James Bond Month – Moonraker (1979)

Director: Lewis Gilbert

Writer: Christopher Wood (Screenplay)

Starring: Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale, Richard Kiel, Corinne Clery, Bernard Lee, Geoffrey Keen

 

Plot: James Bond investigates the mid-air theft of a space shuttle, and discovers a plot to commit global genocide.


Tagline – Moonraker Is Out Of This World

Runtime: 2 Hour 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cheesy as it Gets

 

Story: Moonraker starts when a space shuttle is stolen in mid-flight on route to the British, James Bond (Moore) must travel to America to meet Hugo Drax (Lonsdale) the mastermind behind the space shuttle which could take tourists to space.

James must work with CIA agent Holly Goodhead (Chiles) to figure out why Drax is trying to sabotage his own space shuttle, which sees him hire an old enemy of James’ Jaws (Kiel) in an adventure which takes him out of this world.

 

Thoughts on Moonraker

 

Characters – James Bond is still getting himself into trouble when it comes to the ladies, using his charm to seduce and his skills to outsmart the villain of this film. we don’t get much new from him this time out. Holly Goodhead is an agent for the CIA, she has been undercover in search of answers becoming a working partner and romantic partner for James. Hugo Drax is the mastermind behind space travel, he has stolen his own shuttle back with plans for his own use of it, something different to most of the villains we have seen through the franchise to date. Jaws is the henchman that has returned, he has been after James and always seems to find a way to lose him, he is too comical in this role if we are being honest.

PerformancesRoger Moore does continue the campy side to his version of Bond, it is acceptable for the most part. Lois Chiles doesn’t bring much to the Bond girl figure that we all know and Michael Lonsdale does bring us a simple villain, that never fees like a threat.

StoryThe story brings us a solo story for James, which is good for a stand alone film, but sometimes we like to see him dealing with SPECTRE once again. The villain does have a good motivation and masterplan, while Bond gets to travel around the world in search for answers. This film does have some of the cheesy dialogue of any Bond film which can make things not feel as serious as they could be. The ambition behind this film is something to be praised though because of the pure scale of moving things into space does work for the concept, maybe not on effects level.

Action/Adventure/Sci-fiThe action is large-scale once again, we get new ideas for difficult positions James will find himself in, needing to fight his way out of too. The adventure takes James out of this world literally as he goes into space with his mission. The sci-fi element of the film is focusing on the idea that villain has plans involving space shuttles which does add something new to the ideas we are focusing on.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well because we get the beauty spots, the American base, the streets of Venice, before hitting space showing us just how far Bond will be going this time around.


Scene of the Movie –
Jaws face turn.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Jaws being too comical.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the cheesy Bond movies you will see, it does work for the most part, just don’t go in too seriously with any hopes of a realistic idea.

 

Overall: Cheesy as hell, but fun.

Rating

 

 

Midday Demons (2018) Movie Review

Director: Rossella De Venuto

Writer: Rossella De Venuto (Screenplay)

Starring: Fiona Glascott, Pietro Ragusa, Federico Castelluccio, Ray Lovelock, Antonella Carone, Federica Caroppa, Marcello Prayer, Salvatore Lazzaro

Plot: Megan, a successful Irish artist, lives in Dublin with her husband Leo, an Italian who emigrated there several years ago. After receiving the news of the death of Leo’s uncle, Monsignor Domenico, a powerful catholic priest whose death has prompted a campaign for his beatification, the couple travels to Apulia, in southern Italy, to handle Leo’s unexpected inheritance.


Tagline – A couple returns to their family’s ancient palazzo where sinister shadows from the past reappear.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Atmospheric

Story: Midday Demons starts when Megan (Glascott) and her husband Leo (Ragusa) head to Italy where they are coming to terms with the death an Leo’s Uncle, looking to sell the house to his brother Nicola (Castelluccio), deciding to stay and help clean up the house with memories Leo doesn’t remember.

With Leo catching up with his family, Megan starts spending time alone around the picturesque town with historical past, which soon starts visiting Megan, with unusual consequences for the family.

Thoughts on Midday Demons

Characters – Megan is an Irish artist that seeks inspiration wherever she goes, her latest trip with her husband takes them to his home in Italy. She doesn’t always agree with the culture being followed and spends time alone exploring the town, finding new ideas for herself, she starts seeing people that might not be there, with the ghosts of the house visiting her alone. Leo is the husband that gets to return to his family for the first time in years, he does seem distant from them and the past he might have had with them. He does want to keep any of the secrets quiet, but once Megan starts getting too involved, he starts to dig deeper himself. Nicola is Leo’s brother, he is going to be taking the house off their hands and he is much more committed to keeping the family’s secrets.

