"Old age is always 15 years older than I am."
Bernard M. Baruch
THE SILVER SCREEN GAZED AT WITH PROFUNDITY
(THAT HAD BETTER MEAN "PROFOUNDLY" OR OTHERWISE I'VE MADE A BIT
OF A FOOL OF MYSELF, WHAT WITH MY STUDYING ENGLISH AND ALL)
by Richard Karsmakers
(with a guest appearance by Kev "Taffy" Davies)
I've tried to make it a habit to visit the cinema about once a
month (on discount days, though). Usually with Karin, though I
expect there will be instances when I have an uncanny urge to see
a film so gory and action-packed (that, or simply starring
Stallone or Schwarzenegger) that not a force in the world can get
Karin to join and see. For now, however, I've got a modest list
of stuff here that we went to see together. Mind you, only one of
them can be called 'romantic' in the broadest sense of the word,
and not one of them is literary. Yes, I think I have a very good
influence on her.
On with the show now. I ought to learn that I might perhaps get
away without these small introductory things between title and
first item. But, hey, you know me. I am still a bit of a verbal
diarrhoeic, so there.
Die Hard with a Vengeance
"Die Hard" and "Die Hard II" are among my (I have to confess
fairly large) list of action films I really dig. Nudging "Hard
Target" here and stepping on the toes of "True Lies", they lie
somewhere not too deep down in my memory and conveniently
resurface occasionally. As I'd seen all of them in the cinema, it
was fairly logical that I'd go and see the third instalment in
the cinema, too. John mcTiernan had returned to the director's
helm, someone who might be described to be the action film
director (then, again, so might James Cameron and a few others).
In the first part it was a skyscraper. In the second it was,
well, and airport including some airplanes. Now it's a whole
city, held in the iron grip of a vengeful brother of the guy who
got to meet the ground rather from too high a starting point in
the original "Die Hard", played by a rather OK Jeremy Hughes.
Bruce Willis has to solve all kinds of puzzles or otherwise bits
of the city get blown up. There are fairly (what?! COMPLETELY!)
amazing stunt scenes, including one where a subway train explodes
and derails right into a subway station. "Die hard with a
Vengeance" is an action rollercoaster ride that will have you
saying "ooh" and "aah" rather a bit. Bruce must be getting on,
age-wise, but you surely wouldn't say it. Samuel L. Jackson plays
his sidekick who gets drawn into the whole Simon The Bad Guy
versus John McLane The Good Copy thing. There is plenty of humour
in it, albeit a bit bitter here and there.
"Die Hard with a Vengeance" is a must-see, preferably in the
cinema so that the wealth of special effects and stunts can
envelop you totally and take you away off to 90 minutes of
Die Hard with a Vengeance
(commented upon by K. "T." D. as well)
Bruce (Willis) is back in the latest instalment of the life and
times of New York cop John Maclane, which is probably for the
best. Ever since "Die Harder" Bruce has proved that he cannot
play any role other than that of an action hero (with the
possible exception of "Pulp Fiction").
Remember "Die Hard", Hans takes over corporate building and
Willis gets very bloody trying to thwart him. You do! Great.
Well, in "Die Hard with a Vengence" you get Hans' brother Simon
(Jeremy "Why do I always play the bad guy" Irons) decides it's
time for John Maclane to pay for turning his brother into
premature pavement pizza and thus the plot, which is as weak as
that cheap beer you bought in the supermarket, begins.
Simon threatens to detonate bombs in the city unless John
Maclane (who we will now call Macca as I cannot be bothered to
write John Maclane over and over again) and Zeus (Samuel L.
Jackson), the obligitory innocent guy roped into the situation,
can fulfill tasks set for them. There are one or two, okay less
than two, notable plot twists but that, as they say, is that.
The acting is of an above-average quality for the most part, but
as ever Willis plays the part of the wise cracking cop "Macca" to
a tee while Jackson and Irons are helpless to upstage him.
However I do have slight reservations about the acting skills of
the rest of the cast, which although fair really only go to
highlight Willis' acting talents.
The Action. Oh yes the action, and is there a lot of it. You
know you're in for something special when the film starts with a
brief rendition of Joe Cockers "In the City" followed by a
department store having its front delicately removed by an
explosion the likes of which filmgoers rarely see (watch out for
the van which flies across the street into four other cars, while
flipping in mid-air; a real treat). The dam scene is also
excellent technically and visually but the explosions are really
what makes this film a cut above your average action film. I
could rave on about them for the entire review, but I won't.
