Monthly Archives: September 2019

A Week In Film #567: Bang-Bang

[Arbitrage title screen]
Arbitrage
Rather boring, enthralling ‘thriller’ about a rich dick (Richard Gere) doing some big-assed white collar crime against a bunch of other rich dicks, whilst simultaneously fucking Someone Who Isn’t His Wife. Really tedious. From Nicholas Jarecki, who co-wrote the script for the pretty decent Bret Easton Ellis adaptation The Informers. Got pretty good reviews, so maybe I’ll have to revisit it.

[The Hollow Point title screen]
The Hollow Point
Seemed like it would be better than it actually was – a small town lawman on the Mexican frontier happens upon a deadly cross-border ammunition smuggling ring. By no means the worst Patrick Wilson film I’ve seen recently, but somewhat pedestrian. With Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Jim Belushi and Lynn Collins, directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego, and written by Nils Lyew.

[The Thing title screen]
The Thing
John Carpenter, Kurt Russell, aliens in Antarctica, a throbbing score, and the very best in physical effects.

[The MacKenzie Break title screen]
The MacKenzie Break
Turning the normal British POW escape movie on its head, here we have a camp in Scotland full of German prisoners under the control of zealot Helmut Griem, with commandant Ian Hendry powerless against the machinations of his charge. Brian Keith is the maverick Irishman sent in as an intelligence officer to figure out what Jerry is up to. Directed by Lamont Johnson.

[Red Sparrow title screen]
Red Sparrow
Silly accents aside, a pretty solid bit of Cold War espionage throwback bizniz, based on a novel by an ex-Agency spook (Jason Matthews), with Jennifer Lawrence a Russian ballerina forced by circumstance into becoming a honey trap operative for the SVR. A pleasantly convoluted plot, some solid performances (Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeremy Irons, Ciarán Hinds, Douglas Hodge), some nice photography (Jo Willems – Hard Candy, London, 30 Days Of Night plus some Hunger Games stuff). From director Francis Lawrence (again Hunger Games, plus I Am Legend).

A Week In Film #564: 100% Rewinds

[6 Days title screen]
6 Days
Solid if stolid take on the Iranian embassy siege, with Billy Elliott as SAS hardnut Rusty Firmin.

[Valkyrie title screen]
Valkyrie
Bryan Singer’s pedestrian take on the Stauffenberg plot to assassinate Hitler.

[The Hunt For Red October title screen]
The Hunt For Red October
Muscular John McTiernan screening of Tom Clancy’s technothriller about a CIA analyst (Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan) trying to determine just what a rogue Soviet sub commander (Sean Connery) is planning to do. Sort of compelling.

[Klute title screen]
Klute
Director Alan J Pakula and cinematographer Gordon Willis pull together a decent if not essential dry run for the superior paranoia thriller classics The Parallax View and All The President’s Men. Donald Sutherland is the private eye who becomes embroiled with call girl Jane Fonda in pursuit of a missing businessman, whilst shadowy forces swirl around them.

[North West Frontier title screen]
North West Frontier
I’d never noticed before quite how like Ice Cold In Alex this was before – both helmed by J Lee Thompson. This is definitely the runt of that particular litter, and with it a much less palatable imperial flavour. Still, some highly memorable scenes and performances.

Kenneth More is excellent as a stiff upper lipped British Army officer charged with protecting the young son of a Hindu maharajah, in the face of widespread Muslim rioting and massacres. A glorious cast – Lauren Bacall, Herbert Nom, Wilfrid Hyde-White, I S John, Ursula Jeans, Eugene Deckers, S M Asgaralli and Sam Chowdhary – make what is otherwise a rather mediocre picture sparkle somewhat.