A Week In Film #511: Mixed

Paul title screen
Paul
Silly, fun comedy about a pair of British SF geeks (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) who go to America to first attend San Diego ComicCon, then go on a ufology road trip/pilgrimage across the south-west in an RV…Only to accidentally pick up an alien hitchhiker by the name of Paul (Seth Rogen), who has a bunch of Secret Service agents on his tail. Not in the league of Spaced/Shaun/Fuzz or even End, but still amusing. Directed by Greg Mottola, who did Superbad and Adventureland.

Spy Game title screen
Spy Game
Imagine Tony Scott trying to do John Le Carré, and this is what you would get. Fucking awful, I mean, plenty of professional skill in the execution, just very little in the cerebral department. Nothing in this film makes narrative sense. Pointless swooping shots. Needlessly bleached out photography. Stupid plot. Excellent cast largely wasted (Charlotte Rampling, Benedict Wong, David Hemmings, Stephen Dillane – all criminal underused, whilst Brad Pitt and Robert Redford do their thing out front).

[The Shining title screen]
The Shining
Kubrick’s tangential adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel, with would-be writer Jack Nicholson going mad whilst serving as an off-season janitor to a huge hotel in remote, mountainous Colorado, which would be fine but for the whole being a bit to murderous towards his family (Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd).

La La Land title screen
La La Land
Okay, so this did not really grab me- the opening song-and-dance number was quite nice, but very swiftly people were talking about jazz and acting auditions, and I kind of switched off mentally, and before I knew it the end credits were rolling. Yet reading the Wikipedia summary, it kind of sounds interesting. Maybe I’ll give it another try some day soon.

Mississippi Burning title screen
Mississippi Burning
If it wasn’t for the fact that it totally bastardises actual history, then Alan Parker’s historical procedural about a pair of FBI agents (Willem Dafoe as the smart, young, ‘modern’ G-Man from the northeast, Gene Hackman as an outwardly more lackadaisical, old-fashioned Southern shit-kicker) investigating the (real life) murder of three young democracy activists in 1963 Mississippi by Ku Klux Klan members would be more enjoyable.

China Moon title screen
China Moon
Straight forward neo-noir by long-time cinematographer John Bailey, with Ed Harris as an experienced police detective who falls for an unhappily married Floridian (Madeline Stowe). There’s a nice sort of mini-twist. Benicio Del Toro is good as Harris’ lazy young partner.

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