Monthly Archives: September 2017

A Week In Film #463: Monsters

The Siege title screenThe Siege
So-so pre-9/11 terror-hits-NYC potboiler, with FBI counter-terrorism expert Denzel Washington and military man Bruce Willis battling to take the lead in the face of Islamist attacks.

Carlos (film version) title screen
Carlos (158 min Netflix version)
Not sure exactly how, but this particular cut is atrocious – no pace, no oomph.

Silly but fun Local Hero-meetsGremlins deal, with alcoholic cop Richard Coyle, new arrival Ruth Bradley and resident boffin Russell Tovey the unlikely trio fending off weird alien invaders from a remote Irish island. Top work from Jon Wright and team.

A Week In Film #462: Genre

Red Eye title screen
Red Eye
Joyously silly genre thriller (shades of Nick Of Time) with hotel manager Rachel MacAdams tying to escape the clutches of a dangerous blackmailer whilst on a plane home at Christmas. Fun stuff from Wes Craven.

Murder At 1600
DC cop Wesley Snipes teams up with Secret Service agent Diane Lane to investigate a murder with political implications at the White House. Throwaway fluff of the sort I will lap up.

Spectre title screen
Dense but enjoyable neo Bond, with a satisfying plot that ties together the whole Craig era with previous canon. Strong work from Sam Mendes, with some excellent set pieces (continuous take Mexican day of the dead cold open, the Dennis Wheatley-eqsue meeting infiltrated by Bond, Bond’s capture and torture, the climactic chase) and energetic performances by Christolph Waltz Ben Whishaw and Andrew Scott.

The Incredibles title screen
The Incredibles
Top animated superhero shenanigans from Pixar, directed by Brad Bird.

Breezily fun Disney Renaissance take on the hoary old tale, with directors Ron Clements and John Musker letting Robin Williams run riot as the genie.

The Omen (1976) title screen
The Omen
Silly but very decent genre shocker, with peerless physical effects and expert timing from Richard Donner.

A Week In Film #461: Strong out the gate

Good Burger
Silly but overall inoffensive Kenan & Kel vehicle, with the pair of buffoons working a summer job at a local fast food restaurant facing ruin when a huge new Mondo Burger outlet opens across the road…

The Day Of The Jackal title screen
The Day Of The Jackal
Fred Zinnemann adapts Frederick Forsyth’s rollicking based-on-real-events thriller with real verve, and keeps the tension running throughout. Edward Fox is ice-cold as the English hitman hired by right-wing OAS goons to assassinate De Gaulle following his treacherous withdrawal from Algeria.

The Mask
Silly early Jim Carrey star vehicle, adapted from a Dark Horse comic about a mask that turns its wearer looney tunes. With Cameron Diaz, Peter Greene, and some other people. Not really sure I could précis the plot. Directed by Chuck Russell.

Sicario title screen
Watched Denis Villeneuve’s Traffik-esque tale of the war against drugs fought on the US-Mexico border as a bit of a warm-up before Blade Runner 2049. Can’t make up my mind whether it really is fascist cheerleading, or a particularly bleak and pessimistic parable, or just very cynical. I think probably the middle one, though the tripling down on the ending suggests something of a wobble in intent. Some great set pieces, though – Arizona, border crossing, post-bar, tunnels, Mexican road – and some strong performances (Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin). Superb score by Jóhann Jóhannsson too.

Serpico title screen
Sidney Lumet, Al Pacino and a pre-gentrification city of New York in perfect harmony.

Jawbone title screen
Starring, written and produced by Johnny Harris – though director Thomas Q Napper deserves a shout too – this is a fine drama about a has-been, coulda-been boxer who has a chance of redemption. It’s not ‘the British Rocky, and no less great for that. Superb supporting performances from Michael Smiley, Ian McShane and even Ray Winstone.

A Week In Film #460: Mixed bag

The Nut Job 2 title screenThe Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature
Like its predecessor, this one makes up for the slightly second tier artwork and animation with brio and verve. This time round our squirrelly heroes and their chums are forced to look for a new home after their nut paradise blows up; this leads to a confrontation with the corrupt town Mayor and his henchmen. Voices include Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl and Bobby Cannavale. Cal Brunker replaces Peter Lepeniotis on directing duties.

As fun as when first I saw it in the cinema, from the opening introduction of crappy, spineless car salesman Jerry Lundegaard through to the incident with the woodchopper.

Groundhog Day
Harold Ramis nails pretty much everything in this classic nineties refresh of the likes of A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life; here Bill Murray is a cynical TV weatherman who is forced to reevaluate his life when he gets trapped in some kind of a time-loop in a Mid-Western town.

The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies title screen
The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies (114 min Netflix version)
Worthy, if not compelling, take on the demonisation of an innocent man in the wake of the brutal murder in Bristol in 2010 of Joanna Yeates. Jason Watkins does a fair impersonation in the lead role, but it’s not the gripping drama it seems to think it is. Best bit is probably Shaun Parkes as his lawyer – because he gets to say what the viewer (safely watching with the benefit of hindsight) is thinking when the police lay out their ‘evidence’ against his client: is that really all you have?