Movie Rewatch Review – Patriot Games

classic patriot games with harrison ford
Another Sean Bean bites the dust

Patriot Games was always on my list of favorite films, up until some other good stuff came along (like the Harry Potter films, the Lord of the RingsThe Hunger Games, and even The Martian) to push it off my personal Top Ten List.

Still, it’s a very fine movie. Really! The soundtrack and Enya crescendos rocked. It was a fine emotional family journey. It just hasn’t aged as well as it did before the Information Age kicked in. The amazing things we see the CIA do are simply no longer that amazing.

It’s like, “Yeah, yeah, re-task the damn satellites;  I could probably do this from my cellphone.” And the stand-out moment, where a cold analyst says, “That’s a kill,” well…it was a bone-chilling line at the time. But after a few long decades of CIA intel flicks, this doesn’t have the resonance it once had. We’ve become  immured to deaths we see from afar.

Don’t take this as a political statement: we now only feel sad when the “good guys” die. Who’s to say who is good, and who isn’t? For far-away people caught up in a crusade that means everything to them and nothing to us, they must die. Fox Mulder of The X-Files understood the US government wasn’t as benign as they wanted us to believe. I’m just glad they destroyed the desert cell they intended to, based on absolutely no evidence and Jack Ryan’s hunch. (A sunburned man and a girl in a tank top. Really? Do we that casually wound and mass-murder in the name of justice?) [/end rant]

It was also filmed in a world of graininess. The climactic night scenes were hard to decipher, even though from my years of rewatches I knew this film like I knew my face in a mirror. Harrison Ford pulled a perfect performance, and was awesomely reunited with James Earl Jones — his first major role since the voice of Darth Vader — in a film where Sean Bean makes one of his early many, many, many (MANY) movie deaths. (What a thing to list on top of your resume. Sean, my Boromir, I love you anyway.)

All this to say that what was once an A+ film has dropped, through no fault of its own, to an A-. We’ve had so many better films over the ensuing decades. How could I say this is a better film than the last batch of Mission Impossible flicks?  Or Jason Bourne‘s journey? Just because I have a super soft spot for Patriot Games doesn’t mean it’s still the best bag of chips in the vending machine.

Movie Grade: A- (I feel terrible giving this a lower grade on my rewatch. Thank goodness Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jaws, are still perfect films!)

NOTE: I need to rewatch the prequel Hunt for Red October, which I recall as an incredible film, even though Jack Ryan (and his wife) were played by other actors. I recall that the threequel was not up to snuff.  Thoughts?

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

New Solo Featurette: Becoming Solo

Han Solo is everyone’s favorite space rogue. Star Lord is kind of funnier, and might be almost as cool, but no one can top Han, or — at least — Harrison Ford’s version of him. He still had what it took to make us love Han all the more, in the Star Wars sequel trilogy opener The Force Awakens.

We’ll be seeing soon how well Alden Ehrenreich carries off a younger version of last generation’s most singular and iconic science fantasy movie character. From all reports, Ford himself has given  Ehrenreich’s Solo: A Star Wars Story rave reviews. And this is a normally taciturn actor here. Ford doesn’t do ‘rave’ anything.

So, here is the new 2.22-minute featurette, “Becoming Solo.” Enjoy, and remember, the Force will be with you, always. Even if you’re a scruffy looking, low-level space criminal with a walking carpet for a co-pilot.

And this “Making Solo” featurette is just a bonus:

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

13 Scenes from Star Wars you won’t have missed if you had RunPee

May the 4th Be With You.  Are you celebrating Star Wars Day? Excited yet for the upcoming May 25th, SOLO: a Star Wars Story? You don’t want to miss a single scene in a new Star Wars film, but with the RunPee app,  suffering will not be your lot in life. We’ll tell you when you can sneak out for a quick bathroom break.

To honor Star Wars Day, here’s a list of iconic scenes you wouldn’t have missed if you had the RunPee App. Suffice to say, SPOILERS LIE AHEAD, MATEY. Stop right here if you aren’t up to speed through The Last Jedi.

