Film

The TMINE multiplex: Footsteps On The Wind and Green Lantern

In which Nat talks briefly about the movies she’s been watching this week for no particular reason and that probably don’t warrant proper reviews, but hey? Wouldn’t it be nice if we all chatted about them anyway?

Just like at any other multiplex, the screens of the TMINE multiplex are themed. The first is usually the main attraction, a big new film that you can see in the cinema or on a streaming service. The second is likely to be a smaller film, perhaps one with fewer explosions or more dialogue.

Meanwhile, the other screens are going to be something more niche: something arthouse, something classic, something there just for the joy of it.

Guess what? Next week, I’m hoping to start a Russian cinema strand – for obvious reasons. See! Where else are you going to get that from?

Russia. The answer’s Russia, isn’t it? But you’ll probably need to have had Putin’s Sputnik to go back there – Боже мой! – and the visa process is a nightmare anyway, so the chances are you’re not going to get to return for a while. Soz!

So here is where it’s at!

At least, as the manageress of this cinema, that’s my plan. The TMINE Multiplex – and TMINE itself, as far as I can see – is really a non-profit operation, though, so as long as you’re all happy and you’re all entertained, that’s all I could ever hope and plan for, anyway.

That was the plan. However, this week, I was a little bit sabotaged. Oopsy. Scatty Natty.

You’ve already seen the main attraction this week, Dune (2021), so I can’t talk about it again here.

Another screen is out of order: Movie Night with my friend didn’t happen – life! Why are you so cruel?!

Another screen was probably a bit too warm and dark after a particularly carb-tastic tea: I was going to watch Green Lantern (2011) with my husband, but we both fell asleep while we were watching it. At the same point. Like a minute apart. I saw his eyes close and then felt mine go, too. It was so spooky!

Plus it turns out Rob reviewed it when it came out (if you can call that a review 🤣).

Pfft.

This has basically robbed me of a chance to talk about and post pictures of Ryan Reynolds in his underwear.

Pfft again.

(For what it’s worth, for the life of me, based on those scenes of Ryan Reynolds in his underwear, I have no idea why my identical twin sister chose to divorce Ryan Reynolds at this time. I don’t think even Green Lantern can be blamed for that.)

Maybe it’s for the best. It’s a really mean-spirited superhero movie, as well as very stupid. It’s so bad, Ryan Reynolds regularly disowns it, even in other movies.

He and Taika Waititi both try to disown it in fact.

But it does have one of the best ever scenes in a superhero movie, so it’s not totally awful, even if it can send two people to sleep simultaneously.

So this week, I’m only doing one movie and it’s showing in screen eight, which is that really small door down by the gents that you only ever see used by the ghost who runs the projection equipment – and only when the rest of his Legion are marching down the old Roman road.

It doesn’t really count as a movie, since it’s only seven minutes long. You also might never get to see it. It’s been shown at various film festivals and you can currently see it at the Free Speech Film Festival, but the movie’s PR people say it’s “too soon to say” if it’ll be available to view online.

But let’s talk about Footsteps on the Wind (2021) and Sting after the jump. I’ll get the wine from the bar. Do you think we can drink a whole bottle in seven minutes? I know I can, but how about you?

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Film

Preview: Dune (2021)

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Jon Spaihts (screenplay), Denis Villeneuve (screenplay), Eric Roth (screenplay)
On general release in the UK from 22 October

Feature adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.

Nat says: ‘Wow’

How do I love thee, Dune? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach, when feeling out of sight for the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love Dune (1984) almost as much, I really do. I’ve loved it almost all my life. But I feel my head being turned by a young, good-looking new arrival who has made my heart soar.

It is Dune (2021), directed by Denis Villeneuve, and it is a love letter to both Dune and me that I cannot ignore. It is a wonderful, dazzingly beautiful piece of work that’s almost too true to the original book for its own good, but whose power and vision is undeniable.

I’m going to really tie myself up in knots trying to explain the plot. So instead, I’ll let Princess Irulan tell you what Dune is all about rather than try to explain it myself.

The biggest difference between Dune (2021) and Dune (1984) is that this is Dune – Part One. Only half the novel has been adapted, as Villeneuve couldn’t compress the whole book into two and half hours. There’s a cliffhanger both in the story and IRL, here, since as of yet, part two hasn’t been filmed. If you don’t go and watch this, there won’t be a part two.

Just between you and me, let me tell you something – there needs to be a part two.

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US TV

What have you been watching? Including Ghosts and CSI: Vegas

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

What do more shows make? More fun! Obviously. Yes, the US has started pumping out some more new shows now we’re entering October, which makes I actually have something to write about instead of whinging the whole time.

I’ve actually tried a few new shows, but my tolerance threshold has been sharply reduced by Covid so I didn’t get as far watching more than a few minutes of them.

