Brian de Palma’s version of a studio movie – here rebooting an old TV show – is almost always worth your time; here is no mistake. So much for the eyes to feast on, and with superb physical gags, all woven together in a sophisticated structure that elevates a silly movie. With Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Béart, Ving Rhames, Jean Reno, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vanessa Redgrave, Rolf Saxon, Henry Czerny and Emilio Estéfez amongst the talent.
The Age Of Adaline
So-so drama in the vein of The Time Traveller’s Wife, with Blake Lively as a woman born near the start of the twentieth century who, after an accident when she was 29, no longer ages. There follows abandoned relationships, a life of drifting, the inability to build lasting relationships, etc. But lo! A romance beckons! Michael Huisman plays the guy from 2016 whom she falls for; Harrison Ford and Kathy Baker are his parents. Not terrible, but it’s not something I’d likely watch again on purpose. From director Lee Toland Krieger from a script by J Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz.
Obviously the real life story of the post-war occupation of Japan by MacArthur (Tommy Lee Jones) and the US Army is one that requires a romantic sub-plot, so here’s Party Of Five’s Matthew Fox as Brigadier General Bonner Fellers (in real life an inveterate anti-Communist and member of the John Birch Society) trying to hunt down former love Eriko Hatsune, whilst simultaneously investigating whether Emperor Hirohito should face war crimes charges. Interesting story, just not here. Directed by Peter Webber.
Interesting doc by Frank Pavich investigating the movie that never was – the planned adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal sixties SF novel Dune by Chilean visionary Alejandro Jodorowsky, told entirely in the words of interviewees – including the man himself, designers Chris Foss and HR Giger, Salvador Dali’s muse Amanda Lear, Jodorowsky’s son Brontis, fellow directors and fans Richard Stanley and Nicolas Winding Refn, and producer Michel Seydoux.
Murder By Decree
So-so ersatz Conan Doyle, with Christopher Plummer adequate as an unusually empathetic Holmes, assisted by an excellent Watson (James Mason), investigating the Whitechapel murders. It’s all very much the whole Stephen Knight Masonic conspiracy business, and given the excellent cast (Donald Sutherland, John Gielgud, David Hemmings etc) it is very pedestrian. Unlike that year’s similarly Victorian themed The First Great Train Robbery, which filmed its location work in Dublin, this was shot around London, yet looks almost entirely stdio-bound. The guilty director is one Bob Clark, best known for the Porky’s series.
Odd early Troubles drama, with Rod Steiger as a Catholic ex-British soldier who having resisted pressure from the Provos to help them, snaps when his family is killed in a ropey Bloody Sunday-style massacre. Not great, and plodding in places, but interesting location work, early appearances for the likes of John Shrapnel (with hair!) and Patrick Stewart, and surprisingly dark – suicide bombers and the dirty war and all that. Directed by Don Sharp from a script by John Gay – a pair of journeymen and there’s no shame in that.