Category Archives: A Week In Film

A Week In Film #481: ALMOST All-New!

I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore title screen
I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore
Quirky first feature as a writer-director from Macon Blair – best known as part of Jeremy Saulnier’s repertory – about an average woman (Melanie Lynskey) who feels compelled to right the wrong of being burgled. Tonally and thematically it sort of plays out like The Big Lebowski with fewer belly laughs. Elijah Wood is fun as her heavy metal-loving neighbour, whom she persuades to tag along, Gary Anthony Williams, Christine Woods, Robert Longstreet, Devon Graye, Jane Levy and David Yow all contribute watchable, endearing performances.

The Bleeder title screen
The Bleeder
Quite enjoyable take on the story of journeyman boxer and one-time contender Chuck Wepner, the purported inspiration behind Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa character. Live Schreiber gives a good central performance, and there are nice turns from Elisabeth Moss, Naomi Watts, Ron Perlman, Jim Gaffigan and Michael Rapaport. Directed by Philippe Falardeau.

Tracker title screen
Pedestrian period piece about an Afrikaner farmer-turned-guerilla (Ray Winstone) coming to New Zealand in search of – well, something – in the wake of defeat at the hands of the British in the Boer War. There he finds himself hired to hunt down a Maori whaler (Temuera Morrison) wrongly accused of murder by dastardly British soldiers. Nothing exceptional from veteran director Ian Sharp.

Killer Joe title screen
Killer Joe
Kind of absorbing, but not wholly – William Friedkin adapting a Tracy Letts play about an unlikable family of Texan buffoons (Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church and Gina Gershon) enmeshing themselves in a ridiculous murder-for-insurance plot, assisted by creepy cop Matthew McConaughey.

Bad Day For The Cut title screen
Bad Day For The Cut
An interesting stab at a Blue Ruin-style take on the revenge thriller, set in Ireland, with Nigel O’Neill as a mild-mannered farmer who goes on a mission of retribution after his elderly mother is murdered. With Susan Lynch, Stuart Graham, David Pearse, Ian McElhinney, Jósef Pawlowski and Anna Próchniak; directed by Chris Baugh from a script co-written by Brendan Mullin.

Red Rock West title screen
Red Rock West
John Dahl’s pre-Last Seduction neo-noir, with a dusty Western vibe to it. Nic Cage is a drifter drawn into a web of deceit and double cross when he ends up in a shithole town with no money after a job falls through. Mistaken identity, honour, betrayal, a femme fatale, shifting alliances, JT Walsh, Lara Flynn Boyle and Dennis Hopper.


A Week In Film #480: Kicking in

[Green Zone title screen]
Green Zone
Paul Greengrass overextends his jitter-cam pseudo documentary style, with Matt Damon as a kind of super-soldier uncovering a conspiracy in post-occupation Iraq.

[13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi title screen]
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi
Like Zero Dark Thirty and Black Hawk Down something of a guilty, visceral pleasure – male-dominant, innately right wing, violence-fetishising, fearful of darkness, yet excellently staged and well acted. Strong performances from buffed up Office alums John Krasinski and David Denman, Pablo Schreiber from the second season of The Wire, Toby Camomile Lawn Stephens etc.

[Command And Control title screen]
Command And Control
Interesting, old-style documentary about a catastrophic fubar at a nuclear missile silo in 1980.

[Tokarev title screen]
A late period Nicolas Cage crime thriller that looked like it might be okay – an ex-Irish mob hardman-turned-legitimate-businessman gathers together his old pals when his teenage daughter goes missing after a home invasion. But this is no Full Neeson. The odd nice turn (Peter Stormare as a gangster in a wheelchair) and a sort of decent twist don’t go any way to salvaging what is a turgid piece of crap.

[2 Guns title screen]
2 Guns
Starts off as a pleasingly old school sugar-and-spice buddy cop actioner in the vein of Busting, Freebie And The Bean, Running Scared, Lethal Weapon, 48 Hrs and the rest – overlaid onto the plot of Charley Varrick – but quickly tails off into forgettable Big Explosions territory. Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg have decent chemistry, but overall it feels like a late series A Team episode with a bigger budget.

[Power Rangers title screen]
Power Rangers
The Breakfast Club-meetsGoonies opening was great fun, with a likeable cast of young outsiders, but once we get into the actual save-the-Earth-from-Rita-Repulsa shenanigans it’s all rather meh.

[The Open House title screen]
The Open House
Dark little tale from Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote, taking a recently widowed woman and her teenage son and plonking them in a remote mountain lodge being put up for sale by her sister. Then a bunch of creepy shit happens. And more creepy shit. And then some really freaky shit. And then it ends. Excellent score by Joseph Shirley.

