ABOUT LAST NIGHT... (18)
D: Edward Zwick
Tristar (Jason Brett & Stuart Oken)
W: Tim Kazursky & Denise DeClue [based on the play "Sexual Perversity In Chicago" by David Mamet]
DP: Andrew Dintenfass
Ed: Harry Keramidas
Mus: Miles Goodman
Rob Lowe (Danny), Demi Moore (Debbie), James Belushi (Bernie), Elizabeth Perkins (Joan), George DiSenzo (Mr. Favio)
David Mamet's astute stage play Sexual Perversity in Chicago suffers a name change due to distribution fears for this big screen adaptation, which focuses on the ups-and-downs in the relationship of a twentysomething couple after they meet amongst the casual sex scene of 1980's suburbia.
Rob Lowe and Demi Moore provide some of their best work as the couple of principal focus, as the film penetrates the conflicts which emerge between the romantic partners during their relationship.
The film is quite brutal with its dissection of the relationship, but a much better job was done with 2004's Closer (qv).
A remake was released in 2014.
D: Joseph Losey
London Independent (Joseph Losey & Norman Priggen)
W: Harold Pinter [based on the novel by Nicholas Mosley]
DP: Gerry Fisher
Ed: Reginald Beck
Mus: John Dankworth
Dirk Bogarde (Stephen), Stanley Baker (Charley), Jacqueline Sassard (Anna), Michael York (William), Vivian Merchant (Rosalind)
Based on a novel by Nicholas Mosley and adapted for the screen by Harold Pinter, Accident is a film that would have had a lot more power when it was originally released in 1967, rather than looking at it from 21st century eyes.
The title is a reference to an opening car accident in which an Oxford undergraduate dies, as well as an affair between his Austrian girlfriend and a staid professor at the university.
The story mostly unfolds under the observance of Stephen, the conservative, rather unemotional professor, who keeps the audience at arms length over his agenda, as the film culminates in a rather passionless, callous way which lets the audience decide whom to empathise with.
Originally released at the peak of the swinging sixties, it uncovers the promiscuous underbelly of society, even at a esteemed place of academia and prestige, but this will mean very little nowadays.
THE ACCOUNTANT (15)
D: Gavin O'Connor
Warner Bros/Electric City/Ratpac (Lynette Howell Taylor & Mark Williams)
W: Bill Dubuque
DP: Seamus McGarvey
Ed: Richard Pearson
Mus: Mark Isham
Ben Affleck (Christian Wolff), Anna Kendrick (Dana Cummings), J.K. Simmons (Ray King), Jon Bernthal (Braxton), Jeffrey Tambor (Jeffrey Silverberg), John Lithgow (Lamar Blackman)
Ben Affleck is grossly miscast in this crime thriller in which he plays an autistic who uses a small Illinois accountancy practice for his real profession of being an accountant for the mob.
When the United States treasury department close in to investigate his activities, he puts another skill into practice as a master marksman.
The plot is slow to get moving, before eventually subsiding into typical Hollywood guff.
Director Gavin O'Connor's follow up to the quite excellent 2011 sports drama Warrior (qv) is a major disappointment for the up-and-coming filmmaker.
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (12)
D: Julie Taymor
Columbia/Revolution (Matthew Gross, Jennifer Todd & Suzanne Todd)
🇬🇧 🇺🇸 2007
W: Julie Taymor, Ian La Frenais & Dick Clement [inspired by songs written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney]
DP: Bruno Delbonnel
Ed: Françoise Bonnot
Mus: Elliot Goldenthal
PD: Mark Friedberg
Cos: Albert Wolsky
Evan Rachel Wood (Lucy), Jim Sturgess (Jude), Joe Anderson (Max), Dana Fuchs (Sadie), Martin Luther McCoy (Jo Jo), T.V. Carpio (Prudence)
Across The Universe uses a vast selection of Beatles' songs for its narrative framework, plot and musical interludes.
The story itself is rather basic, focusing on a relationship between an American student and a poor Liverpudlian artist throughout the 1960's, as well as the Vietnam War and other significant events of the decade coming into play for some of the musical vignettes.
If you're a fan of musicals or even the music of The Beatles, you're very likely to enjoy this. The performances, especially from the lead couple, are good, and Julie Taymor directs with a great deal of style and vibrant colour.
A huge step up from what was attempted with 1978's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
D: Baltasar Kormàkur
STX/Lakeshore/Ingenious/Hauyi Brothers/RVK (Baltasar Kormàkur, Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell, Ralph Winter & Shailene Woodley)
W: Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell & David Branson Smith [based on the book "Red Sky In Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss & Survival At Sea" by Tami Oldham Ashcraft & Susea McGearhart]
DP: Robert Richardson
Ed: John Gilbert
Mus: Volker Bertelmann
Shailene Woodley (Tami Oldham), Sam Claflin (Richard Sharp)
Adrift is the true story of Tami Oldham & Richard Sharp, a couple whose yacht was left irreparably damaged by a hurricane whilst sailing from Tahiti to California. With the boat stricken and the radio failing to reach anyone, the only hope for survival was to drift towards Hawaii, with only a sextant to use as a navigation aid.
