“Ho! Ho! Ho! Now I have a machine gun!” Merry Christmas indeed!
[Uncle Buck title screen]
Got to love a decent slice of uplifting John Hughes/John Candy goodness.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
Finally saw the ‘new’ ‘old’ Star Wars flick after avoiding spoilers for a year, and it was satisfyingly hokey. JJ Abrams did a great job melding together modern film tech with proper old school physical effects. Kylo Ren has a superb scary voice.
Can you believe I’d never watched this? Surprisingly very enjoyable, with John Hughes on script duties, Chris Columbus directing, and a fresh-faced Macaulay Culkin as a kid left behind when his family go to Paris for Christmas. Cartoon violence, very likeable performances (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as the burglars in particular), zesty.
Superb (relatively) low budget meta superhero business, with Tim Miller directing Ryan Reynolds as an amoral mercenary-turned-costumed vigilante. Ultra-violent, witty, with touching relationships and economical scenes.
Precinct Seven Five
Not the most innovative documentary film, but certainly an interesting story – about corrupt police officers in the Brooklyn neighbourhood East New York in the 1980s. However, focusing on Michael Dowd means wider issues are never really explored – nor is the issue of IA cop Joe Trimboli finding himself under threat from bosses for starting to investigate the 75.
The Last Of The Finest
Written (in part) by stalwart movie guy George Armitage, directed by John Mackenzie (The Long Good Friday, A Sense Of Freedom), with Brian Dennehy leading a team of LA cops (Joe Pantoliano, Bill Paxton and Jeff Fahey) on the trail of a drug dealer, but the bosses are on their back, yadda yadda yadda… I definitely remember this being a lot better than it is. Once again my brain lied to me.
[The Godfather Part II title screen]
The Godfather Part II
The Last Grenade
Grizzled mercenary Stanley Baker faces off against former comrade American soldier-for-hire Alex Cord in Hong Kong. Could have been much better if only it hadn’t got sidetracked with a tedious and melodramatic romantic subplot involving general’s wife Honor Blackman. Last film directed by Gordon Fleming, of Dalek movie fame.
Tell Spring Not To Come This Year
Fly-on-the-wall documentary about the Afghan National Army’s first year without NATO support in Helmand. From directors Saeed Taji Farouky and Michael McEvoy.
George P Cosmatos brings together a sturdy cast including Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Billy Bob Thornton and Micheal Biehn and tells the tale of the gunfight at the OK Corral and subsequent Earp Vendetta Ride with aplomb. Rollicking old fashioned Western.
Lawrence Kasdan brings together a sturdy cast including Dennis Quaid, Michael Madsen, Gene Hackman, Isabella Rossellini, Tom Sizemore, Bill Pullman and Mare Winningham and tells the tale of the gunfight at the OK Corral and subsequent Earp Vendetta Ride with a plum. A PLUM NAMED KEVIN SODDING COSTNER. Turgid pseudo legend-building.
Unnamed ice-for-blood getaway driver Ryan O’Neal tries to stay one step ahead of excitable detective Bruce Dern who is increasingly determined to nail him. With Isabelle Adjani as the woman who complicates matters. Sterling work from writer/director Walter Hill.
Kiss Me Deadly
Robert Aldrich’s noir classic, with punch-drunk private dick Mike Hammer scowling and sneering his way through early fifties LA as he tries to figure out why a hitchhiker he picked up (Cloris Leachman) was murdered. Superb on all levels.
Early doors noir, with lovestruck loser Tom Neal drawn into a fast-spiralling nightmare, thanks to peerless femme fatalery by Vera Savage. Certainly the best known work by Edgar Georg Ulmer, if not his best.