Arnold Schwarzenegger always promised that he’d be back and ten years since his last leading role he is, in Kim Ji-woon’s Action movie The Last Stand. For Arnie in front of the screen, little has changed. He may have lost some bulk in certain areas and gained some in others but his strengths and weaknesses remain constant. He remains a compelling screen presence and can still kick ass with the best of them but his acting hasn’t improved. I had no intention of seeing The Last Stand until I found to my surprise that its Director was one of my favourites, Kim Ji-woon, the highly accomplished Korean Director of the Asian-Western The Good, the Bad and the Weird and the grisly I Saw the Devil amongst many others. So, I got up at 8:30am on a Saturday and with my girlfriend away for the weekend, braved the snow and took a bus to our local multiplex. It’s safe to say that Schwarzenegger isn’t the box office draw he once was and there were 329 empty seats in the auditorium. How do I know that? Because I counted them during a first half which is full of needless exposition, crummy dialogue and weak characterisation. Things liven up in the second half but I’d been better off staying in bed.
Saturday, 26 January 2013
Friday, 30 November 2012
Paul Thomas Anderson’s third film and his shortest by some mark is Punch Drunk Love, a fantastically extrovert romantic comedy which combines shades of Coen-esque humour and dare I say Lynch-ian motifs of magical realism and dual personality. The film is unlike any romantic comedy I’ve seen before and personally I prefer it to the likes of There Will be Blood and The Master for which the Director is better known.
Although the plot is often a bit thin and sometimes incidental it concerns a lonely and occasionally awkward man called Barry (Adam Sandler) who owns a small business that sells novelty toilet plungers. Barry has the misfortune of having seven sisters, a situation which emasculates him and causes him no end of hassle and grief. One day while at work Barry witnesses a horrific car accident and suddenly ends up with a harmonium. That same day he also meets a pretty girl called Lena (Emily Watson). Sometime later, while lonely, Barry calls a premium rate sex line, a move which brings about a lot more pain and hassle than even seven sisters can muster.
Thursday, 16 February 2012
2009’s The Taking of Pelham 123 is a remake of the 1974 film of the same name. I haven’t seen that film so I can’t comment but the remake is a let down. A man by the name of ‘Ryder’ (John Travolta) takes control of a Subway train in
where he and three fellow hijackers take several hostages and demand $10m for their freedom. Ryder is in contact with a NYC train dispatcher called Garber (Denzel Washington) and the film follows his attempts to control the situation and stop any hostages from being killed. New York City
The film starts off with an annoying frame rate which is reminiscent of watching strobe lighting. Thankfully this technique ends with the opening credits but it was a bad start to a poor film. At times it had my heart pounding, thanks in most part to a thumping techno soundtrack, but for the most part it was lifeless and dull. It is difficult to get excited about the film when the majority of the dialogue takes place via radio with Garber in his control room and Ryder in a Subway tunnel. When the action is taken outside these confines towards the end of the film, it picks up somewhat but by then it is too little too late.
|I've got a goatee, and I'm not afraid to use it!|
Denzel Washington does his thing of the everyman caught up in an extraordinary situation but John Travolta is completely unconvincing as a bad guy. Even with a gun to a passenger’s head he seems more like he’s playing a man who is a little bit naughty than the part of a deranged psycho with a score to settle. The supporting cast featuring John Turturro and James Gandolfini are given little to do and Gandolfini’s character of the Mayor takes off half way through the film, seemingly with a plan in mind, never to be seen again. It didn’t make a lot of sense. Perhaps the edit messed up his character’s arc…
The film’s ending seemed rushed and was disappointing but to be fair even a fantastic ending wouldn’t have prevented the film from being just mediocre.