Skip to main content

Archive - K



FEATURING:

Kentucky Fried Movie
The Kids are All Right
The Killing
The Killing of Sister George
King of the Hill
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Knowing
Kung Fu Hustle
Kung Fu Panda
Kung Fu Panda 2
Kentucky Fried Movie
(1977)

This feels more like a Landis movie than a Zucker brothers one (bare breast-countwise at least). The Zuckers do cameo, looking like Seinfeld's brothers.

A Fistful of Yen goes on for far too long, but I liked Scot Free (political assassination board game) and That's Armageddon (George Lazenby and "Donald Sutherland as the Clumsy Waiter"). Cleopatra Schwarz is a better idea than in execution.

***

The Kids Are All Right
(2010)

Best Picture Oscar Nominee that establishes a strong premise (children of a lesbian couple contact sperm donor father) and allows the performances to do the rest. 

Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore are naturally winning, despite their characters' more pronounced flaws. Annette Bening has harder work to do as a brittle, controlling character that rarely lets her guard down while Mia Wasikowska is luminous as one of the children.

****


The Killing
(1956)

Kubrick's second film, with Sterling Hayden planning a racetrack robbery. The newsreel voiceover and tricksy jumps in time are absorbing but only add to the clinical tone of a tale populated by unsympathetic characters.

****

The Killing of Sister George
(1968)

Dated, and betraying its stage origins, but kudos to Robert Aldrich for following The Dirty Dozen with this. 

To be honest, Beryl Reid is hamming it up something rotten. Susannah York is outstanding, whilst Ronald Lacey manages to steal every scene he's in (much like the character he's playing). A bit of an endurance test as a whole, filled with unsympathetic, manipulating characters, but interesting as an artifact of the era.

***

King of the Hill
(1993)

Steven Soderbergh's third film, a Depression-era drama about a family torn asunder, and as well-made as you'd expect. But one comes away (as one often does with his choices of material) wondering why he wanted to make it. The attraction of a period piece? 

It's well-performed (the cast includes Karen Allen, Adrien Brody, a young Katherine Heigl and Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Amber Benson).

***

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
(2005)

"I shot him with a small revolver. I keep it in my balls" Shane Black should be getting more screenplays made. 

This is intricately plotted, wonderfully acted and with the sharpest, wittiest dialogue you'll hear anywhere. It stands up as a decent, inventive directing debut for Black also.

*****

Knowing
(2009)

Fairly decent, despite some iffy special effects and impressive for having the balls to go to its chosen conclusion rather than cop out. Nicolas Cage's wig gives a fine performance but I'm unsure why Alex Proyas chose to base the appearance of the watchers on Spike from Buffy.
***

Kung Fu Hustle
(2004)

One that improves with repeat viewing, Stephen Chow really finds his form here. Great visualisations and use of CG to both action and comic effect. 

There are weak spots in the use of overly broad humour at times and the occasional dollop of sentiment but it’s still one of the best Hong Kong comedies this side of Mr Vampire.

****1/2

Kung Fu Panda
(2008)

Entertaining and visually more inventive than much of Dreamworks' other animation. Predictable, though.

***

Kung Fu Panda 2
(2011)

Another animated sequel without a sufficient reason to be. The colour palate is much more attractive than the same year’s Cars 2, and in its favour there's a hilarious sequence in which Panda & Co take charge of a festival dragon. 

Gary Oldman strikes just the right note of classic cartoon villainy as an unloved peacock (in the line of Shere Khan). It's James Wong who steals every scene, though, as the Panda's goose father Mr Ping.

***

Popular posts from this blog

Doctors make the worst patients.

Coma (1978) (SPOILERS) Michael Crichton’s sophomore big-screen feature, and by some distance his best. Perhaps it’s simply that this a milieu known to him, or perhaps it’s that it’s very much aligned to the there-and-now and present, but Coma , despite the occasional lapse in this adaptation of colleague Robin Cook’s novel, is an effective, creepy, resonant thriller and then some. Crichton knows his subject, and it shows – the picture is confident and verisimilitudinous in a way none of his other directorial efforts are – and his low-key – some might say clinical – approach pays dividends. You might also call it prescient, but that would be to suggest its subject matter wasn’t immediately relevant then too.

Abandon selective targeting. Shoot everything.

28 Weeks Later (2007) (SPOILERS) The first five minutes of 28 Weeks Later are far and away the best part of this sequel, offering in quick succession a devastating moral quandary and a waking nightmare, immortalised on the screen. After that, while significantly more polished, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo reveals his concept to be altogether inferior to Danny Boyle and Alex Garland’s, falling back on the crutches of gore, nihilism, and disengaging and limiting shifts of focus between characters in whom one has little investment in the first place.

I said I had no family. I didn’t say I had an empty apartment.

