Author Archives: BristleKRS

About BristleKRS

Kent by birth, Bristol by choice

A Week In Film #553: Borrowed, blue

[The Late Shift title screen]
The Late Shift
Really rather dull HBO ‘dramatisation’ of a book about the 1991-1993 battle between Jay Leno and David Letterman to succeed Johnny Carson at <i.The Tonight Show. Could have been far more compelling – or at the very least, funny – than it is here. Directed by Hill Street Blues alumna-turned-successful helmsman Betty Thomas. This is not her best outing.

[Independence Day title screen]
Independence Day
Not seen this all the way through, ever since I fell asleep during a cinema date in 1996. Still not seen it all in one go. But it’s less rubbish than I remember it, though hella cheesy.

[Kill Bill: Volume 1 title screen]
Kill Bill: Volume 1
Absolutely too long, but dang, some lovely fight sequences – Veronica and Crazy 88s fights in particular.

[Avengers: Infinity War title screen]
Avengers: Infinity War
Absolutely no fucking idea what was going on, but the odd interesting moment, and the kids were into it, so…

A Week In Film #548: Phew

13 May 2019

[Ant-Man title screen]
Ant-Man
OK, so what we really wanted to see was Edgar Wright’s take on the story, but the version that actually got made – directed by Peyton Reed and co-written by leading an Paul Rudd – is still pretty good. The MCU mumbo-jumbo is dialled down, and emphasis is on a straight forward villain-becomes-hero heist movie.Great cast, including Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Judy Greer and Bobby Cannavale.

[Bad Teacher title screen]
Bad Teacher
Selfish woman (Cameron Diaz) coasts as an entirely uncommitted teacher at an unremarkable school, but over time Comes To Learn Valuable Lessons About Herself And Life, etc. Quite amusing, with Justin Timberlake, Luy Punch, Jason Segel, Phyllis Smith, John Michael Higgins, Thomas Lennon and others showing their comedy chops off well. Written by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, directed by Jake Kasdan.

[When Harry Met Sally title screen]
When Harry Met Sally
Nora Ephron and Rob Reiner’s classic love-ripens-over-time romcom, with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan perfect foils for each other, ably supported by Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby.

[Charlie And The Chocolate Factory title screen]
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
Can’t say that there was really much in Tim Burton/s Johnny Depp-starring remake of the Roald Dahl book that improved upon the Gene Wilder version. Certainly didn’t seem so much fun.

[The Cat In The Hat title screen]
The Cat In The Hat
Visually impressive screen adaptation of the Dr Seuss children’s book, with Mike Myers in the lead. Directed by Bo Welch.

[The Silence Of The Lambs title screen]
The Silence Of The Lambs
Nineties movie comfort food, from Jonathan Demme.

A Week In Film #547: One familiar

[Posse title screen]
Posse
Could have been great, turned out turgid. Mario Van Peebles gives us a Western where (most of) the protagonists are black – kicking back against racists all the way from Cuba back to the States. Some flash camera moves, nice cast – including Tiny Lister, BDK, Tone Lōc, Charles Lane, Billy Zane as a panto villain, and a Baldwin (Stephen) as token Nice White Guy – and interesting subject matter never quite elevates the movie. An inexorably long and tedious ‘climactic’ fight scene doesn’t help.

[Agatha And The Truth Of Murder title screen]
Agatha And The Truth Of Murder
Somewhat pedestrian ‘what if?’ drama about the crime author’s brief (and well-publicised) disappearance in 1926, done up like one of her own murder mysteries. Ruth Bradley plays the writer, the cast of suspects includes Dean Andrews, Tim McInnerny and Blake Harrison, with Pippa Haywood and Ralph Ineson as allies. Interesting but not massively exciting.

[The Fugitive title screen]
The Fugitive
Strong energy here – Harrison Ford as the surgeon framed for his own wife’s murder who goes on the run to prove his innocence; Tommy Lee Jones is leading the manhunt. Andrew Davis directs. Zippy script from Jeb Stuart and David Twohy.

[La Noche De 12 Años title screen]
La Noche De 12 Años AKA A Twelve Year Night
Properly sapping drama about a trio of leftists who spent twelve years being ghosted around various gaols, dungeons and unofficial prisons – in between bouts of torture – after the Uruguayan military went all gloves-off in its war against the Tupamaros in 1973. Strong conception from director Álvaro Brechner, who avoids falling back on over-familiar ‘big house’ tropes, and performances from Antonio de la Torre, Chino Darín and Alfonso Tort.

[Ghost In The Shell title screen]
Ghost In The Shell
Okay, so I wan’t massively paying attention, but this American take on a Japanese manga zipped along nicely. Directed by Rupert Saunders, Scarlett Johansson the star. Not a scooby what the plot is.

