Peerless eighties auctioneer from John McTiernan and Shane Black, with gubernatorial candidate trio Arnie, Jesse Ventura and Sonny Landham flexing muscles with Carl Weathers and others in the Central American jungle in pursuit of an alien hunter.
Strong reboot from Nimród Antal, whose Armored showed what he could do in the Hollywood context after his impressive debut Control. Adrien Brody is not a traditional action movie hero, but he leads a strong cast, including Alice Braga, Oleg Taktarov (15 Minutes) and Mahershala Ali (House Of Cards). Even Topher Grace is bearable.
Red Riding: The Year Of Our Lord 1974
Feature-length adaptation of the first part of David Peace’s quartet of books set in the dark and corrupt world of Yorkshire during the time of the Ripper murders. Julian Jarrold sets the tone for the series – almost unbearably grimy and smoky – whilst a strong cast (Andrew Garfield, Rebecca Hall, Anthony Flanagan, Sean Bean and all) fully commit to the film. Excellent introductions to some of the spine characters too, such as David Morrissey’s mid-level cop, Robert Sheehan’s guttersnipe, and Bob Craven’s psychopath-in-a-uniform.
Red Riding: The Year Of Our Lord 1980
Documentarian James Marsh takes over the reins, and now we’re skipping a book but leaping straight into the Stalker-esque investigation led by a straight-arrow Manchester detective played by Paddy Considine. No happy ending in sight…
Red Riding: The Year Of Our Lord 1983
The baton is passed to Anand Tucker, who manages (by comparison) to offer a sense of redemption through the seedy small town lawyer character played by Mark Addy, which is somewhat grim considering the key themes of a Stefan Kiszko-type suspect (Daniel Mays) being railroaded, and emerging evidence of a pervasive paedophile network.
The LLF had never seen it – unbelievable. Nice, zippy 80s John McTeirnan-directed actioner, with Arnie, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham, Shane Black and Richard Chaves on a secret jungle mission and becoming prey – along with captured Marxist guerilla Elpidia Carrillo – for an alien big game hunter.
I’m game for giving most things a spin; for cutting everyone a little slack; for making allowances for unpolished charm. But this – a football hooligan/gangster yarn – was shit. Good bits: Ricci Harnett was actually very good as a mid-league gangster of unspecified type, and the female parts (Lorraine Stanley, Nicole Faraday, Susan Penhaligon) are at least more substantial than most in these types of films. Bad bits: terrible script that just sort of stops (that would be Dougie Brimson’s fault), and director that does nothing to engage the audience (Martin Kemp’s fault). Leo Gregory shows flashes of acting chops in the lead, but is mostly just a bit vacant looking.
Somewhat unexciting ‘thriller’, in which cop Dean Cain gets himself sent to prison to avenge his pregnant wife murdered by a gang boss. The first time I’ve heard of the Soska Sisters, and hopefully the last.
I first saw this late night on BBC2 introduced by Alex Cox as part of the Moviedrome strand. I remember him flagging up the cameos by directors John Waters (used car salesman) and John Sayles (motorcycle cop). Anyway, an enjoyable twist on the eighties cycle of ‘yuppie in jeopardy’ movies, with white-collar management goon Jeff Daniels hooking up with meta-manic pixie dream girl Melanie Griffiths and going off on a road movie journey into self-discovery. En route: recently paroled psycho con Ray Liotta, the Feelies as a band at a high school reunion, and lots of great music (and some great shots of New York). Definitely one of Jonathan Demme’s best.
Peak McTiernan, with Bruce Willis never better than here as world weary New York cop John McClane, in LA to try and win back his estranged wife Bonnie Bedelia at just the moment a bunch of Eurotrash terrorists-cum-robbers led by Alan Rickman. AND THE QUARTERBACK IS TOAST!