We will start, of course, with the best moment in cinematic history…

  1. “Luke, I am your Father.” I didn’t see that one coming, but it made total sense once I heard it. People argued Obi-Won couldn’t have been lying, but that turned out to be a misdirect (from a “certain point of view.”) – The Empire Strikes Back
  2. “I love you.” “I know.” From Empire, again. Harrison Ford improvised this line, to make one of the greatest responses to a declaration of love ever (when I got married, it was after such an exchange happened — Yes, fact).  – Empire
  3. When Obi-Won put up his lightsaber, and Vader killed him. Or did he?  We never did find out what happened to his body, nor exactly how powerful he became. Force Ghosts don’t seem that exciting. But it was a cool moment, nonetheless. – A New Hope
  4. When Anakin and Luke both lose a hand – this is a Skywalker thing in middle movies, apparently. Maybe someone will lose his or her hand in The Last Jedi.  Empire, & Attack of the Clones
  5. The Pod Race – make fun of The Phantom Menace all you like, but this is still a fun, exciting sequence, showing how exactly the Force can guide your reflexes. “Yipee!?” Just relax and enjoy the pretty set piece.  – The Phantom Menace
  6. Dual of the Fates – again, from Phantom, we get an indelible scene, where Darth Maul expertly wields a double-ended lightsaber to fight off two powerful Jedi Knights/Masters. It didn’t end so well for Qui-Gon, but the music, the room’s closed shield moments, and the character emotions — all so very raw and powerful. While Qui-Gon meditates, Darth Maul paces like a hungry tiger. It’s a great showcase for one of John William’s  great iconic themes. Go listen to it on YouTube right now – it’s still amazing. As far as the Prequels go, this is as good as it gets.  – The Phantom Menace
  7. When Rey uses the Force to escape her restraints – such a joy to see Rey learn to use her Force abilities, making Daniel Craig’s storm trooper untie her and leave his weapon behind. Funny as sh!t, and crucial to the plot. Yes, please, more like this!  – The Force Awakens
  8. When the Death Star explodes (for the the first time). You know you cheered. I still do. When the Millennium Falcon flies out of the sun and Luke uses the Force to guide his torpedoes, movie magic happens…set to the powerful John Williams version of The Mars Theme. “Whoohoo! Come on kid, let’s blow this thing and go home!” – A New Hope
  9. When Vader sees his son with his “Own Eyes”. Yeah, I kind of cried. So much that needed to come to pass in this epic happened in these few short moments.  – Return of the Jedi
  10. The entire rescue sequence with Jabba. This is great stuff, and the last time we really saw the Original Trio make it work. – Return of the Jedi
  11. The classic Cantina scene. What can I say? Everyone loves it. Nothing really significant happens here, but I would never want to miss this bit. The Force Awakens recreates this scene somewhat at Maz Kanata’s smuggling den, and that’s cool too. – A New Hope
  12. When the original Death Star enters Scarif’s stratosphere for one real reason – to punish Orson Krennic. He’s on the radio tower gangway, looking towards the sky, and sees his own weapon aimed directly at him. Yes. It’s a frightening moment, even though we don’t like Krennic. What a fantastic and iconic scene, with a weapon we really thought we couldn’t be moved by again, after all these years. – Rogue One
  13. The best sequence in Episode 8 by far is the dual fight with Rey and Kylo Ren. I’d already call it iconic. They way those two crazy kids mirror each other reeks of sheer beauty. The final ‘battle’ between Luke and his nephew is sleek too — with a twist I should have seen coming  but didn’t — but not as satisfyingly intimate as the new kids fighting off Supreme Leader Snoke. Like this movie or not, those battle scenes gave us true Star Wars.  – The Last Jedi

What did I miss? Add your favorite scenes in the comments below.

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Blade Runner: 2049 review

This was almost an awesome movie. It was a worthy sequel that felt “right”, like settling in after a long break (of actual decades — in both real and movie time) to catch up on old events. Even the new characters seemed to carry echoes of previous incarnations. Hans Zimmer created a track with many beats evocative of the original *Blade Runner* score. The noir notes were missing, but it felt familiar and fresh all at once. You could feel the fingerprints of Ridley Scott all over the production, too.