The Apartment (1960) (SPOILERS) Billy Wilder’s romcom delivered the genre that rare Best Picture Oscar winner. Albeit, The Apartment amounts to a rather grim (now) PG-rated scenario, one rife with adultery, attempted suicide, prostitution of the soul and subjective thereof of the body. And yet, it’s also, finally, rather sweet, so salving the darker passages and evidencing the director’s expertly judged balancing act. Time Out ’s Tom Milne suggested the ending was a cop out (“ boy forgives girl and all’s well ”). But really, what other ending did the audience or central characters deserve?

The Bible never said anything about amphetamines.

The Color of Money (1986) (SPOILERS) I tend to think it’s evident when Scorsese isn’t truly exercised by material. He can still invest every ounce of the technical acumen at his fingertips, and the results can dazzle on that level, but you don’t really feel the filmmaker in the film. Which, for one of his pictures to truly carry a wallop, you need to do. We’ve seen quite a few in such deficit in recent years, most often teaming with Leo. The Color of Money , however, is the first where it was out-and-out evident the subject matter wasn’t Marty’s bag. He needed it, desperately, to come off, but in the manner a tradesman who wants to keep getting jobs. This sequel to The Hustler doesn’t linger in the mind, however good it may be, moment by moment.

Your desecration of reality will not go unpunished.

2021-22 Best-of, Worst-of and Everything Else Besides The movies might be the most visible example of attempts to cling onto cultural remnants as the previous societal template clatters down the drain. It takes something people really want – unlike a Bond movie where he kicks the can – to suggest the model of yesteryear, one where a billion-dollar grosser was like sneezing. You can argue Spider-Man: No Way Home is replete with agendas of one sort or another, and that’s undoubtedly the case (that’s Hollywood), but crowding out any such extraneous elements (and they often are) is simply a consummate crowd-pleaser that taps into tangible nostalgia through its multiverse take. Of course, nostalgia for a mere seven years ago, for something you didn’t like anyway, is a symptom of how fraught these times have become.

You just threw a donut in the hot zone!

Den of Thieves (2018) (SPOILERS) I'd heard this was a shameless  Heat  rip-off, and the presence of Gerard Butler seemed to confirm it would be passable-at-best B-heist hokum, so maybe it was just middling expectations, even having heard how enthused certain pockets of the Internet were, but  Den of Thieves  is a surprisingly very satisfying entry in the genre. I can't even fault it for attempting to Keyser Soze the whole shebang at the last moment – add a head in a box and you have three 1995 classics in one movie – even if that particular conceit doesn’t quite come together.

This guy’s armed with a hairdryer.

An Innocent Man (1989) (SPOILERS) Was it a chicken-and-egg thing with Tom Selleck and movies? Did he consistently end up in ropey pictures because other, bigger big-screen stars had first dibs on the good stuff? Or was it because he was a resolutely small-screen guy with limited range and zero good taste? Selleck had about half-a-dozen cinema outings during the 1980s, one of which, the very TV, very Touchstone Three Men and a Baby was a hit, but couldn’t be put wholly down to him. The final one was An Innocent Man , where he attempted to show some grit and mettle, as nice-guy Tom is framed and has to get tough to survive. Unfortunately, it’s another big-screen TV movie.

Listen to the goddamn qualified scientists!

Don’t Look Up (2021) (SPOILERS) It’s testament to Don’t Look Up ’s “quality” that critics who would normally lap up this kind of liberal-causes messaging couldn’t find it within themselves to grant it a free pass. Adam McKay has attempted to refashion himself as a satirist since jettisoning former collaborator Will Ferrell, but as a Hollywood player and an inevitably socio-politically partisan one, he simply falls in line with the most obvious, fatuous propagandising.

Captain, he who walks in fire will burn his feet.

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) (SPOILERS) Ray Harryhausen returns to the kind of unadulterated fantasy material that made Jason and the Argonauts such a success – swords & stop motion, if you like. In between, there were a couple of less successful efforts, HG Wells adaptation First Men in the Moon and The Valley of the Gwangi (which I considered the best thing ever as a kid: dinosaur walks into a cowboy movie). Harryhausen’s special-effects supremacy – in a for-hire capacity – had also been consummately eclipsed by Raquel Welch’s fur bikini in One Million Years B.C . The Golden Voyage of Sinbad follows the expected Dynamation template – blank-slate hero, memorable creatures, McGuffin quest – but in its considerable favour, it also boasts a villainous performance by nobody-at-the-time, on-the-cusp-of-greatness Tom Baker.

Archimedes would split himself with envy.

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) (SPOILERS) Generally, this seems to be the Ray Harryhausen Sinbad outing that gets the short straw in the appreciation stakes. Which is rather unfair. True, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger lacks Tom Baker and his rich brown voice personifying evil incarnate – although Margaret Whiting more than holds her own in the wickedness stakes – and the structure follows the Harryhausen template perhaps over scrupulously (Beverly Cross previously collaborated with the stop-motion auteur on Jason and the Argonauts , and would again subsequently with Clash of the Titans ). But the storytelling is swift and sprightly, and the animation itself scores, achieving a degree of interaction frequently more proficient than its more lavishly praised peer group.