Every film we watch reviewed in 255 characters… or fewer!
Writes. Latest: 2019: East of England - a noir thriller.
Other books: Benches of Louth (2018); Juggernaut: a sequel to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (2017); Torc, (2016); The Prospect of This City (2015). Twitter: @eamonngriffin
A discharged veteran with money problems reluctantly takes on a private contracting job. Terse thriller with action elements: the cast’s good, the action is handled in a no-nonsense manner, and there’s a pleasing downbeat tone. No surprises, but a decent programmer with subtext about post-military lives.
A troubled artist invokes an urban legend. Both a direct sequel and a reboot to the minor 90s classic (while borrowing also from the David Cronenberg version of The Fly), this version has effective visuals and strong gore moments, but isn’t remotely scary. A problem for a genre pic, its good intentions notwithstanding.
A martial artist seeking revenge for his father’s death joins a yakuza clan. While it looks good, this is an oddly pointless reboot with muddy, incoherent action, the wasting of some decent onscreen talent, and a miscast lead. Golding can be great, but he’s more George Clooney than the Sho Kusugi that the role needs.
A desert planet with a fabled resource is given new custodians: a messiah figure may be among them. Impressive if slightly po-faced partial adaptation (Part Two is to come) of the Frank Herbert allegorical SF classic. Takes its time: the pacing is televisual rather than cinematic. However, it looks great, and a good cast plays to their strengths.
1906. A farmer finds a wounded man and takes him in, hiding him from the team that’s hunting him. Excellent early 20th century Western, which manages to do a lot with modest resources and clear intent. Plenty to appreciate, not least Tim Blake Nelson in the lead.
A young woman returns to her hometown: a zombie-like outbreak occurs. This 90s-set series reboot draws from the franchise’s early video games. And that’s about it. A murky and confused action/horror flick with little clear idea about what to do with the property, or why bother.
A gangster’s lackey returns after a decade presumed dead to get revenge. Excellent, bleak, driven thriller/horror hybrid. Strong on blending blue-collar realism and genre thrills, so much that its potential excesses are entirely justified in-world. The best movie of its kind since Dead Man’s Shoes or Killing Me Softly.
A wife helps her husband escape jail: a chase and media circus develops as they cross Texas to be reunited with their child. Excellent road movie/crime drama hybrid with comic and bittersweet touches, and full of directorial promise. Loads to recommend here.
A memory technician becomes obsessed with a nightclub singer. Somewhat laboured SF noir, indebted to Blade Runner, Chinatown, and – er – Who Framed Roger Rabbit, saddled with po-faced script and narration. Some visual stuff works (there’s one genuine moment of wonder) but the central mystery and its importance is bungled.
Hercule Poirot joins a wedding party in Egypt: murder follows. This second Branagh Agatha Christie adaptation suffers like its predecessor from plasticky production values, over-direction, and a too-serious approach to the material. It livens up eventually, but the Ustinov version is still way more fun.