Macho leading lad Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) is an encapsulation of everything so wonderful about the action genre. More specifically, everything defiant and odd about the 1990s portion of this line of filmmaking. What a wonderful bit of destruction it is. Speed and director Jan de Bont are of the “if it isn’t broke, blow something up,” mentality, and it works especially well here. Buses jumping through flames, Reeves and the cast looking generally rather worried about the events transpiring here. Naturally, it’s all backed up with a stunning soundtrack and a supporting role from Dennis Hopper. Who knows why it worked so drastically well. In an iconographic car crash of the times, audiences will count themselves extremely lucky that Weezer does not make an appearance.
Whenever George Clooney finally directs a film worth engaging with, peace will be brought to Earth. Across the globe, people will lay down their rifles, flock to cinemas and finally see what Clooney has been trying to say for the best part of a decade. “Buy my coffee pods”, his words of wisdom echo through the speakers and the crowd nod in agreement. Good Night, and Good Luck is the closest Clooney will ever come to fulfilling his fleeting, failing desire to direct something of note or merit. Far exceeding the quality found later in his career, but even then, not amounting to anything more than passionless mediocrity, the star-studded cast and filmmaking techniques employed throughout this mid-2000s piece is extraordinarily muted and tired.
With such a slump in quality biopics these last few years, playing catch-up with all the ones that slipped by seems like a hellish, dull task. Steve Jobs, from the great Danny Boyle, brings us three different launches of the mighty titan conglomerate Apple. The “true story” of over twenty years of history, all condensed into a two-hour set that comes at its audiences thick and fast. Detailing the various successes and failures, the personal life of Jobs and his relationship with his daughter and colleagues, Steve Jobs looks to offer quite a lot in such a short amount of time. We stumble through these moments rather rapidly, enough to keep us moving, but not enough to keep us engaged.
Thanks to the ongoing global crisis, I’ve allowed myself much more time to read books and listen to more music. It’s been strange venturing outside of film, but it has given me some time that, in hindsight, was necessary for my writing. Case in point, finally getting around to reading Andy Weir’s best-known work, The Martian. With a big-budget film adaptation lingering around my favourite films list for the past few years, it amazes me how one rewatch could shatter the love I had for this film almost entirely.
The alcoholic writer trope is something that has been done to death, not just in film, but television, theatre, and even music from time to time. An aching hatred for oneself drowned out by the bottle, sorrows of the past wiped clean by the purifying aura of spirits, liqueur and booze. Guest Artist is an adaptation of Jeff Daniels’ play of the same name, with him taking his 2006 efforts to the screen in this, a starring role playing a washed-up playwright who finds himself stuck in a small Michigan town. It’s as humdrum and bland as you’d expect, but with the name value of Daniels alone, it piqued my interest with embarrassing ease.