Monthly Archives: October 2017

A Week In Film #468: Births, deaths & marriages

Final Destination 2 title screen
Final Destination 2
Some great scares and shocks, but overall a weak entry in the franchise.

No One Lives
Potentially good horror movie, but ultimately one long fumble from director Ryuhei Kitamura. A mysterious drifter (Luke Evans, High-Rise) turns out not to be the pushover a feral gang of rural hoodlums think he is. The movie then unfolds in furtherance of its Ronseal title.

A Week In Film #467: Quiet

Kagemusha
Kurosawa’s superb mournful late period samurai picture, sort of I Was Monty’s Double with more swords and extra pathos. Tatsuya Nakadai gives the performance of his life as a lowly criminal saved from execution to act as a doppelgänger for the recently deceased daimyo of a royal house; slowly he takes to the role, only to succumb to hubris, and fuck everything up. The recreation of the Battle of Nagashino at the end is stupendous, as is the use of colour throughout.

A Week In Film #466: Catch up

[Under Fire title screen]
Under Fire
Roger Spottiswoode gives us the Sandinista Revolution, seen through the love triangle between American journalists Nick Nolte, Joanna Cassidy and Gene Hackman. Much of the best stuff comes from the supporting cast – Embassy buffoon Richard Masur, shady Frenchman Jean-Louis Trintignant, amoral mercenary Ed Harris.

T2: Trainspotting title screenT2: Trainspotting
Honestly I thought it worked really well, revisiting visibly aged if not matured characters, with plenty of visual flair and silliness and sadness. Anjela Nedyalkova was an interesting addition, meatier roles for Macdonald and Henderson were sorely missing, but McGregor, Bremner, Miller and Carlyle were all magnificent.

Children Of The Revolution title screenChildren Of The Revolution
Pretty decent dark comedy about an Aussie communist (Judy Davis) having a brief tryst with Stalin which precipitates his death; from this emerges her son ‘Joe’ (Richard Roxburgh), who in time displays ever-more unignorable tics from his presumed father… From Peter Duncan, who late created the might Rake along with Roxburgh. Wonderful cast, including Geoffrey Rush, Rachel Griffiths, Sam Neill and F Murray Abraham.

Mystery Road title screen
Mystery Road
Superb, gritty, depressing, beautiful, provocative, sweet Australian western, about an aboriginal girl who is found dead on the outskirts of a dusty outback township, and the aboriginal police detective who pursues the case (Aaron Pedersen). Absolutely a stand-out film – exhilarating stuff from writer-director Ivan Sen, who packs his cast with redoubtable scions of the southern screen, like Jack Thompson and Hugo Weaving, familiar genre faces like Robert Mammone, Damian Walshe-Howling and Bruce Spence, but also younger actors like Ryan Kwanten and Tricia Whitton.

Goldstone title screen
Goldstone
Ivan Sen and Aaron Pedersen revisit their aboriginal detective Jay Swan, here in very different circumstances. Okay, so it does not match the majesty of Mystery Road, but if you hadn’t seen that one you would still be impressed by this one. Another nice cast, rounded out by the likes of David Wenham as a dodgy mining company manager, Jacki Weaver as a bent local politician, and Alex Russell as a morally uncertain local cop.

A Week In Film #465: Moody

Argo title screen
Argo
Ben Affleck’s not-terrible take on the true-life story of a CIA rescue operation in the wake of the Iranian Revolution. Some decent bits of tension, some decent performances, but nothing stupendous.

The Hunted title screenThe Hunted
So much potential: Benicio del Toro, Tommy Lee Jones, a tale of a black ops dude gone off the rails and the efforts to bring him in, directed by William Friedkin. But a mess, and never hits its stride.

Foxcatcher title screenFoxcatcher
Bennett Miller’s slow, muted, awkward telling of the story of a fucked-up rich dude with an interest in wrestling (Steve Carell as John E du Pont) who sponsors an Olympic programme, does some bad shit, gets super dark. Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo are also excellent.

A Week In Film #464: A classic and two turkeys

2 October

The Wizard Of Oz title screenThe Wizard Of Oz
Classy and classic.

Mercury Rising title screenMercury Rising
Not Harold Becker’s best work – burnt-out FBI agent Bruce Willis finds himself trying to protect autistic savant Miko Hughes from a shadowy NSA kill team.

Black Site Delta title screenBlack Site Delta
Absolutely appalling nonsense, trying to do the Die Hard thing but in a military stockade being attacked by… Actually, it’s just not worth bothering. Nothing to commend whatsoever.