The lost city – a review

For a long time, I had a number of favorite actresses whose films I would never miss.

Meg Ryan
Sandra Bullock
Julia Stiles
Jeri Ryan

With Covid restricting everything movie-related, it has been a long, long time since anyone had been in a movie.

Meg Ryan by all accounts has disappeared, and after Riviera, I’ve patiently been waiting for the next Julia Stiles project. This is coming in June this year. Jeri Ryan has returned to star in Star Trek Picard, which has been keeping me entertained.

But with the possibility of seeing Sandra Bullock in TV series very remote, it’s been a long wait for the next feature, and after a few earlier release dates that didn’t happen, it finally made it.

And filled with enthusiasm, driven by the promo I was hoping for great things.

OK, the first few minutes are not exactly attention-grabbing, unless you’re attracted to wig-wearing book cover models acting strangely, or expect a middle-aged woman would want to wear a pink glittery jumpsuit to a serious interview.

Unless there was a reason, and I missed it.

However, that puzzlement is over once we’re introduced to the nice bad guy, a brilliantly played by Daniel Radcliffe, who certainly is no longer Harry Potter, and thank God for that.

From that point on, while definitely forgetting about pink jumpsuits or stereotyping book cover models, we join the ride.

There are a few leaps of faith, like her being almost an archaeologist in her own right, something not made very clear, but it’s forgivable because you need to have a few unexpected things coming out of left field to keep you on the edge of your seat.

I won’t say the end was like those that other famous or infamous archeologists conjured up being surrounded by Nazis and other assorted bad guys, but seeing the nice but evil Radcliff being dragged away was good enough.

As for the inevitable treasure that is expected to be found, well, there is a treasure, but what it is will surprise you.

The lost city – a review

For a long time, I had a number of favorite actresses whose films I would never miss.

Meg Ryan
Sandra Bullock
Julia Stiles
Jeri Ryan

With Covid restricting everything movie-related, it has been a long, long time since anyone had been in a movie.

Meg Ryan by all accounts has disappeared, and after Riviera, I’ve patiently been waiting for the next Julia Stiles project. This is coming in June this year. Jeri Ryan has returned to star in Star Trek Picard, which has been keeping me entertained.

But with the possibility of seeing Sandra Bullock in TV series very remote, it’s been a long wait for the next feature, and after a few earlier release dates that didn’t happen, it finally made it.

And filled with enthusiasm, driven by the promo I was hoping for great things.

OK, the first few minutes are not exactly attention-grabbing, unless you’re attracted to wig-wearing book cover models acting strangely, or expect a middle-aged woman would want to wear a pink glittery jumpsuit to a serious interview.

Unless there was a reason, and I missed it.

However, that puzzlement is over once we’re introduced to the nice bad guy, a brilliantly played by Daniel Radcliffe, who certainly is no longer Harry Potter, and thank God for that.

From that point on, while definitely forgetting about pink jumpsuits or stereotyping book cover models, we join the ride.

There are a few leaps of faith, like her being almost an archaeologist in her own right, something not made very clear, but it’s forgivable because you need to have a few unexpected things coming out of left field to keep you on the edge of your seat.

I won’t say the end was like those that other famous or infamous archeologists conjured up being surrounded by Nazis and other assorted bad guys, but seeing the nice but evil Radcliff being dragged away was good enough.

As for the inevitable treasure that is expected to be found, well, there is a treasure, but what it is will surprise you.

‘Jungle Cruise’ – a review

Having gone on several of the Disney rides in locations other than in the US, I had no first-hand knowledge of what it might be like.

That aside, I have had a wealth of old movie viewing to fuel my imagination for what to expect, and those experiences didn’t let me down. Hollywood’s vision of the jungle has not changed much in the last 50 odd years.

And, with the Humphrey Bogart classic, The African Queen, firmly planted in the back of my mind, and this latest venture set in the same period, I was ready for anything the jungle could throw at me.

In this outing, the premise is a treasure hunt, not for actual treasure, but a life saving flower that grows on a tree somewhere in the jungle. Adventurers have been seeking it for many centuries, including a hapless expedition of Spaniards.

It was, as it should be, the stuff of legends.

We have all the usual suspects, man eating natives, poison darts, killer creatures including lots of snakes (and I hate snakes), rapids and waterfalls. And, yes, there’s the boat being saved at the last second from going over the edge. I had to wonder if that was a ‘feature’ of the ride in reality.

Visually, the jungle never looked better. If indeed, it was the actual jungle.

