Author Archives: BristleKRS

About BristleKRS

Kent by birth, Bristol by choice

A Week In Film #434: Zombied out

Vigilante Force title screenVigilante Force

Batshit mid-seventies grind house type fare, with director George Armitage (later of Grosse Pointe Blank fame) liberally borrowing elements from Westerns, Seven Samurai, thirties gangster movies and blaxploitation cinema for this barely concealed Vietnam War allegory.

A Californian boom town’s elders, faced with boisterous oil workers smashing up their community, hire a local bad boy (Kris Kristofferson) and his buddies (all Nam vets, should the allegory be too subtle for you) as police auxiliaries to shake things up. It isn’t long before they are causing more mayhem than they are stopping; a Good Brother (Jan-Michael Vincent) must then step up and make things right again.

Bernadette Peters is great as a kooky bar room singer, Paul Gleason (from The Breakfast Club) has an early turn as a sleazy hood, and Brad Dexter is wheeled out as the town’s push-over mayor, and possibly to MAKE EVERYONE REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED IN THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. Sheer lunacy.

A Week In Film #433: State terror

[Bloody Sunday title screen]
Bloody Sunday
Paul Greengrass’ shaky-cam recreation of the 1972 Derry civil rights march and subsequent massacre of unarmed civilians at the hands of the Paras. James Nesbitt at his jittery best as march organiser Ivan Cooper, with the likes of Tim Piggott-Smith and Nicholas Farrell as serpentine upper crust British officers, and noted mercenary Simon Mann as the Paras’ battleground commander. Interesting contrast with Jimmy McGovern’s own, more ground-level oriented take on events, Sunday.

[Bombshell title screen]
Thoroughly pedestrian attempt to dramatise the sinking of the Greenpeace vessel the Rainbow Warrior in a New Zealand harbour by French intelligence agents. Narratively confusing as director Riccardo Pellizzeri can’t decide whether to stick with the activists, the state terrorists, their bureaucratic overseers, or the Kiwi cops investigating it all.

[(T)ERROR title screen]
Terrifying documentary by Lyric R Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe looking at Saeed ‘Shariff’ Torres, an ageing former Black Panther with more than a hint of the Walter Mitty about him, who claims to be something of a freelance undercover agent for the FBI. In time we come to realise that he is indeed a paid informer on a long leash, as the documentary’s second subject, Muslim convert Khalifah al Akili, is scooped up by the Fed’s shortly before he is scheduled to appear at a press conference decrying Torres’ bumbling attempts at getting him to confess to non-existent terrorist plots.

The scariest thing of all? Torres is not alone – he is one of an estimated fifteen thousand such provocateurs and snitches.

A Week In Film #431: Minor

[London Boulevard title screen]
London Boulevard
Low key, noirish character-based crime drama/thriller, based on a book I haven’t read by an author I hadn’t heard of.

Colin Farrell is exemplary in the lead as a recently released con drawn back into a life he wanted to leave, Anna Friel his loopy sister, Keira Knightley the movie star he builds a doomed relationship with. Directed with conviction and style by William Monahan, who scripted the similarly hazy The Departed. Strong hints of Mike Hodges’ work – Get Carter, Croupier and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.

Nice if underwritten turns from Stephen Graham, David Thewlis and Ben Chaplin, with Ray Winstone as an horrific gang boss.

[Interview With A Serial Killer title screen]
Interview With A Serial Killer
Straight forward talking head type documentary by Christopher Martin with multiple murderer Arthur Shawcross, who died not long after.

A Week In Film #428: SRSLY

The Last Man On The Moon title screenThe Last Man On The Moon
Nice little documentary about astronaut Eugene Cernan, the ‘last man to walk on the moon’ during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Well assembled by filmmaker Mark Craig.

London Has Fallen title screen
London Has Fallen
Astonishingly overblown gung ho franchise nonsense, relocated from the Washington D.C. of the original Olympus Has Fallen to the British capital. Presidential bodyguard Gerard Butler is now a full-blown sadistic fascist bully boy, his Commander-in-Chief Aaron Eckhart reduced to little more than a fleshy package to be delivered. The odd moderately interesting action sequence, but mostly a leaden melange of iffy digital effects and unimaginative staging, directed by the bloke who helmed the first Snabba Cash sequel, written by four people with the sorts of names that should you receive an email from them you’d immediately consign it to the spam folder.

A Week In Film #427: More fucking nights

Nick Of Time
Absolutely inconsequential, but a pleasure to watch – an in-real-time thriller, with accountant Johnny Depp picked at random after stepping off a train in LA to carry out a political assassination by psycho Christopher Walken and his partner Roma Maffia, or risk his young daughter being killed.

Directed with vim by John Badham, written by Patrick Sheane Duncan (84C MoPic, Courage Under Fire), great little bit part for Charles S Dutton.

Body Heat
Lawrence Kasdan does film noir, in a sticky, sweaty Floridian coastal town, with William Hurt as a mediocre-at-best local lawyer letting himself be ruled by his dick, and jumping into an inappropriate relationship with a rich real estate magnate’s trophy wife (Kathleen Turner). Some really rather wonderful moments in it, and superb performances (from the leads, Richard Crenna as the creepy husband, Mickey Rourke in an early cameo, Ted Danson and JA Preston as the lawyer’s pals.

