Bond teams up with an NSA agent to uncover the truth about a conspiracy involving conflict diamonds and North Korea. Fourth, last, and least of the Brosnan Bond flicks. The central performance is good, but the script is a lazy series of puns and there’s an over-reliance on iffy CG throughout.
Month: November 2017
The Assassin (2015, dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien)
In 9th century Japan, a young female assassin is ordered to kill her cousin; the man she was once betrothed to. Visually-stunning wuxia arthouse (martial arthouse?) flick, more interested in painterly scenes than in traditional action thrills; still, a wonderful thing to behold. Recommended.
National Treasure (2004, dir. Jon Turteltaub)
A treasure seeker is in a race against time to find a fabled hoard. Daft but hugely enjoyable chase and puzzle-based comedy-thriller, riffing off Dan Brown, Indiana Jones, and Mission: Impossible equally. Lots of fun if you’re in the mood.
Live By Night (2016, dir. Ben Affleck)
The rise of a hoodlum during Prohibition. Handsome, lovingly made, but slow, baggy, and uninvolving gangster pic. Clearly a labour of love, but too indebted to its source novel’s structure to make an engaging movie, despite good moments along the way.
Fantastic Four (2015, dir. Josh Trank)
Five young scientists gain superpowers after opening an interdimensional portal. Unnecessary reboot/origin story which takes an age to get going and doesn’t really have a plot. A strong and well-chosen (though hardly teenage) cast wasted on rote material and some variable FX.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015, dir. JJ Abrams)
Chapter 7 in the Skywalker saga. This rebooted SF/fantasy is a calculated pleasure, riffing on no end of series themes and on the structure of the 1977 movie in particular. Slightly soulless, but a decent reintroduction to the mythos.
A Monster Calls (2016, dir. J. A. Bayona)
A creature is summoned to challenge a boy whose mother is dying. Splendid dark fantasy, equal parts The BFG/ET and something more akin to Pan’s Labyrinth, which pulls out all the emotional and VFX stops in its ultimately uplifting tale about the power of stories and truths.
The Hollow One [AKA The Darker Path] (2015, dir. Nathan Hendrickson)
A mother’s secret identity may be mixed up with an ancient artefact. Oddball SF/horror that tries to do zombie movie, family secret flick, and an existentialist SF movie all in one. The whole thing collapses under its awkwardness, tho it gains a point for daft ambition.
Pod (2015, dir. Mickey Keating)
Siblings journey to the family’s remote holiday home where their brother may be going mad. Not-bad psychological horror which takes an SF/military experiment route than the usual haunting or serial killer options. Falls apart in act 3, tho Larry Fessenden pops up.
The Resident [AKA The Sublet] (2015, dir. John Ainslie)
A young couple with a baby move into a sublet apartment; things soon go awry. Well-sustained minimalist psychological thriller of the haunting-or-mental-breakdown variety. Effective until the loose plot threads come home to roost.