Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Week In Film #263: And then some…

Shakespeare In Love title screen
Shakespeare In Love
It was on, I watched it. Moderately amusing, but I’m hardly a scholar, and I think I’ve had all my interest wring out of me on previous viewings.

Gravity title screen
Gravity
Alfonso Cuarón does Lost In Space literally, with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Some awesome visuals – and like with Children Of Men there are some amazing touches which seamlessly put the viewer right where the character is. And the 3D really worked well.

Nice to see a big film which puts a woman front and centre, without tits & arse, in what is a part that could easily have been given to a man.

For me, a success. (Apart from the twat that decided they needed to scrimmage past me to go to the toilet 15 minutes before the end.)

The Innocent Sleep title screen
The Innocent Sleep
This is a film I’ve been after for ages, having heard it touched on the death of Roberto Calvi. It was the first film I ever added to my IMDb MyMovies Must See list. So, thanks Mother.

Let’s not get carried away – this is not an exceptionally good film. However, it is an admirably competent, noirish modern thriller from writer Ray Villis and director Scott Michell, neither of whom seem to have done much before or since.

Plotwise we have a homeless Scouse (Weston’s own Rupert Graves) witnessing A Very Bad Thing whilst sleeping rough in London. Local journo Annabel Sciorra and wise old alkie Graham Crowden try to help. John Hannah lends a bit of support, Michael Gambon is scary.

Some good location work, good lighting, good stunts – and a pretty good premise. Definitely would have benefited from some more attention to the detail of the script, and Graves cannot do a Liverpudlian accent.

National Security title screen
National Security
Seriously mediocre action comedy in the vein of mismatched cop duos like Lethal Weapon or Bad Boys – this time with sacked patrolman Steve Zahn forced to buddy up with the police academy reject Martin Lawrence, who just happens to be the man who lost him his job! Uh, yes. Oh, and there’s a gaming of bad people who did some bad stuff, and our bickering heroes zzzzz….

Seriously, not even I can say that this is anything worth your time. I got into an argument with the LLF, because she said it was a *** film and I maintain it’s only a **.

A Week In Film #262: More ‘Flixin’

As Good As Dead title screenAs Good As Dead
A bit of a hidden gem, helmed by Jonathan Mosseck, whose only other directorial credit is for a TV show hosted by the man who designed Princess Diana’s wedding dress…

It’s New York. Cary Elwes is a porky, cantankerous photojournalist who has a strained relationship with the mother of his kid, and is holding out against a gentrifying landlord in his rent controlled apartment. Then a bunch of redneck loons – a terrifying Frank Whaley, plus Matt Dallas and eventually Andie McDowell – turn up and demand a bit of the old retribution.

Yes, it’s a bit a of a flashy twist thriller, there are some weak moments, but it is far better than some of the idiot commenters on IMDb would have you think. Not going to set the world of film alight, but few films do. On the other hand this has modest aims and achieves them, efficiently and competently.

Bad Company title screenBad Company
Promising set-up: under-a-cloud ex-CIA agent Laurence Fishburne joins private sector spooks doing black bag jobs for cash. Unfortunately, despite a nice noir feel, the odd directorial flourish from Damian Harris, and a cast that includes Ellen Barkin, Frank Langella and Michael Beach, it doesn’t gel.

Metro title screenMetro
Eddie Murphy as a police hostage negotiator, sme heists, money laundry, shout precinct lieutenant, etc. Not as wisecrackingly-good as Beverly Hills Cop, not as gritty as Beverly Hills Cop 3.

Competent mediocrity from Thomas Carter, whose big hit was anti-Nazi jazz resistance youther Swing Kids.

A Week In Film #261: Netflixin’

The Purge title screen
The Purge
Decent spec-fic from James DeMonaco – who also did Staten Island, which was rather diverting – about a near-future in which unemployment and violence have been largely ‘eliminated’ by having an annual free-for-all in which rich people get to go around killing poor people with no consequences.

As with Staten Island has Ethan Hawke putting in the effort, here as a wealthy security consultant whose Purge-related success may not have endeared him to his upper crust neighbours. Good turns also from Lena Headey as his wife, Adelaide Kane as his teenage daughter, Edwin Hodge as a stranger in need, and Rhys Wakefield as a mysterious outsider.

By no means a masterpiece, but with plenty of ideas bubbling around and plenty of creativity in its execution. Sequel to follow!

Where The Buffalo Roam title screen
Where The Buffalo Roam
Tedious, boring, uninspiring adaptation of some of Hunter S Thompson’s gonzo journalism. If you’re making a movie of Hunter S Thompson’s gonzo journalism, don’t make it tedious, boring or uninspiring. (And how is it even possible, with Bill Murray in the lead?)

This is apparently what happens when a successful producer – here Art Linson – and let him direct a film.

Takers title screen
Takers
Moderately watchable – but not anywhere near realistic – heist business, with a Heat-like crew of young hoods (including Idris Elba, Hayden Christensen and Chris Brown) planning the Last Big Job as the cops close in. John Luessenhop writes, directs, cribs as best he can from superior proponents of the tropes.

Armored title screen
Armored
More like it – B-movie melodrama, everything is set up early on – bunch of cash-in-transit guards plan a perfect crime; but crimes are never perfect – and this one soon spirals out of control.

Great performances from solid character actors and past-their-prime mid-table stars including Matt Dillon, Laurence Fishburne, Jean Reno, Skeet Ulrich… Columbus Short is the new guy.

Thoroughly competent stuff from Nimród Antal, who serves up a rollicking pulpy flick that would be at home on a bill with the likes of Trespass, A Simple Plan or The Last Seduction.

Madso's War title screenMadso’s War
Utterly shit South Boston Irish mob movie, which takes fascinating real-life source material – Whitey Bulger etc – and then fucks it up. Not quite sure why British soap actor Matthew Marsden is in the lead. Written by Christopher Bertolino, who also scripted the rather dull Battle: Los Angeles.

A Week In Film #260: Signed up

Scanners title screenScanners
Cheers, Mubi – nice bit o’ Cronenberg, all head exploding and creepy companies and weird shit. Probably prefer De Palma’s The Fury, which cuts out the body horror stuff and has a more satisfyingly manipulative narrative, but still has its moments. AND DARRYL REVOK!

Porco Rosso title screenPorco Rosso
Tasty piece of Ghibli, sort of one foot in reality and the other in fantasy – as sky pirates terrorise the Adriatic between the world wars, pursued by the titular maverick pig-pilot.