Monthly Archives: October 2012

A Week In Film #205: Crap shoot

Deception
Silly twist thriller with mild neonoir overtones, where the twist is entirely foreseeable and thrills nigh on non-existent.

Ewan McGregor is a nerdy auditor stitched up by beefy conman Hugh Jackman, with Michelle Williams and an upscale sex club thrown into the mix. Marcel Langenegger directs with all the ’empty style’ settings up on eleven.

The International
Interpol investigator Clive Owen and Manhattan ADA Naomi Watts investigate a corrupt bank, but come up against obstacles. Cue assassinations all over the shop, higher-ups closing down lines of inquiry, shady arms deals and a gunfight at the New York Guggenheim.

Director Tom Tykwer (Lola Rennt) tried for the Pakula-style 70s paranoia vibe, mined some interesting seams, but ended up a generic, somewhat dull thrillless thriller. A shame, because the BCCI/Roberto Calvi/JFK notes really could have resonated strongly if played better. The borrows from The Fugitive and Running Scared were less successful. The Istanbul rooftop foot chase was hackneyed. The Guggenheim gunplay looked silly, unconvincing.

Still, not all bad: the score – credited to Tykwer and his long-term collaborators Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek, worked well (rather reminiscent of The Raid: Redemption).

A Week In Film #204: Autumnal

Year One
Lamentable. Harold Ramis, Judd Apatow, Jack Black, Michael Cera, cave men, biblical nonsense – should be a winner. But it’s not, it stinks worse than a never-cleaned under-sink fat trap.

Kill List
This I liked. This was a film that actually was a film. Ben Wheatley directs, with exemplary performances from Neil Maskell (at last given a chance to shine outside of hooligan/gangster foolishness), MyAnna Buring, Michael Smiley and Struan Rodger.

A horror movie; well, more a terror film, about a pair of contract killers and a contract too far. Some very grim viewing. Beautifully constructed, in sound and pictures. Worth your time. Just avoid any reviews of an “X on Y” or “A meets B” nature, because they’re somewhat spoiler-laden.

A Week In Film #203: SACKED

Play Dirty
One of those ‘anti-war’ war films that seems suspiciously fond of violence – a bit like Too Late The Hero, which also stars Michael Caine. Anyway, this oddity – written by Melvyn Bragg (yes, that one), and the last confirmed movie of André De Toth – is at least pretty watchable. It’s the Western Desert, and Caine is ordered to accompany a Popski’s Private Army-style band of irregulars and cut-throats on a mission to blow up a fuel dump. It’s a shambles from start to finish, something which regular cutaways to senior officers back in air-conditioned comfort in the rear indicate is both foreseen and desired.

The odd moment of directorial esprit never quite raise things to the level of a sandy Cross Of Iron, but it is moderately gripping. Nigel Davenport is very good as the mercenary leading the expedition, and there’s an intriguing pair of Arab lovers (Mohsen Ben Abdallah and Mohammed Kouka) on the team. Aly Ben Ayed is a strong presence despite having virtually no lines as a Tunisian nationalist.

Funny People
Unexpectedly enjoyable Adam Sandler flick. He’s a successful stand-up-turned-movie star who has a health scare. He takes on up-and-coming comic Seth Rogen as an assistant. There are scrapes and scraps. Eric Bana is great as the husband of Sandler’s first love. Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman as Rogen’s roommates are fun.

The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists
Animated feature from Aardman which was much less good than it could have been. The revisionism around Darwin’s membership of the Cambridge Glutton Club was mildly amusing. I liked Mr Bobo the chimp-servant. Overall just too patchy to be a classic. The Wee Man enjoyed his first trip to the cinema, though.