Monthly Archives: January 2016

A Week In Film #376: Stronger

Mea Culpa title screen
Mea Culpa
More Gilles Lellouche, more Vincent Lindon, this time together and as former cop partners who do things their way when faced with a brutal new crime gang in town.

The Central Park Five title screen
The Central Park Five
Looking at the rabid atmosphere in which five youngsters were convicted for a notorious New York crime.

Mad Max: Fury Road title screen
Mad Max: Fury Road
George Miller gives great reboot, and holds his nerve by basically making his near-mute title character step back whilst Charlize Theron does all the heavy lifting as new character Imperator Furiosa.

48 Hrs. title screen
48 Hrs.
None more eighties: Walter Hill directing Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte as wisecracking criminal and grizzled detective who have a certain amount of time to bust the case wide open.

Birdman title screen
Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)
Michael Keaton plays Michael Keaton in thinly disguised drama documentary about his post-Burton years. Fun stuff from Alejandro G Iñárritu.

American Ultra title screen
American Ultra
Smalltown stoner Michael Cera turns out to be a secret super agent, in a Cheech & Chong meets Long Kiss Goodnight type affair from Nima Nourizadeh and Max Landis. Kristen Stewart is good as his girlfriend, John Leguizamo as a local dealer.

Trainwreck title screen
Likeable gender-reversed romcom, with Amy Schumer and Bill Hader. Tilda Swinton does her woman-with-a-thousand-faces thing as a magazine editor.

Minions title screen
Not so great Despicable Me spin-off.

A Week In Film #374: Flix N FX

Twisted title screen
Twisted (2004)
Like Suspect Zero, another one of those on-the-trail-of-a-serial-killer movies that tried to capitalise on the success of Se7en. Here, the USP is lead detective Ashley Judd is a risk-taking alcoholic who keeps blacking out and, I dunno, maybe she’s the killer, huh? Huh? HUH?! Oh, and ANDY GARCIA KLAXON.

La French title screen
La French AKA The Connection
Think French Heat meets French, um, The French Connection, with an investigating magistrate on the heels of Marseilles’ biggest smack smugglers. Jean Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche make for excellent sparring partners.

The Carrier title screen
The Carrier AKA The Bag Man
Seemingly another crappy mortgage/tax write-off gangster movie with big names – De Niro, John Cusack – put to little good use. Something about a mob boss and a mystery package that needs collecting or delivering and a motel in the middle of nowhere and… Really, nothing of note.

A Week In Film #373: Welcome to 2016

The Santa Clause title screen
The Santa Clause
Considerably less-shit-than-I-thought-it-would-be kids’ confection, with Tim Allen as a dad who discovers the true meaning of etc when he is press-ganged into deputising for Father Christmas or something.

The Hunter (2011) title screen
The Hunter (2011)
Impressive, low key thriller, about an American mercenary (Willem Dafoe) on a mission to hunt down the last remaining Tasmanian tiger on behalf of a shadowy biotech company. Strong actor-oriented direction from Daniel Nettheim (who did the second half of the second season of Line Of Duty), with some memorable performances from child performers Morgana Davies and Finn Woodlock, as well as Frances O’Connor, Sam Neill, Callan Mulvey and Dan Wyllie.

Jennifer Eight title screen
Jennifer Eight
Highly disappointing thriller from Bruce Robinson, with the always disappointing Andy Garcia as a troubled LA cop relocated to northern California on the hunt of a serial killer threatening the life of blind Uma Thurman, and so forth. The relationship with older police mentor Lance Henriksen does not convince.

Child 44 title screen
Child 44
About half an hour in I found myself going ‘Wait a minute, this is just the Andrei Chikatilo case dressed up’, and it compared not very favourably to the leaner, tauter, and just plain better Citizen X, for all the period fifties Soviet stuff. Even the execrable Evilenko (Malcolm McDowell hamminess and all) was a less dull take on the subject.

And are there no actual Russian/East European actors available? Apparently only Englishmen doing silly accents, leavened by the occasional Scot or Australian or a Lebanese.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 title screen
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Bloody awful retread of what was a quite decent throwaway film. Cusack was wise to give it a body swerve.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit title screen
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Had the potential to be a silly, rollicking ride but instead it ended up in the vein of a boring lesser mid-period Roger Moore Bond, all rubbish international plot and a haven’t-we-seen-this-done-before? action set piece. Not an auspicious start to a franchise reboot.