A Week In Film #042: Big plans

Strange Days title screen

Strange Days
Kathryn Bigelow’s back in favour at the moment, with lots of hubbub over The Hurt Locker. For me this is her best work – fin de siècle near future cyber-gubbins, with Ralph FIennes as a sleazy purveyor of illegal memory videos getting caught up in seven shades of badness. Angela Bassett is aces as his best bud, an asskicking chauffeuse, and there’s an excellent supporting cast – Michael Wincott, Tom Sizemore, William Fichtner and Vincent D’Onofrio as rogue cops, Richard Edson, Nicky Katt, even Juliette Lewis gives a good performance.

Stander title screen

Stander
One of my favourite movies of recent years, based on a real-life tale of an Apartheid era South African cop-turned-bank robber, Andre Stander.

The central cast – Thomas Jane, Dexter Fletcher and David O’ Hara – is splendid, and director Bronwen Hughes balances light and shade well. The action scenes are magnificent. Deborah Kara Unger gives perhaps the strongest performance in the film as Bekkie, Stander’s wife.

Cashback title screen

Cashback
A fine little film, imaginative in its approach, ambitious in its style. is a young student whose heart has been broken and struck down with some serious insomnia; to try and help him get through the long sleepless nights, he takes on a job at the local supermarket working the graveyard shift.

Sean Ellis writes and directs, and there’s a good cast working together – Emilia Fox, Sean Bickerstaff, Stuart Goodwin, Michelle Ryan, Shaun Evans, Michael Dixon, Michael Lambourne and Marc Pickering. Definitely worth your time.

Land Of The Dead title screen

Land Of The Dead
George Romero returns to his zombie world, and it’s not great – just that little bit too much money, and definitely too many recognisable faces. Supposedly it’s a satire on The War Against Terror.

On the plus side: Asia Argento. On the negative side: pedestrian blocking/editing/photography/whatever means that you never get any sense of scale or geography – it just always looks like a cheesy soundstage.

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