Monthly Archives: November 2010

A Week In Film #106: Back From The Big City

Die Hard
Can’t beat a bit of John McClane versus Hans Gruber action. John McTiernan ramps up the action and keep the pace going even more frenetically than he did on Predator, Willis rocks the sweaty vest look, and Rickman masters big screen performance first attempt, no run up.

Die Hard 2: Die Harder
Of course, if you want to nearly ruin a franchise, and Joel Schumacher isn’t available, you call in Renny Harlin. Despite swiping all the best tropes and twists from the first film, D2 just never hits the same stride, and drags like a mofo.

Weird Science
Not John Hughes’ best, but fun (though you do have to turn off the gender politics part of your brain if you’re going to enjoy it).

Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith are really good as friendless-but-for-each-other high school geeks who decide to get Doctor Frankenstein on Barbie’s arse (with the help of some 1337 WarGames-style h4x0r skillz) and create their own perfect woman. Why they ended up with Kelly LeBrock is anyone’s guess, but hey ho. Bill Paxton is lolworthy as dickhead older brother Chet, there’s Robert Downey Jnr and the guy from Vamp as more popular, hip boys from school, plus the biker gang invasion bit, complete with Mad Max 2 dude and the lumpy-headed fellow from The Hills Have Eyes.

A Week In Film #104: Gunpowder, treason & plot

Quite amusing, enjoyable screwball/long con comedy-drama, with ex-CIA spook Julia Roberts and former MI6 officer Clive Owen coming together for some private sector espionage high jinks. Bourne scriptwriter Tony Gilroy – who impressed with his directorial debut the dark, dour Michael Clayton – shows off a lightness of touch.

Edge Of Darkness
Martin Campbell pisses on the memory of his excellent 80s nuclear securocrat state environmentalist conspiracy/paranoia thriller TV series with a two hour rehash. A two hour rehash with Mel Gibson in the lead! With no tension! With a really crappy ending!

A Week In Film #103: All hallows

Daylight Robbery
A British heist movie – if you believe ‘ITV At The Movies’. They think it’s the best since The Italian Job. It’s not.

Some good actors (eg Johnny Harris) and some less good actors (Barry from EastEnders) wasted in a poorly put together, pace-lacking, cheap-feeling crime thriller, which is criminally unthrilling. An interesting plot premise is squandered for lack of rhythm, half-hearted direction (Paris Leonte) and a baggy script. Paul Nicholls in the world’s cheapest looking fat suit does not make this worth your money.

The Crew
Another British gangster flick, this time adapted from Kevin Sampson’s novel ‘Outlaws’. Starts off interesting, very quickly goes shit. Scouse blaggers, fat drug dealer found dead, young bucks ready to fill the void, crime boss feels twin pulls of the gang and the family… Yawn.

Stephen Graham is excellent as the capo di tutti capi, but for the most part is neglected in favour of a dull soap opera involving brothers/half-brothers/step-brothers (or whatever) Scot Williams and Kenny Doughty. And a see-it-a-mile-off twist. And a halfway-interesting gay romance (actually, make that two romances). Phillip Olivier is very watchable. The ultraviolence moments and the army of ratboys are fascinating, but not fully explored, so seem more like moments of cheap thrills. Directed with some aplomb by Adrian Vitoria.

Tintin Et Moi
Rather well put together documentary about Tintin and the cartoonist who created him, Georges ‘Hergé’ Remi, constructed out of the interview tapes of Numa Sadoul, archive footage and modern talking heads.

Refreshingly when it comes to onscreen contributors, the accent is on tintinologists who know their material rather than rent-a-slebs. Good to see Harry Thompson, author of a rather good, critical-but-fond Hergé biography, frozen out by the custodians of the Tintin industry.

Black Snake Moan
Tennessean writer/director Craig Brewer pulls together a very interesting modern day fable set in the modern Deep South. Sam Jackson as a pissed off, cuckolded (black) sharecropper, who (long story) chains up slutty young (white) nymphette Christina Ricci after discovering her unconscious and bloodied on a quiet country road. And yet there is no racial side to this, no sexual violence, and at the heart of the movie is romance and love.

By no means perfect, but thoughtful, well-executed, interesting.