A Middle Aged Movie Blog. Being the periodic journal of a film loving middle aged independent science fiction writing father of two and his ongoing adventures in cinema and home video
Watched Dwayne Johnson do battle with a giant building in Skyscraper (2018), which despite being the sort of film that ought to come with a disclaimer advising you to switch your brain onto standby to protect it from the crap action, hammy acting and incompetent bad guy gurning, is a strangely enjoyable concoction that knows full well being taken seriously is not always advisable. Neve Campbell plays the resourceful wife trapped in the burning tower, accepting a paycheque with one hand and shielding her children from ineffective bad guys and flaming debris with the other. If you like your movies big, dumb and full of… The Rock, then you won’t be disappointed. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber.
Watched Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides, released in 2011, with The Boy. Possibly the poorest entry in the franchise, it made me yearn for the days when Gore Verbinski was at the helm. Overly long, the film makes little use of Captain Jack’s bedazzled charm and instead plays him seedy and smug. Depp’s entire performance is off in this one and utterly at odds with the clowning of the original. Ian McShane fails to improve proceedings as Blackbeard and not even Penelope Cruz, in what seems to be a token cleavage role, is able to rescue it. Sub-par Carry On humour, staid action set pieces, dodgy CG effects and A Little Mermaid inspired side romance bulk out the runtime. Directed by Rob Marshall.
Watched Missing Link (2019) at the cinema with the kids, which was an engaging, warm, stop-motion treat from Laika, following on from 2016’s excellent Kubo and the Two Strings. Wonderful animation, as is the norm for a Laika production these days, coupled with an impressive voice cast featuring Hugh Jackman, whose upper-class English inflection is a total delight. As Sasquatch movies go, this ranks amongst the very best of them. Directed by Chris Butler.
Settled in to revisit Sydney Pollack’s paranoid, post-Watergate spy thriller, Three Days of the Condor (1975), in which Robert Redford’s everyman Joseph Turner, in the wrong place at the wrong time, finds himself on the run and engaged in cat and mouse style shenanigans with CIA operatives desperate to silence him.
A soft-core sex scene in which Faye Dunaway’s Kathy Hale succumbs to the charms of her would be kidnapper and assaulter is a bit much, and will jar with more liberal audience members, unconvinced by Dunaway’s affections. That said, the film holds up well, and though technology has moved on somewhat since telex machines ruled the Earth, there’s plenty to enjoy here for fans of conspiracy thrillers.
Me and my darling wife finally succumbed to the charms of The Babysitter (2017) on Netflix, which based on the trailer had the potential to be a silly pastiche of assorted horror sub genres.
Alas, the film, which pitches a bullied geek (Judah Lewis) against a house full of cult demon worshippers, is wince inducingly awful. The performances are agonisingly inept. The violence is hackneyed and exploitative.
The jokes, a tasteless reel of cock and boob japes strung together by a series of violent and utterly unfunny death scenes and slasher/satanic cult references, leave a bad taste in the mouth. Social media quips and blaring song choices do little to enhance proceedings.
This ought to have been a smart and sassy film rife with knowingly executed slasher banter. Unfortunately, it is a complete and utter misfire. File under missed opportunity and seek out a copy of The Guest (2015) as a palate cleanser. Directed by McG.
Watched Shazam! (2019) at the cinema with The Boy, which was a fun DC movie that channelled the spirit of Penny Marshall’s Big (1988) through the long running comic book history of Billy Batson, a foster kid, who when he says the magic word, turns into one time Captain Marvel and Superman rival Shazam! Plenty of smart humour and action, though some of the monsters might be a bit scary for younger kids. Directed by David Sandberg. Starring Zachary Levi, Mark Strong and Asher Angel.
Spent Easter weekend in Chester, searching for film soundtracks. Finally got my hands on a vinyl copy of Giorgio Moroder’s Midnight Express soundtrack and James Horner’s Willow soundtrack for the boy in a record shop I once frequented as a student in that fair city.
Watched The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) Easter Saturday. John Ford’s existential western starring cinema icons James Stewart and John Wayne works well as a bridge between the traditionalist films of yore and the revisionist westerns that would become de rigour at the end of the decade. A bit of an under-sung classic these days. Well worth a watch if you’ve never had the opportunity.