Monthly Archives: October 2010

A Week In Film #102: Catching up

Skeleton Coast
Seriously one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. Ernest Borgnine (oh Ernest!) is an ageing military man who pulls together a crack team of mercenaries to help him extricate his CIA son from rebel capitivity in Angola. To help him there’s that priest from The Mummy plus a bunch of B movie journeymen (and woman). Oh, and Herbert Lom (oh, Herbert!) briefly appears at the start as a shady arms dealer-cum-fixer. And Oliver Reed (okay, so Oliver needed the beer money) appears in the middle, apparently from an entirely different movie, as a diamond mine security chief. And Robert Vaughn as an East German colonel. Seriously.

You may not have liked Ted Kotcheff’s somewhat similarly-plotted Uncommon Valor, or shared its sentiment, but you surely could appreciate the quality of the craftsmanship.

Little Miss Sunshine
I bloody loved this – odd, dysfunctional family goes on road trip to beauty pageant for little girls. Hilarity ensues. Husband-and-wife directorial team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris ace it. Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Abigail Breslin, Steve Carell, Paul Dano and Alan Arkin take a bow!

A comfort film – familiar like an old sweater. Not even Val Kilmer can spoil it.

A Week In Film #101: FFS

An American Werewolf In London
I could watch this over and over, but it was the first time the LLF had seen John Landis’ classic horror-comedy. She stayed till the end, which is pretty good for her.

The Village
Probably my favourite M Night Shyamalan film. Some very good performances. I think the twist obsession (both of the director and the director’s critics) undermines what is a pretty taut mystery picture. Beautifully photographed, with excellent sound design.

A Room For Romeo Brass
Shane Meadows’ first stone cold classic, with some incredibly powerful scenes (Morell and the boy who talked to Ladine; Morell and Ladine; Morell and Joe Brass; that ending) and knockout performances from (to name but two) Frank Harper and Paddy Considine. Vicky McClure definitely hints at how good an actress she will become.

16 Blocks
Malformed Richard Donner cop flick, with booze-soaked, past it old hand Bruce Willis given the job of delivering a prisoner (Mos Def) whom a bunch of renegade police want dead.

Premise-wise no complaints, and a good core cast (David Morse always gives great value), it’s just it has no pace, quickly gets bogged down, and just lurches from one all-too-static set piece to the next, giving the feeling of an expensive audition piece.

Four Lions
Chris Morris’ jihad comedy, sublime.

15 Minutes
John Herzfeld (2 Days In The Valley) fumbles the ball here – something approaching a satire on the nature of the news media, played out through some cops and robbers action, with seasoned, media-savvy cop Robert De Niro teaming up with grumpy fire investigator Edward Burns to get on the trail of a pair of murderous East Europeans. But it loses the momentum halfway through and never really recovers.

Karel Roden (Blade II, The Bourne Supremacy, Running Scared) and Oleg Taktarov (44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-Out, Bad Boys II) are good fun as the scary Tartars though.

Guy X
Buffalo Soldiers meets MASH!’ claimed the cover. Well, we know that the cover always lies. A rather dull tale about a soldier (Jason Biggs) deposited by mistake at a US military base on Greenland in 1979. Hilarity ensues. No! NO! Hilarity DOES NOT ensue.

Corrupt aka Copkiller
Bizarre Italian film about corrupt New York cops (including Harvey Keitel) targeted by a police-hating nutter (John Lydon).

Yes, John Lydon. Johnny motherfucking Rotten. Killing cops in NYC.

Not great, but solidly built, and worth catching for curiosity’s sake at the very least.

A Week In Film #100: Hols an ting!

Quite possibly the best serial killer film I’m seen, with Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, Take) getting under the skin of Midwest killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

Writer-director David Jacobson handles the material sensitively (well, as sensitively as you can with the story of a fellow who killed more than a dozen people and kept bits of the bodies), and does well to give his Dahmer something approaching depth. Renner is superb. Highly recommended.

Role Models
Very silly comedy about a pair of humps (Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott) who end up on a probation programme having to mentor troubled youths (foul-mouthed Bobb’e J Thompson and pre-Superbad Christopher Mintz-Plasse). I proper LOLed, but everyone else went to bed before it finished.

American Movie
Amazing documentary by Chris Smith about would-be Milwaukee horror auteur Mark Borchardt, a man who sees himself as the new Tarantino-meets-Romero, and his efforts to get his meisterwerk Northwestern made…

True human comedy, great fun, packed with amazing (but real) characters, full of pathos, and of course MIKE SCHRANK, Mark’s acid-addled best friend, a man of few (coherent) words. If you’ve never seen it, do 🙂

Män Som Hatar Kvinnor AKA The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
That Swedish thriller movie based on that Swedish thriller novel by that Swedish dead guy Stieg Larsson. Alright, I guess.