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Showing posts from October, 2014

I promised my crew a long time ago I’d keep them alive.

Fury (2014)
(SPOILERS) The fates have decreed that this week is David Ayer week. What did he do to deserve such treatment? What did I do? Fortunately, Fury is significantly better than Sabotage although it still falls incrementally short of Ayer’s prior picture End of Watch. My increasingly substantiated bugbear with the writer-director’s work is that he seems dedicated to the apparel of authenticity, which he then proceeds to undermine at every turn with hackneyed characterisation and cornball plotting. There are several very powerful sequences in Fury. It’s also a much, much better put together picture than Sabotage (on a technical score at least, this may be Ayer’s best work), although I’m still not inclined to lay the blame for Sabotage wholly on the meddlesome producers. But ultimately Fury drives over the same old landmine Spielberg marched into with Saving Private Ryan; this is a standard issue war picture dressed up in designer brutality, one that does not deserve accolades for …

You spend enough time on the job, the job bites back.

Sabotage (2014)
Is David Ayer an on-again, off-again director or does he just get lucky despite himself? Sabotage comes along with such an apparent absence of basic filmmaking wiles, one ends up veering towards the latter conclusion; the behind the scenes wrangles might lead one to give him the benefit of the doubt, but this isn’t the first time he’s laid an egg. And, as the latest in Arnie’s damp squib of a comeback trail, it’s an ill-fitting suit for his persona yet one that’s so tone deaf as a whole his presence neither couldn’t be said to mar the surrounding material.

Ayer’s debut Harsh Times, coming off the back of acclaimed screenplays for Training Day and Dark Blue, had a number of things going for it, not least a strong performance from Christian Bale at its centre. Likewise, End of Watch worked to Ayer’s lack of strengths as a director (to the untrained eye he has no clear sense of where to place the camera, how to edit or pace a scene, or even a grip on rendering basic narrati…

I’m not putting my hands in horse urine!

Grudge Match (2013)
I have to admit, I though the conceit of Grudge Match was a pretty good one. It’s difficult to tell if it bombed because everyone else thought differently, or it was simply that the finished picture is frequently on the ropes. Maybe the Stallone renaissance was so 2007, or maybe the puzzled one was trying his hand at his most rewarding genre; comedy. Maybe the most interesting thing about a De Niro performance these days is how much his nose has grown over the past decade. Grudge Match isn’t actively bad, well sometimes it is, but it’s obvious in the most tiresome of ways. A movie that might have been quite clever and sparky just coasts on automatic pilot.

Old guys movies have been in fully aging swing recently, but they haven’t been finding the audience of Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Probably because they want to be debauched and crude rather than gentle and heart-warming; others include Stand up Guys and Last Vegas (that one did reasonably well). Commonly they have …