Two movies with similar plots are produced nearly 50 years apart. The first, Grand Prix in 1966, directed by John Frankenheimer. The second, Rush in 2013, directed by Ron Howard.
When you watch these two films, if you were somehow unaware of their chronological order, you would think, Grand Prix is a movie patterned after real people and events, of course with artistic license. In reality, Grand Prix is filmed a decade earlier than the events and people portrayed in Rush.
Why the comparison? Here’s a quote in Rotten Tomatoes about the plot of Grand Prix; “There’s a few million dollars’ worth of star power and a nickel’s worth of plot in the lavish race-car melodrama Grand Prix.” Grand Prix was intended to be as true to motor-sports as possible, which it was recognized for at that time. It was prescient as well, when compared to the real life rivals, Niki Lauda & James Hunt.
Each movie tells a story in its own terms. The earlier movie, was as much a human story played by some of the best actors of the era, as well as unequalled cinematography. The theme music, although beautiful in its own right, was altered and used repeatedly, and after a while wore a hole in the story fabric.
Grand Prix was a movie that by today’s standards dragged, punctuated by on track racing with visuals so gorgeous, you could hug the techs & cinematographers. It’s 3 hour run time included an intermission. There’s no way contemporary movie-goers would sit still for that long. Ron Howard is a director at home with making biographies compelling. Think – Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man. Rush is more mainstream Howard. You could almost visualize him doing a version of this without the authenticity of these two race drivers. My only criticism is he often gets lost in telling this 1976 race season without any of the cine artistry that Frankheimer applied almost 50 years before.
It’s worth seeing both of these movies. I would recommend viewing Grand Prix first, and within a reasonable time frame of each other, so you can compare.
Chris Barfoot at the helm of another thriller ~
Film has been shot. Editing in process. Brilliant work by talented people.
Watch some of the behind the scenes commentary.
• Black Russian ▪ click here •
By now, most of you have seen some or all of this seasons blockbusters.
Probably one of the most anticipated large budget “super hero” films, Wonder Woman, raised the bar for DC Films. I previously reviewed it, and if I were to give it stars, it would be 4.5 out of 5, IMHO.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 came out a month before, and that was probably the preview for how Marvel was going to handle the soon to be released Spiderman – Homecoming. Lots of humor interspersed with a lot of action.
The latest Spiderman with Tom Holland in the role, revealed how we recall the Peter Parker / Spiderman of the ’60’s. Fun mixed in with teenage angst. For me this movie rated a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
Continuing to promote and have some fun with it, Tom Holland gives us a little video insight of his “action packed” role.
By now, most people who want to see the movie, John Wick Chapter 2, have already gone to the theater. If you haven’t seen it already, and intend to do so, then maybe you should skip reading this post.
If you haven’t seen the first film, John Wick, you’re among the many, but you may have missed a cult classic. This was intended to be a small budget action film, however the popularity by word of mouth spread. So much so, that the box office for this second film is over double of the first,
John Wick 2, takes the action up a notch with Keanu Reeves reprising a role he’s meant for. Jason Bourne, stay home, you’ve met your match with John Wick.
The Razzie Awards are known for identifying the worst films and actors of the year. Keanu Reeves picked up a different award after acting in John Wick, the Razzie Redeemer Award. He’s even better in Chapter 2.
I think the John Wick films are not for everyone, especially younger children. There’s a cohesive plot line throughout, it essentially revolves around a retired hit man who has been brought out of his desire to be left alone by some very nasty and clever underworld people. Things ramp up after he completes his assignment, when he becomes the target of a high-priced bounty. There’s not a lot of time to catch your breath between kills. The writing and acting keep you engaged in spite of your possible aversion to seeing this much chaos or carnage.
A fan favorite, Laurence Fishburne is in this film, along with Ian McShane. Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. better known as Common, is the principal antagonist, who, like Keanu Reeves, did most of his stunt work.
Shunning most CGI, while using innovative choreography combined with incredible stunt work, the film has a gritty reality throughout and holds your attention to the end.
What’s the body count in this film? If you’ve seen it, you might want to take a guess. I don’t know if it qualifies as the most in a film, after all we’ve seen films which include D-Day, and the Scots battling the Brits in the 14th century, as well as a lot of sandals and swords movies depicting Roman era. Not withstanding those deaths on a grand scale, we have John Wick coldly and methodically slaughtering and maiming people on a very personal, sometimes hand to hand, scale.
Don’t let this put you off, if you liked Die Hard, or Bourne films, this one will reach out and grab you, as evidenced by the remarks and the reactions I heard while in the theater.
Many of you may want to own the Blue-Ray release, now available.
There’s also a comic book for the John Wick series to be made available.
For those old enough to recall the 1966-68, television series, Batman played by Adam West, it was the last time any of us recall a lighter, more humorous version of Batman & Robin.
When Michael Keaton reprised the role of Batman, sans Robin in the 1980’s, it was a much darker more serious view of the comic book hero.
Gone were the camp, tongue firmly in cheek remarks, as well as the graphical sound effects punches, such as THWACK-BOFF-KAPOW-BONK-ZAP & BAM.
As that era of mega-guest stars welcomed to the small screen on a weekly schedule ended, so too has its lead star. Adam West has passed, fighting the last good fight for his life with Lukemia. He was 88 years old.
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Guest Cameos on the Bat climb (14 in all)
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Can you recall any picture in the last 3 years that was wildly popular that didn’t include things getting smashed or blown to bits?
Have you gone to a movie or rented one that featured clever or charming dialog, let’s say in the past 24 months?
It’s OK, I can wait for your answer . . .
Surprise, I can think of one! La La Land which did – Worldwide: $439,020,154 (£424.7m)
That’s nothing compared to the Faster & the Even More Furious, OK, real title – The Fate of the Furious. Worldwide: $532,481,640 That’s just in the first (opening) weekend. It broke the previous record of $529m (£421.8m) taken in by Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
That kind of money gets attention, which means the type of films I might find more interesting, or have longevity, are not likely to be made in the foreseeable future. That’s kind of shame, because the independent films are constantly trying to break into a market that is walled off from the public.
That’s a question which seems easy to answer, at least on the surface. Some may say it has universal appeal to young & old, because people like to see escape fantasies of things destroyed. The protagonists and antagonists are people over the top, escaping doom or creating disasters on a grand scale with seemingly little consequence. Have you ever picked up a sledge-hammer to help demolish a car for charity? Imagine 100’s of times greater smash, with none of the work but all of the fun.
There are other reason(s), I believe which increase its appeal. The actors in the film, identify well with an audience. Paul Walker was one of those people who seemed universally liked. Actors, Tyrese Gibson, Nathalie Emmanuel, Vin Diesel and Ludacris, all have large followings. Dwayne Johnson has starred in four of this franchise movies, and he’s brought new energy to it. Still, they’re not adverse to bringing in other major names, and stirring the pot.
Kurt Russel has been a big action adventure star for years. This time he even has a name that most of us can relate to… Mr. Nobody.
The Fate of the Furious won’t be a movie I will pay to see, but the next film Kurt Russell will be in, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, is going to be at the top of my screening list. If I’m not there opening day, I will be soon thereafter. The last Guardians of the Galaxy anticipated their audience, adding humor to an imaginative story that grabbed a lot of eyes. This one looks to be every bit the right follow on, in one I’m least familiar as a published graphics novel.