Tag Archives: Fargo

A Week In Film #557: Clocking up

Zero Dark Thirty title screen
Zero Dark Thirty

The Raid: Redemption title screen
Serbuan Maut AKA The Raid: Redemption
Gareth Evans announces pencak silat onto the international stage, with this low budget immense fight-your-way-out-of-the-labyrinth actioner about a squad of Indonesian police launching a raid on a crime boss’ stronghold. Iko Uwais is a ready-made star as incorruptible cop Rama; Ray Sahetapy, Yayan Ruhian, Donny Alamsyah and Alfridius Godfred are all memorable as the bad guys. Some of the best ever on-screen fight choreography.

Atomic Blonde title screen
Atomic Blonde
David Leitch, one of the team behind John Wick, brings a similar non-CGI sensibility to this adaptation of a muscular Cold War mystery comic, set against the backdrop of the imminently collapsing Berlin Wall, Charlize Theron is a British spy sent out to the German capital to investigate the murder of a colleague. James McAvoy is the quirky head of station meant to be assisting her. Some great physical sequences, and impeccable period touches – music, set dressing, vibe – but ultimately it falls short of excellent.

Layer Cake title screen
Layer Cake
The directorial debut of Guy Ritchie’s producer Matthew Vaughn is confident and colourful and enjoyable, though at times the dialogue is somewhat ropey. But a tasty little tale of the drugs trade and gangsters and double cross, with Daniel Craig auditioning for 007, and a heavy-hitting supporting cast doing the heavy lifting – Colm Meaney, George Harris, Kenneth Cranham, Michael Gambon, Tom Hardy, Tamer Hassan, Ben Whishaw, Marcel Iureş, Dexter Fletcher, Steve John Shepherd, Louis Emerick, Stephen Walters, Francis Magee, Jamie Foreman, Sally Hawkins, Burn Gorman, even Sienna Miller.

Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed title screen
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
Now, I unexpectedly really enjoyed the first live action one; this one, however, despite involving pretty much the whole creative team, is something of a turd.

Beverly Hills Cop II title screen
Beverly Hills Cop II
So long as you don’t expect it to be as good as the first, then you’ll be alright. A lot slicker, in a coked-up Tony Scott/Simpson/Bruckheimer way, with Jürgen Prochnow, Brigitte Nielsen and Dean Stockwell making a colourful crime triumvirate for our heroes Eddie Murphy, John Ashton and Judge Reinhold to face.

Fargo title screen
Peak Coen Bros, with thoroughly competent local cop Frances McDormand almost immediately solving the case, thanks to her adversaries being arch-incompetents William H Macy, Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare.

We Were Soldiers title screen
We Were Soldiers
Goes on a bit. A LOT. Relentlessly bloody – and yet in no way critical – account of the Battle of Ia Drang between Vietnamese forces and a newly deployed airmobile 7th Cavalry, led by God-fearin’ Mel Gibson. Both effective and horrifically partisan. Directed by Braveheart scripter Randall Wallace.

Thunderbolt And Lightfoot title screen
Thunderbolt And Lightfoot
Lovely 70s caper movie, with wisecracking young drifter Jeff Bridges teaming up with taciturn ex-soldier turned safecracker Clint Eastwood (and later his chippy old comrades George Kennedy and Geoffrey Lewis) to take down a score in Montana. Directed by Michael Cimino.

The Terminator title screen
The Terminator
It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear! And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead! Oh, and viene una

Peppermint title screen
So-so revenge fantasy – Jennifer Garner is a suburban soccer mom who goes on the offensive against the gangsters who killed her daughter and husband, and against those corrupt officials who helped the killers go free. Totally just a shuffled-around Death Wish. The odd nice action sequence; from director Pierre Morel.

A Week In Film #460: Mixed bag

The Nut Job 2 title screenThe Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature
Like its predecessor, this one makes up for the slightly second tier artwork and animation with brio and verve. This time round our squirrelly heroes and their chums are forced to look for a new home after their nut paradise blows up; this leads to a confrontation with the corrupt town Mayor and his henchmen. Voices include Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl and Bobby Cannavale. Cal Brunker replaces Peter Lepeniotis on directing duties.

As fun as when first I saw it in the cinema, from the opening introduction of crappy, spineless car salesman Jerry Lundegaard through to the incident with the woodchopper.

Groundhog Day
Harold Ramis nails pretty much everything in this classic nineties refresh of the likes of A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life; here Bill Murray is a cynical TV weatherman who is forced to reevaluate his life when he gets trapped in some kind of a time-loop in a Mid-Western town.

The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies title screen
The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies (114 min Netflix version)
Worthy, if not compelling, take on the demonisation of an innocent man in the wake of the brutal murder in Bristol in 2010 of Joanna Yeates. Jason Watkins does a fair impersonation in the lead role, but it’s not the gripping drama it seems to think it is. Best bit is probably Shaun Parkes as his lawyer – because he gets to say what the viewer (safely watching with the benefit of hindsight) is thinking when the police lay out their ‘evidence’ against his client: is that really all you have?

A Week In Film #016: A trifle disappointing

Heaven's Gate title screen

Heaven’s Gate
Ian Bone, you let me down! Michael Cimino’s studio-bankrupting revisionist Western about the Johnson County War has lots of nice ideas, it just doesn’t pull them together very satisfyingly (inaudible dialogue, dull editing, no finesse in the pace etc). Still, it’s a good class war fable.

Die Hard 4.0 title screen

Die Hard 4.0
Bloody awful reboot of the John McClane franchise, with yet another unconnected script hamfisted into a DH template. It’s all about cyberterror.

Fargo title screen

One of the Coen Bros’ finest, featuring Minnesota Nice, a pregnant police chief, woodchipper business, a botched loan fraud/fake kidnapping scam and Mike Yanagita FTW!