Titanic (1997)

James Cameron takes on the infamous Titanic story, the greatest maritime disaster of its time and one that still holds a fascination for the public, even though, by today’s standards, we’ve had bigger ships.   Part of the mystic around this particular sinking, is the hubris of man, and the claim that the ship was unsinkable.

The story starts off with a treasure hunting salvage crew attempting to locate a highly valuable jewel that is believed to have gone down with the Titanic – the heart of the ocean.   They find what they believe is the safe with it inside, but instead find a drawing of a beautiful topless lady with the jewel around her neck.  The make an appeal on television and a 101 year old woman claims it is her.

She is then flown out to the salvage ship, at the position of where the Titanic went down and she then tells the story of that night.  The rest of the movie is the retelling of that story.  

Kate Winslet plays Rose, the young 101 year old, who is due to marry into a very wealthy family to a man that she isn’t really in love with. 

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jack, a young man who won his Titanic ticket in a card game and represents the steerage, or lower classes of the ship.

Through these two characters we see the disparity in how different the classes are treated even though they are all in one ship in the middle of the ocean.  A micro sphere of society represented in a single lump of iron.

Jack and Rose through a series of events, are soon attracted to one another, and after a very heavy love making scene in a car in the hold of the ship, they believe they have found their true love.   Except, a big dirty ice berg is about to put a dent in their plans.

The graphics and special effects of this tale is stunning, and while the movie is nearly 20 years old, they are still holding up.  Though if you look carefully, in high definition you can see some chinks in the special effects especially around the long sweeping shots of the ship and the people walking on the deck.

Maybe its aged differently, but for me the story line while interesting didn’t hold up as well I remember.  The lines at times seem strained and the love story has so many blatant holes in it I can no longer gloss over them.  The telling of the ship going down though is fantastic with many real true tales weaved into some the auxiliary characters.   But the main Jack/Rose vehicle that is suppose to let us see all the gory details, doesn’t work for me.

The soundtrack is amazing and Celine Dion’s My Heart will go will always make me pause for a smile.   Overall a good retelling of the classic story.

ps for the record, there was plenty of room on that old piece of wood that Rose managed to climb on to.  There was no need for Jack to be still in the water.  Sure they nearly tipped over getting on to it the first time, but when you are stuck in the middle of the Atlantic in the freezing cold, you can afford a number of tries

#88 in the series


Viewing Date
Saturday, 14th November 2015 (Richmond)


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Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

This absolute gem of a movie from the very talented

Mike Myers broke the mold when it came to parodies.  In fact to call this a parody is being disingenuous, because this movie stands on its own two feet, even if you don’t know all the back references to the early James Bond outings.

Playing the British super swinging 1960′s super agent that is then frozen only to be thawed out in modern times, we have much room for comedy with him getting to grips to a society where free loving is no longer tolerated.

Though, watching this with a nod to Mr Connery as James Bond, there are some very clever references, from his super hairy ‘sexy?’ chest hair to the naming of some of the side characters – Random Task aka Oddjob and the very clever Alotta Fagina instead of Pussy Galore.

But if playing one character and introducing so many new pop culture phrases (oh behave) wasn’t enough we have Myers taking on the role of his nemesis Dr Evil, a bald headed Spectre type character in the style of Donald

Pleasence as Blofeld.

Keep an eye out for the eye watering sh exchange between Dr Evil and his son, Scott.  I have seen that so many times, yet never gets old.  It is fair to say that Dr Evil steals the show, with his exasperated hench men and trying to get ‘evil’ stuff done – I am the boss, need the info.

Speaking of keeping an eye out for wee things, there is a scene where Austin Powers is in disguise as they try to get into Dr Evil’s factory, and he’s dressed up as an Indian Guru … an early nod to The Love Guru maybe?

The movie goes along at a wonderful pace with some great supporting characters.  While this is not my favourite Mike Myers comedy, that honor goes to So I Married an Axe Murderer, it is definitely in second place.

It is also a good family movie to enjoy with some young ones, who will love some of the silly scenes, with the sexual jokes going over their heads with them none the wiser as to why your laughing your head off.

Be careful though, after being reminded of all the catch phrases, you will find yourself dropping them into conversation for the next few days afterwards.

Yeah baby, Yeah


Viewing Date
Friday, 9th October 2015


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Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

John Cusack in one of his finest and career defining roles.  Martin Blank is a professional killer, a fact he never actually hides from anyone, yet people think it is so outlandish they don’t believe him.

Martin is getting tired of the hitman business, particularly after one botched kill that was meant to look like natural causes ended up with multiple bullets in the chest, he is forced to do one more to make up for that mistake.   Fellow hitman, Dan Aykroyd, is pushing Martin to join forces with him so they can form some sort of hitman guild.

Martin’s assistance, played by sister Joan Cusack, has discovered there is a 10 year reunion at his high school in Grosse Pointe but he isn’t for going, as a reunion for him is just to see how people have swelled.  Besides he has one or two skeletons in that closet that he feels better not facing, number one being his high school sweet heart Debi (Minnie Driver) who he left waiting on her prom night.

When the details of the retribution hit comes in, by lucky happenstance, it is in Grosse Pointe.  Maybe he can go to the reunion after all.

The movie centers around Martin going back into the community he abandoned 10 years ago with nay a goodbye or explanation.   Bumping into school friends, trying to make up with Debi (who is now a local radio celebrity) and of course dodging the various other hit men (and NSA agents who Dan Aykroyd has had Martin setup) that have come into the area to take the contract from him.

The humor in this movie is all about the dialogue and subtle references to his current profession while most have no clue he is telling the truth.

Dr. Oatman, please pick up, pick up! It’s Martin Blank! I, I’m standing where my, uh, living room was and it’s not here because my house is gone and it’s an Ultimart! You can never go home again, Oatman… but I guess you can shop there.

The movie has a wonderful 1980s soundtrack with classic 80s tunes framing each scene to keep reminding us that Martin is discovering these people and places after 10 years absent.

A thousand innocent people get killed every day! But a millionaire’s pet gets detonated, and you’re marked for life.

Another small amusing part of this movie, watching it nearly 20 years after it was made, is a reminder just how big technology was in the mid 90s.   Huge monitors, big laptops that were literally inches thick and a huge (not retro) clam Motorola mobile phone.

I am not going to give away any more of the plot here or the climatic ending scene as it should be discovered fresh for yourself.  

I don’t think John Cusack has ever topped this movie, even though his War Inc. was a sort of unofficial unconnected follow up to this.  Every list featuring his top movies, this one is never too far from the top, depending on the compiler of said list at the time.

Always worth revisiting from time to time. 


Viewing Date
Saturday, 29th August 2015


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