Ice Station Zebra (1968)
There is a race for the secret of Ice Station Zebra led by Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine and Patrick McGoohan. There is a wildly inappropriate soundtrack, a satellite crashes in a display of shoddy SFX and this does not resonate. The plot verges on idiocy at times and the arctic looks like a soundstage covered in instant potato flakes being blown around by a hairdryer.
There are distress signals, coercive power, a sub commander (Hudson) is bothered by a spy named Jones (McGoohan) and there is a fragile uneasy air and no edifice of unity. There is technobabble, no sense of dread and arbitrary people who count for nothing are pitted against vast unseen forces. Nobody is gentle and warm hearted. There is a grim facility, a tightening in ideology and a shrinking of civil society. Jones is a man seeped in miserablism, there is no care and concern just troublemakers and a pessimistic view of the world.
As it was the cold war, the Russians have to be the baddies. This begins with a faint sense of achievement but gets dull and ludicrous. People are unswerving in their certainty that what they do is just, correct and necessary. There are no women in this film and moral boundaries aren’t discussed. Russians are either a threat or a menace. The crew smoke on the Tigerfish submarine. There is a lack of intimacy, Jones goes large ham, this has limited ambition and is a misjudgement.
This was not gratuitously blockbuster, Jones boasts, insults and trashtalks and is a dreadful person. His pal Vaslov (Borgnine) lurks as does a US marine captain. Something went wrong somewhere and they race to get to the arctic in a morass of textured insipidity, no unexpected subtlety and twee and fussy dialogue. In places it can be beguiling if not fresh but that does not last. Jones has a knowing sneer, the sub captain is dour, the marine captain has frank and forthright opinions and the plot unfolds in a coldly mechanical way. No-one has niceness and everything is all joylessness and splendidly chilly.
There is sabotage and death and a truly unconvincing crevasse. The arctic is a non-descript setting and a sparse location. People have indecipherable motives and the arctic becomes a fetid nexus of something. There is yelling, joylessness, laboriousness and banalities. This was not part of any bigger statement on life. There is inaction and this does not leave you emotionally drained. Jones is overweeningly arrogant, people talk in a flat dismissive manner and the plot is mishandled.
Judgment leaves a lot to be desired, Jones is petty and pointless, the plot becomes irrelevant, deep-seated-resentment erupts and there is a mismanagement of events that is not knowingly camp. People have self-righteous anger; there are fear decisions and vituperatous yelling. There are moral afflictions, not a lot of narrative sense and some oafish brutality. People have high opinions of themselves and this was a florid tale from an irretrievably gone era.
This was okay in parts but had a lot of sheer dreariness and ends in a dispiriting and unsatisfactory fashion. Aspersions are cast on motives, there are malevolent responses and this was not of the highest gravity. There are self-aggrandisers and fighting. However toward the very end, there is a hint among the butter-icing colours and oddly aimless plot of a neat twist. But only a hint.
“Not enlightened but impressed.”
“Is that door soundproof?”
“More or less.”
“Yes, you may ask.”
“The innocent and inevitable Russian trawler.”
“Turn count, aye.”
“For god’s sake hurry.”
“With whom or what, we don’t know.”
“Bad name, very bad connotations.”
“I have no character, I assume one.”
“Is that an accusation?”
“A logical absurdity.”
“Planes are standing by on both sides.”
“You will be dead before I am.”
Bad fantasy film that is not unique or authentic starring Mia Farrow.
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The Bodyguard (1992)
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A Stoning In Fulham County (1988)
Brad Pitt kills an Amish baby in this dull film.
Assault and Matrimony (1987)
A hateful couple try to murder each other. Cue the hilarity!