Thought I'd have another go at this.
Bridge of Spies (2015)
Tom Hanks is Tom Hanks the Good Lawyer in a Spielberg-branded Cold War. A 1960s world in which nuclear threat is casually dismissed and nuclear families are the prize for which heroes strive. The very best thing about this is Mark Rylance, and the character he's portraying. There is a depth in him out of place in a film preoccupied with the surface interactions of a deeply complex time. This is well-made and well-intentioned, but clumsy not delicate; cosy, not gritty.
Back to the Future Part III (1990)
An increasingly customised DeLorean enables Robert Zemeckis to explore the genres of his childhood. This suffers from all the problems of mainstream Hollywood sequels. It has the same cookie-cutter plot as the previous two films. Whether you like this one more that the previous films has to do with the bells, whistles and stylistic flourishes this one comes adorned with. Yes, it is fun. It does nothing wrong. Itís a production line product that fulfils its function. If you grew up with it, you might have an affection for it. This is the peanut M&Ms of film.
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) - Rewatch
Captain Kirk breaks rules, someone shouts KHAN, Spock consults himself regarding continuity of the Star Trek canon. A perfectly fine and fun sequel that suffers from a bad case of meta-redux-remixus in which a film universe fails to expand further. This causes a shower of knowingness, deja-vu and ennui particles that, according to the second law of cinedynamics, will inevitably cause* the post-modern heat-death of the film industry. Great if you like watching attractive young people (and Simon Pegg) in tailored uniforms rebelling against their corrupt elders and boomers.
*not a split infinitive, but the next best thing.
Being a Superhero isnít enough for Michael Keaton. He wants to be an actor as well. If only he didnít have that cameraman following him everywhere. Somehow an emotional resolution is achieved in this film, but how itís reached is not entirely clear. A melange of exclusion, anger, dissociation and vulnerability meanders along the backstage corridors of an actorís mind like so much toothpaste that will never go back in the tube. This mess of rawness yields something too slight to pick apart. It would be easy to dismiss if it wasnít so well shot, directed and performed.
Max victime du quinquina (1911) aka Max Takes Tonics
From an era when men wore hats to bed and gendarmes carried swords, Max Linder lacks vim which only a prescription error can restore. Proper slapstick that understands thereís little funnier than a drunk being carried home over a policemanís shoulder. With a cast employed largely on the degree to which they can make their eyes bulge, Max Linder is a natural in front of and behind the camera. Transitioning the music hall gags seamlessly to the screen, he exudes charm as he proceeds to infuriate the great and good of Paris.
Blow Out (1981)
Brian De Palma is little too faithful to his sources and John Lithgow enjoys his job a little too much in a Philly col bleu-noir. Stylish, grubby, naive and completely lacking the Bernard Hermann score it needed, the best performance in this is the owl in Wissahickon Valley Park. I canít help but enjoy any scene of technicians silently demonstrating their craft, and this film is stuffed with them. These small pleasures can only cover so many flaws, as Blow Out leaves the aftertaste of ready-meals rather good home cooking. Keenly anticipated, but mostly disappointing.
Talk Radio (1988)
Eric Bogosian is determined to win an Abyss-staring competition in his own stageplay. The pacing is breathtaking. Each incoming call drags the tension to darker and darker places. The tautness of a stellar gig from a performer whoís sold his soul to the devil for one night only, itís play-listed to despicable perfection. The lead strips to his unclothed essence in a windowed booth, reflected faces staring at him behind every pane of glass, each silently judging the enormity of his misanthropy. Then the lights go up, the credits roll and an incongruous Penguin Cafe Orchestra track clears the venue. You all got your grubby moneyís worth.
All the Presidentís Men (1976) - Rewatch
Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford construct an architecturally intricate and precariously delicate tower of facts while under heavy-fire. The only film to have paid premiums to insure the crew against paper cuts, thereís newspapers, red-margined typing paper, receipts, cheques, notepads casually slung in back-pockets and through the darts of jackets. For the papyrophile this is the holy grail; the truth is revealed entirely from and in paper form. The pleasure is in the painstaking craft of the characters regardless of the importance of the story. But then it just ends