A Week In Film #579: Variety

The Presidio title screen
The Presidio
Peter Hyams ballses up what could have been an excellent chalk-and-cheese buddy cop movie with an intriguing set-up: Mark Harmon is a San Francisco city cop forced to work alongside his old cob-up-the-ass boss from the Military Police, Sean Connery, when the repercussions from a murder on an Army base bleed out into the wider world.

The basics are all in place, but despite some decent touches, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, with the ultimate twist something that is familiar from a hundred half-arsed TV show episodes. And there’s a distinct lack of tension, peril or jeopardy – just an unconvincing romantic sub-plot between Harmon and Meg Ryan (playing Connery’s daughter).

Bridget Jones’s Diary title screen
Bridget Jones’s Diary
Rather better and more enjoyable than I thought it would be, adaptation of Helen Fielding’s novel (based on her newspaper columns), a diary ostensibly penned by a single thirtysomething provincial bourgeois adrift in London, never quite managing to achieve all she hoped for (love, excitement, career, cool). Renée Zellwegger is a fun lead, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth both excellent as her paramours. One hundred percent middle class and totally a made up American fantasy version of what Britishness is, but amusing enough for what it is.

Gangsta Granny title screen
Gangsta Granny
Fun adaptation of David Walliams’ novel for kids, about the burgeoning relationship between a boy (Reece Buttery) and his grandmother (Julia McKenzie), predicated on his belief that she had been an international jewel thief. Some amusing set pieces, and some touching moments. Directed by telly bod Matt Lipsey, scripted by Black Books’ Kevin Cecil and Andy Riley with assistance from Walliams.

The Report title screen
The Report
Powerful, morally upright unfolding of the tale of the slow strangling of the Congressional investigation into the use of torture by the CIA in the ‘war against terror’. Adam Driver is quietly driven in the role of the Senate staffer leading the report team. A strong, angry piece from longtime Soderbergh confederate Scott Z Burns.

Gettin’ Square title screen
Gettin’ Square
Australian director Jonathan Teplitzky serves up a very likeable if very familiar feeling comedic crime drama, focusing on ex-con Sam Worthington, just out of gaol and trying to look after his younger brother, and Timothy Spall, a one-time shady character who wants only to be a legitimate businessman. The whole show is undoubtedly stolen by David Wenham as flaky-but-lovable junkie Spit. Cast includes solid Aussie actors like Gary Sweet, Richard Carter and David Field.

Primates Of The Caribbean title screen
Primates Of The Caribbean
Strange little animated tale of a monkey beach cop taking on a developer, with a casino that turns into a robot. I didn’t have much hope for it but somehow it captivated three kids for an hour and a half. First time director Jan Rahbek apparently has something, then.

Good Time title screen
Good Time
Superb drama from the Safdie Brothers, packaged as and starting off as a quirky seventies-style crime caper/heist movie, but very quickly becoming something a whole lot more complex and trope-resistant.

Low level robber Connie (Robert Pattinson) all but kidnaps his developmentally-challenged brother Nick (Benny Safdie) from a therapy session, before taking him to assist in a stick-up at a bank. It does not go well, and for the rest of the movie Connie is desperately trying to beat the system, but always, always coming up short.

Great little character turns from Jennifer Jason Leigh, Barkhad Abdi, Buddy Duress, Necro, Taliah Lennice Webster, Peter Verby and Eric Paykert.

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