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Archive - L



FEATURING:

L.A. Confidential
Law-Abiding Citizen
Leatherheads
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
The Lookout
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The Love Guru


L.A. Confidential
(1997)

Outstanding film, made back in the mists of time before Gladiator when Russell Crowe was bringing his A-game and could still be surprising and a Kevin Spacey supporting role actually meant something. Simon Baker - who's only now making a name for himself -is also in a small role, so the film is littered with Aussies.

*****

Law-Abiding Citizen
(2009)

This needed to be way more OTT than it is to work. F Gary Gray's direction never really gets on board with the nutso script, only Butler seems to really understand how loopy the material is. So there are some nice individual moments of inventiveness but overall it's a lacklustre and distastefully ultra-violent piece of work.

*1/2

Leatherheads
(2008)

George Clooney's third directorial outing is a bit of a bummer, trying to muster a knock-about 1930s vibe to his tale of American football, but ending up with something rather dull and heavy-handed. 

When it should be light, fast and singing with sharp wit. Rene Zellwegger's fairly rotten, while Clooney's comic chops seem to have deserted him without the Coens to guide him in the ways of self-ridicule.

**

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
(1943)

Classic Powell and Pressburger meditation on the changing times and attitudes to warfare. Churchill hated it, apparently, and wanted it banned (it came out in '43) but Rank turned that opprobrium into a publicity campaign. 

Roger Livesey is outstanding in the lead role, and his make-up dazzles even today. Anton Walbrook provides charming support as his German friend, but fares less well with the aging (he's given a ghostly pallor to deal with). Deborah Kerr’s three roles as the source of Livesey's affection through the years would be a source of creepy obsession in Hitchcock's hands, but here they serve merely to emphasise Livesey's stiff-upper lip propriety.

*****

The Lookout
(2007)

Well-scripted thriller from Scott Frank (Out of Sight, Get Shorty), and his directing debut. Joseph Gordon-Levitt excels as the brain-damaged protagonist who is manoeuvred into involving himself in a bank robbery. Jeff Daniels provides support. 

The script may feel a little "constructed" and artificial but there's a point in the film where that becomes part and parcel of Gordon-Levitt's characterisation, which makes the whole more satisfying.

****

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
(2001-03)

Another (first Blu-ray viewing) for the trilogy, and it looks fantastic. It's always the extended versions that I return to. 

Always gets a big laugh; Denethor running, aflame, from his throne room and making it right to the end of the platform atop Gondor before plunging off; that's some staying power there. 

Always gets a groan; the number of occasions where it appears that Elijah Wood, suffering from what appears to be constipation, dies in slow motion only for it to be then discovered that he's okay after all.

*****

The Love Guru
(2008)

I don’t really understanding why this is "the worst comedy of 2008". I laughed a lot, particularly at the piss-taking of Deepak Chopra, Val Kilmer's cameo, Maska Hargita Special Victims Unit, the Guard Rooster and Verne Troyer being blown up. 

It's pretty much like any Mike Myers film, with lots of pee-pee and poo-poo jokes, which is fine by me.

***

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