Posted on November 28, 2016 by Darren
Sully: Miracle on the Hudson has a certain Frank Capra quality to it.
To be fair, a lot of that comes from the casting of Tom Hanks in the title role. Hanks radiates a certain ineffable integrity, a “Hanksian Decency” that informs his performances in films as diverse as Bridge of Spies and Inferno. It is tempting to think of him as “America’s Dad”, particularly given the grey hair and the moustache that he donned for the title role here. However, it is also tempting to think of him as a latter-day Jimmy Stewart, the embodiment of a certain type of fundamental American decency that lends itself to this sort of narrative.
Hanks for the memories.
Similarly, director Clint Eastwood has a similar philosophy. Eastwood’s films tend to be organised around strong moral principles. Often those principles are articulated in terms of personal responsibility, particularly the responsibility that individuals have for others whether in a professional capacity (J. Edgar) or a personal capacity (Million Dollar Baby) or simply by virtue of being there (Gran Torino). Eastwood’s recurring fascination with individual responsibility makes him a quintessentially American director.
This combination is ideally suited to Sully, which is constructed as something akin to a modern-day American fairytale.
“Mr. Sullenberger goes to the NTSB Debriefing.”
Filed under: Non-Review Reviews | Tagged: Clint Eastwood, film, Movie, non-review, review, sully, tom hanks, trump | 8 Comments »
Posted on November 2, 2016 by Darren
If the default summer blockbuster is a “comic book” movie, then The Accountant is an “airport paperback” movie.
Although The Accountant is based upon an original idea by screenwriter Bill Dubuque, it feels very much like something adapted from some pulpy thriller. It has all the ingredients. Like so many John Gresham best sellers, it has a title comprised of a noun used as the definitive article. It has a pithy high concept that can be summarised in a nice tagline. It is packed full of ridiculous twists. It has a plot that is largely just something on which it can hang all manner of goofy ideas. It even has a fondness for absurd (and contrived) exposition delivered via monologue.
This is both the best and the worst thing about The Accountant. By just about any measure, The Accountant is a ridiculous film with a fairly thin concept and with a variety of twists that will seem inevitable to any genre-savvy observer. However, there is something quite enjoyable in watching The Accountant bounce between these crazy twists. The Accountant works best when it embraces its pulpier attributes, rolling with each crazy development after the last and never stopping to catch its breath.
The Accountant is a very weird and dysfunctional film, but that dysfunction becomes part of the charm. Much like those page-turners picked up to help pass long flights, it is unlikely that much of The Accountant will remain with audiences after the credits roll. However, there is still some fun to be had.
You can make a killing in this field.
Filed under: Non-Review Reviews | Tagged: ben affleck, film, gavin o'connor, Movie, non-review, pulp, review, the accountant | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 16, 2014 by Darren
This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2014.
A Long Way Down is never anywhere near as irreverent as it thinks it is. The story of four people who attempted suicide on “the most popular suicide spot on the most popular night for suicides” has a pretty effective basic premise. There’s a lot of material for a pitch black comedy here, particularly with Pierce Brosnan playing a former television presenter who has been convicted of having sex with a minor. (The BBC co-production credit makes this plot point feel particularly awkward.)
Instead, A Long Way Down pitches itself as a generic feel-good yearn about how people are nowhere near as cynical as they might initially claim to be. Ironically, this ends up making A Long Way Down feel particularly cynical.
Filed under: Non-Review Reviews | Tagged: a long way down, film, Imogen Poots, jameson dublin international film festival, jdiff, nick hornby, non-review, pierce brosnan, review | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 12, 2013 by Darren
It’s hard not to admire Les Misérables. It’s the first honest-to-goodness entirely sincere and mostly unironic big budget musical that we’ve seen released in quite some time. While song and dance will always be a part of the movies (The Muppets, for example, carrying many a dainty tune last year), there’s something quite impressive about seeing a music as epic and as iconic as Les Misérables carried across to the big screen. The stage musical became something of a cultural phenomenon on the West End, and Tom Hooper does an effective job of transitioning from stage to screen – even if he doesn’t consistently capitalise on the format shift.
