A dramatisation of the immediate aftermath of the 1963 Kennedy murder. A well-made re-enactment, packed with detail and character actors, though necessarily plotless, and somewhat redundant as a consequence. Effectively shows the chaos of unforeseen situations though.
Month: August 2019
Colors (1988, dir. Dennis Hopper)
A veteran and a rookie struggle to work together while patrolling LA’s gang neighbourhoods. Still-influential drama that tries for nuance while establishing the look and tone of two generations of movies. Worth revisiting, not least for its direction, cinematography, and its Herbie Hancock score.
Aquaman (2018, dir. James Wan)
Aquaman/Arthur Curry reluctantly agrees to help prevent a war between the Atlanteans and humanity. Glossy and fun – though overlong and CG-tastic – superhero origin flick. Ugly greenscreen cinematography gets in the way of some decent performances and Wan’s capable direction.
Running Scared (1986, dir. Peter Hyams)
Two Chicago cops vow to bring down a drug dealer before their early retirement to Florida. None-more-80s buddy cop comedy-thriller, bolstered by engaging leads with real charisma, and with great cinematography. Dated in places, and the script’s riddled with genre and other cliches.
Malevolent (2018, dir. Olaf de Fleur)
Sibling scammers running a spirit cleansing con face real ghosts. An old plot, though with some OK angles. The film’s overstuffed and can’t deal with all of its ideas fairly, though delivers some excellent jump scares. Comes off the rails by act three. Florence Pugh shows her early lead potential.
Once Upon A Time In … Hollywood (2019, dir. Quentin Tarantino)
In 1969 LA, a fading action star struggles with his future prospects. A stunning evocation of late 60s Hollywood, packed with ideas, in-jokes, good ideas, and pop-culture geekery. A shaggy dog story that meanders, but which goes into some startling – and just-about justified – places. Recommended: later novelised by Tarantino.
The Haunting of Borley Rectory (2019, dir. Steven M Smith)
In 1944, an invalided US radio operator working in the English countryside is troubled by nightmarish visions. A semi-pro production, limited by budget, script and acting issues. A couple of OK scares, but this is really a ripoff of The Nun padded out to feature-length with flashbacks and a convoluted time-travel element.
Brightburn (2019, Dir. David Yarovesky)
An interesting evil-superman origin story idea that takes way too long to get going and deliver much of anything. There are some gory moments, however it mostly lacks the required conviction of its premise. It may well earn itself a better sequel though. Want a second opinion? Click here!
I Am Mother (2019, dir. Grant Sputore)
A girl is raised by an android in an underground bunker as part of an Earth repopulation project. Well-designed and acted SF that sustains itself for an hour, but which doesn’t have the nous to engineer a third act; ultimately frustrating, even if there are many pleasures along the way.
Triangle (2009, dir. Christopher Smith)
A single mother becomes trapped in a temporal loop on an abandoned liner. A smart little thriller that plays fair by its premise, doesn’t over-explain, and takes a rigorous approach to its plotting. A couple of genuinely nasty ideas embedded as well.