Islands, Iranians and Us: movies viewed

CUTTHROAT ISLAND (1995) was Geena Davis’ other action movie, in which she plays a pirate captain’s daughter racing her murderous uncle (Frank Langella) for the treasure horde buried on the eponymous, not-on-any-map island. This is enjoyable, and Langella does a great job glowering in his role, but the story isn’t as compelling as Long Kiss Goodnight. A bigger problem is casting Matthew Modine as the likeable thief forced into an alliance with Davis; his performance feels very contemporary and nowhere near enough of a charming rogue. “Yes, that’s right — I took your balls.”

Reading Five Came Back, got me curious to watch John Ford’s documentary THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY (1942) which through the sheer luck of having Ford and his team on-site included the kind of combat footage film-goers had never seen before. Watching it in 2019 the most striking thing is utter disorder and randomness — there’s no individual hero to focus on, no clear objective or direction to the battle, just lots of stuff getting blown up, fire and smoke, and American soldiers firing back. Worth seeing; image is by U.S. Navy, via National Geographic.

Curiously, the DVD copy for the Iranian heist film CORRUPT HANDS (2000) — or Corrupted Hands, depending on the source — compares it to Raising Arizona and Take the Money at Run when it’s closer in its downbeat tone to Asphalt Jungle. Two brothers and their respective wife and ex-wife rip off a rich couple’s wedding (“These are the kind of people who go shopping decked out in gold.”) only to have everything fall apart due to mistrust, an unexpectedly honest girlfriend and an aging thug who wants a cut. Good, and it’s always fascinating to see Iranians from their own perspective, concerned with their own lives (why, the characters go the entire movie without once discussing how they hate the Great Satan!). “Tax her in the dark! Tax her in the dark!”

US (2019) is Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out!, starring Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide, a woman traumatized in childhood by encountering her doppelganger in a funhouse. Years later, the duppelganger turns up with a family that’s a distorted reflection of Adelaide’s own. And of course, there can be only one … Very creepy, and very violent, with a very bizarre backstory when we finally learn it (I think it works, but it almost doesn’t). TYG liked it too. “The shadow child had toys so sharp and cold that they cut her fingers when she played with them.”

And a note that I rewatched Terror of Dr. Mabuse before posting an article on the film to Atomic Junkshop. I discovered in the process that it actually works as a l0w-budget crime thriller and not as a remake of Testament of Dr. Mabuse. “Why my dear Inspector Lohman, you’re the patient.”

#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.


Filed under Movies

4 responses to “Islands, Iranians and Us: movies viewed

  1. Pingback: Watching movies in South Carolina | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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