Despite a convincing lead performance from Shailene Woodley and some picturesque cinematography, the film does have some flaws, particularly in the non-linear narrative which serves as a gimmick and to hide the twist (which won't come as a surprise to anyone who reads the opening credits), as it cuts from scenes which mount tension to flashbacks of how the couple met and fell in love. Set in 1983, there really isn't anything shown during the film to suggest this, so you'd be forgiven for thinking this is just Life Of Pi with a pair of hipsters instead of a shipwrecked boy and a tiger.
With better execution, this could have been a better film, but it's still worth watching for some beautiful shots and the central performance.
Not to be confused with Open Water 2, whose subtitle was also called Adrift.
THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE 8TH DIMENSION (PG)
D: W.D. Richter
20th Century Fox/Sherwood (W.D. Richter & Neil Canton)
W: Earl Mac Rauch
DP: Fred J. Koenecamp
Ed: Richard Marks & George Bowers
Mus: Michael Boddicker
PD: J. Michael Riva
Peter Weller (Buckaroo Banzai), John Lithgow (Dr. Emilio Lizardo / Lord John Whorfin), Ellen Barkin (Penny Priddy), Clancy Brown (Rawhide), Jeff Goldblum (Dr. Sidney Zweibel / New Jersey), Christopher Lloyd (John Bigbooté)
There were plenty of sci-fi movies released at the end of the 1970's and 1980's desperately attempting to cash-in on the success of Star Wars, and though this movie was unfairly considered amongst them, it really doesn't have anything in common with George Lucas' classic saga.
Peter Weller plays title character Buckaroo Banzai, a modern day renaissance man who has brain surgeon, physicist, test pilot and rock musician on his CV. During a test for a supersonic vehicle, he travels through the 8th dimension and unleashes a race of brainwashing aliens only he and his rock band, The Hong Kong Cavaliers, can stop from taking over the planet.
Though the plot is absolute nonsense, the film has a style of its own and has garnered quite an impressive cult following since its original release and is set for its own television series over 30 years later. The film really is a product of the decade it was produced in though, and if you didn't watch it during the decade, it's one to let pass you by.
ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (15)
D: Martin Scorsese
Warner Bros (Audrey Mass & David Susskind)
W: Robert Getchell
DP: Kent L. Wakeford
Ed: Marcia Lucas
Mus: Richard LaSalle
Ellen Burstyn (Alice Hyatt), Alfred Lutter (Tommy Hyatt), Kris Kristofferson (David), Billy Green Bush (Donald), Diane Ladd (Flo Castleberry), Valerie Curtin (Vera), Leila Goldoni (Bea)
Strong performances carry this early Martin Scorsese movie, starring Ellen Burstyn as a widow who travels the American Midwest with her young son, eventually settling in Monterrey where she seeks a career as a singer.
Burstyn won an Oscar for her performance, and Diane Ladd and Robert Getchell's script were also nominated. Quite surprisingly, it was named Best Film of 1974 by BAFTA. I'd probably have it in the top 10, but it certainly isn't a better movie than Chinatown or The Godfather part II from the same year. It is quite representative of the year it was released, and Scorsese has proved in years since which stories and themes better suit his directorial style.
ALIEN: COVENANT (15)
D: Ridley Scott
20th Century Fox/TSG/Scott Free/Brandywine (Walter Hill, David Giler, Ridley Scott, Mark Huffam & Michael Schaefer)
🇺🇸 🇬🇧 2017
W: John Logan & Dante Harper [based on characters created by Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett]
DP: Dariusz Wolski
Ed: Pietro Scalia
Mus: Jed Kurzel
Katherine Waterston (Daniels), Michael Fassbender (David / Walter), Billy Crudup (Chris), Danny McBride (Tennessee), Demian Bichir (Lope), Carmen Ejogo (Karina), Amy Seimetz (Maggie)
Bridging the gap between Prometheus and the very first Alien movie, Ridley Scott's prequel trilogy is not only getting bogged down in evolution and existentialism mumbo jumbo, it's doing a major disservice to the original series of films.
The first Alien film really didn't need a prequel and the discovery of the planet with the alien eggs could have just been a matter of consequence, but Prometheus was released in 2012 to explore more into the expanded universe behind the 'Space Jockey' creatures which feature briefly in the first film. However, Prometheus was met with a lot of criticism by people who expected a direct prequel to Alien, so now we have this movie, which doesn't expand the universe at all. The alien is not a deadly creature from the furthest reaches of the galaxy, it's a science experiment gone wrong by a rogue android with a God complex.
