A Week In Film #524: Peaking duck

State Of Play
So-so Hollywood retooling of Paul Abbott’s mini-series about newspaper reporters and politicians and a violent death setting off a chain reaction of interconnected events. Directed by Kevin Macdonald, with Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams and Helen Mirren holding up the journalistic end of things, and Ben Affleck and Jeff Daniels on the congressional side. Some decent enough moments, but no heart of its own, and largely comprising a patchwork of familiar tropes.

Debbie Isitt’s seasonal family movie is wafer-thin, but still thoroughly enjoyable, with uptight teacher Martin Freeman mugging his way through everything in a Freemanly way, whilst Marc Wootton bounces off the walls as man-child classroom assistant Mr Poppy, and assorted Real Life Kids say all sorts of Things Real Kids Say. Jason Watkins puts in a good turn as a rival school’s nativity impresario.

Chris Nolan’s brain-melting action SF thriller made for a very tasty filling in between slices of his Batman, and still stands the test of time, so long as you don’t try and think about it too much and just let yourself be immersed. Awesome Hans Zimmer score, and normally I find him turgid.

Tango & Cash
One of those eighties muscle Mary buddy action comedies that I remembering seeing video cases and posters for, but never actually watching. TBH I wasn’t missing much, apart from a muddled, messy, confused film that doesn’t know whether it wants to be serious or funny, dark or light. With Sly Stallone and Kurt Russell as chalk-and-cheese LA detectives stitched up by a drug lord, backed up by decent character actors like Geoffrey Lewis and Brion James, and directed variously by Andrei Konchalovsky, Albert Magnoli and Peter MacDonald.

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