Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Week In Film #259: Catching up

Time Bandits title screen
Time Bandits
Terry Gilliam, dwarves, time travel. Quite enjoyable, drags quite a bit.

Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom title screen
Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom
Obviously not as good as Raiders, but (casual racism aside) much better than I used to think it was. Even Willy is less annoying than I remember her to be. Awesome opening sequence, still not a fan of the mineshaft rollercoaster.

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A Week In Film #258: The ol’ classics

Jacob's Ladder title screen
Jacob’s Ladder
The only unequivocally not-shit Adrian Lyne film, all post-Nam paranoia and weird trippy shit and Tim Robbins in an ice bath and the whole wait-that’s-his-wife-or-what thing, and the spooky shaky faces, and sudden Marathon Man type tonal shifts on a dime, and basically just a bunh of creepy late night rewatchability. Written by the dude what done The Time-Traveler’s Wife, too – Bruce Joel Rubin.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark title screen
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Still got it. Fuck Star Wars!

The Breakfast Club title screen
The Breakfast Club
Still got it. Err, fuck St. Elmo’s Fire!

A Week In Film #257: Waiting on John Brown

The Parole Officer title screen
The Parole Officer
Silly but mildly amusing Britcom, which steers a middle course between Ealing quirkiness and fratpack-style gross-out humour.

Directed by on-his-uppers Aussie helmer John Duigan, starring Steve Coogan in his in-between years, and with underwritten parts for all manner of familiar faces (Om Puri, Ben Miller, Steven Waddington, Stephen Dillane, John Henshaw, Jenny Agutter, Simon Pegg). Lena Headey gets to be quite the can-do cop.

Irritating title, though, given he’s a probation officer.

Assault On Precinct 13 (2005) title screen
Assault On Precinct 13 (2005)
Not as bad as I remembered from my first (and meph-fuelled) viewing, but still pretty dull, apart from the establishing prologue. The teefing from Nid De Guepes raises the game a bit, but not by much when compared to the original.

Room 237 title screen
Room 237
Superb, mind-blowing documentary that covers the various theories about hidden meanings and mysteries surrounding Kubrick’s version of The Shining. The stuff about the layout of the hotel made my brain melt and dribble out my nostrils.

Staircases To Nowhere title screen
Staircases To Nowhere
Interesting if short little documentary about the making of The Shining.

A Week In Film #256: Up in the mountains

United Red Army title screen
連合赤軍 あさま山荘への道程 AKA Jitsuroku Rengô Sekigun: Asama Sansô E No Michi AKA United Red Army: The Path To Asama Mountain Lodge
Bloody long, difficult to follow three-acter about the late 60s/early 70s Japanese ultra-left student movement. Some impressive bits in it, but mostly it’s just unrelentingly dark and depressing (an hour long middle section devoted to having a couple of dozen kids haranguing, torturing and killing each other whilst undergoing ‘training’ in the woods).

The final showdown – a siege in the Asama mountain lodge – is impressively staged, and goes against the tropes by only ever showing what’s happening inside the building they’re holed up in, with no reveals of the 1,635 cops surrounding them.

Not a film I’d necessarily recommend to anyone, but interesting – now I want to read up about the RAF, RLF, URA, JRA, EAAAF and the rest.

Written and directed by Kōji Wakamatsu, who on checking appears to be the director of a contemporary documentary, Red Army-PFLP: Declaration Of World War which I keep meaning to watch, as well as the creator of Japan’s idiosyncratic pornographic ‘pink movie’ genre, and a former gangster.

The Time-Traveler's Wife title screen
The Time Traveler’s Wife
Romantic science fiction/fantasy based on an Oprah’s Club-type book with a terrible title, but I loved it, second time like the first. Just really nicely put together and it’s very touching, and the relationship between Henry and Clare really works for me, and Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams and Ron Livingston, and Brooklynn Proulx and Hailey McCann, and all the other cast members, all do too.

And Robert Schwentke directs unobtrusively, with the economical use of a beautiful composition. Only just noticed it was written by Bruce Joel Rubin, who also scripted Jacob’s Ladder.

Drillbit Taylor title screen
Drillbit Taylor
So-so not-quite fratpack comedy (produced by Judd Apatow and co-scripted by Seth Rogen), with an ever-amiable Owen Wilson as a bum pretending to be a bodyguard to a trio of kids being bullied at their new high school. Doesn’t really go anywhere, doesn’t have any of the pizazz or ensemble chemistry of the likes of Superbad, and apart from Wilson, there’s not really anyone likeable in the picture, so it’s not even managing to get you to like spoiled, privileged kids in the way John Hughes could.