Raiders of the Lost Ark: What is a summer movie season without talking about a summer blockbuster? Top Gun Maverick is clearly the blockbuster for this year. Back in 1981, crazily 41 years ago, there was Steven Spielberg doing his almost annual blockbuster. The director who started blockbusters with Jaws back in 1975. He teams up with his good buddy George Lucas to recreate the look and feel of the movie serials that he grew up with as a kid. Each episode would end with a cliff hanger, leaving the audience wondering what would happen next week. Raiders is a masterpiece from the opening sequence which immediately captures the audience’s attention in the jungles in South America. Indiana Jones, not known to us yet, is a figure in shadows working his way through the jungle clearly seeking something. Within a nearby cave, we see Indiana and his cohort tiptoe their way through a maze of traps and creepy crawly creatures. The prize is a gold artifact. Indiana returns to his university, where he is a professor, and is told about Hitler’s new obsession with the occult and digging up antiquities. Specifically he has a massive dig near Cairo looking for the Arc of the Covenant. The Arc, from folklore, is where the Hebrews took the broken pieces of the tablets inscribed by God himself and carried them in their travels. The adventure continues. From the streets of Cairo, to the sea and then to a remote Greek island.
Of course there are bad guys, and Nazis for Spielberg is a favourite target. His one of many master stroke in casting was Ronald Lacey as the Nazi SS interogator. Brilliant. The movie holds your attention, doesn’t let go until the final credits. Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones and embodies the role. So much so, that even now in his 80s, he is reprising this role for the fifth installment which is due in 2023. Remarkable.
This movie holds up remarkably well, even with the special effects for which itn won Oscars. There is humour, snappy one liners, more killing than I had remembered, but it is after all around the war time. People die. Of course you temporarily have to suspend disbelief like when Indy manages to ride a U-boat submarine far longer than you would have expected. But it doesn’t matter. This is a popcorn movie at its finest with a director hitting on cylinders. If your kids haven’t seen this, then they should.
Indian Matchmaker: This is season 2 of this Netflix series as a Mumbai based matchmaker is asked by young people and their families to find a match for them. The matches are mostly in the US but not all. This is a guilty pleasure, because it is interesting to see all people struggle with modern dating. In an age of apps and swipes, profiles, they are dealing with real people attached to profiles and their families. Typically the first meeting is the family and the suitor. Then the couple can go and have their meeting. Dating is not for the feint of heart.
We also find as the audience that there is more spirituality in this process for the matchmaker. She takes the pictures of her clients to a face reader. She also uses the stars and does charting for the clients. All this along with advice on what they seek, versus what she thinks that she can deliver. For those with a laundry list of needs, she typically says “you may get 60% of that list”. This shocks her clients. But she will say, find a person with a kind heart, who is a good person and things will grow. Sprinkled in the beginning of the episodes are stories of long term marriages who only knew each other for minutes in some cases. She doesn’t provide too many choices, she feels that it takes away from the focus. Analysis paralysis in other words, the paradox of choice. Her younger clients do though look for the ever elusive chemistry, and sometimes when they think that they have it, they don’t. Oh the joys of navigating uncertain waters. Some individuals and couples from Season 1 appear and we are introduced to others. I will continue to watch.
The Ghost Writer: The cast for this 2010 spy thriller (of some sort) is impressive with Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams and Kim Cattrell. The basic storyline is that the former UK Prime Minister is looking for someone to finish writing his memoirs. The previous writer, and speech writer for him ended up washed up on the shores in Cape Cod having fallen off a ferry. McGregor has his agent convince him to finish the work for a sizeable sum. He reluctantly agrees. As he reads to catch up on the story he formulates some of his own questions to ask Brosnan who seems to keep himself very busy and away from his brooding wife. Ewan finds new items about the former PM and the web gets more and more complex. In the end, the story falls flat for me and the performances are more or less mailed in. So I cannot recommend and actually would say that you actively avoid it. I watched this so you wouldn’t have to.