Monthly Archives: November 2016

A Week In Film #420: Tickling the n00bs

Polytechnique title screen
Polytechnique
Pre-Hollywood fame Denis Villeneuve delivers a moving interpretation of the 1989 ‘Montreal Massacre’, in which a misogynistic student sets out to kill as many feminists as he can.

In black and white, and shifting between the perspectives of two victims/witnesses, as well as looking over the shoulder of the perpetrator (but never really going inside his head), Villeneuve creates a thoughtful, moving piece of work, comparable to Gus Van Sant’s Elephant, if not the unrelenting brutalism of Alan Clarke’s original of that name.

Shaun The Sheep Movie title screen
Shaun The Sheep Movie
He’s Shaun the sheep, he’s Shaun the sheep; he even mucks about with those who cannot bleat. Keep it in mind he’s one of a kind – oh, life’s a treat with Shaun the Sheep.

The Temp title screen
The Temp
Misfiring early 90s noir mangled into more of a SCARY BAD WOMAN IS SCARING ME yuppie horror thing, but still quite watchable, with Timothy Hutton, Lara Flynn Boyle and Faye Dunaway.

TITLEtriple9
Triple 9
On paper, a great prospect: John Hillcoat (Ghosts… Of The Civil Dead, The Road, The Proposition) directing Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael K Williams, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Anthony Mackie, Clifton Collins Jnr, Gal Godot, Woody Harrelson etc, with an unrecognisable Kate Winslet as a Russian mob boss, a byzantine plot about crooked cops and heists and double crosses… But sadly on the day it didn’t pan out. Not bad, just not… Great.

Dope title screen
Dope
Upbeat, uplifting, fun modern take on the high school losers movie, with Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori and Kiersey Clemons as a trio of geeky kids who get caught up in shenanigans. WITH HILARIOUS CONSEQUENCES. Made me want to see more by director Rick Famuyiwa.

[The Godfather title screen]
The Godfather
MIND THE ORANGES, MARLON!

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A Week In Film #419: Chuntering along

Dr. Who And The Daleks title screen
Dr. Who And The Daleks
Thoroughly enjoyable, non-canonical big screen version of the BBC TV show, with Peter Cushing as an absent-minded professor who has accidentally built a space- and time-travelling machine. Roberta Tovey, Jennie Linden and Roy Castle are the trio of youngsters sent with him to the nuclear war-scarred home world of the evil Daleks. Directed by Gordon Fleming.

Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. title screen
Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.
Slightly darker sequel, with Bernard Cribbins replacing Roy Castle as the bumbling helper, and a plot about human resistance to Dalek tyranny. Also directed by Gordon Fleming.

The Polar Express title screen
The Polar Express
Okay, so I used to hate it but Robert Zemeckis’ motion capture animated version of a kids’ book about children visiting Santa Claus at the North Pole has grown on me. Some great set pieces (the dancing hot chocolate waiters for one), and Tom Hanks in multiple roles is fun.

A Week In Film #418: Busy week

RED title screen
RED
Silly, underwhelming, ultimately unsatisfying comic book adaptation, with Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich as getting-on-a-bit former secret agents and assassins coming out of retirement, etc. Directed by Robert Schwentke, whose The Time Traveler’s Wife was a whole lot better.

We Are Twisted Fucking Sister! title screen
We Are Twisted Fucking Sister!
Great documentary which tells a fascinating story about a band I had no interest in. Director Andrew Horn really nails it, teasing out how a Long Island metal band managed to elevate themselves above a thriving but small local scene into a worldwide smash. Totally recommended, not least as a blueprint for other bands seeking global domination.

Raman Raghav 2.0 title screen
Raman Raghav 2.0
Creepy Indian serial killer thriller, loosely based on a real case, with Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the homicidal psychopath, and Vicky Kaushal as the dirty cop on his tail. Spirited direction from Anurag Kashyap.

[Raiders! The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made title screen
Raiders! The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made
A to B documentary about that bunch of kids who started making their own shot-for-shot remake of Raiders Of The Lost Ark shortly after first seeing it in the 80s, and bringing it up to date with their more recent attempts to film their version of the airfield fight, which they had been unable to do at the time.

Criminal (2016) title screen
Criminal
Silly but po-faced SF action thriller about transplanting the mind of a murdered CIA agent (Ryan Reynolds) into the body of a violent criminal (Kevin Costner) in order to defeat a dastardly bad guy (Jordi Mollà). Did I mention it was silly? VERY SILLY. Directed by Ariel Vromen.

War Dogs title screen
War Dogs
Plainly an attempt to mash The Wolf Of Wall Street into Lord Of War, based on a true story of bottom-feeding arms dealers profiting from the war in Afghanistan, with Miles Teller and Jonah Hill as our ur-capitalist ‘heroes’. Probably the most ‘serious’ film yet directed by fratpack helmsman Tod Phillips, but still mostly played for laughs.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot title screen
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Enjoyable comedy-drama with Tina Fey as, well, a very Tina Fey-like local TV journo who ends up as a war correspondent in Afghanistan. Oh the hilarity! Actually, it is still watchable. Directed by duo Glenn Ficarra and John Requa.

The War Tapes title screen
The War Tapes
Documentary about the invasion of Iraq in 2003, compiled from video footage shot by three soldiers deployed there, and directed in post production by Deborah Scranton.

The Hand title screen
The Hand
Superbly stupid horror movie about a dickish comic book artist (Michael Caine) whose drawing hand is severed in a motor accident. It all goes downhill thereafter. Oliver Stone’s second movie, preceding the better known breakthrough pictures Salvador and Platoon.

En Chance Til title screen
En Chance Til AKA A Second Chance
Very strong thriller from Danish director Susanne Bier, about a pair of chalk-and-cheese police detectives, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Ulrich Thomsen, faced with an irresolvable dilemma.

A Week In Film #417: Whut?

The Sentinel title screen
The Sentinel
Mediocre action thriller about a veteran Secret Service agent (Michael Douglas) and his younger protégé (Kiefer Sutherland) in a race to protect the President (David Rasche) in the face of a dastardly conspiracy. With Eva Langoria, Kim Basinger, directed by Clark Johnson (Homicide: Life On The Streets alumnus), based on a novel by Gerald Petievich, whose work also led to the rather more exciting To Live And Die In L.A.