Tag Archives: The Terminator

A Week In Film #557: Clocking up

[Zero Dark Thirty title screen]
Zero Dark Thirty
AND THIS ONE.

[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]
Fargo
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
tormenta!

[Peppermint title screen]
Peppermint
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 #176: Equinox and sunshine

The Terminator
A week of classics (of sorts) kicking off with James Cameron’s future war/man vs machines/time travel auctioneer.

Still got the magic, even if some elements (the dancing at TechNoir, the wonky stop-animation into puppet transitions, the squibless shootings) stand out to our eyes today. The whole cop subplot remains a joy, and the Biehn-Hamilton chemistry really works.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Wasn’t really a fan of it originally, but I think it stands up better than I thought it would, the sub-Abyss CGI apart.

Great mood in some sequences (the hospital break), some typically awesome Cameron-marshalled in-camera SFX (the T-800 self-repair scene for instance), and strong in-universe plotting make for a decent popcorner. Furlong’s screech, the product placement and the kiddie-friendly Terminator all grate, though.

All The President's Men title screen
All The President’s Men
Even though it totally overages the involvement of Woodstein and the Post and Deep Throat, it’s still such a powerful film, and I love that it ends where it ends, avoiding a ‘happy’ climax. Got to love all those top flight, grizzled character actors like Warden and Balsam and Robards and Holbrook. Got to love the lensmanship of Willis. Got to love the choreography of Pakula.

Planet Of The Apes (1968)
GET YOUR STINKING PAWS OFF ME YOU DAMNED DIRTY APE! Nova. The world’s smallest city. A Shyamalan-shaming masterclass in the final reveal. One of Heston’s finest end-of-the-world performances.

Collateral
The LLF picked this one out, and was pleasantly surprised. Nighttime LA, Tom Cruise as a vulpine hitman with five contracts to complete, Jamie Foxx as a cabbie caught up in the mayhem. AND THE STATH. A well-balanced little thriller from Michael Mann. Nice gunplay.

The Lady Vanishes
Hitchcock revisits the sparky spy thriller just three years after the peerless The 39 Steps, and scores himself another banger. What’s not to like? Englishmen abroad Charters & Caldicott in search of cricket news, May Whitty as the old maid who goes missing, Margaret Lockwood as spunky young Iris and Michael Redgrave as the chalky musicologist to her cheesiness…

A Week In Film #114: Working the backlog

The Notorious Bettie Page
Slightly unsatisfactory but still enjoyable biopic of the 50s fetish/cheesecake model by Mary Harron. Gretchen Mol is likeable as the naïve but adventurous Bettie. Lili Taylor and Jared Harris both have memorable turns.

The Last Castle
Overblown, silly pre-9/11 (but no less flagwanky for it) military prison nonsense, with lantern-jawed Special Forces hero/demi-god Robert Redford (FFS) giving lesser, more deviant GI Joes a lesson in teamwork/self-respect/something after getting sent down for something or other and ending up in a barbaric brig run by deskjockey James Gandolfini. Meaningless piffle, directed by Rod Lurie.

The Terminator
Time-travelling killer robot! Michael Biehn looking kick-ass! Depressing future apocalypse! Third best police station attack ever in film!

Kansas City Confidential
Noir crime drama with wrongly accused ex-con John Payne chasing after the mask-wearing crooks who held up an armoured car leaving him with the blame. Efficient, though a little flabby in the second act (and for the most part it’s set in Mexico not KC).

Extreme Prejudice
Nick Nolte as hard-as-nails Texas Ranger, Powers Boothe as his best mate-turned Mex-Tex drugs kingpin, Michael Ironside as the leader of a secret, deniable Army unit; Maria Conchita Alonso is the solitary woman intruding upon this high testosterone ménage a trios.

Typical Walter Hill – sleek, energetic, with great craft, just very little plausibility or audience investment. Seems to have inspired the likes of Predator, Die Hard 2, The Losers etc. Some great work from various character actors (Clancy Brown, William Forsythe, Matt Mulhern, Larry B Scott, Dan Tullis Jnr as the soldiers, Rip Torn as Nolte’s Sheriff buddy).