In this month’s instalment: a Charles Manson double whammy and attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion!
Opinions may vary, but here’s Richard Booth’s take on things…
In July this year, Dutch actor, and former face of Guinness, Rutger Hauer died aged 75. One of life’s greatest mysteries for me is the number of people who don’t like 1982’s Blade Runner. For me, it is simply one of the greatest movies ever made. And one of the many reasons why this is so, is Hauer, who subtly imbues lead replicant Roy Batty with a mind-blowingly complex series of emotions which come to a head in his final monologue which has rightfully gone down as one of the most famous of all time (it actually has its own Wikipedia entry!). Never has an actor managed to express words which are, essentially, gibberish with such feeling and ambiguity, leading to a glorious ending that is still debated today, not least by me with people who say they don’t like Blade Runner. See you at the Tannhäuser Gate, Rutger…
There were a couple of big birthdays in August: Firstly, Sean Connery turned 89. This is a home run for me, as not only is that a very, very pensiony age, he is also fully retired from acting. Well done Sean. Obviously, he is most famous for being the fourth best James Bond (complaints to the usual address), but he’ll always be Indiana Jones’s dad to me. And I’m not the only one thanking Mr Connery for retiring – so is anyone who saw his final live action performance in The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The other big birthday is Robert De Niro who turned 76. De Niro had the most astonishing run of quality performances in quality films throughout the 70s, 80s and early 90s, that he has been labelled the greatest actor of all time by many. His 2000s may have let him down a bit, but he seems to be making a comeback with this year’s Joker and The Irishman both looking to be worthy additions.
The biggest birthday of all though is surely Godzilla! His original appearance in 1954’s Gojira (Godzilla in Western releases) means that he hits the big 65 this year. Famously, the original film was a cautionary tale for the use of nuclear weapons, but over the years, the series has become a cautionary tale for diminishing returns and, more recently, using too much CGI. The Guinness World Records book actually recognises Godzilla as being the longest continuously running film franchise which is pretty impressive for a man in a costume.
For your viewing pleasure
At home, I recommend Netflix’s Mindhunter, which has just released series 2. This based-on-true-facts show is an interesting take on the more traditional cops and killers show. Rather than focusing on the murders themselves, it follows the FBI’s newly formed behavioural science unit trying to understand those who commit them via prison-based interviews in the 70s and 80s, and then trying to use these insights to catch more. It is a real class act, from directing to acting to script and is absolutely fascinating, albeit fairly slow if you’re looking for a more CSI-like hit. But where it does soar is during the interviews themselves. Series 2 has a doozy too, with our protagonists meeting future creepy pensioner Charles Manson in an electrifying scene which is worth the price of a Netflix subscription by itself.
Film of the month
Spookily, my film of the month is the return of Quentin Tarantino with Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, which not only also features Manson, but the exact same actor who plays him in Mindhunter, Damon Herriman. Apparently, he auditioned for and won both completely separately. Which would worry me if I was him. In truth his role here is very minor, with the focus more on his ‘family’ and newly invented composite characters like Leonardo DiCaprio’s self-involved movie star Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt’s awesome (and awesomely-named) stuntman Cliff Booth. For better or worse, nobody makes films like Tarantino, and like many of his others this will be hugely divisive; it has lots of talking, lots of scenes seemingly unlinked to anything else, and an ending far out of left field. But for my money, this is another masterpiece and comfortably his best film since the 90s.
Topics: Friday Fun