A Week In Film #590: Portents

An Ungentlemanly Act title screen
An Ungentlemanly Act
Stuart Urban’s sabre-rattling yet witty and ultimately downbeat take on the Argentine invasion of the Falklands. Bob Peck as Marine garrison commander Mike Norman, and Ian Richardson as island governor Rex Hunt, are amongst the thoroughly competent cast. Other familiar faces are early appearances by Marc Warren (Hunt’s son) and Aidan Gillen (as a Royal Marine).

The Falklands Play title screen
The Falklands Play
Straight-forward television adaptation of Ian Curteis’ play about the lead-up to the Falklands War (which had had a long and tortuous history), focusing on discussions and debates among the Tory Cabinet, with Margaret Lodge as Thatcher. Neither as cringeily jingoistic as it might have been, nor as objectively critical as it should have been, there are some decent turns from older actors, including gravel-voiced Michael Cochrane from The Archers as Nicholas Ridley, and John Standing as Willie Whitelaw. Colin Stinton plays Al Haig as comic straight man. Directed by Michael Samuels.

True Crime title screen
True Crime
Really rather dull thriller directed and starring Clint Eastwood, about a washed-out New York newspaperman relocated to Oakland where through a serious of coincidences he ends up working against the clock (HE DIES AT MIDNIGHT!) to save the life of a Death Row prisoner whose guilt in the murder of a shop cashier he has come to doubt. Adapted from a novel by Andrew Klavan, who is seemingly rather a dick.

A terrible mash-up of all too familiar clichés and over-cooked tropes, with spartan story mechanics and barely an attempt to create anything special or intriguing or unique. In the plus column we have James Woods (definitely a dick, but a talented one) in a bit-part as Eastwood’s editor. Isaiah Washington, as the condemned man, and LisaGay Hamilton, as his wife, seem like they are performing in entirely a different movie to everyone else – a heartfelt, meaningful, decent film.

Iron Man title screen
Iron Man
Jon Favreau’s franchise-launching superhero movie, with Robert Downey Jnr as everyone’s favourite quip-mongering death-dealer. Unlike many of the subsequent MCU entries, it is at least pretty straightforward to follow, though not without bits that drag.

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