Tag Archives: The Terminator

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…

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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).