Monthly Archives: June 2013

A Week In Film #241: Solstice

Flight title screen

Flight
Denzel Washington as alike airline pilot who saves planeload of passengers, etc. Directed with great competence by Robert Zemeckis, a great crash sequence, but overall a bit meh. The John Goodman cameo was enjoyable but wholly in the wrong film.

Despicable Me 2 title screen

Despicable Me 2
Took the ankle biter to see it in the cinema, obviously he loved it, but for the life of me I can’t really remember what happened, apart from falling asleep during the climactic battle. Ah yes – some kind of villainy in the local shopping mall? A sort of female Gru? Ringing any bells?

Well, I wasn’t a big fan of the first one the first time I saw it, so perhaps this one will be a grower too.

A Week In Film #240: Heading into midsummer

Date Night title screen
Date Night
Fairly amusing romcom, with Steve Carell and Tina Fey as a weary couple well past the excitement stage, who get embroiled in some serious shenanigans after trying to rekindle the spark in their relationship in a fancy restaurant where they are mistaken for somebody else.

Similar to Out Of Hours but made with fratpack personnel, and with the boorishness dialled down.

Parker title screen
Parker
Promising hardboiled revenger with The Stath, based on a Donald Westlake novel – but then it all goes a bit wang. Nice introductory heist that goes (inevitably) wrong – up to this point we’re talking a Prime Cuts sort of thing, with a more Charley Varrick vibe.

Then it comes over two parts Point Blank to one part Out Of Sight, and with much less style than either. I’m not a Taylor Hackford fan, but even by my low expectations this is not one of his best.

A Week In Film #239: Clay and plastic

A Matter Of Loaf And Death title screenA Matter Of Loaf And Death
The fourth Wallace and Gromit film, this time with our heroes starting up their own bakery business – just as bread makers are getting bumped off…

Found it a bit of a retread of A Close Shave, itself not a patch on the first two – but anyhow, still rather diverting.

The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit title screenThe Curse Of The Were-Rabbit
I think stretching out Wallace and Gromit whimsy to feature length is a hiding to nothing; not my taste, really.

Valkyrie title screenValkyrie
One long advert for The Nazis You Can Eat Without Spoiling Your Appetite, with short-arsed scientologist going all wooden hands-and-eyepatches as crusty Bavarian coup plotter von Stauffenberg in Bryan Singer’s X2-ish take on WWII.

Not terrible, but definitely not great.

A Week In Film #238: Feet under the table

The Sweeney title screen

The Sweeney
Bloody awful reboot, and yet from a promising cast: Ray Winstone, Ben Drew, Damian Lewis, Steven Mackintosh, Steven Waddington. Still, it is a Nick Love joint (if co-storylined by by Danny Boyle cohort Andrew Hodges), so we’re talking fantasy testosterone bollocks in the Outlaw vein – women as an afterthought, like ball-breaking team member Hayley Atwell cuckolding her husband with fat, undesirable slob Jack Regan (personal life impotence balanced by professional life potency as an internal affairs cop, etc).

Really, a mess without almost nothing to recommend it, from its resolutely reactionary subtext through to its pedestrian set pieces; from the pointlessly un-Britishness of such a thoroughly British show (giving the Gilbey Bros a run for their money on that front) to the… Oh, why bother, it’s just awful.

Jack Reacher title screen

Jack Reacher
Pretty decent hardboiled detective thriller-cum-actioner, with Tom Cruise in the lead as the eponymous ex-redcap drawn in to a spree killing investigation (and the shadowy conspiracy underlying it).

Based on a a novel I’d never heard of (One Shot) by a writer I’d never heard of (Lee Child), it’s scripted and directed by someone I have heard of (Chris McQuarrie). Enjoyed the set up, the crunchy unfolding of the plot, and the general tone, but less impressed by the final reel.

Pawn title screen

Pawn
Whilst imperfect, a decent low budget genre piece from debut director David A Armstrong working from barely more experienced screenwriter Jay Anthony White.

The set up: a diner robbery. A ticking clock. Hostages, robbers, cops – but who’s stealing from whom? A decent cast, with attention-grabbing cameos from the likes of Forest Whitaker and Ray Liotta, and solid turns from Stephen Lang, Marton Csokas, Common and Max Beesley(!). Young jobber Sean Faris doesn’t buckle under the pressure in the lead role, while Michael Chiklis is great fun as the bandit leader, despite the ridiculous attempt at a cockney accent.

The saccharine epilogue needed to be chopped, though.