The characters were compelling (except the central villain, unfortunately, whose motivations to be ‘bad’ were unclear, and gave us at least one strangely gratuitous scene). Ryan Gosling — the new Blade Runner — offered a purposefully subtle performance, acting mainly through very small facial and postural movements. Robin Wright gave us a law officer whose motivations and character alignment are unclear for most of the film, lending a sense of disorientation and hopelessness that matches the setting of the blasted, ruined Earth. The boss’s henchwoman had an interesting role, whose tone changed radically over the course of the story; her fighting style was used to devastating effect. And Harrison Ford? I didn’t think he had to stretch much. I’m glad Ford was back; he looks great, and he was used organically, but he seems tired. In this role, it works. Deckard is tired.

Almost all the characters underplay their roles (a clear directorial choice), and things move glacially for 90% of the film. The action scenes, by contrast, are lightning fast, coupled with set pieces that fit well into the universe we’ve seen, without feeling like a repeat in any way. The CGI was seamless, except where something is clearly intended to be CGI (you’ll see what I mean).

Is this a violent film? Well, it’s a lot like the other *Blade Runner*, so yes in moments, and not at all in others. Is there humor? No. I smiled at a couple of things in a sardonic way, or at mild nods to things that came in the previous film. Romance? Again, there’s about as much as we’ve seen before, with a few tender beats snatched from the grip of a mostly horrifying reality. Earth is now even more of a desolate wasteland. It’s all very beautiful, stylish, and lovingly filmed, and quite, quite grim. This movie definitely puts the ‘dis’ in dystopian. 🙂

One thing this film was: weird. There were things that seemed weird JUST to be weird, in a cool and visually arresting way. Maybe an extended version will explain some of it away, but I honestly don’t think that’s necessary. It’s the future, and while things are not so good in this future, society and culture keeps ticking along in new ways.

There were also a lot of symbolic images. I want to rattle off a bunch of them, but won’t. You’ll enjoy finding things yourself. I’d recommend doing a re-watch of the original film (the Director’s Cut, to be specific), just to make sure you catch the moody callbacks to the first Blade Runner.

There are a few other things that would be spoilers to mention, and it’s probably a spoiler to say there even are spoilers, so I’ll stop there. I suggest that you use the recommended Peetimes we’ve provided so you don’t miss those moments.

In an odd note, I have never in my life seen a more quiet and still audience — quite a feat for a 2 hour and 42 minute film. Things onscreen were very silent for long stretches, and nobody in the theater rustled, coughed, laughed, gasped, or even breathed, as far as I could tell. It’s a testament to how invested people were in this sequel. Interestingly enough, most of the audience on opening night were older people. There were very few young men and women present. Was this an audience of people who saw the original Blade Runner in the theaters the first time? Seems likely.

This isn’t a story by Philip K. Dick per se, but they do give him a reference credit at the end of the film. It’s very much his ouvre, in a sense. He likes to ask: Who are we? Are we our memories? Who has a soul? Thoughtfully, these questions remain ours to answer.

One question is put to rest though…is Deckard a replicant? You’ve probably decided this on your own long ago, but now you’ll know for sure.

Very enjoyable – see this on the big screen to catch all the minute details, setting nuances, and build up in tone. Now. Don’t miss it, if you liked the original Blade Runner in any way. Hey, tears in the rain…

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie review

st-tfaGrade: A-

I can safely say that SW:TFA is the 3rd best Star Wars movie in the franchise. And let’s be clear, it would take a miracle for JJ Abrams to create something better than New Hope or Empire Strikes Back.

This is easily the funniest movie in the franchise. Almost, but not every, funny moment revolves around Harrison Ford.

The movie isn’t without its flaws, but those flaws are minor, and of course this is Star Wars, so I’m being overly critical.

A few good things to report: BB-8–the spherical droid–is cute, without being overly cute. JJ is mature enough as a story teller to avoid crap like Jar Jar Binks. All of the fight scenes, whether hand-to-hand, sword-to-sword, or fighter-to-fighter are good, and some are great, but none drag on longer than they need to. There’s never one of those, “OMG, would someone kill someone here so we can move on with the story,” fights.

The acting was spot on. The casting of Daisy Ridley, as Rey, and John Boyega, as Finn, are marvelous. I’m really looking forward to seeing their characters develop as the saga continues.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.