Tag Archives: Bridge Of Spies

A Week In Film #479: Non-exceptional

Patriots Day title screenPatriots Day
So-so telling of the Boston bombing, switching between the viewpoints of beat cop Mark Wahlberg and fuckwit explosive enthusiasts Alex Wolff and Themo Melikidze. Decent enough from Chicago Hope alum Peter Berg.

Bridge Of Spies title screenBridge Of Spies
A film of two halves – the opening section, focusing on Abel and Donovan and their relationship, with occasional cutaways to Powers and his comrades’ induction into the U2 programme – is deftly pulled together, with plenty of visual treats, and Hanks and Rylance each providing meaty screen performances. But over the hump and it’s a rather leaden take on the Cold War spooky Berlin tropes. Which is a shame, but still, a mediocre Spielberg movie is still functionally far superior than most directors’ best efforts. Never before noticed that the Coen Brothers were responsible in large part for the script.

TITLEalongcameaspiderAlong Came A Spider
After a fairly diverting opening – rich kid kidnapped from private school under the nose of extensive security detail by master criminal in disguise (Michael Wincott) – takes a nosedive sharpish, despite Morgan Freeman as the driven cop on his trail, etc. Not a great thriller from Lee Tamahori, and not even the best of the uniformly no-more-than-mediocre Alex Cross adaptations.

A Week In Film #377: ALL NEW!

Bridge Of Spies title screen
Bridge Of Spies
Spielberg promises more than he delivers in a tale about a small-town lawyer representing first a Soviet spy and then a pair of Americans held behind the Iron Curtain in the 1960s of the Cold War. Can’t fault Tom Hanks in the lead, or Mark Rylance as the inscrutable Red under the Bed; but it’s a very average melodrama, just executed with well above-average skill.

I gave it a go – it’s Michael Mann does cyber warfare – it’s pants. TRON did it better. Mostly feels like a knock-off mid-Moore period Bond adventure with all the pointless globetrotting and hardware and nonsense. Hacker-out-on-parole Chris Hemsworth frowns a lot.

American Sniper title screen
American Sniper
Both viscerally compelling and intellectually obnoxious – Bradley Cooper is excellent as the Christian crusader with a telescopic sight, Eastwood makes the audience complicit in some pretty grim beliefs, and Sienna Miller has a crack at the film’s only major female part.

Spectre title screen
Fairly pedestrian New Model Bondage, but one which does at least aim at providing an overarching narrative to the reboot series – and an accurate aim at that. Plus some big set piece explosions, knuckle-splitting fist fights, Qish autistickery, Monica Bellucci and Léa Seydoux, Christophe Waltz as an effortlessly evil villain, et al.

Les Salauds title screen
Les Salauds AKA Bastards
Took my breath away. Had a crack because of the presence of leather-faced hangdog Vincent Lindon, whom I enjoyed in the Hollywoodish thriller Mea Culpa.

It’s all set up to be a pretty standard genre piece – revenge thriller, chase movie, les bourgeois sexy etc – but then never fully goes there. Instead it’s just, well, grim. Writer/director Claire Denis is definitely someone whose work I shall investigate now.

Soundtrack was by Stuart Staples (Tindersticks), and greatly helped add to the tense atmosphere, which in visuals and audio and tone and refusal to give easy closure, brought to mind Hyena.

Slow West title screen
Slow West
Fine nuevo-revisionist Western from John Maclean (formerly a musician in The Beta Band), with gun-for-hire Michael Fassbender guiding young Scots emigré Kodi Smit-McPhee across a dangerous frontier America in search of his unrequited love, Rose. Pitch perfect from cast to pace to visuals to audio.

Montage Of Heck title screen
Montage Of Heck
Enjoyable, eye-opening, humanising biography of the Nirvana frontman, assembled by director Brett Morgan from the super-8, video and audio recordings of friends and family, plus Cobain’s own artwork specially animated for the screen.