Naomi Watts plays CIA intelligence officer Valerie Plame, who was outed by Bush administration wonks as punishment for the analysis of a supposed Iraqi uranium purchase mission in Niger supplied to the Agency by her ex-diplomat husband Joseph C Wilson (Sean Penn), which contradicted the policy line.
Not great, but watchable. Doug Liman needs to drink less coffee though – either that or stop hiring photographers with the shakes.
Stodgy Edward Burns (written, directed, starring, etc) fare, with himself as an Irish boy in Hell’s Kitchen trying to escape his criminal past, only for it to come back to haunt him.
Tries to tie together all sorts of standard Catholic clichés (redemption, retribution, forgiveness) right down to Christ-like poses and sacrifice. Beautifully shot night-time foot-chase through Brooklyn, though.
More Irish-American mobbery, here with Donnie Wahlberg as a prodigal son returning to his roots in South Boston after years away in New York. Despite wanting to make a break from his troubled past, almost immediately he is dragged back into the game, not least for his damaged family members.
Interesting material and performances, but the direction, by actor John Shea (Lex Luthor from the Clark And Lois Superman TV series), is a little too confused at times. Still, the roughness has its own charm, and good turns from Laurence Tierney, Anne Meara, Rose McGowan, Amanda Peet and all.
Last burst of shamrock headbanging, this time it’s in Charlestown, with Denis Leary as Bobby, a low-level crook working for scary local mob boss Colm Meaney, but mostly hanging out with his buddies Ian Hart, John Diehl, Noah Emmerich and Irish-Irish cousin Jason Barry.
They’re all aware that they’re not master criminals, but nor can they make it in the straight world, so it’s a tightrope walk between the cops and psycho gangsters. But bit by bit Bobby comes to see the code of silence as something that benefits only the big bosses, and as corpses of friends pile up he reaches his breaking point.
Pretty proficient stuff from Ted Demme, with solid chops displayed by all, plus bit parts for the likes of Boston natives Brian Goodman, Lenny Clarke and Kevin Chapman, plus a star turn from Billy Crudup as a messed up cousin just out the joint.
Van Diemen’s Land
Haunting meditation on one of Australia’s founding fathers – escaped convict Alexander Pearce, who along with seven other transportees absconded from Sarah Island in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). Soon they run out of food…
Haunting and beatiful to start with – the opening sequence is dizzyingly disorientating, much as Australia must have been to those transported there in those early days – but unfortunately there is a lack of clarity to the narrative, and soon events are presented in a most repetitive manner, which does not benefit the story. Still worth watching though.
The Last Confession Of Alexander Pearce
Hour-long recap of Van Diemen’s Land, really, told backwards from the vantage point of the capture of Pearce (Ciaran McMenamin), and the time he spent with Catholic priest Conolly (Adrian Dunbar) before he was hanged.
Narratively far more lucid, and with its own flourishes.
Tomorrow When The War Began
In three words: Australian Red Dawn. Pretty watchable, especially as MGM’s actual Red Dawn remake is on indefinite post-production hiatus.