Monthly Archives: May 2016

A Week In Film #394: Guys’ Nights Unlimited

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn title screen
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Definitely growing on me, this motion-capture franchise launch by Spielberg.

Madagascar title screen
So-so animated fast food for kids, with Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, Chris Rock and David Schwimmer voicing a quartet of New York zoo animals accidentally transported to the Indian Ocean island that gives the movie its name. Perfunctory plot but held together by memorable background characters like the escape-minded penguins, and Sacha Cohen Baron as the king of the lemurs.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa title screen
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Tighter sequel plays to the strengths of the original – a lot more King Julien, again directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath.

A Week In Film #393: Easy days

Quicksand title screen
Michael Keaton as a mild-mannered bank investigator caught up in a Russian mob money scandal in France. Michael Caine undeservedly shares top billing as a washed-up action star, Rade Serbedzija is a scary gangster, Kathleen Wilhoite has all too few scenes as a colourful and swear PA. Hardly John Mackenzie’s finest hour after career highlights like A Sense Of Freedom and The Long Good Friday, but watchable enough.

Krigen title screen
Krigen AKA A War
Tobias Lindholm’s follow up to A Hijacking, this time with his favoured leading actor Pilou Asbæk as a Danish army officer embroiled in a war crimes scandal after a troubled tour in Afghanistan. Strong drama.

A Week In Film #392: Trawling the folders

Beyond The Law title screen
Beyond The Law
Charlie Sheen grows a beard and goes undercover as an outlaw biker. Exactly as you would imagine it would pan out.

Beyond The Poseidon Adventure title screen
Beyond The Poseidon Adventure
Silly cash-in sequel, with Michael Caine a salvage merchant trying to remove anything valuable from a capsized cruiseliner, whilst ‘Greek Orthodox volunteer marine paramedics’ led by creepy Telly Savalas try not to look suspicious. Absolutely awful, but compellingly watchable.

No Surrender title screen
No Surrender
Michael Angelis becomes the manager of a crappy club in a crappy part of Liverpool, just in time to deal with being double-booked on New Year’s Eve by parties of both Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants. Elvis Costello is a magician, Joanne Whalley a kitchen porter and Bernard Hill a reflective bouncer. Very odd. From director Peter Smith and an Alan Bleasdale (of course) script.

Night Of The Juggler title screen
Night Of The Juggler
Odd thriller/chase movie, with ex-cop James Brolin chasing down the psycho (Cliff Gorman) who has kidnapped his daughter mistakenly thinking she’s the progeny of a rich businessman. Gritty stuff from Robert Butler.

Guardians Of The Galaxy title screen
Guardians Of The Galaxy
Zany space pirates end of the Marvel universe, with strong ensemble including Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, John C Reilly and Michael Rooker. Not wholly to my taste, but watchable.

The Driver title screen
The Driver
Ryan O’Neal channels his best Alain Delon as an emotionally still getaway driver pursued by jittery cop Bruce Dern. Less muscle-headed than Walter Hill’s subsequent work.

Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman perfectly capture the colour saturated ultraviolent Mark Millar postmodern (can we still say that?) comic about an ordinary kid who decides to become a masked vigilante. With Aaron Johnson, ChristopherMintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Chloë Grace Moretz and Nicolas Cage.

That Gal…Who Was in That Thing: That Guy 2 title screen
That Gal…Who Was in That Thing: That Guy 2
Lesser known but familiar women actors talking about being lesser known but familiar women actors, with Catherine Hicks, Alicia Coppola and Roxanne Hart. Directed by Ian Roumain and Michael Schwartz.

A Week In Film #391: Something new

Detective Byomkesh Bakhshy! title screen
Detective Byomkesh Bakhshy!
Thoroughly enjoyable period detective drama from Dibakar Banerjee, based on Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s novel series, with Sushant Singh Rajput as the eponymous hero – a recently graduated student in wartime Calcutta who by accident becomes a private detective.

Some great background texture and classic noir tropes help shape a movie that is at once different and familiar.

A Week In Film #390: Moaning

We Were Soldiers title screen
We Were Soldiers
Mel Gibson does his most grimacey face as the commander of the Seventh (Air) Cavalry at the 1965 Battle of La Drang during the Vietnam War.

The Last Stand title screen
The Last Stand
Silly late period Schwarzenegger actioner, with Arnie as a small town sheriff in Arizona who is the only thing between a fugitive drug kingpin and the Mexican border. Kind of fun, thanks to a supporting cast that includes Zach Gilford, Jaimie Alexander, Luis Guzmán, Rodrigo Santoro and Johnny Knoxville, plus Forest Whitaker as the FBI agent on the heels of Eduardo Noriega and his hostage Genesis Rodriguez. Korean director Kim Jee-Woon’s first American production.