Monthly Archives: December 2014

A Week In Film #320: Crimble

Other People’s Money title screen
Other People’s Money
Fun diatribe against finance capital from Norman Jewison, with Danny DeVito as diminutive corporate raider Larry the Liquidator doing his best to asset strip cuddly manufacturing capitalist Gregory Peck’s small-town factory.

The Polar Express title scree
The Polar Express
So-so Christmas-themed kids’ CGI fantasy from Robert Zebecks, with Tom Hanks in multiple parts.

[Shadow Run title screen]
Shadow Run
Seriously, one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, and it’s a DVD I asked for. Definitely from the ‘bills to pay’ column of Michael Caine’s career balance sheet – here he’s a blagger tasked with pulling off a heist by mob boss James Fox. A really boring, tediously drawn-out and dull heist that makes no plausible sense, with odd, extended on-location stuff in and around Gloucester cathedral. Really, really no good at all.

Runaway Train title screen
Runaway Train
Awesome prison break flick from Andrei Konchalovsky, with Jon Voight as archetypal antihero Manny, rolling the dice one last time with a desperate attempt to escape his Alaskan gaol cell before vindictive warden John P Ryan can have him rubbed out. Eric Roberts peaked early as naïve young con who tags along for the ride. Satisfyingly grim.

The Unauthorised Saved By The Bell Story title screen
The Unauthorised Saved By The Bell Story
Frankly dull biopic about the teen sitcom, which manages to make a boring show seem even more boring, with no intrigue or scandal of any kind.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn title screen
The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn
I’m not as agin this as I was the first time I saw it – a mashup of The Crab With The Golden Claws, The Secret Of The Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure in a motion-capture CGI stylee – and at least the scriptwriters (Steven Moffatt, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish) are clearly doing to it from a place of love.

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A Week In Film #319: Lebküchen

DeepStar Six title screen
DeepStar Six
Not the best underwater thriller of 1989 (that would be The Abyss courtesy of Cameron and Hurd), featuring Taurean Blacque from Hill St Blues, Greg Evignan from My Two Dads, and some other people. Pretty unmemorable.

The Black Panther title screen
The Black Panther
Intense British true crime business in a faux verité style; Donald Sumpter is superb as murderous robber Donald Neilson, Ian Merrick directs impressively in his debut.

Total Recall (2012) title screen
Total Recall (2012)
Thoroughly unnecessary remake – all CGI and no giggles – but with its moments, and some strong action scenes. The greater depth given to the societal context of the world in which everything unfolds is interesting. Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel are not terrible; Len Wiseman doesn’t fuck things up as much as he did with Die Hard 4.

Whiteout title screen
Whiteout
Murder mystery at Antarctic scientific base; US Marshal Kate Beckinsale is quickly on hand to investigate. Could have been an intriguing The Thing-style thriller, but instead director Dominic Sena manages to make it dull.

Rundskop title screen
Rundskop AKA Bullhead
Very impressive drama about Flemish rogue cattle traders and the illegal use of hormones to maximise profits. Sounds not too promising, but with performances like those of Matthias Schoenaerts as a troubled farmer and tight direction from Michaël R Roskam, this is a quality offering.

A Week In Film #318: Good spread

The Raid: Redemption title screen
The Raid: Redemption
Gareth Huw Evans’ impressive crossover Indonesian martial arts action hit, with Iko Uwais as a straight arrow cop joining a special unit on a mission to snatch a drug kingpin from a locked down tower block.

The Raid 2: Berendal title screen
The Raid 2: Berendal
Almost operatic sequel, which breaks out from the Die Hard-style confines of the first film and offers something with more depth.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park title screen
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
More dinosaur nonsense, but still enjoyable. Good to have Pete Postlethwaite on board as a big game hunter, and Jeff Goldblum back as a chaos theory guy.

Leviathan title screen
Leviathan
Convoluted rip off of The Abyss from hack director George Cosmatos, with decent cast (Peter Weller, Ernie Hudson, Richard Crenna, Amanda Pays etc) let down by the rather pedestrian script by the usually reliable David Peoples (Blade Runner) and Jeb Stuart (Die Hard).

A Week In Film #317: Hacking

Jurassic Park title screen
Jurassic Park
Still pretty fun, even though the CGI is a bit shonky.

Underground: The Julian Assange Story title screen
Underground: The Julian Assange Story
Excellent ‘early years’ biopic, concentrating on Assange’s formative years as a teen on the Melbourne hacker scene. Alex Williams seems to capture the turmoil of JA, Rachel Griffiths is excellent as his mother, and Anthony LaPaglia as the initially technophobic cop on his trail. More than competently written and directed by Robert Connolly, partly inspired by Suelette Dreyfus’ book Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier.

In The Realm Of The Hackers title screen
In The Realm Of The Hackers
Fascinating 2003 documentary about a group of Australian hackers based in Melbourne in 80s/90s Melbourne, partly inspired by Suelette Dreyfus’ book Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier. Directed by Kevin Anderson.