Monthly Archives: July 2015

A Week In Film #350: Chafftastic

Money Train title screen
Money Train
Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson retread White Men Can’t Jump, this time as transit cops and less successfully.

Hannah Arendt title screen
Hannah Arendt
Plodding drama by Margarethe von Trotta about the German Jewish philosopher and her assignment covering the Eichmann trial for the New Yorker.

A Walk Among The Tombstones title screen
A Walk Among The Tombstones
One of the more impressive FULL NEESONs of the past few years, with himself as an ex-alkie cop dragged into a hunt for kidnappers who killed their victim after taking the ransom. Directed by scriptwriter Scott Frank from a noir novel by Lawrence Block. Strong support from Astro and Dan Stevens.

A Most Wanted Man title screen
A Most Wanted Man
Not the best le Carré adaptation, but solid, and run through with his trademark anger/pessimism like a stick of despair rock. Anton Corbijn directs, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Nina Hoss, Robin Wright, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Rainer Bock and Willen Dafoe all give committed performances.

Snitch title screen
Snitch
Construction boss Dwayne Johnson does whatever it takes to get his son – jammed up on ridiculous drug trafficking charges – out of gaol. With Barry Pepper, Susan Sarandon and Jon Bernthal. Director Ric Roman Waugh takes standard genre fare up a notch.

Shabba Cash title screen
Shabba Cash AKA Easy Money
Working class Swedish business student Joel Kinnaman (him from the original version of The Killing) gets embroiled in the drugs trade. With Matias Varela (from Arne Dahl), directed by Daniel Espinosa.

Faster title screen
Faster
Slick auctioneer with Dwayne Johnson as a getaway driver just released from prison who straight away gets back into the business. With Billy Bob Thornton, Adele Akinnuoye-Agbale, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Courtney Gains, directed by George Tillman Jr.

The World’s End title screen
The World’s End
Third part of the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy from Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, this time augmented by Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan as a gaggle of old school friends who get back together for a tread of the pub crawl they never finished back in their teens, only for it to be interrupted by an alien invasion.

Glory title screen
Glory
White Union officer Matthew Broderick raises an all-black combat unit during the American Civil War; after mis-steps there is eventually mutual respect and trust. No happy ending. Denzel Washington excels, Edward Zwick directs.

A Week In Film #349: Mixed bag again

The Manchurian Candidate (2004) title screen
The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
Less than stellar but glossy remake about a brainwashed prisoner being programmed to do nefarious things. Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Meryl Streep and Jon Voight are directed by Jonathan Demme.

The Double (2011) title screen
The Double (2011)
Boring mole hunt spy drama with Topher Grace and Richard Gere, directed by Michael Brandt.

Cowboys & Aliens title screen
Cowboys & Aliens
Much less good than it should have been, a high concept SF-Western action comedy hybrid, with Daniel Craig, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde and Harrison Ford, directed by Jon Favreau.

Blue Ruin title screen
Blue Ruin
A very ordinary man goes on the hunt for retribution; reality bites him on the arse; muted hilarity ensues. Macon Blair is superb. Director Jeremy Saulnier gives us plenty to enjoy.

The Prophecy title screen
The Prophecy
I must have slept through this, as I have absolutely no memory of it – something about angels and biblical nonsense and it’s got Christopher Walken and Elias Koteas and Virginia Madsen, and it’s directed by Gregory Widen.

Gone Baby Gone title screen
Gone Baby Gone
Boston private eyes Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan are hired to search for missing local girl; nothing is as it first seems.

Injustice (2011) AKA Puncture title screen
Injustice AKA Puncture
Chris Evans and Mark Kassen are a pair of upstart young Houston attorneys who take on the big boys in a medical conspiracy case.

Switchback title screen
Switchback
A serial killer is on the loose. Dennis Quaid is hunting for clues. Texas sheriff R Lee Ermey has dead bodies on his patch. Danny Cannon picks up hitchhiker Jared Leto.