This is probably THE action film of the year, miss it, and you
will miss an orgy of explosive overkill. An excellent film which
has everything going for it, a real two-hour treat. And of course
the bad guy bites the dust with those inimitable words "Yippe kiy
Er...I don't know why I never rate films whereas I *do* rate
videos. It's a silly thing, probably. Anyway, Kev does it, so why
not let it be? (ED.)
Set in Arthurian times, "First Knight" is the rather famous
story of Guinevere (played by an actress whose beauty is quite
earthly and whose name has eluded me totally - Julia Almond or
something?) and her love for both king Arthur (Sean Connery) and
Lancelot (Richard Gere). It's quite romantic and beautifully
filmed. The baddy is really bad, and Lancelot is a real hero,
from the first to the last swordfight.
Of course it's difficult to screw up a brilliant and well-known
story like this one (if you're called Guy Favriel Kay you could
even improve it immeasurably in "The Fionavar Tapestry" trilogy),
so that is exactly what didn't happen. What you get is a fairly
romantic, fairly impressive film. And the special effects (most
notably the views of Camelot) are quite awesome.
If you put aside the (non-intended?) hype about this film being
the most expensive ever - so far anyway - you will have a lot
more fun watching this film. I did. I tried hard to think of this
film as "just another action flick". Which is basically what it
is, albeit one with plenty of spectacular scenes, some impressive
scenery and a last half hour that is filled with so much
pyrotechnics that it's almost silly.
The story is as simple as it is scientifically incorrect: The
polar caps have melted and just about all the world is flooded
(in reality the world's seas would only rise by about 30 metres
if that happened). There is a rumoured bit of dry land called,
well, Dryland. But nobody knows about it. Anyway, fresh water is
awfully rare and valuable up to point of Kevin recycling his own
wee-wee. Anyway, some rather less subtle characters (lead by mass
demagogue Dennis Hopper) don't respect the rest of the world a
whole lot and that spells m-o-o-n, that spells war. Plenty of
grueling scenes, lots of pyrotechnics. Action aplenty.
The plot is kindof as thick as a one-volume bible page. There is
a bit of humour, and (but I mentioned that already) spectacular
bits. I won't spoil anything if I tell you it's got a good end
(and there's a really funny thing about a certain mammoth
tanker's name). Very enjoyable, and you really have to see this
in the cinema.
Karin summarised the whole film in one simple sentence: "It was
a good film but I wouldn't advise anyone to read the book."
This film starts off with a brilliant concept that I will leave
for you to be boggled at when seeing it. But after that, things
quickly get a bit gory and incredulous. Basically it's "Alien"
crossed with "My Stephmother is an Alien", taking place on earth.
Hell, they even hired Giger to do the alien design again, like
they did with "Alien".
The story: Somehow (I won't tell you how) an alien arrives on
earth. It's a kindof woman/alien hybrid. She's growing quick and
actually quite a babe and she wants to find someone to mate so
she can start an alien colony on earth. OK story, but the way she
acquires human taste for clothes and etiquette is a bit unreal.
Still, you're in for quite some suspense and a few impressive
special effects, especially in the sewer-and-cave scenes near the
end. Although I would never dream of classifying this is a corker
of a film, it does make your adrenalin flow a bit faster and you
do have to see it in the cinema to let the special effects
And about the ending...suffice to say that there might be a
"Species II" some day in the future.
Definitely the best film this year. A beautiful historical
romance with excellent direction and lead role by Mel Gibson, who
I am beginning to appreciate ever more. The film has gore,
fights, romance, love, and quite some humour here and there. It's
got flat-character baddies, deep-character good baddies, and mass
scenes that make "Ghandi" look like nothing much actually. And to
top it off it is basically a true story.
At about 3 hours, it's a jolly long film too. But time just
flies by incontrollably. Karin and me went to see it together,
and Karin (who is quite down-to-earth in public, usually) cried
at the end. I had to swallow clogged bits several times, too. And
I really got angry when Mel's wife got <cut>.
It's best not to say much more. As a matter of fact, you
shouldn't even read any more. Just run to whatever cinema that
still has it and make sure you get to see it on the big screen!
It might not be a tear jerker as much as "Dances with Wolves",
but there are a lot of parallels between these films. Not least
of all the fact that, like "Dances with Wolves", I think
"Braveheart" will get at least 3 or 4 Oscars next time around!
See you in the next issue, where I'll more likely
mentally meander gleefully over another few films that I may have
seen by that time.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.