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Showing posts from September, 2016

Altairians are a filthy people.

The Hidden (1987)
(SPOILERS) A good number of ‘80s movies haven’t aged at all well, or have to be taken with a hefty side order of cheese to be appreciated, but The Hidden is not one of them. Perhaps because its feet are firmly rooted in the exploitation arena, it opts not to get side-tracked into attempting to compete with its considerably higher-budgeted peers. On that level, it’s much closer in tone to James Cameron’s game-changing The Terminator, in attitude, pace and no-nonsense thrills. This is a science fiction movie shot like a cop movie, rather than a cop movie shot like a science fiction movie. You can readily easily see the genre signposts for the picture, from the body horror/possession of The Thing, to the Starman-esque innocence of Kyle MacLachlan’s alien hero, to the spin on the then-at-its-peak buddy cop bickering of the likes of 48 Hrs/Red Heat.But the most appealing aspect of Jack Sholder’s movie is its jet black humour. This is a picture that knows how to have fun wit…

You’re only seeing what’s in front of you. You’re not seeing what’s above you.

Mr. Robot Season 2
(SPOILERS) I suspect my problem with Mr. Robot may be that I want it to be something it isn’t, which would entail it being a much better show than it is. And that’s its own fault, really, or rather creator and writer-director of umpteen episodes Sam Esmail’s, who has intentionally and provocatively lured his audience into thinking this really is an up-to-the-minute, pertinent, relevant, zeitgeisty show, one that not only has a huge amount to say about the illusory nature of our socio-economic system, and consequently the bedrock of our collective paradigm, but also the thorny subject of reality itself, both of which have been variably enticing dramatic fodder since the Wachowski siblings and David Fincher released a one-two punch at the end of the previous millennium.

In that sense, Mr. Robot’s thematic conceit is very much of a piece with its narrative form; it’s a conjuring act, a series of sleights of hand designed to dazzle the viewer into going with the flow, rath…

Actually, I look like a can of smashed assholes.

The Arrival (1996)
(SPOILERS) I’m mostly an advocate of David Twohy’s oeuvre, from his screenplay for Warlock (Richard E Grant as an action hero!) onwards. In particular, like a number of writers turned aspiring directors (David Koepp, Scott Frank, the Gilroys) he has also shown himself to be proficient behind the camera. His Riddick movies (albeit only the first half of the third) are enjoyably B-ridden, while A Perfect Getaway is giddily delirious confection. I’d managed to mostly forget The Arrival, however, so with another similarly titled science fiction picture incoming, it seemed like a good time for a 20th anniversary revisit. The most surprising aspect is that, while Twohy’s direction is competent and script serviceable, this is Charlie Sheen’s movie through-and-through. In a good way.

That’s Charlie Sheen pre-tiger’s blood (here his character, the ludicrously named Zane Zaminsky even states “I don’t like blood”), also a few years shy of finding a more profitable home on televis…

Swim to his house. Why would he want to do that?

The Swimmer (1968)
(SPOILERS) Metaphorical interrogation of the dissolution of the American Dream (or “Death of a Salesman in swim trunks” as star Burt Lancaster called it), in which Ned Merrill (Lancaster) takes it upon himself to swim home through a trail of swimming pools across a well-off Connecticut suburb, his sunny disposish gradually turning darker and less carefree as the journey continues. It’s a picture that impresses thematically more than it does stylistically, but is anchored by a compellingly out-of-touch performance from its star.

Who, on a purely facile level, was in remarkable shape when he made the picture (53: it was released when he was 55), spending as he does the entire time in his bathers. We’re clued in quite early that all is not quite right with Ned’s world. He has the appearance of an easy-going guy, at one with his world, enjoying a state of being his hungover friends the Westerhazys lack (“What a day. Did you ever see such a glorious day?”), and his decision…