There are some fundamental problems. The second half is a little too awkwardly paced and too disjointed to come together as well as it should, and Hooper seems to have a great deal pitching the right amount of camp (and humour) for an Oscar-bait musical about the aftermath of the French revolution. However, if you can look past those problems, the opening half is a superbly staged musical and the performances are impressive. Including the much maligned Russell Crowe, who might – hear me out – be the best thing about the film.
Sing when you’re winning… or at least nominated…
Filed under: Non-Review Reviews | Tagged: Amanda Seyfried, anne hathaway, art, film, helena bonham carter, Hooper, hugh jackman, jason segel, Jean Valjean, Les Misérables, Movie, Muppet, muppets, Musical theatre, non-review, paris, Performing Arts, review, russell crowe, sacha baron cohen, Samantha Barks, Tom Hooper | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 5, 2012 by Darren
I am quite fond of Rushmore. It’s strange, because I found that Anderson’s schtick wore off on many of his following films – The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited. I suspect my affection for the film is rooted in the fact that it was the first Wes Anderson film I ever saw, and so his quirks and style were refreshing to me. There is, after all, nobody who writes movie dialogue and directs scenes quite like Wes Anderson. In a way, he feels a bit like Quentin Tarantino, an autuer who seems to sign almost every frame of his work. I think, perhaps, that I am so partial to Rushmore because Anderson’s plot devices and his writing seem much better suited to it than to many of the films that followed. After all, it’s a lot easier to accept a film based around a character who acts like an emotionally immature teenager when that character is an emotionally immature teenager.
It all goes to the Max…
Filed under: Non-Review Reviews | Tagged: Anderson, Bill Murray, film, Grover Cleveland, Jason Schwartzman, Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Moonrise Kingdom, Mount Rushmore, Movie, non-review, Olivia Williams, Owen Wilson, Oxford, review, Royal Tenenbaum, Rushmore, Sorbonne, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, United States, wes anderson | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 19, 2012 by Darren
Back in its heyday, Hammer Horror had a reputation as an assembly-line studio, churning out cheesy exploitation horror after cheesy exploitation horror with an efficiency that would make battery farmers jealous. I won’t pretend that the reputation is entirely undeserved, although I do have a certain fondness for the delightful schlock the studio would produce. Still, I think that this reputation tends to overshadow the occasional gem that the studio would produce, something that managed to transcend the cost-effective scenery and cookie-cutter approach to film-making. While it probably isn’t the definitive adaptation of the tale, Hammer’s The Hound of the Baskervilles is still an absolute delight for gothic horror aficionados.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it…
Note: This review contains spoilers. I consider a classic novel and fifty-year-old film to be fair game.
Filed under: Non-Review Reviews | Tagged: André Morell, Arthur Conan Doyle, Baskerville, Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Watson, film, Hammer Film Productions, Henry, Holmes, Hound of Baskerville, Irene Adler, Moor, Movie, non-review, Peter Cushing, review, Sherlock, sherlock holmes, watson | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 31, 2012 by Darren
Prometheus is an impressive science fiction thriller. Indeed, its weakest link is its attempt to “line-up” with Scott’s original Alien, as its own interesting ideas end up caught up in an attempt to throw knowing winks and nods towards an overly eager audience. “look! green gooey possibly acidic blood!” the movie seems to cry or “gee! that illustration looks familiar!” The problem is that these feel like distractions from a plot that is compelling and fascinating when explored on its own merits. Still, it feels like a worthy science fiction film in its own right, a fitting hybrid of Scott’s Alien with his Blade Runner, daring to pose interesting existential and philosophical questions about humanity’s place in the universe.
David is a piece of work…
Filed under: Non-Review Reviews | Tagged: alien, blade runner, Dallas, David, film, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender, Movie, non-review, Noomi Rapace, Prometheus, review, ridley scott, science fiction, Scott, Shaw | 13 Comments »