Showing posts with label Alan Arkin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alan Arkin. Show all posts

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Stand Up Guys

Stand Up Guys is a film that doesn’t know what it wants to be. Stuck somewhere between a geriatric sub Apatow production and 70s crime drama, it’s lost perilously at sea with a precious cargo of acting royalty desperately trying to steer around an iceberg. Despite pulling in the same direction, they go down with the ship. The S.S. Good Riddance. Directed by Fisher Stevens and penned by Noah Haidle, the film has at its centre an interesting premise but tonally it’s all off beam. Twenty-eight years after a job that went badly wrong, Valentine or “Val” to his friends (Al Pacino) is released from prison and into the welcoming arms of his former partner in crime Doc (Christopher Walken). Having served half a lifetime after a stray bullet accidentally ended the life of their bosses only son, Val is keen to make up for lost time, lost steak and lost sex. He’s acutely aware however that his time is limited and is expecting a hit on behalf of his still grieving boss. The bullet he’s expecting is due to be expelled by the gun hidden in his old friend Doc’s pocket, something Val also suspects.

With Alan Arkin joining an already illustrious cast and a premise that sets up so much, the film still somehow disappoints. The comedy is absolutely dire and produced just one laugh (admittedly a large one) in the entire 95 minute runtime. Time that could have been spent creating dramatic tension or allowing the great actors to spit thick, gloopy dialogue is instead devoted to nob gags and wave after wave of “Oh aren’t we old” jokes. I don’t know who is supposed to be enjoying it. If you’re young and have no love for the actors then it doesn’t work. If you’re young and have a great affinity for the actors then it’s simply sad and embarrassing and if you’re older then you just aren’t going to be interested in the Viagra stealing, Russian prostitute visiting humour. This is a movie aimed at fifteen year old fans of forty year old movies. A lot of movies have been produced recently which try to put a twist on the frat boy comedy by introducing an older cast but it’s just uncomfortable. Seeing Michael Corleone, Sonny Wortzik, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade, Frank Serpico, Tony Montana, bloody Al ‘8 Oscar nominations and 1 win’ Pacino pretending to go to hospital because he can’t get rid of an erection? No. Just stop it. Enough.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Grosse Pointe Blank

Professional assassin Martin Blank (John Cusack) discovers that his next job is in his home town on the same weekend as his ten year high school reunion and to kill the proverbial birds, decides to head back to the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe from which he fled a decade earlier. He tracks down his high school sweetheart Debi (Minnie Driver) who now works as a local radio host and attempts to undo the damage caused by standing her up on prom night. While in town Martin finds himself under the watch of several assassins as well as two NSA Agents but despite the danger is desperate to win back his girl.

Grosse Pointe Blank was a better film than I expected it to be. I’m not a huge fan of John Cusack and would never seek out a film because Minnie Driver was in it. I knew nothing about the story but the most 90s poster in I’ve ever seen did little to wet my appetite. The film is rarely funny and the plot is fairly inconsequential but I enjoyed the chemistry of the two leads as well as the 80s soundtrack and overall was charmed by the movie.

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Shedding light on the incredible true events of the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis, Director Ben Affleck stars as CIA evacuation specialist Tony Mendez. After the US Embassy in Tehran is stormed by Militants in 1979 and more than fifty staff are taken hostage, six manage to escape into the custody of the Canadian Ambassador where they remain hidden for weeks while the State Department and CIA try to figure out a way of extracting them from the most watched and most anti-American city in the world. Mendez has the idea of creating a fake movie and giving himself and the six hidden embassy staff fake identities as Producers, Scriptwriters and the like, on a location scouting assignment before simply flying out of the country. The idea is met with scepticism by the CIA and State Department as well as the hidden six but with no other viable options, Mendez is given the green light.

Despite co-writing Good Will Hunting with Matt Damon in the mid 90s, Ben Affleck soon became known for his celebrity relationships and mediocre performances in overblown and critically disappointing films such as Pearl Harbor and Armageddon. It came as a surprise to many then that Affleck’s Directorial debut Gone Baby Gone was as good as it was and he then followed this up with another critical success The Town in 2010. With Argo, Affleck is now three for three and seems to be going from strength to strength as a Director.