Stylishly executed if intellectually bereft 80s-style thriller from David Fincher, with cynical, rich Michael Douglas dragged in to a dark conspiracy by his feckless younger brother Sean Penn.
The Wall (2017)
Strong little flick about a two-man US Army sniper team (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena) ensnared at a remote Iraqi pipeline by a dangerous, well-hidden foe. Nicely written by Dwain Worrell, effectively directed by Doug Liman.
Angels One Five
Well-made, if old fashioned, war-in-the-air effort, with replacement pilot ‘Septic’ (John Gregson at his nervy, dour best) finding it hard to fit into veteran RAF officer Jack Hawkins’ squadron as the Battle of Britain heats up. All the tropes are there, but it’s handled well by director George More O’Ferrall.
El Hombre De Las Mil Caras AKA Smoke And Mirrors
A very interesting story – shady arms dealer and intelligence asset Francisco Paesa, and his involvement in selling jarked hardware to ETA on behalf of the Spanish government in the 1980s – is somewhat muddled here, in its attempt to make its protagonist seem more likeable. Still, worth a watch, some good performances (Eduard Fernández in the lead, Carlos Santos as his former nemesis), directed by Alberto Rodríguez.
Nice idea, not exactly excitingly executed – Allied officer with foreknowledge of impending D-Day landings (James Garner) is kidnapped by German intelligence and deposited in a fake American field hospital where they try to convince him he has been in a coma for years in a bid to get him to reveal details of where the landings will take place. Can’t fault the cast (Rod Taylor, Eva Marie Saint, Werner Peters) or the concept; it’s just very soapily handled. Written and directed by George Seaton.
The Way Ahead
Naked propaganda concocted by Peter Ustinov, Eric Ambler and Carol Reed, but my, brilliantly done. David Niven plays the rookie officer, trying with his Regular sergeant Bill Hartnell, to lick an unpromising bunch of civvy conscripts into shape in the aftermath of Dunkirk. With great character actors including Stanley Holloway, John Laurie, James DonaldHugh Burden and Leslie Dwyer. Ustinov himself gets to show off his languages in a cameo as a reluctantly liberated cafe proprietor in North Africa.
This Is the End
Indulgent wank from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, turning a promising skit idea into a feature-length yawnfest. Various actors Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride etc) get caught up in an apocalyptic event in LA. Not much exciting happens, just semi-improvised rubbish.
The Wooden Horse
A POW camp escape classic, just five years after the end of the war, with Jack Lee directing an adaptation of Eric Williams’ true life account of the vaulting horse-based break from Stalag Left III. Leo Genn, David Tomlinson and Anthony Steel are the escapers.