A veteran spy on his last day at the CIA works to protect a compromised asset. Slick and confident thriller balancing office politics, espionage and action moments. An entertainment in the sense of the kind of film Graham Greene might have directed in the 2000s.
Month: April 2019
I Kill Giants (2017, dir. Anders Walter)
A misfit teen may or may not be protecting her town from marauding giants. Quirky but generally effective fantasy drama that neatly balances difference and magic. Unusual design and a great central performance, plus unsentimental handling all help.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web (2018, dir. Fede Alvarez)
Lisbeth Salander tracks down a stolen computer program. Well-directed but soulless Nordic thriller with a checklist of plot elements familiar to many; family secrets, code-carrying savant child, computer shenanigans. Oddly action-oriented, which misses the point of the source material.
Skyscraper (2018, dir. Rawson Marshall Thurber)
An ex-FBI agent turned security consultant must rescue his family from a high-tech skyscraper overrun by fire and criminals. Derivative though passable tosh, mashing up Die Hard and The Towering Inferno. Johnson as charismatic as ever, though he’s ill-served by a rote script.
Brief Encounter (1945, dir. David Lean)
Two otherwise-married people consider an affair. Deft romantic drama with its tongue partially in cheek in places; flirtations with film noir and German expressionism as well as with slice-of-life across-the-classes melodramatics.
Avicii: True Stories (2017, dir. Levan Tsikurishvili)
DJ Tim Bergling/Avicii’s rise to fame, and struggles with physical and mental health issues, as well as with overbearing management and commercial pressures. A fascinating and ultimately poignant behind-the-scenes documentary detailing the mu.ltiple stressors acting on a popular artist’s life.
Leave No Trace (2018, dir. Debra Granik)
A veteran struggles in bringing up his adolescent daughter apart from society. Excellent, sober, and compassionate drama about mental illness, personal freedom and obligation to others. Nothing wasted from first to last frame. Highly recommended.
Mom and Dad (2017, dir. Brian Taylor)
An electronic virus drives parents to kill their children; one family home becomes a battleground. Brisk bad taste horror-comedy that gets in and out fast. Everyone is on fine form, and there’s the best use ever of a Erasure song in the movies.
Apostle (2018, dir. Gareth Evans)
A vengeful brother tries to rescue his kidnapped sister from an island cult. Splendid British Western/The Wicker Man hybrid, parts folk horror and grand guignol. Not for everyone, that’s for sure, but great if you go with it.
Want a second opinion? Here’s Lemonsquirtle’s point of view.
Bean [AKA Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie] (1997, dir. Mel Smith)
A lowly museum attendant is mistakenly sent to Los Angeles as an art expert. Awkward expansion of the TV series, relying on embarrassment and slapstick in equal measure. Inevitably, some moments work (the supporting cast is great), but too much of this is simply unfunny sentimental gurning.