[The Revenant title screen]
Well built drama about the travails of fur trader Hugh Glass in the frozen expanses around the upper Missouri in early nineteenth century America. Excellent cast – DiCaprio, Hardy, Gleeson, Poulter, Forrest Goodluck, Paul Anderson – and excellent crew, led by director Alejandro G. Iñárritu.
[My Cousin Vinny title screen]
My Cousin Vinny
Fun-filled fish-out-of-water comedy from Jonathan Lynn (scripted by Dale Launer). New York goombah type Joe Pesci desperately trys to bring his community college law education up to speed with the wily ways of a small town Alabama court, where his cousin and his cousin’s friend (Ralph Macchio and Mitchell Whitfield) face a murder rap thanks to a perfect storm of circumstantial evidence and misunderstanding. Plenty of things going on, great supporting cast – Marisa Tomei as Pesci’s brash hairdresser/mechanic girlfriend, Fred Gwynee as a weary judge, Lane Smith a good ole boy prosecutor.
[Free Fire title screen]
Another imaginative genre-stretcher from Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump, oozing with enthusiasm, even if it doesn’t quite land the perfect punch. A bunch of dodgy types meet up in a warehouse for a distinctly not-exactly-legal arms deal; then it all kicks off. The limitations of the form are obvious – once the shooting starts it is much of a muchness. But there’s a decent troupe of players (Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, Sharlto Cooper, Michael Smiley, Babou Ceesay, Enzo Client, Noah Taylor), and everyone throws in their all.
[Ghost Stories title screen]
Nice little old fashioned portmanteau horror from Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson (based on their stage show), with three interlinked spooky tales – a security guard trapped in a haunted old asylum, a teenager who runs over the Devil, and a soulless rich man beset by a poltergeist. Proficient chills and spills. With Paul Whitehouse, Nicholas Burns, Martin Freeman, and Nyman himself as the protagonist of the connecting narrative.
[Home Alone title screen]
YOU FILTHY ANIMALS!
[The Captive title screen]
Emotionally flat, frustratingly fractured potboiler about an abductor of children (Kevin Durand), the parents of one of his victims (Mireille Enos and Ryan Reynolds), and the pair of cops (Rosario Dawson and Scott Speedman) searching for him. Muddled and overblown from Atom Egoyan.
[The Loft title screen]
One of those saucy Euro erotic thrillers where Hollywood took a sniff, liked the smell, and offered the director (Erik Van Rooy in this instance) the opportunity of remaking it for the American audience. Architect Karl Urban and three married pals (Wentworth Miller, James Marsden, Eric Stonestreet) secretly share an upscale shagpad in a newly built apartment block. All is going swimmingly until they find a dead woman in there chained to the bed. Silly, full of potholes and less than pleasant characters, but totally watchable.