Monthly Archives: August 2015

A Week In Film #355: Traipsing

Lantana title screen
Lantana
Relationship/crime drama, with Anthony LaPaglia, Rachael Blake, Kerry Armstrong, Geoffrey Rush and Barbara Hershey. Absorbing stuff from Ray Lawrence.

10 To Midnight title screen
10 To Midnight
More J Lee Thompson/Charles Bronson exploitation stuff, here with the moustachioed one as a cop on the trail of a sado-sexual killer. Very much mediocre at best.

The Legend Of Billie Jean title screen
The Legend Of Billie Jean
Fed up of being treated like shit, trailer park kids Helen Slater, Yardley Smith and Christian Slater go on the run pursued by the law after an accidental shooting; they capture the imagination of young people everywhere. Not as great or iconic as it could be, but interesting. Possibly director Matthew Robbins’ best.

Colors title screen
Colors
Old LAPD warhorse Robert Duvall tries to school new buck Sean Penn in the ways of the street in the Gang Unit. Decent mainstream stuff from Dennis Hopper.

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A Week In Film #354: Cooking again

The November Man title screen
The November Man
Complicated (in a bad way) spy shenanigans with Pierce Brosnan as a CIA operator and lots of shooting and running around over something or other, I forget exactly. Definitely not as much fun as director Roger Donaldson’s earlier The Bank Job.

Paid In Full title screen
Paid In Full
Honest kid Wood Harris quickly gets sucked into The Game in early 80s New York as Crack begins to take off. With Regina Hall, Mehki Phifer, Kevin Carroll, Esai Morales and Cam’Ron, directed efficiently by Charles Stone III.

Dead Man Running title screen
Dead Man Running
Tamer Hassan and Danny Dyer look embarrassed throughout as they desperately try to string out half-arsed dialogue that barely connects incomprehensible plot points in a bid to raise the cash to pay back big-time shylock 50 Cent (no, really) his £100,000 before the clock runs out.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist title screen
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Riz Ahmed keeps the audience guessing as to what he is, sort of a post-9/11 Agatha Christie mystery.

The Road title screen
The Road
Post-apocalyptic America is no fun in this adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel by John Hellcat. Viggo Mortensen does his best to protect his son, Kodi Smit-McPhee. Charlize Theron is the wife/mother in flashback, Robert Duvall an old man they encounter, Guy Pearce another survivor. Very depressing, but also offering the slenderest sliver of hope.

The Heat title screen
The Heat
Silly but fun buddy movie, with uptight FBI agent Sandra Bullock teaming up with boorish Boston PD cop Melissa McCarthy. The plot doesn’t really matter. Paul Feig marshals things nicely.

Drive title screen
Drive
Nicolas Winding Refn begins his fruitful men-of-few-words partnership with Ryan Gosling, here as a sought-after getaway driver embroiled in all kinds of mess.

The Narrow Margin title screen
The Narrow Margin
Gnarly noir about a cop (Charles McGraw) who must escort a mobster’s widow (Marie Windsor) to LA to testify before a grand jury; unfortunately there’s a stack of bad guys determined to stop them dead in their tracks. One of Richard Fleischer’s earlier movies, and even more hard boiled than his previous effort, Armored Car Robbery.

A Week In Film #353: Gold nugget

Hyena title screen
Hyena
A sort of British The Shield, with Peter Ferdinando as a bent cop trying (but failing) to justify his corruption as a sluice gate in a dam that holds back depravity. Excellent follow up from the team who made serial killer character study Tony. Makes me want to see more Gerard Johnson films.

The Guvnors title screen
The Guvnors
Doesn’t really go anywhere, but has a sense of seriousness – even though it’s about middle aged football hooligans and all that. Doug Allen is a second string player at best, normally, but he steps up to the plate here. Harley Sylvester from Rizzle Kicks is pretty good as the ambitious and violent young gang leader with no respect for anyone. Written and directed by Gabe Turner, and hinting at interesting things.

Free Birds title screen
Free Birds
Moderately amusing Reel FX CGI animated comedy about an escaped, delusional turkey.

Return Of The Jedi title screen
Return Of The Jedi
The teddy bear one.

A Week In Film #352: Moderate to fair

Jackie Brown title screen
Jackie Brown
Consistently enjoyable Tarantino, with Pam Grier and Robert Forster both giving terrific Autumn-of-their-careers performances.

Mission: Impossible title screen
Mission: Impossible
Superb mainstreaming by Brian De Palma, rebooting a hoary old sixties telly show with aplomb, and even making Tom Cruise seem interesting. Sort of.

The Kill Team title screen
The Kill Team
On the Maywand District killings in Afghanistan. Dan Krauss secures some candid interviews with participants in this excellent doc.

A Week In Film #351: So-so

Messenger Of Death title screen
Messenger Of Death
Reporter Charles Bronson investigates a murderous vendetta between two Mormon clans, and uncovers a conspiracy involving the water company. Decent entry from Bronson’s J Lee Thompson years.

Empire State title screen
Empire State
Decent enough crime caper about a neighbourhood kid (Chris Hemsworth) working as a guard at a cash depository who unwittingly becomes involved in a heist plot. NYPD detective Dwayne Johnson is on the tail of the gang. Dino Montiel directs.

Black Sunday title screen
Black Sunday
Rather plodding adaptation of Thomas Harris’ thriller novel about Palestinian terrorists who threaten a murderous spectacle during the Super Bowl. Not John Frankenheimer’s best, but Bruce Dern does a decent turn as a loopy Nam vet. Robert Shaw scares the shit out of you as a Mossad agent.

The Colony title screen
The Colony
Interesting post-apocalypse SF movie set in a future where earth is subject to a man-made ice age, and the last surviving humans are huddled into underground bunkers. With Kevin Zeegers, Laurence Fishburne, Bill Paxton, Charlotte Sullivan and Atticus Dean Mitchell. Loses it in the final reel, but diverting nonetheless. From Jeff Renfroe.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial title screen
E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
Spielberg’s kid-and-alien classic. JUST STOP FUCKING AROUND WITH THE SHOTGUNS.