Tag Archives: Frat Pack

A Week In Film #023: G20 investigations, sunshine and redecorating

The Last Boy Scout title screen

The Last Boy Scout
Shane Black scripts, Tony Scott directs, Bruce WIllis and Damon Wayans star. Better than I imagined. Something to do with corrupt politicians and American football and private detectives and stuff. Some nice deadpan actioner bons mots.

The Long Kiss Goodnight title screen

The Long Kiss Goodnight
Shane Black scripts, Renny Harlin directs, Geena Davis and Sam L Jackson star. Better than I remembered (I saw it at the Odeon when it came out). Something to do with an amnesiac government assassin, before Bourne made it sexy. Geena Davis is most enjoyable as a prim suburban housewife/teacher, and as a foxy stonecold killer. The ending is a bit meh, but everything getting us there is fun.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang title screen

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Shane Black scripts and directs, Robert Downey Jnr and Val Kilmer star. Just better all round. Something to do with a minor crook somehow ending up in Hollywood as a possible leading man in a new blockbuster by way of mistaken identity, and teaming up with a private detective as bodies start piling up. Good, old-fashioned hokey stuff.

Cloverfield title screen

Cloverfield
Handycam, destruction of New York, scary stuff, produced by JJ Lost Abrams, cast full of nobody you’ve heard of; I thought it was great, the LLF not so.

Bongwater title screen

Bongwater
Early Frat Packer, with Luke Wilson as amiable weed dealer in destructive relationship with Alicia Witt. Jack Black, Andy Dick and Jamie Kennedy are all in there too.

A Week In Film #022: Backed up on G20 investigations

The Omen (2006) title screen

The Omen (2006)
Pointless and rubbish remake. Julia Stiles is even more ineffectual than in the Bourne flicks. Pete Postlethwaite and David Thewlis do their best to impersonate Patrick Troughton and David Warner. The sequences are mostly inferior carbon copies of the originals, though the reporter’s demise in Jerusalem is riffed upon in a moderately interesting way. Note: Prague does not look like London.

Blood Simple title screen

Blood Simple
The Coen Brothers’ first feature, a natty little neo noir. Some great touches – the slimy private dick (M Emmet Walsh) and his Beetle, John Getz’s rubbish Ray, Dan Hedaya as pathetic cuckold Marty, and of course Frances McDormand as Abby, a femme fatale of sorts. The ending is wonderful. Works well with the likes of Red Rock West, The Hot Spot and The Last Seduction.

The Front Page title screen

The Front Page
Rather lacklustre adaptation of the Hecht/MacArthur commemoration of the bawdy world of newspapermen in Roaring Twenties Chicago. Given that it revolves around Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, and is directed by Billy Wilder, that’s a shame. There’s some really unpleasant moments of misogyny and racism in there too, which the far superior His Girl Friday (the 1940 Cary Grant/Rosalind Russell one) managed to avoid despite being much closer to the source in time.

Daredevil title screen

Daredevil
Ben Affleck as a blind Marvel universe superhero; Jennifer Garner is Elektra, Colin Farrell Bullseye. Not great, but okay.

Zoolander title screen

Zoolander
Ben Stiller as a vacuous model recruited Manchurian Candidate-style to assassinate the Malaysian prime minister. Fairly entertaining Frat Pack stuff, with Owen Wilson as his rival-turned-ally.

Bad Influence title screen

Bad Influence
One of the more interesting films from that yuppie terror cycle (cf Pacific Heights), with weedy Michael (James Spader) coming under the influence of self-assured and dangerously confident Alex (Rob Lowe). So far so bland; but midway there’s something of a twist, and the tone and pace changes rather effectively. Lisa Zane is most alluring as Claire, a woman Michael falls for, and Christian Clemenson is convincingly flakey as Michael’s stoner brother. An early effort from director Curtis LA Confidential Hanson.

Cruising title screen

Cruising
William Friedkin directs Al Pacino in a story about a cop undercover in the pre-Aids BDSM scene in New York’s Meatpacking district. Frankly that sounds awesome on the page. Sadly it’s a balled-up-sock-down-the-trousers of a movie. Pacino pretty much does Serpico in a leather jacket. It’s interesting, just not very exciting. I’m sure I remembered it as being better.

The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three title screen

The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three
More New York, this time underground on the subway, with menacing mercenary Robert Shaw commanding a group of colour-coded hijackers holding a trainful of passengers to ransom. Walter Matthau as a transit cop, Martin Balsam a renegade train driver, Hector Elizondo a psychopathic ex-mafioso, Earl Hindman a making-up-the-numbers fourth man.

A Week In Film #019: Getting warmer

Bad Boys (1983) title screen

Bad Boys
Sean Penn in an American Scum.

16 Blocks title screen

16 Blocks
Bruce Willis is *not* John McClane in this mostly taut (but sometimes slack) thriller about a past-it New York cop escorting a chatterbox witness (Mos Def) to a grand jury, with a whole lot of dirty blues in between. Could have been great, but it’s not.

Take (2007) title screen

Take (2007)
The paths of two strangers (Minnie Driver and Jeremy Renner) cross; the lives of each are forever changed. Some interesting ideas, very competently handled, but not really satisfying. I’m really not keen on the whole bleached out look, either.

Air Force One title screen

Air Force One
What was I thinking, watching this? It’s Die Hard on a plane, with Harrison Ford as a Presidential John McClane type.

Iron Man title screen

Iron Man
Rather spiffy Jon Favreau-helmed adaptation of the Marvel comic about über-capitalist arms dealer and all-round playboy Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr), who takes on a crime-fighting alter ego with the help of a battle suit he builds himself. Good fun.

Gacy title screen

Gacy
Psychological portrait of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, the dude who killed loads of boys and buried them in his basement as well as dressing up as a clown for block parties. Not fun. Still, I learned what a crawl space is.

Old School title screen

Old School
Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn as heading towards middle age so try to reclaim the vitality of their youth by setting up a fraternity house.

Shakes The Clown title screen

Shakes The Clown
Bobcat Goldthwait as a booze-sodden clown. Nuff said. Also features a fresh-faced Adam Sandler.

Office Space title screen

Office Space
Really enjoyable mellow satire on white collar drudgery by Mike Judge, with Ron Livingston (the alkie S2 from Band Of Brothers) as a software engineer in Texas who hates his job. Good to hear Geto Boys on the soundtrack too.