Like ‘The Mummy’ there is the hapless brother providing the comic light relief, and, I have to say, he did it quite well.

There is the strong willed, self-sufficient woman ready to face any danger, well, just about everything, except for one simple fear, for which it seems all superheroes have that makes them human.

And the fact she wears pants is the running gag.

Then there’s the Skipper, not the captain, of the boat, who needs no introduction. Oddly though, he drives the boat like it’s an instalment of Fast and Furious. And for those who remember a kangaroo called Skippy, will not be surprised by the heroines retort when he calls her ‘pants’.

Of course, it would not be as exciting if there wasn’t the archetypal baddie and being set around the time of the first world war, it had to be a German who is seeking the ‘prize’ in order to win the war for Germany. It was played with just about the right amount of dripping menace.

For light-hearted entertainment, and one of the better two hours I’ve spent in a movie theatre, there are, surprisingly, a few twists and turns you don’t expect.

Then there is an obvious rapport between the two leads, sometimes missing in stories like these, but their relationship didn’t get in the way of reaching the satisfactory conclusion.

All in all, it was one of the more entertaining films I’ve seen in a while, one where at the end, I found myself wanting more. Perhaps it will be like Pirates of the Caribbean, and we’ll get to go on another ‘cruise’.

Using Hollywood as a source of inspiration

I’m not one for writing Western, I’ll leave the honours for that to Louis L’Amore, whose acquaintence I made when I saw How The West Was Won on the big screen, then read the book.

That led to reading a few more by Zane Grey, but it was not in the reading of the stories, but in the visual splendour of the west depicted in these films that made the actors almost secondary.

But my interest in watching Westerns had been fuelled by the fact my parents watched them on TV, though back on those days, they were in black and white, and starred John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Alan Ladd and, later on, Clint Eastwood among a great may others.

But the mainstay of my interest in the archetypal Western centred on John Wayne whose movies may have almost the same plot line, just a substitution of actors and locations.

Often it was not so much that John Wayne was in it, but the actors he surrounded himself with, like Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Walter Brennan, and Robert Mitcham, all of whom made the experience all the better.

Films like The Sons of Katie Elder, True Grit, Rio Bravo, and El Dorado.

Who can forget the vast open spaces, the dry dusty stresses lines with wooden buildings and endless walkways that substituted for footpaths. Bars in hotels, rooms overlookinf street, havens for sharpshooters, when bad guys outnumbers the good guys, and typically the sherrif who always faced insurmountable odds.

Or the attacks staged by Indians who were routinely killed, in fact there was not one film I saw where they ended up winning any battle. Only in recent years did they get a more sympathetic role, one film that comes to mind Soldier Blue, which may have painted then as savages, but a possible reason why they ended up so.

But for those without Indians, there were plenty of others whose intentions were anything but for the good of the settlers.

A lot of films ended in the classic gun fight. High Noon, 3:10 to Yuma are two, or where the story led to gun fights between good and bad in unlikely places like El Dorado or Rio Bravo.

There are countless others I could name, like Shane, or became to be called, the spaghetti westerns with Clint Eastwood, or last but not least, The Magnificent Seven, or Once Upon a time in the west.

All have contributed to a picture in my mind of how the American West was, fearsome men, beleaguered sheriffs, people with good intentions, and those driven by greed and power. All of this playing out in the harshest of conditions where life and death could be determined by a wrong word or a stray bullet.

And let’s not forget the role of the guns, Colt, Winchester, Remington. And Smith and Wesson, and the gunslingers of the day. Some were good, most according to the film world were bad.

So, against the lifelong interest of watching and reading about the archetypal view of the old West, shall I attempt to put pen to paper. Thank God it will be a work of fiction, because I don’t think there’s many who knew what it was really like.

Using Hollywood as a source of inspiration

I’m not one for writing Western, I’ll leave the honours for that to Louis L’Amore, whose acquaintence I made when I saw How The West Was Won on the big screen, then read the book.

That led to reading a few more by Zane Grey, but it was not in the reading of the stories, but in the visual splendour of the west depicted in these films that made the actors almost secondary.

But my interest in watching Westerns had been fuelled by the fact my parents watched them on TV, though back on those days, they were in black and white, and starred John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Alan Ladd and, later on, Clint Eastwood among a great may others.

But the mainstay of my interest in the archetypal Western centred on John Wayne whose movies may have almost the same plot line, just a substitution of actors and locations.

