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The tech-firm thriller seems to have supplanted the gangster movie as the modern-day American Dream story. Exploit free markets with entrepreneurial spirit, cut a few corners, hubris, rise and fall, regret, redemption. By now I thought we were past the point of techno-cautionary tales which ask whether the internet is a good or a bad thing, largely because the @dog_rates Twitter account has proved beyond all doubt that it is the former, and yet here we are.
Daniel Day-Lewis is to retire from acting in order to prepare for a forthcoming role in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Retiree.
Where Ron Howard's Eight Days a Week
ends, as the teenage screams die down after the last chord struck at Candlestick Park, Alan G Parker's new documentary begins. Timed to coincide with Sgt Pepper's fiftieth anniversary and hoping to catch the wave of tributes and looks-back that will go along with it, it takes us from the end of Beatlemania into the start of the studio years and through the recording of their most significant album. And it doesn't come near to doing it justice.
One of the many wonderful things about living on the same planet as Zac Efron is that he knows when and how to take his shirt off. It is a rare talent to look like he does with his abs out, accept that directors are going to want him to get his top off at least twice a film, and then to do so with enough of a sense of self-mockery that you don't think he's an absolute bell-end. Self-awareness is what got him and his co-star The Rock where they are today, and so a riff on Baywatch, sending up how daft it was, feels like just the ticket. So why isn't it sillier?
Arnold Schwarzenegger is in a film in which he plays a character who unaccountably talks like Arnold Schwarzenegger, so all's well with the world. But you begin to realise after a while that there's a reason why this isn't usually so much of a problem: it's that most of his films are a bit daft, and realism isn't why you turned over to ITV4, so you just shrug and go with it. But Aftermath isn't daft: it's dead serious. Oh heck.
Trouble with all boxing films: they aren't Rocky. Rocky not only set the benchmark, but the template, out of which no one's really managed to break: guy has to overcome adversity, the other boxer is a metaphor for his life, and his real opponent is himself. True-lifer Bleed For This is a bit different. But not that different.
In times of crisis, look to Hanks. America's on its arse and what it needs now more than ever is a man whose Twitter account is dedicated to finding gloves on the streets of New York, not making baseless claims of voter fraud. Inferno got it wrong, but Sully understands better what sort of hero Hanks can be: the kind who manages to land a malfunctioning aeroplane but afterwards just wants everyone to stop going on about it.
Brad Pitt, I have decided, is too handsome. My reaction to more or less anything he does on screen these days is instinctively: "Yeah, but this character wouldn't look like that. No one does." In Allied, which is fine and all that but a bit daft, he marries Marion Cotillard while looking amazing then grows suspicious she is a spy while looking amazing, and I can't shake the feeling that all of this looking amazing is part of a comfort zone out of which he's unprepared to step.
By now you'll have heard that Inferno is awful, not that your hopes were high, and you don't need me to confirm it. Maybe the books make terrible source material, but come on, it's Hanks and Howard: how bad could it be? Well, not as bad as The Da Vinci Code, to be fair, but still pretty darned bad.
Here's Emily Blunt on the Girl on the Train poster, looking suspiciously like she has more make-up on than she does in the actual film (again
). She's very much the best thing about it, but still: if there's one genre for which I have a soft spot, it's the serviceable but unexceptional thriller.