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Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013)

I haven't seen many of Villeneuve's movies, but I really like everything so far. When thinking about Prisoners after a few days, there was a particular scene that somehow kept returning to my memory: When Gyllenhal's character is introduced, sitting alone in Chinese restaurant, not-flirting with the waitress. For some reason this scene struck me as "different".

That gave me the idea to examine all the first appearances of the characters in the movie. (SPOILERS)

KELLER DOVER (Hugh Jackman) - we don't actually see him, we start with a very static shot into the forest. The man is looking into the forest, it is his POV (which we find out quickly). But we can hear him praying, while a deer walks into the frame. When the camera pulls back, a rifle points at the animal. And just after "Amen", a shot is fired. Now, here's a little surprise: Keller, who was doing the praying has his son RALPH (Dylan Minette) shooting the rifle. It's a father-son-hun…
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007 Thunderball (Terence Young, 1965)

Bad guy steals atom bombs and hides them close to a seaside resort. James Bond saves the day and every woman from virginity.

After not having watched this in a long time I was amazed at how strange the 60's Bond comes across. For my taste, the Bonnery character is just a bit too plump verbally in his predatory attacks on just any woman he encounters. Many of the quips that must have been hilarious during the day come across as quite dumb now - even when looking at it as a period piece.... but who knows what the socially accepted standards were 1965 for the mating dance in England? Still it is an enjoyable movie - the villain is straightforward evil, the girls are beautiful, smart and opportunistic and the men are sex- and power-hungry (and quite stupid). The world of James Bond.

The final battle scene under-water is still jaw-dropping to watch. Just to set up the scene the director had to solve a load of problems: Orientation and lighting issues, anonymous participants wearing fa…

Shane (George Stevens, 1953)

A former gunfighter on his search for peace has to defend a family of farmers from the gang trying to take their land.
The interesting part of this movie is that the 'bad' guys have quite a strong motive for acting their way. They see their hard-earned paradise endangered by the growing influence from the outside modern world, symbolized by such things as 'the new laws'.
In certain ways their 'nation-building' is a doomed enterprise. The interests of the locals are too different, their backgrounds too diverse as they could form a united party to defend their little piece of heaven.

Even our protagonist is reluctant to pull the trigger. It is only when he adopts the moral values of family life and is threatened – by him as a potential lover for Marian - he starts to take some initiative.
I am reluctant to draw a conclusion about Stevens' (AB Guthrie, the screenwriter) motives behind the story, but couldn't shake the feeling that the film hides a s…

Night Moves (Arthur Penn, 1975)

A private detective is sent to search for the runaway daughter of a rich LA ex-actress and stumbles over an intricate web of lies.
What I like so much in film noir is that there is a certain quirkiness to the motivation of the protagonist. With Night Moves being classified as a Neo-Noir, I thought it might be interesting to map the journey of the main character throughout the movie.
There is no dramatic irony in this film. We know exactly what the character knows at all time. He is in every scene of the film. But we get to know him quite a bit over the course of the story.
Short description of Harry Moseby: A former football player, now working as a struggling private detective, has problems of confronting family problems. He cannot cope with his cheating wife, or talk to his estranged father. On the other hands he tries to "fix" or "break" families professionally. He only mentions his football career in terms of losing a game, so he must have been kicked out or a…