Often it was not so much that John Wayne was in it, but the actors he surrounded himself with, like Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Walter Brennan, and Robert Mitcham, all of whom made the experience all the better.

Films like The Sons of Katie Elder, True Grit, Rio Bravo, and El Dorado.

Who can forget the vast open spaces, the dry dusty stresses lines with wooden buildings and endless walkways that substituted for footpaths. Bars in hotels, rooms overlookinf street, havens for sharpshooters, when bad guys outnumbers the good guys, and typically the sherrif who always faced insurmountable odds.

Or the attacks staged by Indians who were routinely killed, in fact there was not one film I saw where they ended up winning any battle. Only in recent years did they get a more sympathetic role, one film that comes to mind Soldier Blue, which may have painted then as savages, but a possible reason why they ended up so.

But for those without Indians, there were plenty of others whose intentions were anything but for the good of the settlers.

A lot of films ended in the classic gun fight. High Noon, 3:10 to Yuma are two, or where the story led to gun fights between good and bad in unlikely places like El Dorado or Rio Bravo.

There are countless others I could name, like Shane, or became to be called, the spaghetti westerns with Clint Eastwood, or last but not least, The Magnificent Seven, or Once Upon a time in the west.

All have contributed to a picture in my mind of how the American West was, fearsome men, beleaguered sheriffs, people with good intentions, and those driven by greed and power. All of this playing out in the harshest of conditions where life and death could be determined by a wrong word or a stray bullet.

And let’s not forget the role of the guns, Colt, Winchester, Remington. And Smith and Wesson, and the gunslingers of the day. Some were good, most according to the film world were bad.

So, against the lifelong interest of watching and reading about the archetypal view of the old West, shall I attempt to put pen to paper. Thank God it will be a work of fiction, because I don’t think there’s many who knew what it was really like.

When products are rushed to market

If it was a car, or plane, or something else, it would have the consumer protection agencies up in arms, but because we are in the middle of a pandemic, still, it seems anything goes.

But let’s be very clear about one very important point, I am not an anti vaxxer, nor do I think vaccines, and particularly those that save lives of potential Covid victims, should be ignored.

If anything, if a vaccine is available, take it.  The evidence overwhelmingly suggests it will save your life.

My commentary is mostly about the side effects, and the long term efficacy, and particularly in relation my own case.

I’m not a doctor, but I can read, and have a modicum of understanding statistics, and if the data we are being given is correct, there is a small area of concern for an even smaller percentage of the population.

Firstly, I don’t believe the vaccines have been properly, or sufficiently tested on people like me.  I can understand why the drug companies wouldn’t because if a large percentage of us were adversely affected, it would affect credibility.

Instead, there are ‘recommendations’, and in my case, it is to have the Astra Venica vaccine simply because I’m over 65.  Personally if anything can go wrong with me, it will, so I figure I’ll get the Phizer vaccine, only my age group cannot have it.

It’s for those under 65.

But even that’s not my real concern.

What bothers me is the number of Governments and people who believe once a certain percentage of the population is vaccinated, everything will go back to normal.

The evidence we are reading every day proves otherwise.

Vaccinated or not, you can carry the virus and pass it on. Sure, at the moment, if you are vaccinated, you should not be hospitalised, but even that does not seem to be the case. Vaccinated people are also getting very ill, and worse, dying.

Is it because they have not had it for long enough to build up an immunity, or is it because, and I heard this report the other day, because the vaccine does not stir up a immune response in certain people, and therefore leaves them vulnerable.

Or is it happening to those who’ve had the vaccine for over six months and it’s effectiveness is waning, hence the release of the news that drug companies are working on booster shots.

Or is it simply the case that everyone conveniently forgot to mention that viruses evolve, and only get worse, more intense, and more resistant to the anti viral vaccines over time. Look at our current anti biotic delimma where they are all but useless for certain bugs.

Someone said we pulled off a miracle creating a vaccine in such a short time, but that vaccine was for early versions of the virus. As the virus evolves, and why real vaccines take years to develop is the fact they have time to observe these changes and incorporate the remedy.

In this case we are playing catchup, and by the number of cases and outbreaks all over the world, we are losing the battle.

I’ll be getting the vaccine, my choice not theirs, when it’s available, but I fear that is not going to be enough.

I don’t know much about the Greek alphabet, but I do know Delta is bad. What then will be the situation by the time we reach Omega.

I earnestly suggest you do not watch the Charlton Heston movie version of ‘The Omega Man’. But if you wait long enough, it might just come true.

