Tag Archives: The Final Days

A Week In Film #412: Settling in

Tremors title screen
Ron Underwood’s witty feature debut, a silly tale of huge, prehistoric man-eating worms terrorising a tiny Nevadan desert town. Fred Ward and Kevin Bacon set the tone as bickering slacker cowboys.

Panic Room title screen
Panic Room
David Fincher delivers a very satisfactory genre thriller – rich divorcee Jodie Roberts buys an old Upper West Side brownstone only for her and her teen daughter (Kristen Stewart) to be targeted by a determined crew of burglars (Jared Leto, Dwight Yoakam and Forest Whitaker).

Tremors 2: Aftershock title screen
Tremors 2: Aftershock
I kind of half-remembered this sequel (directed by original co-author S S Wilson) as being quite good; sadly not – rather dull. Ward returns, but Bacon is replaced by Christopher Gartin as a fanboy of Earl and Val. Michael Gross is also back as a newly-separated Burt Gummer.

The Thing title screen
The Thing
John Carpenter’s peerless horror remake, a true in-camera classic thanks to the likes of DP Dean Cundey and FX wizards Rob Bottin and Stan Winston. An ensemble cast (primus inter pares: Kurt Russell) of scientific misfits stuck in an Antarctic research station finds themselves under attack from an unknown force.

The Final Days title screen
The Final Days
Pedestrian dramatisation of Woodward and Bernstein’s history of the end of the Nixon presidency. Lane Smith does alright as the mendacious commander-in-chief, but it’s no All The President’s Men.

A Week In Film #110: Yule meet again

Mr Moto’s Last Warning
Reclaiming some of that old BBC2 evening vibe, with Peter Lorre doing his not entirely convincing ‘inscrutable’ turn as the Japanese super ‘tec, this time on the trail of saboteurs down in pre-WW2 Port Said. A somewhat baffling plot. An evil ventriloquist is involved, I think.

Scorsese, De Niro, Stone, Pesci, mobsters in Vegas, James Woods crops up, through-the-gaps-in-your-hands moments of violence, great Saul Bass credits.

Donnie Brasco
Mike Newell has a crack at gangsters, with Al Pacino holding his hand, Johnny Depp as the undercover cop who befriends his target.

Manhunt: The Search For The Night Stalker
One of the better TV movies about police investigations into serial killers (can’t believe I typed that), with Richard Jordan and A Martinez as two LA cops on the trail of Richard Ramirez, the nutjob terrorising the city in the 1980s. The final sequence, covering the killer’s capture, is very good indeed.

Dawn Of The Dead
The original, the best, the only. For some reason the missus wanted to see this, even though it’s not really her cup of tea. Don’t think she really enjoyed it, but she gave it a crack, bless.

Wolfgang Das Boot Petersen tackles Homeric epic poetry, leaves out the gods. Kind of good, with some great old fashioned sword-and-sandal story-telling jazzed up for the modern audience, but basically crap. A nice payday for assorted character actors, bad wigs notwithstanding. Brad Pitt and Eric Bana make for a decent pair of antagonists.

Incident On A Dark Street
Terrible transfer, this DVD. A 1970s TV pilot that never took off, about cops and DAs trying to bust mobsters and corrupt bureaucrats in a beige, unhip LA. The occasional hint of flair – gritty location filming, Richard S Castellano (from The Godfather) as a nervous, basically decent peripheral Mafia figure – but mostly dull. Bill Shatner does his best to be all groovy and shit. Buzz Kulik (best known for directing Steve McQueen’s last movie) is in the helm.

The Final Days
Okay, so a TV movie of Woodward & Bernstein’s follow-up to their ‘All The President’s Men’ book about the Watergate cover-up, this time recounting the countdown to Nixon’s resignation, starring Lane Smith (Perry from Lois & Clark) as the embittered, embattled commander-in-chief, probably is not going to reach the artistic heights of Alan J Pakula’s Oscar-winning conspiracy thriller.

But it is quite watchable, and a good companion piece, not to ATPM, in which Tricky Dicky is an unseen, offstage villain (save for TV or radio footage), but the various other screen essays on him, such as Philip Baker Hall in Secret Honor, Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon, or even Bacony Hamkins in Nixon. Filmed with a certain efficiency by Richard Pearce.