Misfiring action thriller with Jamie Foxx leading a team of FBI investigators trying to hunt down the perpetrators of a terrorist attack on a compound for Westerners in Saudi Arabia. Some decent enough set pieces and interplay between actors, but no heart.
Fun live action cartoon violence courtesy of John Hughes and Chris Columbus.
The First Great Train Robbery
Another airing for Michael Crichton’s enjoyable Victorian crime caper with Connery, Sutherland and Down a strong central trio.
The Two Jakes
Imperfect belated sequel to the Evans-Towne-Polanski-Nicholson classic Chinatown, here moving from its predecessor’s focus on water to an obsession over oil. By no means great, but still with plenty to enjoy.
The Hot Spot
Dennis Hopper’s sweat-drenched neo-noir, with drifter Don Johnson rolling into a crappy little Texan town and carving himself a tasty little love triangle situation with his new boss’s wife Virginia Madsen and the shy secretary Jennifer Connelly.
Watchable documentary about session and touring musicians, with plenty of interesting anecdotes, though the putting on a show finale is pretty painful.
Our Kind Of Traitor
By no means terrible, but definitely not a top table le Carré adaptation from director Susanna White. Troubled British couple Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris cross paths with desperate Russian mob accountant Stellan Skarsgard, hilarity ensures, etc.
Well I rather liked this Matthew McConnaughey-as-space-cowboy futureshock drama from Christopher Nolan. Had a pleasant seam of optimism.
The Legend Of Ben Hall
Dry and drab if worthy and intentionally true-to-life, a crowdfunded drama about a (once) famous bush ranger first trying to stay out of trouble and then very much on the radar of the law. Jack Martin in the lead role just doesn’t seem to have the charisma required to carry the movie; Jamie Coffa as his oppo John Gilbert at least conveys a certain amount of off-the-wallness.
The Bad Education Movie
Energetic big screen outing for the Jack Whitehall TV sitcom, with a very 70s feel and a throwaway plot about a school trip to Cornwall and accidentally getting mixed up with secessionists. Absolutely nothing exceptional to report (except to query whether Iain Glen was facing an expensive divorce at the time?)
Dark and strong lo-fi retelling of a Tolstoy novella, updated to a venal Hollywood movie industry environment. Danny Huston is endearingly fucked up as a not-as-shitty-as-all-the-other-agents shitty agent who discovers he is terminally ill but has no one to turn to for support. Regular collaborator Bernard Rose keeps things moving and interesting despite a clear lack of budget – a zippy shoot-and-run DV look gives it a raw feel.