The Weekly Summary #5

from2Repeats. Don’t you just hate them? Well, the bane of British Summer Television arrives early; here’s the (few) things I watched this past week-

First Man (2018) – 4K UHD

Top Gun: Maverick (2022) – 4K UHD

From the Earth to the Moon (1998) (TV series Episodes 1 – 4) – Blu-ray

The Dark Knight (2008) – 4K UHD

So there you go, nothing new at all. Well, it was one of those weeks I guess, but to be fair, I often look at all those films on my shelves and think, “yeah, I’d love to watch that again sometime” or, as in the case of From the Earth to the Moon (which I originally watched back in 1998), I looked at the Blu-ray edition which I bought back in -gasp, shudder- 2019 and realised I had STILL not watched it yet, other than my favourite episode, Spider, which I rate as one of my favourite hours of television, ever…

There’s certainly a value to returning to films and television shows, if only that it partly justifies having bought them on disc in the first place, as opposed to a rental fee or streaming something once for what we fool ourselves as ‘free’ on Amazon Prime or Netflix. I’ll be honest, I could forgo watching anything ‘new’ at all and just rewatch all those Hammer and Noir boxsets from Indicator, or all those TV boxsets I have like the BSG reboot, Fringe, Person of Interest, Chuck, Space:1999, UFO, The Prisoner…  there’s so many hours there and hey, I’d enjoy all of it. Maybe I should cancel my Netflix sub after all…

Of course, the other thing is rewatching films and revaluating them; was that film REALLY that good (or indeed was it really that bad)? Now, two of the films I rewatched are still fairly recent so I was hardly expecting to be surprised, and I wasn’t: First Man and Top Gun: Maverick were both as great as I remembered. Indeed, Maverick just amazed me again; it is so good a blockbuster entertainment- yes some of the dialogue was clunky, the plot never surprised and the romance felt as forced and unnecessary as it did first time around, but crikey, it just works so well, if only as, well, a blockbuster film. Is that damning it with faint praise?

The Dark Knight was more interesting. I hadn’t seen it for several years, and have seen Ben Affleck’s Batman since as well as Robert Pattinson’s Batman too. Its a sobering thought that I’ve seen two further caped crusaders since I last saw Christian Bale’s rendition (I expect another isn’t far away, either). I remember that, back in 2008, The Dark Knight was generally considered to be the best comicbook movie ever made, the definitive Batman, and I’m sure many still feel that way (for the record, I’ll always feel that Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie is the definitive comicbook movie). What still holds true regards what makes The Dark Knight as special as it is, is Heath Ledger’s Joker; his performance still took my breath away, he was so good and certainly stole the film from everyone else (and will no doubt be the bane of every actor cast as the Joker, ever).

One thing I always thought, and still did when rewatching it last night, was regards Aaron Eckhart (who is brilliant as Harvey Dent/Two-Face, by the way). Dismiss me as crazy as the Joker, but I thought Eckhart would  have made for a great Batman. Its his jawline: he’d be brilliant in that Batman cowl, he’s so square-jawed he looks so like Brian Bolland’s Batman, and he’s got the build too. As unlikely as it might sound, just watch him in The Dark Knight and for a moment imagine him in the cowl etc. You might just be surprised.

As far as From the Earth to the Moon is concerned, the show holds up as well as ever. Its so well written. Every hour is just so well constructed. Its interesting that, as its over twenty years old now, the cast is some kind of time capsule of the great actors of its day, some of whom you might not know their names, but you know their faces, and some indeed who would go on to far greater things (such as Bryan Cranston with Breaking Bad, obviously). What I absolutely adore regards this show is its music: episodes composed by Michael Kame, Mark Isham, James Newton Howard,  Jeff Beal and other greats, this has some of the best music composed for any television series, and incredibly its never been given a proper soundtrack release. A terrible injustice. Maybe one day (hey, it took decades for that Star Trek: TOS complete box release).

So what’s coming next week? Well, I think we might be going Italian…


4 thoughts on “The Weekly Summary #5

  1. I’ll be interested to read your thoughts on the Sartana films. When I watched them a few years ago, I was roundly underwhelmed. I even considered selling the set (the only thing that stopped me is it seemed no one was buying it — I think the first edition has finally sold out now, but it lingered in Arrow sales for years — meaning the resale value was so poor it wasn’t worth it). Of course, the fact I still own them will always make me wonder: are they worth another shot?

    1. That’s a sobering assessment, lol. I had my eye on it for a good while but never pulled the trigger, until I finally caved at a recent sale on Arrow’s site; it just seemed timely with Indicator’s The Big Gundown FINALLY getting released soon and that film’s sequel Run, Man, Run getting released by Eureka too. I’m not a huge Spaghetti Western fan (the dubbing always proved too distracting) but I thought it was like stars aligning for an Italian season. I’m not expecting an awful lot other than from Indicator’s disc; instead I’m treating the films -especially the Sartana set- like those cheap nasty pulp paperbacks you’d see on the carousel racks; on that level I can’t see how they’d fail. But we’ll see….

      Continuing the Italian theme, I did see the Oliver Reed-starring crime thriller Revolver the other night, and that was quite brilliant. I’m hoping to find time to write a review post tomorrow if work allows. It really struck a chord in me, so strange and dark and quite utterly bonkers in the way only 1970s films can be.

      1. I didn’t hate the Sartana films, but nor were they a revelatory surprise or anything like that. I’ve had that kind of feeling often enough about other “blind-bought on word of mouth” sets, so I guess I was due a ‘dud’. Sounds like you’re approaching them in the right way, though.

        Glad to hear that about Revolver, because that’s another one I’ve also blind bought. Feels like the time has come for ’70s Italian thrillers, because I’ve been snaffling up a lot of them lately.

      2. I’ve watched the first two Sartana films, and I can see where you were coming from. Having only ever really seen the ‘great’ spaghetti westerns (the Leone films) in the past, I hadn’t realised why people look down on the sub-genre so much until I’d seen more of them and can now appreciate how nasty and violent they are. Literally everything in the scripts sets up more deaths and violence; there’s no characters or genuine drama, the films only need excuses for gunfights as if to prove how cheap life was in the west. Its like turning the wholesome 1950s Lone Ranger television series into a Universal Horror picture, at least that’s how I’m beginning to see the Sartana films.

        That said, I watched The Big Gundown last night, and that was brilliant, up there with Leone.

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