The Omen (2006)
Pointless and rubbish remake. Julia Stiles is even more ineffectual than in the Bourne flicks. Pete Postlethwaite and David Thewlis do their best to impersonate Patrick Troughton and David Warner. The sequences are mostly inferior carbon copies of the originals, though the reporter’s demise in Jerusalem is riffed upon in a moderately interesting way. Note: Prague does not look like London.
The Coen Brothers’ first feature, a natty little neo noir. Some great touches – the slimy private dick (M Emmet Walsh) and his Beetle, John Getz’s rubbish Ray, Dan Hedaya as pathetic cuckold Marty, and of course Frances McDormand as Abby, a femme fatale of sorts. The ending is wonderful. Works well with the likes of Red Rock West, The Hot Spot and The Last Seduction.
The Front Page
Rather lacklustre adaptation of the Hecht/MacArthur commemoration of the bawdy world of newspapermen in Roaring Twenties Chicago. Given that it revolves around Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, and is directed by Billy Wilder, that’s a shame. There’s some really unpleasant moments of misogyny and racism in there too, which the far superior His Girl Friday (the 1940 Cary Grant/Rosalind Russell one) managed to avoid despite being much closer to the source in time.
Ben Affleck as a blind Marvel universe superhero; Jennifer Garner is Elektra, Colin Farrell Bullseye. Not great, but okay.
Ben Stiller as a vacuous model recruited Manchurian Candidate-style to assassinate the Malaysian prime minister. Fairly entertaining Frat Pack stuff, with Owen Wilson as his rival-turned-ally.
One of the more interesting films from that yuppie terror cycle (cf Pacific Heights), with weedy Michael (James Spader) coming under the influence of self-assured and dangerously confident Alex (Rob Lowe). So far so bland; but midway there’s something of a twist, and the tone and pace changes rather effectively. Lisa Zane is most alluring as Claire, a woman Michael falls for, and Christian Clemenson is convincingly flakey as Michael’s stoner brother. An early effort from director Curtis LA Confidential Hanson.
William Friedkin directs Al Pacino in a story about a cop undercover in the pre-Aids BDSM scene in New York’s Meatpacking district. Frankly that sounds awesome on the page. Sadly it’s a balled-up-sock-down-the-trousers of a movie. Pacino pretty much does Serpico in a leather jacket. It’s interesting, just not very exciting. I’m sure I remembered it as being better.
The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three
More New York, this time underground on the subway, with menacing mercenary Robert Shaw commanding a group of colour-coded hijackers holding a trainful of passengers to ransom. Walter Matthau as a transit cop, Martin Balsam a renegade train driver, Hector Elizondo a psychopathic ex-mafioso, Earl Hindman a making-up-the-numbers fourth man.