Monthly Archives: August 2019

A Week In Film #563 Buffalo soldiering

Back To The Future: Part II title screen
Back To The Future: Part II
The one in the future! Sporting almanac! No more Crispin Glover!

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn title screen
The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn
I don’t think there could have been a better filmic introduction to Hergé’s world than this. I’m sure it has some purists pissing blood, but for me it works.

[Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie title screen]
Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie
Quite amusing broad comedy with our eponymous protagonist somehow being sent to America as an art expert. HILARITY ENSUES!

Back To The Future: Part III title screen
Back To The Future: Part III
The one in the Old West! Flying train! Doc finds love!

Dunkirk (2017) title screen
Dunkirk (2017)
Revisited it for the first time since the cinema. Darker than I remembered it. Elegant structure and very smartly scored.

A Week In Film #562: Targeted

Triple Frontier title screen
Triple Frontier
So-so action thriller with Oscar Isaac a private military contractor working the anti-narco beat in Colombia, who sees the possibility of a massive payday, and so drags together his old military buds into a team to carry off a risky heist. Ben Affleck is the planner, Charlie Hunnam and Garret Hedlund are the muscle, and Pedro Pascal the pilot. Never quite achieves its potential. JC Chandor (Margin Call and A Most Violent Year) directs from a script worked up by himself and Mark Zero Dark Thirty Boal.

22 July title screen
22 July
Paul Greengrass gives us his take on the Breivik attacks of 2011; it is much as you would expect, equal parts documentary-style rendition of the massacre itself, and then a melodramatic focus on one victim and the family around him as he tries to come to terms with the tragedy in its aftermath. First time around the disjoint between the two parts meant I lost interest halfway through; but on rewatching, the second act clearly has a lot of power.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu title screen
Pokémon Detective Pikachu
TBF I wasn’t really paying attention, and only had it on to keep Middle Child amused during a visit to the grandparents. But it’s got Ryan Reynolds in it so I guess at some point I’ll go back and concentrate a bit harder. Certainly it didn’t scream out <>this is terrible to my unconscious mind.

Brawl In Cell Block 99 title screen
Brawl In Cell Block 99
Far superior to what I was expecting – a slow-burning (and yet constantly against the clock) genre B-movie, but with fully committed performances from the likes of Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, Don Johnson and Udo Kier. A former journeyman boxer (Vaughn) and his wife (Carpenter) attempt to keep things together, despite human frailties. For reasons he ends up in gaol with an impossible mission. Much violence ensues. Written, directed and scored by S Craig Zahler (principally a novelist, who preceded it with noirish Western Bone Tomahawk and followed it with Dragged Across Concrete).

A Week In Film #561: Trying all-new

Stand Up Guys title screen
Stand Up Guys
Old school gangster Al Pacino comes out of prison after long sentence, is met by pal Christopher Walken, they break out fellow aged hood Alan Arkin from a nursing home, reminisce about crimes past, and get caught between a rock and a half place, all against the clock. Low key, low energy, low expectations – but surprisingly decent. Helmed by actor-turned-director Fisher Stevens.

Den 12 Mann title screen
Den 12 Mann AKA The 12th Man
Wartime actioner about the only survivor of a Norwegian army sabotage team going on the run from the Nazis, and the civilians who help him.

A Scandi Bravo Two Zero-meets-The Guns Of Navarone with touches of Touching The Void and 127 Hours. Directed by Harald Zvark, excellent central performance from Thomas Gullestad.

Insidious: Chapter Two title screen
Insidious: Chapter Two
Bonkers house-haunting franchise bollocks from director James Wan and scriptwriter Leigh Whannell – can’t remember anything about it, but it did have Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne in the lead roles, and they’re normally pretty solid.

Hereditary title screen
Dark-as-shit psychological horror, with Toni Collette the matriarch of a suburban family where all manner of unpleasant shit is unfolding. From Ari Aster, with the cast rounded out by Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff and Milly Shapiro.

Shaft (2019) title screen
Shaft (2019)
Classic 70s blaxploitation action picture rehashed for woke days, with Jessie T Usher as John Shaft, the sensitive FBI analyst and estranged son of Samuel L Jackson’s private detective John Shaft, himself the son of Richard Roundtree’s private detective John Shaft. There’s a silly plot, but it’s not terrible. Directed by Tim Ride Along Story, written by Kenya Barris and Alex Barnow.

Brain On Fire title screen
Brain On Fire
Definitely in the Hallmark-on-speed ball park, in this BASED ON A TRUE STORY melodrama Chloë Grace Moretz plays a young New York Post reporter who is laid low by a mysterious condition that everyone around her takes to be either alcoholism, drug use or acute mental illness. Directed by Gerard Barrett from the autobiography of Susannah Calahan. Carrie-Anne Moss and Richard Armitage as her divorced parents – each over-protective and dysfunctional in their own way – are great.

A Week In Film #560: ALL NEW for first time in ages

American Made title screen
American Made
So-so Tom Cruise vehicle, a based-on-true-events affair about a pilot who flew drugs and got involved in the Contras and ended up dead. Not as energetic as Air America, not as fun as Blow. Not director Doug Liman’s finest, but always nice to see Domhnall Gleeson and Jesse Plemons on the big screen.

The Girl In The Spider’s Web title screen
The Girl In The Spider’s Web
Pointless extension of a dead man’s trilogy, with Claire THE QUEEN Foy taking over as Lisbeth Salander (now basically an invincible freelance superspy/sleuth), and Fede Álvarez directing from David Lagercrantz’s scab novel. Sure, the odd thrilling sequence, or part of a sequence, but pointless, empty, distasteful.

Point Blank (2019) title screen
Point Blank (2019)
Uncomplicated, unpretentious American remake of À Bout Portant. Anthony Mackie is a hardworking inner city hospital nurse looking forward to his wife’s impending sprogdrop; Frank Grillo is an honest thief out on the lam, pursued by cops, gangsters and whoever else. Pretty good from Joe Lynch, though the third reel thing with Markice Moore as a cinephile drug lord (big fan of Sorcerer slows things down when it should be speeding up.

The Babysitter title screen
The Babysitter
Quite odd genre-splicer with Samara Weaving a foxy babysitter and Judah Lewis her somewhat bullied young charge. BUT EVERYTHING IS NOT AS IT SEEMS when the kid’s parents leave town for the night. Directed with glee if not complete coherence or mastery by McG.

Black Panther title screen
Black Panther
Rather spirited and enjoyable afrocentric addition to the MCU (and by my score its most entertaining and absorbing instalment), with Chadwick Boseman impressive in the title role, but almost eclipsed by Michael B Jordan as his nemesis. Directed and co-written by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station).