Tag Archives: Nick Of Time

A Week In Film #427: More fucking nights

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Nick Of Time
Absolutely inconsequential, but a pleasure to watch – an in-real-time thriller, with accountant Johnny Depp picked at random after stepping off a train in LA to carry out a political assassination by psycho Christopher Walken and his partner Roma Maffia, or risk his young daughter being killed.

Directed with vim by John Badham, written by Patrick Sheane Duncan (84C MoPic, Courage Under Fire), great little bit part for Charles S Dutton.

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Body Heat
Lawrence Kasdan does film noir, in a sticky, sweaty Floridian coastal town, with William Hurt as a mediocre-at-best local lawyer letting himself be ruled by his dick, and jumping into an inappropriate relationship with a rich real estate magnate’s trophy wife (Kathleen Turner). Some really rather wonderful moments in it, and superb performances (from the leads, Richard Crenna as the creepy husband, Mickey Rourke in an early cameo, Ted Danson and JA Preston as the lawyer’s pals.

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Heist (2015)
‘I quite liked that Haywire’ you said, ‘I wonder what else Gina Carano has done?’ A bunch of shit, it turns out. Here she is as a cop caught up in the aftermath of a casino robbery in Alabama.

British director Scott Mann is an interesting proposition – he was also responsible for The Tournament, which had a sort of Amicus/seventies genre feel to it, spliced with 80s Seagal-type action movies, but with more ambition than budget. For that one he secured big (or biggish, in their time) names including Robert Carlyle, Ving Rhames and Sébastien Foucan; here he has Bobby De Niro, former wrestler Dave Bautista, Morris Chestnut (big splash in Boyz In The Hood, more recently starring in TV series Rosewood and Legends) and, erm, Mark-Paul Gosselaar from Saved By The Bell.

It’s full of clichés, it’s leaden, there’s no real heartbeat to it, it lacks pace, but there are some moments of interest. Slapped arse-faced Jeffrey Dean Morgan makes for a decent enough lead here. And DB Sweeney has a supporting role, as seems customary in these fast turnaround VOD days. Written by Stephen Cyrus Sepher (who also plays a robber) and Max Adams.

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Extraction
Another contemporary grindhouse actioner, again written by Max Adams (with Umair Aleem), this time directed by Stephen C Miller, with Bruce Willis the big name in a bit part skilfully woven in to give the illusion of a bigger role – a veteran CIA field officer.

Meanwhile, the real heavy lifting is done by Kellan Lutz (from the Twilight movies) as his son, who has tried to follow his father’s footsteps into the Company but come up short, despite help from his dad’s pal (and now Jnr’s boss), DB Sweeney. Oh, and look, there’s Gina Carano as his ass-kicking Agency-employed old flame!

Nothing really of note – no really memorable fight scenes, and really no acting of any kind worth recounting. Though I do like how the plot – about a MacGuffin which will destroy the world – is purportedly stolen by international terrorists and then, uh, transported to New Jersey, meaning cheaper locations can be used.

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A Week In Film #211: Cold

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The Tournament
Soulless retread of the ‘contest of killers’ trope, by ambitious debutante director Scott Mann, who somehow roped together a cast including Robert Carlyle, Ving Rhames, Liam Cunningham and Sébastien Foucan.

Every seven years a cabal of rich dudes organise a last man standing competition for professional killers. This time round the action is in, err, Middlesbrough – though it was largely filmed in Bulgaria. This means we get to see familiar provincial English sights such as massive rail yards in the city centre, titty bars and truck stops, and commuter buses on the motorway.

A nice idea but just not very proficiently executed, with long stretches where a bunch of contestants we’ve not seen before, don’t know about and care less are killed in quick succession by the odds-on favourites, like Kelly Hu and Ian Somerhalder (who was excellent as the differently sociopathic Paul Denton in Rules Of Attraction). Carlyle’s whisky priest was a strand that could have been much better embroidered into the fabric of the story; as it is, nothing much comes together. Cunningham’s American accent is awful.

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Next Day Air
Silly stoner/gangbanger flick, with a lazy delivery man (Donald Faison) causing grief for Mexican drugs kingpin Emilio Rivera and Puerto Rican small fry Cisco Reyes and Yasmin Deliz, but a golden opportunity for knuckle headed stand over men Wood Harris and Mike Epps, with more successful yayo-mongers Omari Hardwick and Darius McCrary also getting in on the action.

By turns flashy and pedestrian direction from video man Benny Boom is not enough to raise a cliched script out of the crowd, though the performances are enjoyable enough.

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Nick Of Time
Not great but functional real-time conspiracy thriller with Johnny Depp the father blackmailed into assassinating a politician by psycho killer Christopher Walken and his associate Roma Maffia.

Fairly perfunctory stuff, though director John Badham throws in some nice flourishes to break up the monotony of a film in a single location, an upscale LA hotel. Charles S Dutton has a memorable turn as a reluctant shoe shiner dragged into the affair, whilst GD Spradlin swims in similar waters as his crooked senator from The Godfather Part II as a shady lobbyist. Would make an interesting double bill with the similar Vantage Point.

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Holy Rollers
Modest little picture about a glum young New York Hasidic Jew, Sam (Jesse Eisenberg), who feels increasingly alienated, and ends up in a novel drug smuggling operation. Justin Bartha as Yosef, the wayward older brother of his friend Leon, is compelling. Kevin Asch directs everything to satisfaction, and doesn’t undermine things with a Hollywood happy ending.

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Texas Killing Fields
Dark, depressing, downbeat, unpleasant, yet excellent crime thriller, with Sam Worthington and Jeffrey Dean Morgan two cops looking for a killer of young women in the bayous of Texas’ Gulf coast. Ami Canaan Mann directs without sentimentality. Jessica Chastain as a cop from a neighbouring county gives strong support. Chloë Grace Moretz is astonishingly good as a vulnerable young girl with deep reserves of inner strength.