When products are rushed to market

If it was a car, or plane, or something else, it would have the consumer protection agencies up in arms, but because we are in the middle of a pandemic, still, it seems anything goes.

But let’s be very clear about one very important point, I am not an anti vaxxer, nor do I think vaccines, and particularly those that save lives of potential Covid victims, should be ignored.

If anything, if a vaccine is available, take it.  The evidence overwhelmingly suggests it will save your life.

My commentary is mostly about the side effects, and the long term efficacy, and particularly in relation my own case.

I’m not a doctor, but I can read, and have a modicum of understanding statistics, and if the data we are being given is correct, there is a small area of concern for an even smaller percentage of the population.

Firstly, I don’t believe the vaccines have been properly, or sufficiently tested on people like me.  I can understand why the drug companies wouldn’t because if a large percentage of us were adversely affected, it would affect credibility.

Instead, there are ‘recommendations’, and in my case, it is to have the Astra Venica vaccine simply because I’m over 65.  Personally if anything can go wrong with me, it will, so I figure I’ll get the Phizer vaccine, only my age group cannot have it.

It’s for those under 65.

But even that’s not my real concern.

What bothers me is the number of Governments and people who believe once a certain percentage of the population is vaccinated, everything will go back to normal.

The evidence we are reading every day proves otherwise.

Vaccinated or not, you can carry the virus and pass it on. Sure, at the moment, if you are vaccinated, you should not be hospitalised, but even that does not seem to be the case. Vaccinated people are also getting very ill, and worse, dying.

Is it because they have not had it for long enough to build up an immunity, or is it because, and I heard this report the other day, because the vaccine does not stir up a immune response in certain people, and therefore leaves them vulnerable.

Or is it happening to those who’ve had the vaccine for over six months and it’s effectiveness is waning, hence the release of the news that drug companies are working on booster shots.

Or is it simply the case that everyone conveniently forgot to mention that viruses evolve, and only get worse, more intense, and more resistant to the anti viral vaccines over time. Look at our current anti biotic delimma where they are all but useless for certain bugs.

Someone said we pulled off a miracle creating a vaccine in such a short time, but that vaccine was for early versions of the virus. As the virus evolves, and why real vaccines take years to develop is the fact they have time to observe these changes and incorporate the remedy.

In this case we are playing catchup, and by the number of cases and outbreaks all over the world, we are losing the battle.

I’ll be getting the vaccine, my choice not theirs, when it’s available, but I fear that is not going to be enough.

I don’t know much about the Greek alphabet, but I do know Delta is bad. What then will be the situation by the time we reach Omega.

I earnestly suggest you do not watch the Charlton Heston movie version of ‘The Omega Man’. But if you wait long enough, it might just come true.

‘Jungle Cruise’ – a review

Having gone on several of the Disney rides in locations other than in the US, I had no first-hand knowledge of what it might be like.

That aside, I have had a wealth of old movie viewing to fuel my imagination for what to expect, and those experiences didn’t let me down. Hollywood’s vision of the jungle has not changed much in the last 50 odd years.

And, with the Humphrey Bogart classic, The African Queen, firmly planted in the back of my mind, and this latest venture set in the same period, I was ready for anything the jungle could throw at me.

In this outing, the premise is a treasure hunt, not for actual treasure, but a life saving flower that grows on a tree somewhere in the jungle. Adventurers have been seeking it for many centuries, including a hapless expedition of Spaniards.

It was, as it should be, the stuff of legends.

We have all the usual suspects, man eating natives, poison darts, killer creatures including lots of snakes (and I hate snakes), rapids and waterfalls. And, yes, there’s the boat being saved at the last second from going over the edge. I had to wonder if that was a ‘feature’ of the ride in reality.

Visually, the jungle never looked better. If indeed, it was the actual jungle.

Like ‘The Mummy’ there is the hapless brother providing the comic light relief, and, I have to say, he did it quite well.

There is the strong willed, self-sufficient woman ready to face any danger, well, just about everything, except for one simple fear, for which it seems all superheroes have that makes them human.

And the fact she wears pants is the running gag.

Then there’s the Skipper, not the captain, of the boat, who needs no introduction. Oddly though, he drives the boat like it’s an instalment of Fast and Furious. And for those who remember a kangaroo called Skippy, will not be surprised by the heroines retort when he calls her ‘pants’.

Of course, it would not be as exciting if there wasn’t the archetypal baddie and being set around the time of the first world war, it had to be a German who is seeking the ‘prize’ in order to win the war for Germany. It was played with just about the right amount of dripping menace.