A Week In Film #472: Waged docs

Danny Says title screen
Danny Says
Joyful documentary about music PR Danny Fields, with lots of stories about 60s and 70s bands. Good stuff from director Brendan Toller and producer Pamela Lubell

[El Fin De ETA title screen]
El Fin De ETA
Straight-forward paling heads-style doc by Justin Webster about the winding down of the armed Basque independence campaign. Worth going back over.

Sound City title screenSound City
Fun look at a grimy Californian recording studio, directed by Dave Grohl at his most enthusiastic fanboy.

A Week In Film #471: On the ‘Flix

Backtrack title screen
So-so psychological thriller from Doug Anthony All Stars accomplice Michael Peroni, with a dewy-eyed shrink (Adrien Brodie) returning to his childhood home in a bid to shake off a recurring waking nightmare. With Bruce Spence and Sam Neill.

[Captain Phillips title screen]
Captain Phillips
Tom Hanks directed by Paul Greengrass, Barkhad Abdi as a Somali pirate. Quite watchable.

Security title screen
Utterly shit VOD mashup of Die Hard and any thriller about bad guys trying to eliminate a witness, set in a shopping centre, with Antonio Banderas a special forces vet recently hired as a mall cop throwing a spanner into the works when bad guy level boss Ben Kingsley comes to sow some mayhem.

Run All Night title screenRun All Night
Minor Full Neeson, with His Liamness a soaked former mob enforcer dragged back into the game when his striving-to-be-straight son Joel Kinnaman gets caught up in some gangland shenanigans. Enjoyable turns from Ed Harris, Vincent D’Onofrio, Common and Bruce McGill, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.

A Week In Film #470: Anniversaire on a G string

[The Boys (1962) title screen]
The Boys
Very watchable early 60s courtroom-set social comment from Sidney J Furie, with a nice line back-and-forth structure as a foursome of young Teddy Boys (Dudley Sutton, Tony Garnett, Jess Conrad and Ronald Lacey go on trial for a murder of a night watchman.

[Arrowhead title screen]
Interesting low budget Australian SF thriller, with hints of Moon and The Martian and Pitch Black, slightly obscured by an unnecessarily convoluted presentation which misdirects with a shoddy-looking prologue. Decent promise shown by writer/director Jesse O’Brien though, and Dan Mor (from Underbelly: The Golden Mile) is fairly compelling in the lead.

[Choke title screen]
Inconsequential fluff derived from a Chuck Palahniuk novel about a sex addict with mummy issues (Sam Rockwell). Some decent actors – Anjelica Huston, Kelly Macdonald, Brad William Henke – but no great vision from director Clark Gregg.

[The Merry Gentleman title screen]
The Merry Gentleman
Rather decent, snail-paced drama about a friendship that develops between a newly single woman (Kelly Macdonald) and an ascetic assassin (Michael Keaton). A pleasingly unflashy directorial debut for Keaton too.

A Week In Film #469: Hallowe’en

[The Little Vampire title screen]
The Little Vampire
Really fucking terrible adaptation of a book series about an American kid transplanted to Scotland who befriends a vampire. Seriously, nothing to recommend. I was rather astounded when I realised it was directed by Uli Edel, who did Der Baader Meinhof Complex and Last Exit To Brooklyn.

6 Days title screen
6 Days
So-so take on the 1980 Princes Gate Iranian Embassy siege, and subsequent storming by the SAS. Mark Strong turns the mournful eyes up to 11 as the police negotiator, but it’s Jamie Bell as the soldier in charge of the assault who impresses most, with virtually no dialogue. Directed by To a Fraser.

Wheelman title screen
In the vein of The Driver, Drive, The Transporter et al, here with ex-con Frank Grillo forced to work as a getaway driver for never-seen clients setting up heists through a middleman in order to pay off a debt. Jeremy Rush conducts some excellent chase sequences, and there is a mild twist to it which keeps things interesting.

The Duel title screen
The Duel
Modern Western from Kieran Darcy-Smith, with Liam Hemsworth as a Texas Ranger gone undercover in a remote frontier town under the thrall of a sinister preacher (Woody Harrelson). Not great, but something a little different.

Black Hawk Down title screen
Black Hawk Down
The more times I see it, the more distasteful it seems, despite some strong performances and action sequences.


A Week In Film #468: Births, deaths & marriages

Final Destination 2 title screen
Final Destination 2
Some great scares and shocks, but overall a weak entry in the franchise.

[No One Lives title screen]
No One Lives
Potentially good horror movie, but ultimately one long fumble from director Ryuhei Kitamura. A mysterious drifter (Luke Evans, High-Rise) turns out not to be the pushover a feral gang of rural hoodlums think he is. The movie then unfolds in furtherance of its Ronseal title.