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Take 2: Mission: Impossible 2

"This is not Mission Difficult, Mr. Hunt, it's Mission Impossible."

In for a penny in for a pound. Easily the worst of the franchise, John Woo’s take on the spy thriller is so bad at times that I am genuinely surprised they made a third one six years later. The plot is much simpler than the first film but the headaches come from elsewhere. Noise, fire, cars, explosions, guns, kung-fu… it’s relentless and eventually tedious. The locations are weird too....

John Woo | Friday, May 12, 2017

Take 2: Mission: Impossible

"From this point on... absolute silence!"

Spoilers right from the get go I know the original cast from the TV show weren’t best pleased with this one, especially since the main man Jim Phelps turned out to be a traitor, but I find it hard to dislike De Palma’s work here. He makes it work as an action film while giving it the old-school-spy thriller vibe to set it apart from everything else. I remembered this...

Brian De Palma | Thursday, May 11, 2017

Film: Ghostbusters

"I guess he's going to Queens - he's going to be the third scariest thing on that train."

Every member of the main cast here is a comedian, so why the fuck did they get involved in a remake of Ghostbusters? In Hollywood nothing is sacred I suppose, but it is still surprising that anyone was keen to get on board with this stinker of a script. Then again looking at the budget, it looks like some decent salaries were in play; maybe getting paid a few million...

Paul Feig | Sunday, May 07, 2017

Book: Royal Flash

"...in my experience the course of history is as often settled by someone’s having a belly-ache, or not sleeping well, or a sailor getting drunk, or some aristocratic harlot waggling her backside."

The second in the series of The Flashman Papers, where a self-proclaimed cad and bounder recounts tales from his life. In this book Flashy gets embroiled in a plot to stand-in for a supposedly ill prince due to his astonishing resemblance to the monarch. Along the way he encounters Lola Montez & Otto Von Bismarck among others. Much like its prequel this is a novel of surprising ambition told through...

George MacDonald Fraser | Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Take 2: Being John Malkovich

"Nobody's looking for a puppeteer in today's wintry economic climate."

We’re on a bit on a Kaufman binge now and much like Eternal Sunshine, this sucks you in with an interesting premise then keeps you watching with a clever and witty script. Worth your time if only because of the bizarre love triangle of John Cusack, Cameron Diaz and Catherine Keener via way of John Malkovich. It’s hard to believe that Spike Jonze is a first-time feature director here, and...

Spike Jonze | Monday, May 01, 2017

Film: Far From The Madding Crowd

"It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in a language chiefly made by men to express theirs."

A young woman (Carey Mulligan) inherits a farm in 19th century England and works hard to keep it running while maintaining her independence. Meanwhile she must contend with three potential love interests - a lonely neighbour (Michael Sheen), a shepherd (Matthias Schoenaerts) and a soldier (Tom Sturridge). There is no questioning the brilliance of the source material when it comes to period adaptations, and yet so many film makers are...

Thomas Vinterberg | Monday, May 01, 2017

Take 2: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

"What a loss to spend that much time with someone, only to find out that she's a stranger."

I haven’t seen this since its release but it’s every bit the beautiful, low-key daydream I remembered. Gondry’s knack for bending reality combined with Kaufman’s simple yet profound script combine to make one of the best films of recent times (although, gulp… it’s 13 years old now…). I had forgotten about the great score however, which turns into Oh My Darling, Clementine as the film progresses (Winslet’s character is called...

Michel Gondry | Sunday, Apr 30, 2017