Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wild Target

This film is a remake of a French film 'Cible emouvante'. As sometimes happens in these cases, a little is lost in translation. It's the story of Rose (Emily Blunt) who has swindled a dashing 'business man' Rupert Everett with a fake painting. Rupert then sets the best of the best solitary assassin Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy) to dispose of Rose. Through a series of cock ups, Victor fails to follow the job through, and so the mayhem begins. Victor ends up becoming mesmerised by Rose, and a hapless Rupert Grint (Tony) gets pulled along for the ride. Chastised by his ruthless overbearing Mother (brilliant Eileen Atkins), hounded by the second best assassin in Britain (a fabulously fake tanned Martin Freeman) the three become embroiled in an adventure that makes them all realise the true meaning of life. The film has some really charming and funny moments. Emily Blunt is a lovely actress, but I don't quite believe her as the wild Rose. Bill Nighy is also an English stalwart, but he only ever really plays, well, Bill Nighy. Uptight and unemotional, speaking through closed lips and stiff limbed. Rupert Grint is great as the permanently stoned, sport loving spy apprentice Tony. Rupert Everett tends to steal the show a little as the handsome completely amoral businessman Ferguson. There are some quite dark moments which don't really tally well with the light 'four weddings' feel of the film. The scenes are almost comic book England, very beautiful but so cliched, even down to the stolen Mini Cooper. It's worth a look, but the ending is quite disconcerting. Children that kill animals are just not even vaguely amusing, people maybe, but not animals.
Wild Target: Just misses the mark. 6/10.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The American

Oh George, you silver haired fox you, can you do no wrong? Well yes actually you can with this clunker of a film. It begins in Scandanavia, after some thoroughly unwholesome activity in a log cabin, George and his squeeze go for a walk in the snow. Low and behold he is attacked by snipers and so the pursuit begins leaving a trail of blood but no police questioning in his wake. George or Edward as he calls himself, scarpers to Castel Del Monte in bella Italia, having been directed there by his boss to await further instructions. Whilst in this most picturesque of villages, he meets a sinful priest and a prostitute with ideas above her station. He is assigned a very covert operation involving a lady and a gun. All the while being pursued by a very inept hitman. Can this jaded gun for hire get out of the game alive? There are lots of meaningful looks and pauses (more constipated than pregnant) in this film. I know many women will dispute this but there are hundreds of things I would rather do than watch Mr Clooney assemble a gun for five minutes. Edward seems to be rather partial to three things in life, guns, sex and picnics. Admirable qualities in any man obviously, but in Edward it all comes across as slightly creepy. The scenes are tired and cliched. The story is old, so very old. Edward is warned not to make any 'friends', so he takes up with a hooker, only to fall in love with her probably because she is generally topless or dresses like a lady of the night, even on her days off. A keen lepidopterist, he has a tattoo of a butterfly on his back and is called by the ladies, "Mr Butterfly". There is a scene where he's at the most beautiful outdoor spot having a yes, you've guessed it, picnic with a lady. A butterfly lands on the woman's chest (it must have been called Edward) and Edward warns her to leave it, as it's endangered. Oh perleeeeaaase! The town where this all happens obviously has zero Police presence and noone actually lives there apparently, judging by the many cafes that are making no money whatsoever selling one 'Americano' a day to Edward. Perhaps we should all move there to improve the economy and boost the population, or perhaps that's what George was trying to do there. This film was so bland, it even made this town's architecture look dull. I am a huge fan of George Clooney and find him to be charming and a gifted actor. Everyone's allowed a little bump in the road occasionally I guess. The ending is so truly jaw droppingly predictable, you could almost hear me groan as the end credits came up. The American: The man from Del Monte says blah. 2/10.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I'm beginning this post with a question. Who is in their seventies , sports a dodgy burgundy velour tracksuit and still manages to be sexier than most actors of any age today? Answer at the bottom of the page. Now on with the review. Bruce Willis plays Frank he's the titular RED (retired and extremely dangerous) from the CIA. He's also bored and lonely and strikes up a phone relationship with Sarah (Mary Louise Parker) who works for his pension company. When Frank's home is invaded by a mass of dead shot killers one night (although not dead shot enough to actually kill him, naturally) he enlists the help of his old work buddies to solve this political conundrum. Along for the ride is Sarah, whom Frank kidnaps to save her from the evil clutches of the Government. The old work buddies are his majesty Morgan Freeman, the reliably crazy and generous John Malkovitch, HRH Helen Mirren, sexy and charming as usual, and British stalwart but lesser known in the US, Brian Cox. The villainous scene chewing baddies are evil leprechaun Richard Dreyfuss and a simpering, cowardly Julian McMahon. The mayhem is followed by a super cool ice man CIA agent Karl Urban, (slightly reminiscent of Brad Pitt in looks) determined to stop Frank at all costs. The adventure that ensues is really great fun. It's full of ridiculous cartoon violence and John Malkovich is hilarious as the paranoid Marvin Boggs, though he's usually correct in his assumptions. The reviews for this movie aren't great, but honestly what do people expect? It's a real delight to see older actors having a really fabulous time camping it up on screen being tough guys. It's all tongue in cheek and there are some brilliant one liners. Bruce Willis is great, he's always had a lot of charisma, even if he can really only play one role, he does it well. If you want a rip roaring two hours of suspended belief, look no further than RED. Watch out for a spritely Ernest Borgnine as well. Answer: Morgan Freeman of course dreeeeammy! RED: Better RED than dead. 7/10.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Made in Dagenham

What a charming film this is. It's the dramatised story of a group of women who make car covers for the Ford car company in Dagenham, England in 1968. The company has downgraded their pay from semi-skilled to unskilled and the women are not happy. So begins a historic and little known fight, that broadens to gaining equal pay for women in the workplace globally. It's a really fascinating story. The initially reluctant leader of the female strikers is Rita O'Grady (Sally Hawkins) and fully supported by shop floor manager Albert (Bob Hoskins) and fellow worker Connie (Geraldine James). As you can imagine, there are many hurdles along the way. There are some poignant and emotional scenes. The film has an amazing '60s feel to it, unfortunately right down to the way that women were, and to some extent are, regarded in society. There are some staggering scenes of the Union bosses and Ministers and their cronies which just take your breath away with their deep rooted sexism. Even Rita's generally supportive and decent husband Eddie (Daniel Mays) has a layer of ingrained male superiority, which is still alive and well in the male species today. It doesn't feel weighed down or worthy, because as you would expect from a British film, it's full of earthy humour. The cast is a delight. The fashions are fabulous. The cause is just. A wonderful and heartwarming two hours. MADE IN DAGENHAM: Made me proud to have been made in Britain, and proud to be a woman. 8/10