Alien: Covenant begins on a vessel full of colonists and human embryos, destined for an Earth-like planet which can support life. A handful of the crew are woken from their cryosleep by a solar event which consequently kills the ship's captain (James Franco has never made easier money).
Acting captain Billy Crudup alters the flightplan to investigate a nearby planet with an Earth-like atmosphere and the rest of the crew tag along. Because they're stupid.
There's little time invested in character development before some of the crew members become infected and alien creatures start bursting out of their innards, and when their shuttle is blown apart by terrible gunfire aim, the survivors are left stranded.
They are rescued from an alien ambush by David, the cyborg from Prometheus, who provides exposition before inviting him into his cave to bear his creations.
Though some of the questions left hanging at the end of Prometheus are answered, this film only poses more questions which will be answered in the next film because 20th Century Fox want even more money from this franchise.
Unfortunately, it appears that Ridley Scott wishes to destroy his legacy with these prequel films, in the same way George Lucas did with his. This series of films really should have ended with part 3, which has been heavily criticised with its handling of the continuation, but it really starts to look a masterpiece with each new movie
ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (15)
D: Ridley Scott
Tristar/Imperative/Scott Free (Chris Clark, Quentin Curtis, Dan Friedkin, Mark Huffam, Ridley Scott, Bradley Thomas & Kevin J. Walsh)
🇺🇸 🇬🇧 2017
W: David Scarpa [based on the book "Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes & Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty" by John Pearson]
DP: Dariusz Wolski
Ed: Claire Simpson
Mus: Daniel Pemberton
PD: Arthur Max
Michelle Williams (Gail Harris), Christopher Plummer (John Paul Getty), Mark Wahlberg (Fletcher Chase), Charlie Plummer (John Paul "Paolo" Getty III), Romain Duris (Cinquanta), Timothy Hutton (Oswald Hinge)
All The Money In The World was the subject of much publicity following a celebrity scandal involving Kevin Spacey, the original performer of the John Paul Getty role.
Hasty reshoots a month before the scheduled release put Christopher Plummer in the part, and the film met its anticipated premiere date.
Inspired by true events, this crime thriller focuses on the abduction of Paolo Getty, grandson of John Paul Getty, the world's richest man.
Holding him to ransom for $17 million, the belligerent billionaire refuses to part with any of his vast fortune and instead requests one of his negotiators to handle things as the boy's helpless mother (Michelle Williams) panics over her son's wellbeing.
From a filmmaking standpoint, Ridley Scott deserves a lot of credit for the seamless way he reshot this movie with a different actor, and Christopher Plummer really is excellent with his approach to the character.
The final moments of the film do become diluted in that special Hollywood stuff which makes it a bit hard to swallow, especially since the build up seems very close to the truth, but even the Hollywood gloss doesn't ruin what is a very good movie, although I can't help but wonder how the film would have turned out if the scenes with Kevin Spacey were included.
D: Robert Zemeckis
Paramount/GK/Huahua/Imagemovers (Graham King, Steve Starkey & Robert Zemeckis)
🇺🇸 🇬🇧 2016
W: Steven Knight
DP: Don Burgess
Ed: Mick Audsley & Jeremiah O'Driscoll
Mus: Alan Silvestri
PD: Gary Freeman
Cos: Joanna Johnston
Brad Pitt (Cmmdr. Max Vatan), Marion Cotillard (Marianne Beausejour), Jared Harris (Col. Frank Heslop), Matthew Goode (Capt. Guy Sangster), Lizzy Caplan (Officer Bridget Vatan), August Diehl (Hobar)
Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard star in Robert Zemeckis' wartime thriller, which had a lot of promise but ultimately fails to deliver.
Pitt plays a Canadian agent who parachutes into Nazi-occupied Morocco to carry out a secret mission and meets French resistance fighter, Marianne Beausejour (Cotillard), in Morocco with whom they develop a romantic relationship.
Following the success of the mission, the pair reunite in London and get married, only for it to emerge that she may not be who she appears and may in fact be an enemy spy.
The subject matter would have been truly brought to life in the hands of Alfred Hitchcock, but it's surprisingly flat in the hands of the usually brilliant Zemeckis. The first act drags quite slowly and there's never a real element of tension throughout the running time, certainly not in respect to Brad Pitt's character's safety since Cotillard's character is presented as far too innocent.
The film was unsurprisingly met with mixed reviews when it had its theatrical run, with most of the plaudits going to Joanna Johnston's achievement in costume design, which was deservedly nominated for an Oscar.
A classic example of a marketing trailer being more fun than the actual movie.