Monthly Archives: April 2019

A Week In Film #546: Ankles

The Accountant title screen
The Accountant
One of those slightly po-faced modern actioners – cf The American, The Gunman – with Ben Affleck as an autistic book-keeper specialising in forensic audits for crime syndicates, whose world of carefully-choreographed balance is thrown tits-up. Cue shoot-outs and punch-ups. Directed by Gavin O’Connor, whose body of work I thought I must have entirely missed, but then I realised I have seen his Joe Carnahan cop saga Pride And Glory, which wasn’t to bad. Features now obligatory supporting role for Jon Bernthal.

The Usual Suspects title screen
The Usual Suspects
I guess with all of Singer’s problems these days, more people will be shifting their chips over to McQuarrie being the real genius behind this one. Well, I always did enjoy
The Way Of The Gun.

The Angel title screen
The Angel
So-so Hollywood-style treatment of the astonishing real-life story of Ashraf Marwan, Nasser’s son-in-law who became an agent for Israel and helped alert it to the coming Yom Kippur War. With Marwan Kenzari in the lead, Toby Kebbell as his Mossad handler. Directed by Ariel Vromen (The Iceman).

The Spy Who Fell To Earth title screen
The Spy Who Fell To Earth
More interesting, documentary take on the Marwan story, based largely around the work by author Aaron Bregman, who publicly outed Marwan as an Israeli spy, but who later came to believe him to be an Egyptian double agent. Directed by Tom Meadmore, an Aussie whose body of work looks like something I need to get to grips with.

Johnny English title screen
Johnny English
Actually quite amusing Mr Bean-meets-007 spy parody, done with affection and accuracy. The kids loved it. From Peter Howitt.

A Week In Film #544: Americana

Space Cowboys title screenSpace Cowboys
Low effort, unchallenging comedy-drama about a quartet of ageing ex-military test pilots (Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Garner) who narrowly missed out of becoming astronauts in the 60s, who are dragged out of retirement to perform an implausible rescue mission in space because, well, reasons.

Gangster Squad title screen
Gangster Squad
Slick, unsatisfying, shallow and deeply inaccurate portrayal of the LAPD’s fight against organised crime from back East in the 1940s. Strong cast – Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Robert Patrick, Michael Peña and Sean Penn – under-utilised by director Ruben Fleischer.

Detroit title screen
Detroit
Kathryn Bigelow tackles the 1967 12th Street Riot, in which redneck racist cops convince themselves a group of black men they encounter socialising with some white women in a Michigan motel were responsible for sniping at police from the top of the building. This obviously necessitates torturing them into confessing, and when that doesn’t work, killing them. Excellent work from a British-led cast (John Boyega, Will Poulter) and some grimly painted scenes.

A Week In Film #543: Crackers and duff corks

Black '47 title screen
Black ‘47
Revenge thriller plays out against the backdrop of the Irish Famine, with James Frecheville as a soldier returning home from years fighting abroad for the Crown to discover his people crushed by British tyranny and Planter greed.

Pleasantly surprised by this – it just appeared on my reccos, so I took it for a spin, had no preconceptions, yet was pulled in to the very end. Not the most original, but absorbing enough with some fine performances, from the likes of Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea and Freddie Fox. Director Lance Daly would appear to be someone to keep an eye on.

Compares very favourably with 2010’s thematically not-unadjacent Tracker, which ultimately wasted Temuera Morrisson, Ray Winstone and some spectacular Aotearoan landscapes.

The Legend At Cocaine Island title screen
The Legend At Cocaine Island
Documentary somewhat in the Errol Morris vein, with semi-reconstructed inserts, about a botched, half-baked attempt by an opportunist, would-be criminal mastermind to recover a bunch of drugs lost in the Caribbean by rather more professional free market entrepreneurs. Yes, there is something of a (massively-flagged) twist towards the end, no it is not, ultimately, satisfying. But watchable. By Theo Love.

Gotti (2018) title screen]
Gotti (2018)
Unlikable biopic, directed by Kevin Connolly, about the Gambino crime boss, played here by John Travolta as though he were little more than a mild-mannered, put-upon suburban dad. Whilst the 1996 HBO effort with Armand Assante was hardly Bergman, this is tripe. It does, however, make a halfway effort to examine the relationship between Gotti senior and his son John Jnr (Spencer Lofranco).

An Inspector Calls title screen
An Inspector Calls
Absolute cracker, with Guy Hamilton directing a rollicking screen version of JB Priestley’s morality play. Alastair Sim is the mysterious ‘inspector’, examining the values of a middle class family (Arthur Young, Olga Lindo, Brian Worth, Eileen Moore and Bryan Forbes).

This Is The End title screenThis Is The End
Self-indulgent, tedious, self-satisfied stoner tosh with the odd moment.

A Week In Film #542: Poisson


Bad Neighbours
Quite amusing flick about a youngish, formerly hip couple (Rose Byrne, Seth Rogen) just about getting used to life as suburban parents of a baby when the property next door is sold to a college fraternity headed up by party-head Zac Efron. After initial friendliness swiftly shifts into foe-liage, it’s a battle of wits between two equally childish sides. With Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz and Carla Gallo, directed by Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him To The Greek).