The Guest title screen
The Guest
Man turns up at family’s door claiming to be comrade and best friend of recently killed soldier-son; things quickly escalate. A sublime discovery – script by Simon Barrett, direction by Adam Wingard, with Dan Stevens a charismatic lead. Impeccable eighties core soundtrack too.

A Week In Film #348: Busy

Margin Call title screen
Margin Call
Impeccable piece of drama by JC Chandor that brings alive the start of the 2007 global financial crisis.

Company Of Heroes title screen
Company Of Heroes
Crappy low budget Battle of the Bulge auctioneer, with Michael Madsen, Neal McDonough, Jürgen Prochnow and Vinnie Jones.

Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room title screen
Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room
Excellent documentary on the greed and hubris that led to the collapse of Enron, and the domino effect it had on American capitalism.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978) title screen
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)
Philip Kaufman and WD Richter’s excellent remake of a paranoia pic, this time retooled to reflect a cold world of self-absorption and alienation.

The General’s Daughter title screen
The General’s Daughter
Sort of alright crime drama, with John Travolta as an Army investigator looking into an officer’s murder. Thinks it’s twister than it is, but a satisfactory if rather thrill-less thriller from Simon West.

Zero Dark Thirty title screen
Zero Dark Thirty
Manipulative but technically proficient on-the-hunt-for-Bin-Laden business from Kathryn Bigelow.

Oldboy (2003) title screen
올드보이 AKA Oldboy (2003)

Korean noir, with Choi Min-Sik emerging from fifteen years’ imprisonment in a strange hotel-like cell, trying to piece back together the broken pieces of his mind, figure out what it was all about, and to wreak revenge. Top work from Park Chan-Wook.

Primal Fear title screen
Primal Fear
Slick defence attorney Richard Gere defends altar boy Edward Norton when he is accused of the brutal murder of Chicago’s Catholic archbishop. Ably directed by Gregory Hoblit from William Diehl’s novel.

Murphy’s Law title screen
Murphy’s Law
One of the more fun 80s Cannon movies Charles Brosnan did, here with Carrie Snodgrass to act as a particularly potty-mouthed foil.

World War Z title screen
World War Z
Can clever Brad Pitt defeat evil zombie menace (which might be Islamic in origin)? Director Marc Forster keeps it glossy.

A Week In Film #347: Not a great week for movies

Gibraltar title screen
Gibraltar AKA The Informant
A bar owner with money problems is persuaded to become grass for French Customs. Another fine performance by Gilles Lellouche (La French, Mea Culpa, Mesrine: L’Instinct De Mort), decent direction by Julien Leclercq (D’Assaut).

The Outsider (2014) title screen
The Outsider (2014)
Tedious man-investigates-daughter’s-death revenger, with Craig Fairbrass(!) as the angry mercenary on the war path. In the interests of giving his picture more international credibility director Brian A Miller has persuaded (no doubt through the medium of cold, hard cash) two recognisable names – James Caan and Jason Patric – to rattle through a few short scenes which don’t even seem to match up with the primary plot in a manner so desperate it points towards them being Ponzi scheme victims or similar.

Allies title screen
Allies
Crappy post-D Day mission movie done on the cheap. Of note only because of the appearance of former footballer Frank Leboeuf as a French gunman.

Horsemen title screen
Horsemen
Instantly forgettable Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse-themed on-the-trail-of-a-psycho thriller with Dennis Quaid.

[Tell title screen]
Tell
Dull crime caper movie with Milo Ventimiglia, Jason Lee, Robert Patrick and Alan Tudyk.

[The All Together title screen]
The All Together
Really crappy British comedy drama, about uptight white collar drone Martin Freeman having his home invaded by various villains. With Danny Dyer, Velibor Topic, and others; seriously, it is too rubbish to even check.

Hot Girls Wanted title screen
Hot Girls Wanted
Depressing documentary about young women who step onto the porn conveyor belt, and how they are chewed up and burned out in a matter of months or weeks.

2012 title screen
2012
Fairly fruitful environmentally-themed disaster blockbuster from Roland Emmerich, with big entourage cast including John Cusask, Thandie Newton, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Woody Harrelson, Oliver Platt and Danny Glover.