PerformancesFiona Glascott in the leading role goes through the range of emotions in the film and her performance will keep you engaged through the film too. Pietro Ragusa and Federico Castelluccio are both solid in their roles, but we just don’t get enough of them.

StoryThe story here follows a married couple that return to the husband’s homeland to deal with an inheritance only to find themselves learning more about the secrets of the family who have a dark past. This is a story that does the investigation with paranormal guidance which is always enjoyable to watch, this unfolds at the pace, where we learn little by little leaving us wondering who Megan could trust within the family. It does have an ending which might leave you thinking about what happened and trying to piece together the secrets, even if this might have been missed little parts of the story.

Horror The horror in the film does use the atmosphere to create everything that is involved with scares, the hallway sequence is beautiful to watch, while what happens only leaves you scared.

SettingsThe film uses the picturesque small Italian town, which has exterior narrow streets which give us a ‘Don’t Look Now’ vibe for the horror elements of the film, while interior we get a house that is covered in history waiting to be revealed.


Scene of the Movie – The street walk for Megan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – A random visit doesn’t seem to do much.

Final Thoughts This is an enjoyable paranormal ghost story that follows the formula the sub-genre is known well for, it has great shots and settings which add to the atmosphere created in the film.

Overall: Shimmering Horror.

MIDDAY DEMONS will be available on digital formats from 1844 Entertainment starting November 12.

State Like Sleep (2018) Movie Review

Director: Meredith Danluck

Writer: Meredith Danluck (Screenplay)

Starring: Katherine Waterston, Michael Shannon, Luke Evans, Michiel Huisman, Mary Kay Place, Julie Khaner, Bo Martyn

Plot: A woman grapples with the consequences of her celebrity husband’s double life after he commits suicide.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: No Intensity

Story: State Like Sleep starts when photographer Katherine’s (Waterston) actor husband suddenly commits suicide, which shines the spotlight on her life and her relationship with Stefan (Huisman). With her mother Elaine (Place) latest visit seeing her end up in hospital, Katherine much look after her mother in Belgium, who is there to help her deal with the grief she is facing.

As Katherine starts looking into Stefan’s life, she starts learning about his secrets including Emile (Evans) who supplied him with drugs and maybe more, while turning to American Edward (Shannon) for support in her troubled time.

Thoughts on State Like Sleep

Characters – Katherine is a photographer who is in a marriage which is starting to fall apart, things get worse when her husband commits suicide, which puts her in the spotlight, dealing with the aftermath with an overly attached mother-in-law and secrets which she is only searching to unlock to learn why he took his life. Edward is a neighbour in the hotel, he offers her friendship in her time of need. Emile is one of the secrets from Stefan’s life, he is from a club, which isn’t afraid to supply the drugs which is one of his vices. Stefan is the actor husband, about to get his worldwide break, only his strange actions have led to his suicide, his secret life is what is driving his wife in search for answers.

PerformancesKatherine Waterston does every she can to make her character seem more interesting, but the character is written into grief to be so dull, it is hard to follow her journey, with only her haircuts to tell apart the two times. Michael Shannon does all he needs to without every reaching his best, while Luke Evans gives one of the most disappointing roles of his career to date, he just never gets going in his role. Michiel Huisman likewise doesn’t get too much to work with here.

StoryThe story here follows a grieving wife that must look into her husband’s last few days and learn about his secrets to see if she every really knew him before he passed away. While the core of this story should be very interesting to follow, it does seem to fall into the slower paced style, we could focus on grief of a celebrity spouse dealing with added pressure after a suicide, only we get a weak look into his secret life and Katherine’s search for something new in her life. There was so much more we could have explored here only we get the very basics covered, with a mystery that just doesn’t get going or give answers that make much sense.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in Belgium, which is different for a mainstream drama, it does have chance to go to the bigger known locations, but they don’t seem important to what is going on.


Scene of the Movie – The bar dinner.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It just doesn’t get the going.

Final Thoughts This is a film that just feels like it is clogged down by not much going on, which only just about gets solid performances out of the cast.

Overall: Disappointing drama.