Tag Archives: John Malkovich

Burn After Reading Review

Who appears on the cast of an ensemble feature is just as much a reason to view as the plot or those in the directing chair are reasons. It sounds unreasonable, but it is true. Many have suffered through the slog of catching up with the unknown, shadowy parts of their favourite filmographies. There is a reason, naturally, that people have watched Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Whether that is because their father marks it as their favourite film or because it is a feature that J.K. Simmons featured in is beyond the reasoning. Take refuge in the ensemble feature, good or bad. Burn After Reading happens to be good. Just good, mind. Not more than that.

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Johnny English Review

Spy parody films nosedived into the dregs of comedy once James Bond started storming the box office. Spy Hard with Leslie Nielson was a high-profile farce and the Austin Powers trilogy that soon followed in its parodical footsteps is a classic Americanisation of the British spy and the sex-crazed iconography of the Bond franchise. Johnny English is the family-friendly induction of the spy genre. It comes full circle. From Rowan Atkinson brushing shoulders with a late-stage Sean Connery outing as the 007 agent to Atkinson parodying it in his very own comedy vehicle, life comes at this actor thick and fast. From secretary to the secret agents to head of the confidential agency that is wiped out at a funeral for the aptly named Agent One.

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Changeling Review

Side-stepping that inevitable crash that would soon drag America’s economy through the dust and mud, Changeling is centred more on the roars before the storm. Clint Eastwood had already worked through the pangs of agony that came from the Great Depression, but was clear there that light could be found in the darkest of situations. Changeling flips that. It is the cynical and inevitable role reversal. A story based on the Wineville Chicken Coup murders; Changeling is a film set on showing the horrors of the high life. Great times may roll on around us, but that does not mean we must take part in them. Sometimes our minds wander to more pressing issues, as they do for Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) a phone operator and agonized character. 

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Saturday Night Review

Live from New York, week in, week out. It must take its toll on those involved in Saturday Night Live. Question that no more. Peel back the curtain with this documentary, Saturday Night, from director James Franco. His intention here is exceptional, but his execution is far from it. Looking at how an average working week is for the Saturday Night Live crew should make for interesting reading, but having been shelved for several years, the dated styles and topics of discussion make for a relatively disconnected series of events that depict a rough week in the life of those working on a supremely stressful show. We can take the post-Saturday Night interviews of Bill Hader as evidence of that stress, and as he features here, it seems as though he, like many of the others that feature here, is worlds away from the memories of this long-running sketch show. 

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Beowulf Review

Animation is a glorious medium to tell the finest of stories. Its utilisation often preserves magnificent, timeless tales from history far away from us. Beowulf has such integrity and historical beauty to it that any adaptation is doubtless a stranger to the prose and poetry it offers. Still, someone has to do it. Gus Van Sant was the man to bring us the remake of Psycho, surely not because he was passionate about it, but because someone would, inevitably, do it. Why not, then? Do it. Get it out of the way before someone else does. Robert Zemeckis must have thought that when taking on Beowulf as an animated action horror. What a miserable blend. An uncoordinated experience that sees a showcase of horribly defined animation and special effects.  

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Deepwater Horizon Review

When adapting the woes of the world, filmmakers must be careful with the fragile nature of the truth. They take the terrors of this, almost as if it were a burden, and bring it to the screen with the hopes of inspiring or warning their audience. Deepwater Horizon attempts to do both, controlling what we see and hear about Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg), in the hopes that he can be presented as a hero, but also as a victim of the very event that made him a name of integrity and hope. That much is present in this Peter Berg feature, but the story of Williams suffers from not just a simplicity that Berg finds comfort in, but with its representation of how these terrifying, real-world events shape the hearts and minds of those deeply involved with them. 

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Con Air Review

Coming from a glorious era of time where Nicolas Cage re-invented himself as an action hero, Con Air slips seamlessly into his filmography. That manic energy he possesses, something that has dragged its way to the forefront of his last few years, was once a valuable asset, rather than a meme-oriented landslide. Con Air brings some high-flying energy, a plane packed with convicts taken over by a criminally insane opportunist and his hopeful gang, attempting to gain their escape. Biding their time is not on the agenda, director Simon West wastes no time at all in rifling through the thrills, spilling them over the cockpit and controls, in its wake a disaster of engaging, action-packed nonsense that should win over those looking for light-hearted relief. 

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The Killing Fields Review

My brief flutter of studies of the Vietnam War at a GCSE level was enough to kindle a flame of interest in this brief portion of American conflict history. Roland Joffé presents and directs us through The Killing Fields, a recount of events from the eyes of two journalists right in the heart of Cambodian conflict. A script adaptation from Withnail and I director Bruce Robinson is a certainly strange name to hear attached to such a serious project, but he along with producer David Puttnam and an impressive cast of big-name actors pool together the terrifying story of two journalists looking to survive the fallout and immediate issues surrounding the Cambodian struggles.

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