Wednesday, March 6, 2019

A return to space, like it actually was

One week, three films – to date! First Greta (Neil Jordan) starring Isabelle Huppert and Chloë Grace Moretz, then Everybody Knows (Asghar Farhadi) featuring Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz, and then the IMAX documentary Apollo 11 (Todd Douglas Miller). I am currently in Florida so all these films might not be available on the home front…..The best is the amazing Apollo 11, made for the 50th anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon. The film, using original sourced footage with no contemporary addition, voice overs, or interviews, captures the Apollo 11 eight-day mission from blast off to splash down, in incredible video that will have you riveted to the huge screen, sometimes in split or several images. The only thing contemporary is Mike Morton’s exciting soundtrack. Everything else, from the original audio recordings of Launch Command and Mission Control and astronaut communications, to renowned CBS anchor Walter Cronkite’s reportage (he’s as synonymous with the space program as the astronauts), is the real thing. Never seen before footage of the launch site - including scenes of thousands of spectators gathered to view it - and the recovery of the charred capsule in the Pacific and on USS Hornet, are also featured. Refreshingly, the film takes a straight forward approach as in “this is exactly how it happened.” It injects no politics or opinion; indeed, the film almost invokes patriotic feelings, and shows a world that doesn’t exist anymore.…..Iranian filmmaker Asghar Fardahi’s (A Separation, 2011) Everybody Knows is a psychological twister set in a small Spanish village. Extended family are gathered for a wedding. But then one of the family members disappears.  This is just the opening of a far-reaching story into the motives of the kidnappers and wider family secrets. Good performances all around in a drama about the psychological scars of past crimes, real or imagined…..I wish I could say I loved Neil Jordan’s (whose most famed movie is the long ago 1992 breakthrough The Crying Game) Greta. And Isabelle Huppert, the incredibly versatile French actress, is fine indeed. In fact, it’s probably only worth going to see this movie to watch her - Huppert makes for a very scary psychopath. The problem is the movie is formulaic and almost laughable at times in how it’s contrived, including the cliched musical score. And a big turnoff was the artificial settings. The story is supposed to be set in New York but Toronto dubs for some scenes such as the beginning when it’s obvious the Toronto subway is a stand for New York’s.

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