Tag Archives: Hitchcock

Failed Critics Podcast: Most Wanted Comebacks

jeff goldblumThe Failed Critics Podcast is back, and in somewhat lubricated style. Well, one of us is. This week sees the return of Triple bill, and in honour of the recent Sly and Arnie comebacks, we discuss the actors and actresses we would love to see make a big comeback.

Also this week we review new release Hitchcock, James has an early contender for worst film of 2013 in Movie 43, and some of us discover some gems from 2012 that we missed the first time around in Silver Linings Playbook, Perks of Being a Wallflower, and A Royal Affair.

Next week we’ll be reviewing Disney’s nostalgic look at arcade gaming in Wreck-It Ralph, reviewing the best film streaming services on the market, and giving our instant reaction to Sunday night’s BAFTA Awards.

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Best Films on TV. Week commencing 4th February 2013.

We’re trying to add a little order and class to the proceedings, so from this week we’ll be publishing our popular (but erratic) #bestfilmonTV recommendations from Twitter in advance. This week’s choices are from our esteemed leader,  James Diamond.

kiss kiss bang bangMonday 4th February – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, ITV2 at 23.00

Shane Black doesn’t write boring films. Sod it, he doesn’t even write bad films. The man who wrote Lethal Weapon, The Last Boyscout, and The Last Action Hero finally stepped behind the lens to direct this 2005 LA noir-thriller starring Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer (in a role that I chose as one of my Top 3 Val Kilmer performances in this podcast). It’s very funny and self-referential, but unlike recent attempts at this kind of film *cough* Seven Psychopaths *cough*, it has a gripping and clever plot with some great action set-pieces.

Tuesday 5th February – The Silence of the Lambs, ITV4 at 22.00

The pendulum seems to have swung back against this film, and it’s gone from being a celebrated thriller that won the ‘Big Five’ at the Oscars (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay) to being seen by many of my contemporaries as slightly dated and paint-by-numbers. I still disagree, and it’s my favourite from an over-saturated genre of procedural films involving the police hunting serial killers. Anthony Hopkins walks a fine line between the sinister and the theatrical, while Jodie Foster has never been better.

Wednesday 6th February – Tyrannosaur, Film 4 at 22.50

Simply put, one of the finest films (British or otherwise) of the last ten years. Paddy Considine’s directorial debut stars the wonderful Olivia Coleman as the charity shop worker who offers redemption to Peter Mullan’s self-destructive Joseph. Uncomfortable and essential viewing.

Thursday 7th February – Dreams of a Life, Channel 4 at 22.00

The winner of our coveted ‘Best Documentary of 2012’ Failed Critics Award, Carol Morely’s documentary about Joyce Vincent (who died alone in her flat and lay undiscovered for three years) is as much an exploration of the break-up of society as it is an investigation of the facts, in this compelling and disturbing case.

Friday 8th February – The Birds, ITV1 at 22.35

Today sees the release of Hitchcock (review to follow later this week), so what better time to watch the Master of Suspense at the peak of his powers? Tippi Hedren stars as the out-of-towner trapped in a seaside town, terrorised by psychotic feathery beasts.

Saturday 9th February – The Fly, Film 4 at 00.40

Whatever happened to Jeff Goldblum? That may be a spoiler for my choices in this week’s podcast (Top 3 Film Comebacks We Want to See), but if you watch David Cronenberg’s sci-fi classic you’ll be reminded of how great a screen presence Goldblum is. I just hope he’s signing up for Jurassic Park 4…

Sunday 10th February – The BAFTAs, BBC1 at 21.00

I know it’s not technically a film, but there will be plenty of great film clips on offer during the programme. Stephen Fry will do his impression of a classier Jonathan Ross, and the great of good of the film world on both sides of the Atlantic will join together to mutually back-slap each other and pretend this means something even close to the Oscars.

For helpful reminders of when each film is on during the week, follow our Twitter account @FailedCritics

What to Expect When You’re Expecting to go to the Cinema in 2013: Part 1

In the first part of James Diamond’s preview of 2013 he takes us through a packed January to March…

January

DJANGO UNCHAINEDThe New Year kicks off with a number of Golden-Globe nominated films (and Oscar hopefuls) hitting UK screens. First up is Les Misérables, the screen adaptation of the stage musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel. Reviews suggest that fans of the musical will be very satisfied, but is there anything here for anyone new or ambivalent to the source material? Well, any chance to see Russell Crowe trying to keep up vocally with the Jackmans and the Hathaways of this world has got to be worth a punt, and the film does look suitably epic.

In a jam-packed month, the following week sees the release of Django Unchained and Gangster Squad. Tarantino’s ‘Southern’ (simply a Western taking place in the South) is apparently his best work in years, with lashings of blood, violence, and a cast including Jamie Foxx, Christophe Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Samuel Jackson. If the trailer is anything to go by, we can at least expect a welcome return to common parlance of the word ‘rambunctious’. Which is nice.