Squid Game (Netflix) seems to be the show all the cool kids are talking about right now. It’s a Korean drama that involves some childhood playground game called ‘the Squid Game’ that has absurdly complicated rules about getting into a zone and holding the zone and pushing and pulling and stuff.

All grown up, one of the players has a gambling problem that means he steals money from his mum. And then he gets called to play the same game as an adult, but with a few heavily modified, possibly lethal rules.

I didn’t get far enough to decide whether I liked it or not. It could have been the new Saw, in which case I’m glad I didn’t watch it. It could have been the new Parasite (2019), since there were aspects of the guy’s home set up that reminded me of the con-family’s home. Either way, it almost certainly wasn’t for me, judging by the trailer.

Also on the quick for the chop list was One of Us is Lying (US: Peacock), which seemed basically to be like a lethal version of The Breakfast Club (1985). Adapted from the novel of the same name by Karen M McManus, it follows five high school students who enter detention, where one of them dies under suspicious circumstances and an investigation ensues.

I’ve seen The Breakfast Club. I don’t want to watch the murder mystery young adult version. The programme also had me annoyed almost from the point I saw the poster for it. Bah! Kids!

But I did manage to watch all the way through to the end of two new shows.

CSI: Vegas (US: CBS)

Facing an existential threat* that could bring down the Crime Lab, a brilliant team of forensic investigators must welcome back old friends and deploy new techniques to preserve and serve justice in Sin City.

Rob says: ‘It’s nice to see old friends’

A limited series follow-up to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, this sees a lot of the original (read: popular, alive, available, financially interested) show’s cast reunited for what can only be described as a very numpty, CSI: Miami plot.

Here, the now blind Jim Brass (Paul Guilfoyle) is attacked in his home by a killer, who’s been hired by someone with a grudge against the forensics lab. He lures back Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox), who teams up with the new crime lab nerds to investigate the mystery, which turns out to be linked to a kidnapper Brass put away. That in turn links in more former crime lab bods, including by the end of the episode Gil Grissom (William Petersen) – it’s not a spoiler if it’s in the main titles!

For the most part, this is the Sara show, pleasingly enough, as she mills about being shown the ways of the new lab and what advances have been made in forensics since her day, by new lab boss Paula Newsome. It all feels very backdoor pilot to a revival of the show, rather than just a limited series, but given that the new cast are some of the worst actors I’ve ever seen in a TV show, even an American TV show, even the Brits (Mandeep Dhillon), I doubt I’ll be tuning in for that, even if Sara and Gil stick around.

It’s all massive sci-fi nonsense, of course, and the attempts to create some new nerds with moderately different personalities from all their nerd predecessors is reasonably flawed. The plot, as usual, involves violence to women, women being abducted, etc, which is pretty distasteful. There’s various side-mysteries that need to be solve on the path to solving the main mystery.

Yet, it wasn’t bad. Seeing the old cast again was pleasing and Fox shows she could have been a decent TV lead if only she’d been given her own show. I might stick around for episode two, because my mother in law is a fan of the original and she might well like it. Let’s see what she says once she’s seen the first ep.

* An existential threat? Does Jean-Paul Satre have a knife at their throats?

Ghosts (US: CBS)

A young couple, whose dreams come true when they inherit a beautiful country house, only to find it’s both falling apart and inhabited by many of the deceased previous residents.

Rob says: ‘A decently funny adaptation of the BBC original’

This may sound familiar to you, given it’s based on the BBC show of the same name. However, since I largely gave up on UK TV about five years ago, it was all new to me.

And I quite enjoyed it!

Again, stop me if you’ve heard this already – or maybe it’s been artfully constructed to be as different from the original as possible – but while the story’s not that fresh (haunted home, young couple move in, ghosts are upset, but then one of the couple turns out to be able to see them), the show at least does something fun with the different ghosts and the couple.

The ghosts both represent ages past. Each ghost largely therefore represents a different minority group who was oppressed or another group with horrific prejudices; the newer ghosts understand tech better than old ghosts and so on.

So we the rich woman who runs the house having a hatred of the Irish, a gay Civil War soldier, a Black Southern flapper-singer, a 90s Wall Street broker with horrific misogynistic tendencies – all the way back to the Vikings and native Americans, in fact. Wall Street broker can go on about Tara Reid’s movies, old ghosts only know about movies, older ghosts still have to be reminded that’s theatre that’s projected while the oldest ghosts don’t know what projection is. You get the idea.

That formula actually lends itself though to some quick, sparky dialogue and self-deprecating dialogue that shows that no matter what era you’re from, there’s winners and losers, the bigoted and the enlightened for the time – who now look a bit backward. There’s also the occasional (but only very occasional) bit of horror, just to add a little bite to the meal.

