinematography is decent but special credit should go to the people making the sets. The setting of Los Angeles in the 1950s is perfectly recreated here. The locations and the music are very convincing of the time period. The soundtrack particularly, which was composed by Jerry Goldsmith was absolutely perfect for the mood and vibe that the film was going for. The editing brought everything together and made the film even more enjoyable to watch.

l-a-confidential-1997[1]

L.A. Confidential has everything I ask for in a movie, it is engaging, it has actors successfully portraying their characters and it has a brilliant script. There wasn’t really anything that I could think of which I disliked in this film, nor was there any scene that felt out of place. I actually feel that at the Oscars, this film deserved the best picture award, Titanic was a pretty good movie; however I still personally find that L.A. Confidential deserved it more, not that the Oscars necessarily matter. I strongly recommend you check this movie out as soon as you can. It is a fantastic film that ever since watching it for the first time, has made my list of favourite movies of all time.

P.S. A reminder that until December, I will likely not be able to post many reviews due to exams.