D: Allen Coulter
Miramax/Focus Features/Back Lot (Glenn Williamson)
W: Paul Bernbaum
DP: Jonathan Freeman
Ed: Michael Berenbaum
Mus: Marcelo Zavros
PD: Leslie McDonald
Cos: Julie Weiss
Adrien Brody (Louis Zimo), Ben Affleck (George Reeves), Diane Lane (Toni Mannix), Bob Hoskins (Eddie Mannix), Robin Tunney (Leonore Lemmon)
Hollywoodland blends fact and fiction as an unscrupulous private investigator, Louis Zimo (Adrien Brody) takes on a case to look closer into the apparent suicide of the actor who played TV's Superman, George Reeves.
Ben Affleck gives one of his finest acting performances as George Reeves, who dreamt of Hollywood stardom following his film debut in Gone With The Wind, only to find himself typecast after stepping into the Man Of Steel's costume for the incredibly popular serial. Even an affair with a studio head's wife doesn't help his career and his life eventually descends into depression.
The circumstances of the mysterious death are left ambiguous, as the film parallels both storylines as a parable for chasing an unobtainable dream.
HOLMES & WATSON (12)
D: Etan Cohen
Sony/Columbia/Mosaic Media (Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Jimmy Miller & Clayton Townsend)
USA 🇺🇸 2018
W: Etan Cohen [based on characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle]
DP: Oliver Wood
Ed: Dean Zimmerman
Mus: Mark Mothersbaugh
Will Ferrell (Sherlock Holmes), John C. Reilly (John Watson), Rebecca Hall (Dr. Grace Hart), Rob Brydon (Inspector Lestrade), Ralph Fiennes (Prof. Moriarty), Kelly MacDonald (Rose)
This lowbrow spoof stars comedy partners Will Ferrell & John C. Reilly as the title characters, so loosely based on Arthur Conan Doyle's literary characters it's actually a bit of insult that they're called Holmes & Watson.
The jokes are barrel-scrapingly bad, from the opening scene until you care to pay attention (I stopped after 30 minutes).
Considering the cast involved, there's no excuse for this being such a terrible, woefully unfunny comedy and it's all due to a flawed screenplay which should never have been greenlit, but then you have to consider Sony's movie production history and their nonchalant attitude to quality control. They don't give s shit, as long as it makes money... perhaps they might start caring now, since this deservedly landed in cinemas with a thud over the 2018 Christmas holidays.
A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING (15)
D: Tom Tykwer
Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions/Saban (Stefan Arndt, Gary Goetzman, Arcadiy Golubovich, Tom Hanks, Uwe Schott & Tim O'Hair)
W: Tom Tykwer [based on the novel by Dave Eggars]
DP: Frank Griebe
Ed: Alexander Berner
Mus: Johnny Klimek & Tom Tykwer
Tom Hanks (Alan Clay), Alexander Black (Yousef), Sarita Choudhury (Zahra), Sidse Babett Knudsen (Hanne), Ben Whishaw (Dave)
Tom Hanks' most disappointing film in over three decades, especially in terms of box office receipts.
He plays a corporate businessman involved in a Saudi Arabian sales project which he aims to propose to the king, who always happens to be undertaking duties in other cities or countries. That's pretty much the crux of the joke to this fish-out-of-water culture clash comedy which moves with as much energy as jetlag.
It's no Lost In Translation, and if you think the title doesn't sound particularly interesting, the performances aren't much more immersive either.
D: Scott Cooper
Entertainment Studios/Waypoint/Le Grisbi/Bloom Media (Scott Cooper, Ken Lao & John Lesher)
W: Scott Cooper & Donald E. Stewart
DP: Masanobu Takayanagi
Ed: Tom Cross
Mus: Max Richter
Christian Bale (Capt. Joseph J. Blocker), Rosamund Pike (Rosalee Quaid), Wes Studi (Chief Yellow Hawk), Jesse Plemons (Lt. Rudi Kidder), Adam Beach (Black Hawk)
Scott Cooper's moody western stars Christian Bale as a decorated army captain who reluctantly accept a military order to escort a Cheyenne chief from a New Mexico fort to his ancestral home in Montana, a route that takes them through hostile territory. On the journey, they meet a woman whose family were murdered by a vicious tribe of Comanches, who are still on the warpath and thirsty for blood.
