Archives for posts with tag: Michael Caine

There are plenty of movies about two guys trying to outdo one another, but none quite like “The Prestige” (2006). Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman play a pair of magicians who duel to the bitter end. And I do mean bitter. And I do mean end. The first half is tedious and non-sequential, which is, as usual, more work than art (something filmmakers refuse to understand). Once the time sequence gets a little straighter, the pace picks up. False climaxes are layered with macabre worthy of Poe. And then you get blindsided with the oldest trick in the storyteller’s book.

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The other day, I was wondering if Mike Myers was ever going to make a third Austin Powers picture. Then I realized I had totally forgotten about “Austin Powers in Goldmember” (2002). And this was Beyonce’s first big movie role! Forgettable!?! It’s not terrible, it’s just overkill. Too much of everything. Too many characters being played by Myers (You’re talented. We get it. Enough already.). Too many cameos (Ozzy Osbourne). Too many jokes ripping off jokes from the previous two films (to the point they felt the need to make fun of the fact they were doing it). It’s tiresome.

I’m old enough to have seen the original “Going in Style” in the early 1980s, back when Hollywood movies would show up on network TV a year later. The original old-men-rob-a-bank flick, with George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg, was more poignant. The 2017 remake, with Alan Arkin, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, is more polished for a modern audience. They’re both good. As usual, Arkin inhabits his grumpy-old-man character like none other. I wanted someone to explain to me why Caine, with his English accent, worked in a Queens (New York, not THE queen) steel mill for 30 years.

OK, here’s the rule regarding accents for films with international casts. As an example, we’ll use “The Fourth Protocol,” a 1987 movie starring Michael Caine as a British spy going up against the Soviets, because it grossly violates this rule. First option: Have actual Soviets play all the Soviet characters. Second option: Have all the Soviet characters speak with Soviet accents. Third option: Have all the Soviet characters speak with British accents (unavailable here since we also have British characters). NEVER ACCEPTABLE: Let Ned Beatty and Alan North play guys named Petrovic and Govershin but sound like they’re from Kansas.

 

Remember when we used to debate who was the better Batman? Clooney? Keaton? Ummm, Kilmer? And then, in 2005, came the Dark Knight trilogy, with “Batman Begins.” Bankable, big-name stars can make for good box office, but it’s the story that makes for a great movie. When Christopher Nolan rebooted the Caped Crusader, he made the story less like the cartoonish 1960s TV series and more like the brooding comic books. And he surrounded a relative B-lister, Christian Bale, with stellar cast of character actors. Because if the story’s good enough, Batman is the only bankable big name you need.

“Now You See Me” (2013) is a wet dream for 17-year-old boys with ADD. I think Joe Cliche Movie Reviewer would refer to it as a “nonstop thrill ride.” There are certainly lots of seizure-invoking strobe lights, swelling music and bombastic statements, all designed to obscure (like a good magic trick) the boilerplate plot twists in this traditional caper flick. Even if it’s empty calories, it’s definitely worth wasting a couple of hours on a Friday night for. Me? In the first two minutes, they did the “pick a card” trick. I picked a card. They got it right. Props.