Posted by Ali Gray
at 10:20 on 20 Oct 2014
There is a subtle moment in the first few minutes of Foxcatcher - a moment between moments, really - that I just couldn't shake. Gold medal-winning wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) sits down alone at his table in an apartment that seems almost comically small for a man of his size. He has prepared himself some ramen noodles, presumably for his evening meal. Sitting in silence, framed against blank, beige walls, Schultz raises the spoonful to his lips but pauses for several seconds, staring intently at the noodles before putting them in his mouth. There is so much unsaid in that arresting pause; even this basic act of nourishment seems to be a struggle. It's a moment indicative of Foxcatcher as a whole; a glacial, passive drama where true emotions seethe beneath a surface of calm - until they can be contained no more.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 23:45 on 17 Oct 2014
War movies. Huh. Good God. What are they good for? By now, it feels like every manoeuvre, every landing and every battle of the Second World War has been fought and won or lost on screen. Subsequently, each new WWII movie has to prove its worth before a single shell has been fired or bomb dropped. David Ayer's Fury doesn't even bother pretending it's based on a true story, jumping straight into action with an ambush, a dead Nazi and a knife through the eye socket - and it gets progressively more grim from then on in.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 19:47 on 12 Oct 2014
So I finally got old. Morning: doctor's appointment for dry skin. Afternoon: phone calls with estate agents and surveyors and mortgage advisors. Evening: still-aching limbs from a football match played 48 hours previously. I startle awake to find myself sat in a Paramount screening room ready to watch the latest iteration of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a phenomenon I was probably too old to enjoy guilt-free the first time round a quarter of a century ago. "Let's see those hands in the air!" says a company spokesperson, urging attendees to don the giant green foam hands provided for a photo opportunity. I am secretly glad I didn't pick any up on the way in. Because I am old as fuck.
Before I launch into my review of The Rewrite, I'd like to take the opportunity to tell you about my own script entitled "Another Shit Movie Starring Hugh Grant", where Hugh Grant plays Hugh Grant, a Hugh Grant who is trying to make a film about Hugh Grant being Hugh Grant, but Hugh Grant doesn't want to Hugh Grant anymore, so Hugh Grant must out-Hugh Grant's Hugh Grant, and everyone's Hugh Grant. If by now, you want to stick pins in your eyes to prevent me from going any further, then you will know how I felt watching The Rewrite.
The Maze Runner is the latest movie from the sexy-teens-battle-it-out-in-a-dystopian-landscape stable, begging the question: do we really need another one? It's certainly a ripe breeding ground, and based on the evidence seen in Wes Ball's Young Adult adaptation it certainly can't hurt to squeeze another one in, even if The Maze Runner does think a little too highly of how teenage boys would cope on their own. I have an older brother and lived with five lads at university and I'm well aware they literally cannot stop touching themselves. Perhaps that's because back in my day, teen films were all about getting laid; in the future, teenagers have to figure out how to survive in hostile landscapes before they've even picked their GCSE options.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 00:30 on 05 Oct 2014
I read Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. I read Zodiac by Robert Graysmith. I read The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich. I read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. All were at some point translated to the screen by David Fincher; only the latter felt undermined by its source material.
Waaaaay back in 2012, when everyone was losing their shit over why Tom Cruise was playing Jack Reacher
despite being comically ill-suited to the role, I had a few alternative suggestions. The Rock. Daniel Craig. Idris Elba. But it never occurred to me: Denzel Washington. Of course
. Denzel bloody Washington. The bloke can turn his hand to anything. Luckily, Hollywood is way smarter than I am, and has set straight this misstep in the form of The Equalizer, with two key differences. One, an increased level of violence and a higher certificate to match. And two, unlike Jack Reacher, it's really very good.
There comes a point where you just have to say, OK: we've got enough single-minded vigilante killing machines in cinema. We don't need another. That point for me was the three weeks between seeing A Walk Among The Tombstones and The Equalizer, more of which next week. Liam Neeson's latest is much like a lot of his other post-Taken
output: you don't need it particularly, but it's there and it does what it's supposed to.
I worry that I'm getting more intolerant as I age. I like Zach Braff a lot, I find him very funny, and I have no issue with his using Kickstarter to fund Wish I Was Here, as a lot of people seem to. But as per the standard Hollywood template, his film does promote the idea that you should always follow your dreams. Which is fine, except when the right thing to do is give up your dreams, get a job you hate and stay in it till you're 70 to support your family.
At one point during Before I Go to Sleep, I convinced myself that I too had anterograde amnesia; like Nicole Kidman's character Christine, sometimes my mind would wipe the previous day's events from my brain. However, I quickly realised the link between my memory loss and how many whisky cocktails I'd consumed the night before (hashtag legend) and so, panic over. Much like a whisky-induced hangover though, Before I Go to Sleep will also make you struggle to fill in the blanks with an increasing sense of dread. Hopefully with a bit less sick.