Though the opening scene to this western adventure has you immediately on the edge of your seat, the rest of the opening and middle act are quite slow & a lot of the scenes become bogged down with expositional dialogue. However, the performances are all excellent and the conclusion is quite rewarding. The fine cinematography and music also deserve to be mentioned.
THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET (15)
D: Mark Tonderai
Relativity Media/Filmnation (Aaron Ryder, Peter Block, Ryan Kavanaugh & Sonny Mallhi)
Canada/US 2010 (released 2012)
W: David Loucka & Jonathan Mostow
DP: Miroslav Baszak
Ed: Steve Mirkovich & Karen Porter
Mus: Theo Green
Jennifer Lawrence (Elissa Cassidy), Max Thieriot (Ryan Jacobsson), Elisabeth Shue (Sarah Cassidy), Gil Bellows (Officer Bill Weaver)
Filmed in 2010, this neighbour-from-hell thriller was stuck in distribution limbo until 2012, when it could capitalise on Jennifer Lawrence's rise in fame following her 2011 Oscar nomination for Winter's Bone and subsequent casting in the hugely successful Hunger Games trilogy.
The plot follows the same formula as umpteen similar films from years before; daughter and mother move into a new home next to a house where a family was murdered and the sole survivor, a teenage boy gets romantically close to the daughter, against the mum's wishes. The final act unravels a twist which gives the story a bit of originality, but it's all old hat leading up to that point.
HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE (U)
D: Hayao Miyazaki
Studio Ghibli (Toshio Suzuki)
Japan 2004 [US version* released 2005]
W: Hayao Miyazaki [based on the book by Diana Wynne Jones]
Mus: Joe Hisashi
voices of*: Emily Mortimer (Young Sophie), Jean Simmons (Grandma Sophie), Christian Bale (Howl), Lauren Bacall (Witch of the Waste), Billy Crystal (Calcifer), Josh Hutcherson (Markl)
Another of Studio Ghibli's animated films which fails to disappoint.
Set in a fictional kingdom where both magic and 20th Century technologies co-exist, a young girl is transformed into an old woman by a witch and goes into the wastelands to find the moving castle of the powerful wizard Howl so the curse can be broken, but with the kingdom on the verge of war with another, she finds love and sacrifice far more important matters.
With brilliant animation you'd come to expect from Miyazaki, the fable presents a moral that life is always worth living, as well as having some anti-war metaphors due to Miyazaki's viewpoint on the Iraq War, which was still ongoing at the time of release.
HUSH... HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE (15)
D: Robert Aldrich
20th Century Fox (Robert Aldrich)
W: Henry Farrell & Lukas Heller
DP: Joseph Biroc
Ed: Michael Luciano
Mus: Frank de Vol
PD: William Glasgow
Bette Davis (Charlotte Hollis), Olivia de Havilland (Miriam Deering), Joseph Cotten (Dr. Drew Bayliss), Agnes Moorehead (Velma Cruther), Cecil Kellaway (Harry Willis), Mary Astor (Jewel Mayhew), Victor Buono (Big Sam Hollis)
Following on from Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? (qv) two years earlier and owing a debt of gratitude to 1955's Les Diabolique (qv), Robert Aldrich teams up with Bette Davis again for this psychological thriller involving a reclusive woman, Olivia de Havilland playing the second part to the double act in lieu of Joan Crawford.
Southern belle Charlotte Hollis hasn't left her house for 17 years, still haunted by the murder of her fiancé in all that time and she becomes more mentally unhinged when her cousin Miriam visits to assist Charlotte during an impending threat to tear down the family home in order to build parts of a freeway.
Although the acting of the two principals is excellent, as is the supporting performance of Agnes Moorehead, the film suffers from being far too similar to other, better films, as well as being at least 30 minutes too long. There are many good elements which make this watchable and thrilling, but the acting definitely deserves the plaudits.