For light-hearted entertainment, and one of the better two hours I’ve spent in a movie theatre, there are, surprisingly, a few twists and turns you don’t expect.

Then there is an obvious rapport between the two leads, sometimes missing in stories like these, but their relationship didn’t get in the way of reaching the satisfactory conclusion.

All in all, it was one of the more entertaining films I’ve seen in a while, one where at the end, I found myself wanting more. Perhaps it will be like Pirates of the Caribbean, and we’ll get to go on another ‘cruise’.

‘Jungle Cruise’ – a review

Having gone on several of the Disney rides in locations other than in the US, I had no first-hand knowledge of what it might be like.

That aside, I have had a wealth of old movie viewing to fuel my imagination for what to expect, and those experiences didn’t let me down. Hollywood’s vision of the jungle has not changed much in the last 50 odd years.

And, with the Humphrey Bogart classic, The African Queen, firmly planted in the back of my mind, and this latest venture set in the same period, I was ready for anything the jungle could throw at me.

In this outing, the premise is a treasure hunt, not for actual treasure, but a life saving flower that grows on a tree somewhere in the jungle. Adventurers have been seeking it for many centuries, including a hapless expedition of Spaniards.

It was, as it should be, the stuff of legends.

We have all the usual suspects, man eating natives, poison darts, killer creatures including lots of snakes (and I hate snakes), rapids and waterfalls. And, yes, there’s the boat being saved at the last second from going over the edge. I had to wonder if that was a ‘feature’ of the ride in reality.

Visually, the jungle never looked better. If indeed, it was the actual jungle.

Like ‘The Mummy’ there is the hapless brother providing the comic light relief, and, I have to say, he did it quite well.

There is the strong willed, self-sufficient woman ready to face any danger, well, just about everything, except for one simple fear, for which it seems all superheroes have that makes them human.

And the fact she wears pants is the running gag.

Then there’s the Skipper, not the captain, of the boat, who needs no introduction. Oddly though, he drives the boat like it’s an instalment of Fast and Furious. And for those who remember a kangaroo called Skippy, will not be surprised by the heroines retort when he calls her ‘pants’.

Of course, it would not be as exciting if there wasn’t the archetypal baddie and being set around the time of the first world war, it had to be a German who is seeking the ‘prize’ in order to win the war for Germany. It was played with just about the right amount of dripping menace.

For light-hearted entertainment, and one of the better two hours I’ve spent in a movie theatre, there are, surprisingly, a few twists and turns you don’t expect.

Then there is an obvious rapport between the two leads, sometimes missing in stories like these, but their relationship didn’t get in the way of reaching the satisfactory conclusion.

All in all, it was one of the more entertaining films I’ve seen in a while, one where at the end, I found myself wanting more. Perhaps it will be like Pirates of the Caribbean, and we’ll get to go on another ‘cruise’.

Have you ever…

Started to write a post, get so far, and another theme or idea slips in, and demands to be written first?

I’m on this nostalgia kick, simply because when I turned on the TV to catch up with the latest COVID news, it was on a channel that shows old movies.

In case you don’t realize it, I love old movies, not just those from Hollywood, but also from Britain.

What was on?

An American in Paris.

Well, it had to be one of my favorites, even though I’m not a great fan of Gene Kelly, the sheer majesty of the music more than makes up for the story in between.

Could it be said, then, this was from the golden years of Hollywood? Such bright and cheerful movies such as Singing in the Rain, and An American in Paris, perhaps exemplify the Hollywood musical.

Years before, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were the quintessential musical stars, followed by the likes of Judy Garland and Deanna Durbin, and later Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. A couple of musicals, in particular, comes to mind, firstly the Wizard of Oz and then High Society.

Moving forward to more modern times, several stand out in the1960s, My Fair Lady and Sound of Music. By this time theatergoers were dining on the superb talents of Rogers and Hammerstein, and Learner and Lowe. Of the former, musicals such as Carousel, South Pacific, and The King and I were on my list of favorites.

Even later still in the 1970s, there is Funny Girl, and Hello Dolly, which has a connection to the past with its director, none other than, yes, Gene Kelly.

But it seems once the 60s had passed the notion of the Hollywood blockbuster musical had gone, and we were left with clip shows like That’s Entertainment, put together while Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire were still alive. WE still had the film versions of the stage plays, but the lustre had, somehow, gone.

Perhaps it will return, who knows, after all, everything old is usually new again, it just takes time to go full circle.