Tag Archives: Stander

A Week In Film #042: Big plans

Strange Days title screen

Strange Days
Kathryn Bigelow’s back in favour at the moment, with lots of hubbub over The Hurt Locker. For me this is her best work – fin de si├Ęcle near future cyber-gubbins, with Ralph FIennes as a sleazy purveyor of illegal memory videos getting caught up in seven shades of badness. Angela Bassett is aces as his best bud, an asskicking chauffeuse, and there’s an excellent supporting cast – Michael Wincott, Tom Sizemore, William Fichtner and Vincent D’Onofrio as rogue cops, Richard Edson, Nicky Katt, even Juliette Lewis gives a good performance.

Stander title screen

One of my favourite movies of recent years, based on a real-life tale of an Apartheid era South African cop-turned-bank robber, Andre Stander.

The central cast – Thomas Jane, Dexter Fletcher and David O’ Hara – is splendid, and director Bronwen Hughes balances light and shade well. The action scenes are magnificent. Deborah Kara Unger gives perhaps the strongest performance in the film as Bekkie, Stander’s wife.

Cashback title screen

A fine little film, imaginative in its approach, ambitious in its style. is a young student whose heart has been broken and struck down with some serious insomnia; to try and help him get through the long sleepless nights, he takes on a job at the local supermarket working the graveyard shift.

Sean Ellis writes and directs, and there’s a good cast working together – Emilia Fox, Sean Bickerstaff, Stuart Goodwin, Michelle Ryan, Shaun Evans, Michael Dixon, Michael Lambourne and Marc Pickering. Definitely worth your time.

Land Of The Dead title screen

Land Of The Dead
George Romero returns to his zombie world, and it’s not great – just that little bit too much money, and definitely too many recognisable faces. Supposedly it’s a satire on The War Against Terror.

On the plus side: Asia Argento. On the negative side: pedestrian blocking/editing/photography/whatever means that you never get any sense of scale or geography – it just always looks like a cheesy soundstage.

A Week In Film #030: B movies, D-Days & K holes

The Verdict (1946) title screen

The Verdict (1946)
Don Siegel’s first full directing credit, IIRC. A dark hearted and dark humoured affair, this – Sidney Greenstreet is a Scotland Yard detective eased out by an ambitious younger rival, who proves that a man he sent to the gallows was in fact an innocent. Assisted by amiable lush and friend Peter Lorre, Greenstreet vows to exact his revenge…

Meet The Parents title screen

Meet The Parents
Ben Stiller tries to impress Robert De Niro, the uptight father of the girlfriend he wants to marry, but mostly he fucks up. Things pan out pretty much as you would expect.

Meet The Fockers title screen

Meet The Fockers
Sequel to the above in which OMG his name is Gaylord Focker LULZ! Hollywood liberals Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand play Florida liberals, and everyone is happy by picture’s end.

Recount title screen

HBO TVM about the Florida voting scandal of the 2000 Presidential elections which led to the administration of Bush The Lesser; well liberal. Familiar faces include: Kevin Spacey, Denis Leary, Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt and Laura Dern being very funny as Katherine Harris.

Men At Work title screen

Men At Work
Emilio Estevez writes and directs himself and his brother Charlie Sheen as a pair of under-achieving garbagemen who get caught up in a toxic dumping/murder plot. It’s not great but it’s watchable. John Getz (the hapless boyfriend from Blood Simple) makes for a fun bad guy, and Keith David is superb as a Nam vet still suffering flashbacks.

Outpost title screen

A motley crew of mercenaries escort a mysterious businessman to an old, abandoned bunker complex in the middle of an Eastern European civil war.

Again, supernatural war horror (cf Below, The Bunker, Deathwatch, The Keep), again, some good bits diluted by generally being sub-par in various departments (script needs tightening; better direction of the actors; more thoughtful lighting; more rhythmical editing; and much better visual effects, if you really insis on having them in the first place; etc).

Bit odd seeing Michael ‘Tyres from Spaced‘ Smiley in there as an Irish dog of war…

The Bridge At Remagen title screen

The Bridge At Remagen
A frankly rather unexciting war film, with Robert Vaughn as a German officer charged with blowing up a bridge over the Rhine in the dying weeks of WW2, as an American unit led by George Segal is given the order to preserve the bridge at all costs. Ben Gazzara as a lootin’, shootin’, but never high-falutin’ GI is one of the few pieces of interest here.

The Punisher (2004) title screen

The Punisher (2004)
Thomas Jane (from Stander) as Marvel Comics vigilante Frank Castle, taking on a mob run by John Travolta. The bits with the hired assassins were quite good, and the massacre of Castle’s family early on, but it’s just a little too draggy. I’m going to watch the 1989 version and then the 2008 reboot War Journal to compare.

Shaun Of The Dead title screen

Shaun Of The Dead
Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, bit parts and cameos for Jessica Stevenson, Peter Serafinowicz and Julia Deakin – it’s a veritable Spaced reunion! And the funniest zombie film ever.

“Get fucked four-eyes!”, Pegg teaming up with Kate Ashfield and Bill Nighy from Guest House Paradiso, ‘Hog Lumps’, “it’s on random”, children’s slides, “‘Allo, Fulci’s…”, death-by-jukebox – loads of good stuff. Oooh, and Noel the gum-chewing teen worker at Foree Electric.