I Went Down
Rather decent Irish crime drama/comedy/road movie, with unlucky young romantic Git (Peter McDonald) teamed up with veteran low-level hood Bunny (Brendan Gleeson) to find Frank Grogan (Peter Caffrey), the errant ex-associate of crime boss Tom French (Tony Doyle).
It’s basically the same story as Midnight Run, and pitched in the same zone of funny/serious. Works well, Gleeson is as ever a treat, and the older chaps like Caffrey and Doyle keep the younger lads on their toes. Paddy Breathnach directs a Conor McPherson script.
Seven deadly sins, serial killer, rain, Nine Inch Nails, etc.
Zero Dark Thirty
A thoroughly effective if immensely manipulative action-thriller, which no doubt has a lot less to do with the truth that the inter titles might suggest. Kathryn Bigelow is a very talented technician.
Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Jennifer Ehle and others all give good performances, but still you wish you’d dabbed a bit of Vick’s around your nostrils first.
Another based-on-true-events job, but with a bit more humour, and from Ben Affleck, who did so well with Gone Baby Gone and The Town.
It’s all very well done, up to a point, but in prepping audiences for the movie, the trailers and publicity basically drain all the drama from the film. I mean, that’s it. There’s no real surprises. And the semi-comic pursuit by the Revolutionary Guards at the airport, well…
Very curious 1972 gangster flick written by Robert Dillon and directed by Michael Ritchie, with Lee Marvin a veteran enforcer sent by the Chicago mob down to Kansas to collect overdue payments from creepy meatpacking boss Gene Hackman. Sissy Spacek rounds out the main cast.
At the heart of the film is a plot about sex trafficking, and Marvin plays as Marvin does; but there is an affecting tenderness, an unspoken intelligence that goes further than the pure animal cunning and persistence of his character in, say, Point Blank. The film, whilst looking superficially like a standard exploitationer, actually seems to have some interesting things to say about the relationship between men and women.
A bit of a slow burn, but worth an hour and a half of anyone’s time.
Three-hander set in a police interview room on the night of Margaret Thatcher’s election as Prime Minister in May 1979. Written as a stage play that year by Barry Keeffe (The Long Good Friday) – and it shows, and that’s not a negative – but just as powerful today, in this 2010 screen version directed by Robert Heath, demonstrating that the themes have not gone away…
And what are the themes? Young black British man Delroy (Clint Dyer) finds himself in a room with two white police detectives (Ralph Brown, Rafe Spall) who accuse him – over time – of murdering his wife. He is at every step, every stage, treated only as an ‘other’, and every quality in him that in a white man would be held as a positive is considered with suspicion – articulacy, intelligence, compassion.
Fascinating cultural tie capsule – a proto-Hill Street Blues-style police procedural-cum-action comedy, about the Boston’s fictional 87th Precinct, its various oddball detectives and their collective caseload.
Based on Ed McBain’s books, it’s a strongly-cast ensemble, with a central trio of Burt Reynolds, Jack Weston and Tom Skerritt, plus Dan Frazer as the perpetually stressed Lieutenant, Burt Remsen as a grizzled Desk Sergeant, and Raquel Welch as a recently reassigned undercover working a rape case. Okay, so the rape investigation plot thread is not – certainly for our time – is not sensitively handled; and if we are honest, the whole film hums with casual sexism.
As soon as the perspective shifts away from the cops, though – like to the gang of hoods assassinating city bureaucrats and politicians in pursuit of a big blackmail payoff – the pace drops and it feels a lot more generic. But overall it’s a decent flick, which fizzes with sharp wit and fast dialogue and enjoyable bit parts (like the two decorators).
Total Recall (2012)
Somewhat dull, over-realised remake of Verhoeven’s Philip K Dick short story-inspired camp SF classic, which sucks the fun out of its predecessor, yet adds nothing other than ropey CGI. And Colin Farrell.