A Week In Film #546: Ankles

The Accountant title screen
The Accountant
One of those slightly po-faced modern actioners – cf The American, The Gunman – with Ben Affleck as an autistic book-keeper specialising in forensic audits for crime syndicates, whose world of carefully-choreographed balance is thrown tits-up. Cue shoot-outs and punch-ups. Directed by Gavin O’Connor, whose body of work I thought I must have entirely missed, but then I realised I have seen his Joe Carnahan cop saga Pride And Glory, which wasn’t to bad. Features now obligatory supporting role for Jon Bernthal.

The Usual Suspects title screen
The Usual Suspects
I guess with all of Singer’s problems these days, more people will be shifting their chips over to McQuarrie being the real genius behind this one. Well, I always did enjoy
The Way Of The Gun.

[The Angel title screen]
The Angel
So-so Hollywood-style treatment of the astonishing real-life story of Ashraf Marwan, Nasser’s son-in-law who became an agent for Israel and helped alert it to the coming Yom Kippur War. With Marwan Kenzari in the lead, Toby Kebbell as his Mossad handler. Directed by Ariel Vromen (The Iceman).

[The Spy Who Fell To Earth title screen]
The Spy Who Fell To Earth
More interesting, documentary take on the Marwan story, based largely around the work by author Aaron Bregman, who publicly outed Marwan as an Israeli spy, but who later came to believe him to be an Egyptian double agent. Directed by Tom Meadmore, an Aussie whose body of work looks like something I need to get to grips with.

Johnny English title screen
Johnny English
Actually quite amusing Mr Bean-meets-007 spy parody, done with affection and accuracy. The kids loved it. From Peter Howitt.

A Week In Film #544: Americana

Space Cowboys title screenSpace Cowboys
Low effort, unchallenging comedy-drama about a quartet of ageing ex-military test pilots (Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Garner) who narrowly missed out of becoming astronauts in the 60s, who are dragged out of retirement to perform an implausible rescue mission in space because, well, reasons.

Gangster Squad title screen
Gangster Squad
Slick, unsatisfying, shallow and deeply inaccurate portrayal of the LAPD’s fight against organised crime from back East in the 1940s. Strong cast – Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Robert Patrick, Michael Peña and Sean Penn – under-utilised by director Ruben Fleischer.

Detroit title screen
Detroit
Kathryn Bigelow tackles the 1967 12th Street Riot, in which redneck racist cops convince themselves a group of black men they encounter socialising with some white women in a Michigan motel were responsible for sniping at police from the top of the building. This obviously necessitates torturing them into confessing, and when that doesn’t work, killing them. Excellent work from a British-led cast (John Boyega, Will Poulter) and some grimly painted scenes.

A Week In Film #543: Crackers and duff corks

Black '47 title screen
Black ‘47
Revenge thriller plays out against the backdrop of the Irish Famine, with James Frecheville as a soldier returning home from years fighting abroad for the Crown to discover his people crushed by British tyranny and Planter greed.

Pleasantly surprised by this – it just appeared on my reccos, so I took it for a spin, had no preconceptions, yet was pulled in to the very end. Not the most original, but absorbing enough with some fine performances, from the likes of Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea and Freddie Fox. Director Lance Daly would appear to be someone to keep an eye on.

Compares very favourably with 2010’s thematically not-unadjacent Tracker, which ultimately wasted Temuera Morrisson, Ray Winstone and some spectacular Aotearoan landscapes.

The Legend At Cocaine Island title screen
The Legend At Cocaine Island
Documentary somewhat in the Errol Morris vein, with semi-reconstructed inserts, about a botched, half-baked attempt by an opportunist, would-be criminal mastermind to recover a bunch of drugs lost in the Caribbean by rather more professional free market entrepreneurs. Yes, there is something of a (massively-flagged) twist towards the end, no it is not, ultimately, satisfying. But watchable. By Theo Love.

Gotti (2018) title screen]
Gotti (2018)
Unlikable biopic, directed by Kevin Connolly, about the Gambino crime boss, played here by John Travolta as though he were little more than a mild-mannered, put-upon suburban dad. Whilst the 1996 HBO effort with Armand Assante was hardly Bergman, this is tripe. It does, however, make a halfway effort to examine the relationship between Gotti senior and his son John Jnr (Spencer Lofranco).

An Inspector Calls title screen
An Inspector Calls
Absolute cracker, with Guy Hamilton directing a rollicking screen version of JB Priestley’s morality play. Alastair Sim is the mysterious ‘inspector’, examining the values of a middle class family (Arthur Young, Olga Lindo, Brian Worth, Eileen Moore and Bryan Forbes.

This Is The End title screenThis Is The End
Self-indulgent, tedious, self-satisfied stoner tosh with the odd moment.