The cast are all solidly funny. Rose McIver (I, Zombie) knows how to do supernatural and funny in her sleep, but to her credit stays awake and provides a good anchor point for the whole thing. Utkarsh Ambudkar (Free Guy) is capable of better but isn’t hugely subtle here; all the same, he provides a suitably strong counterpoint to McIver.

I really enjoyed the first episode, so I’ll be back for more.

The regulars

The regulars list is back down to two shows. For one week only, because it was the last episode of The Cleaner last week, with Greg Davies bumping into the woman (This is England‘s Jo Hartley) he’s been pining for since she dumped him on his 30th birthday: ‘The One’ of the title. As usual, it’s a two-hander with Davies generously giving Hartley as many zingers in the script as he gives himself.

But it’s also a poignant piece about growing old but not quite being old yet, moving on, deciding (or not deciding) what to do with your life and working out who is genuinely The One, with the episode title also presenting a pleasing ambivalency: Hartley is Davies’ ‘one’ (who got away) but is she ‘the one’; is he the ‘one’ she should never have left or is he ‘the one’ she escaped from; and is Davies’ ‘the one’ actually someone else and he’s been so hung up on the Hartley that he’s never realised that maybe there’s another ‘one’.

Although it has the least acting pyrotechnics and jokes of the series, for my money it was the best.

Only Murders in the Building also turned in the finest episode of the season so far, with the episode that (more or less) explained the show’s whole mystery. But with one character deaf, it was largely played out both in ASL and in near total silence, beyond the simulated sounds a deaf person might hear – the noises from their own body. It was a genuinely well done piece of TV that actually managed to integrate all the previous episodes together and make sense of them, too.

Don’t watch this unless you want to be spoiled, BTW, but it’s a pretty fascinating look at how they shot the whole thing. In particular, how will deaf viewers watching the episode know when it’s gone silent?

But what did you watch?

Film

The TMINE multiplex: Infinite, The Green Knight and Batman Begins

In which Nat talks briefly about the movies she’s been watching this week for no particular reason and that probably don’t warrant proper reviews, but hey? Wouldn’t it be nice if we all chatted about them anyway?

I only act like I know everything, Rogers

Black Widow, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

The TMINE multiplex is open again – and I promise you that unlike all the other cinemas in town, we won’t be showing No Time To Die (2021) on every screen, as we had an exclusive showing on Tuesday.

This week, we’ll be showing three movies. Somehow – I’m a secret genius! – I’ve themed them as a series of confessions… or maybe admissions:

  • Screen 1: Infinite (2021)
  • Screen 2: The Green Knight (2021)
  • Screen 3: Batman Begins (2005)

Then we can all hit the bar! In this dress and these shoes, I’m not going to be dancing for too long, but if you could get me a mojito, that would be super-sweet of you. Is that okay?

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Film

Review: No Time To Die (2021)

Directed by: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Screenplay by: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Story by: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Cary Joji Fukunaga
On general release

James Bond has left active service. His peace is short-lived when Felix Leiter, an old friend from the CIA, turns up asking for help, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.

Nat says: ‘The best-looking Bond so far’

James Bond movies are weird, aren’t they? For as long as I can remember, they’ve been struggling to prove there’s still a point to them, in a post-feminist, post-Soviet, post-Islamist, post-Bourne digital age.

James Bond? A lone secret agent everyone knows and who never really goes undercover any more? Who has no technological skills so always has to rely on someone back at home base to help him? Who never speaks any foreign languages except English and who just goes around blowing things up? A man women find amazingly attractive, even though he has the conversational skills and charm of a speak-your-weight machine crossed with a book of cheesy chat-up lines that wouldn’t have worked on you when you were clubbing in your teens? A global jet-setter who visits exotic locales that most of us have either been to or could book a flight to with EasyJet on our phones right now?

That may have worked in the 60s. But now it takes some effort on the part of the movies to convince you it’s even slightly possible or interesting.

There aren’t many franchises that have that need to persuade you that they’re still relevant. They just stick dinosaurs on the screen or give their heroes new costumes and let the story persuade you.

Nevertheless, despite this constant soul-searching, such is the power of the Bond brand, the franchise carries on. Even I watch them! I’ve seen them all. Maybe there is something to them. Certainly, Daniel Craig can persuade you of most things, I suspect. That certainly helps.

But I think I watch Bond movies (when I do watch them) more because they are important and usually exciting, rather than because they’re good, because I like the character or set-up, or for social relevance. Even this year, Black Widow (2020) had more social relevance in its title sequence than the entire Daniel Craig series of Bond movies has had. I would say that, though, wouldn’t I?

No Time To Die is possibly the first Bond movie to really fix some of these problems with the character, almost by ignoring them, sometimes by using them to its advantage.

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