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)
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.
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.
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
Bloody awful retread of what was a quite decent throwaway film. Cusack was wise to give it a body swerve.
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.