I still maintain that the first Jack Reacher
is a decent action film, and one that has fun with tropes and clichés of the genre. Obviously, not everyone agrees with me
, but I think ultimately I've been proved right
. And in that sense, the original controversy surrounding Tom Cruise’s casting as Reacher didn’t make sense to me. As I’m not beholden to the source material in any way, Cruise seemed perfect as the all-star action guy with the charm and wit to carry through the self-aware humour. But, as there’s none of that here, this might just be the first instance of an actor being miscast in his own sequel.
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.
Remember that sequence in Spaced, where Tim gets out of a bind by initiating a pretend shootout with finger guns, safe in the knowledge that no one in the near vicinity can resist joining in? Ben Wheatley's new trigger-happy triumph plays out exactly like that, complete with stylised slow-mo, only with real guns, real bullet wounds and with it all carrying on for a real long time.
It's a tricky thing to underpin the emotional core of your movie with a giant CGI monster. Hypothetically speaking, you could have a massive tree creature offering support to a little boy coping with his mother's terminal illness and, every time he walks away, some members of the audience might get distracted by the behemoth's huge bark-buttocks chafing with every step. Hypothetically speaking.
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.
There's nothing like starting your annual London Film Festival experience with a French movie about a small boy who sees visions of a terrifying man-monster while being held captive in the woods by his increasingly erratic and abusive father. Happy LFF, everyone! (*dons subtitle glasses*)
"Men are like buses," says the Bridget Jones's Baby advert on the side of the ones currently making their way through school run-gridlock, possibly because we're awful and stained with last night's food and can't be relied on to turn up. Bridget's choices were often bad over the first two films, but the scripts usually ignored the fact that her men were worse. Three films in, the franchise seems to have caught up and started rewarding her.
What a Beatles documentary has never quite captured is their cultural significance. You can't, not really: it is too tightly bound up in everything we hold as self-evident about popular culture and our relationship with celebrity. Ron Howard, having had the sense to focus his film on the touring years up until 1966 rather than compress The Beatles Anthology into two hours, allows us a window into just how mental those four years were, and gets closer to the truth of it than anyone else has managed.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 22:10 on 15 Sep 2016
Forget America and Great Britain: the real special relationship the UK has is with Oceania. I've always felt closer to my Australian and Kiwi brothers than I have our American chums, and I think self-deprecation plays a big part in that. Our friends from across the Atlantic often struggle to laugh at themselves, but our friends in the Pacific have a healthy appreciation of self-mockery; the New Zealander sense of humour feels far more aligned with our own. Perhaps this is why Taika Waititi's comedy Hunt For The Wilderpeople feels so comfortingly familiar: it's an inward-looking comedy that's not afraid to poke fun at its country's own foibles but still manages to feel like a celebration of life on a little island.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 23:46 on 14 Sep 2016
If you find yourself staring at the marketing for Sony's The Magnificent Seven thinking 'Who is this for?', then you're not alone: I've just seen it and I still don't know. It is an odd choice for such a straight-laced remake, particularly in the current age of the gender swap but PARTICULARLY because the Seven Samurai trope is the most well-worn story in cinematic history, having been remodelled in various forms over the years. We've enjoyed it in ronin form, as a western, told via science-fiction, remade as comedy and even reinvented with animated insects. They say each new generation deserves their own version of all the classic stories, and I daresay the 2016 adaptation of Magnificent 7 is the version this generation deserves: polished but still remarkably unremarkable.