Heist (2015)
‘I quite liked that Haywire’ you said, ‘I wonder what else Gina Carano has done?’ A bunch of shit, it turns out. Here she is as a cop caught up in the aftermath of a casino robbery in Alabama.

British director Scott Mann is an interesting proposition – he was also responsible for The Tournament, which had a sort of Amicus/seventies genre feel to it, spliced with 80s Seagal-type action movies, but with more ambition than budget. For that one he secured big (or biggish, in their time) names including Robert Carlyle, Ving Rhames and Sébastien Foucan; here he has Bobby De Niro, former wrestler Dave Bautista, Morris Chestnut (big splash in Boyz In The Hood, more recently starring in TV series Rosewood and Legends) and, erm, Mark-Paul Gosselaar from Saved By The Bell.

It’s full of clichés, it’s leaden, there’s no real heartbeat to it, it lacks pace, but there are some moments of interest. Slapped arse-faced Jeffrey Dean Morgan makes for a decent enough lead here. And DB Sweeney has a supporting role, as seems customary in these fast turnaround VOD days. Written by Stephen Cyrus Sepher (who also plays a robber) and Max Adams.

Another contemporary grindhouse actioner, again written by Max Adams (with Umair Aleem), this time directed by Stephen C Miller, with Bruce Willis the big name in a bit part skilfully woven in to give the illusion of a bigger role – a veteran CIA field officer.

Meanwhile, the real heavy lifting is done by Kellan Lutz (from the Twilight movies) as his son, who has tried to follow his father’s footsteps into the Company but come up short, despite help from his dad’s pal (and now Jnr’s boss), DB Sweeney. Oh, and look, there’s Gina Carano as his ass-kicking Agency-employed old flame!

Nothing really of note – no really memorable fight scenes, and really no acting of any kind worth recounting. Though I do like how the plot – about a MacGuffin which will destroy the world – is purportedly stolen by international terrorists and then, uh, transported to New Jersey, meaning cheaper locations can be used.

A Week In Film #426: Getting behind again

Misconduct title screen
My kinda thing – trashy, disposable, overwrought. Josh Duhamel is a dickish young attorney cheating on his missus (Alice Eve) and doing unethical things to get himself noticed by his boss (Al Pacino). Anthony Hopkins is a dickish old pharmaceutical company boss doing horrible things to his missus (Malin Åkerman) and, etc. Never heard of director Shintaro Shimosawa, but based on this would probably watch more.

The Accountant title screen
The Accountant
Ben Affleck tries to tread on Matt Damon’s toes, here as a mob accountant specialising in forensic auditing. Not groundbreaking, not awful. Directed by Gavin O’Connor, scripted by Bill Dubuque, with Anna Kendrick, JK Simmons and Jon Bernthal. Tips of the cap to The Brotherhood Of The Rose, Three Days Of The Condor and, obviously, Bourne.

Jason Bourne title screen
Jason Bourne
So-so franchise retread, with titular rogue assassin (Matt Damon) still on the run and now fully cognisant of his bloody past, but soon to be dragged into shady Langley shenanigans once more via the agency of a now also rogue Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), who Snowden/Wikileaks-style hacks into the Agency’s records and discoverzzzzz… Vincent Cassel makes for an impressively weathered programme asset; Tommy Lee Jones drew the short straw to become this episode’s Haggard Character Actor As Amoral Management Bad Guy.

Judgment Night title screen
Judgment Night
Tacky, offensive and shallow, but still very watchable – a bunch of middle class suburbanites heading off to watch a championship boxing match get trapped in a dangerous ghetto neighbourhood being hunted by drug dealers. Hints of Assault On Precinct 13, Trespass and The People Under The Stairs, but lacking their wit, charm or social comment. With Emilio Estevez, Cuba Godding Jnr, Jeremy Piven and Stephen Dorff as the hunted, Denis Leary and Everest from House of Pain as the hunters. Directed by Stephen Hopkins (Nightmare On Elm Street 5, Predator 2) and co-written by Lewis Colick, who previously had worked on the taut yuppie terror movie Unlawful Entry.

Anthropoid title screen
Not terrible modern Hollywood take on the SOE mission to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich – but totally superfluous given far stronger previous efforts such as Atentat. And enough with the crappy accents, Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan! Director Sean Ellis did the excellent low budget drama Cashback a decade back; he still has a flair for strong composition and letting his actors’ faces do the work.

Hell Or High Water title screen
Hell Or High Water
Really strong modern Western with intriguing noirish notes. Chris pine and Ben Foster are a pair of Texan brothers on a mission – and the mission involves robbing banks. Jeff Bridges is the lawman on their tail. Directed by David Mackenzie (whose work includes Hallam Foe and Starred Up, neither of which I’ve seen but will as soon as I get the chance), and scripted by Taylor Sheridan (who played the strait-laced sheriff’s deputy David Hale in the first couple of series of Sons Of Anarchy, as well as writing Sicario).

Inherent Vice title screen
Inherent Vice
Significantly less enjoyable than I expected it to be. Joaquin Phoenix as a stoner private detective navigating weird conspiracies in seventies California, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and based on a Thomas Pynchon novel.