Gangster Squad was put back by a few months after the tragedy of the cinema shooting in Colorado, and we can finally see if it is going to be this generation’s The Untouchables or Dick Tracy on 18 January. It has a great cast (Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Josh Brolin, and Sean Penn), but can director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) successfully move on from his ‘youth comedy’ background?

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln has ‘Oscar-winner’ written through it like a stick of rock, and with a cast like Daniel-Day Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the story of America’s greatest President you would be a fool to bet against it. In a controversial move Spielberg appears to gloss over Lincoln’s vampire-hunting years though. Risky.

The final film we’re very excited about here at Failed Critics is the official return of the Governator in The Last Stand. A couple of cameos in the Expendables series aside, this is Arnie’s first leading role since returning to Hollywood. When a drug cartel leader busts out of prison and is racing to the Mexican border, a sheriff (almost certainly approaching retirement) and his inexperienced staff in a border town are the only thing in the way. If Arnie gets to show a little depth, and even vulnerability, as the lead this could be great. If the film tries to pretend he’s the same Arnie we knew and loved in the 80s and 90s however…

February

Wreck-It RalphThis month sees the release of a couple of films playing on our nostalgia in very different way. First up is Disney’s paean to computer games of our youth, Wreck-It Ralph. The film features the voice talents of John C. Reilly as the eponymous game ‘baddie’, and his journey through all the games in an arcade to become a hero. The key to the film’s success will be in whether it has the cross-over appeal between children and adults that is omnipresent in almost everything their Pixar subsidiary produces.

The second film of the month playing to our nostalgia gland comes with the tagline “Yipee-ki-yay Mother Russia”. That’s right, this year’s Valentine’s Day is A Good Day To Die Hard. Bruce Willis is back as John McClane, and this time he’s in Russia.

With his son.

For some reason.

Who cares when we’ve got Euro-trash bad guys, people jumping off of buildings, and a rumour of the awesome Patrick Stewart playing the main villain?

Also out this month is the adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, directed by Tom Twyker (of the brilliant Run Lola Run), and Andy and Lana Wachowski (of The Matrix. Just The Matrix. There were no other Matrix films. Leave it). Anyone who has seen the five-minute trailer will know, well, about the same as anyone who hasn’t seen the utterly bonkers and nonsense trailer. It looks fantastic though.

Anyone who has been to the cinema recently will have noticed an advert asking customers to turn their phones off apparently voiced by Alfred Hitchcock. Guess what – it’s not really archive footage of an incredibly prescient Hitch, but Anthony Hopkins in a sneak preview of his work in Hitchcock; the story of the master of suspense and how he made Psycho. Expect an pretty rosy portrayal of the type of behaviour that would have resulted in lawsuits and possibly criminal charges these days – Hollywood doesn’t tend to perform hatchet-jobs on its own people.

March

oz_the_great_and_powerful_wicked_witchStoker, the English-language début of director Chan-wook Park (Oldboy) is out on 1 March, and it certainly sounds interesting. Written by Wentworth Miller (yep, that Wentworth Miller who starred in Prison Break) and starring Mia Wasikowska as India Stoker, a young woman who becomes infatuated with the mysterious and charming Uncle Stoker (Matthew Goode) who comes to stay with the family after his brother (and India’s father) dies in an accident. Not likely to be too high on laughs.

At the complete opposite end of the cinematic scale we have the long-delayed GI Joe: Retaliation. Originally scheduled for release last summer, the latest GI Joe film was delayed for rewrites and the addition of 3D. Oh joy. Still, it’s got the Rock and Bruce Willis as the original Joe, so there’s a slight chance it might be better than anything Michael Bay has released in the last 12 years.

The final film we’re looking forward to in the first quarter of 2013 is yet another attempt to play with the mythology of the Oz universe. Not the HBO series about a prison, but the universe created by L. Frank Baum and brought lovingly to the screen in the classic Judy Garland film The Wizard of Oz. Ever since then creative people have been drawn to this world and tried to create their own take on it, the the stage musical Wicked being the most successful of recent years. Oz: The Great and Powerful is Sam Raimi’s take on the Oz myth, and stars James Franco as a stage magician thrown into the world and using his wits and skills to survive the plans of three witches hunting him. I cannot help but feel this will either be brilliant, or contender for worst film of the year. Fingers crossed.

In Part 2 we will look at the releases scheduled for April to June, including Carrie, Iron Man 3, The Great Gatsby, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and Man of Steel.

The Lost Reviews…This Means War (2012)

The Lost Reviews are reviews that our Editor produced for another publication but, for one reason or another, never got published.

It’s not because they’re shit. Honest.

Tom Hardy and Chris Pine crossing swords? Oscar-winner Reece Witherspoon providing the love interest? What could go wrong?

One word. No vowels.

McG.

This Means War (out recently on DVD) pitches two top CIA operatives, Tuck (Hardy) and FDR (Pine), against each other as they use every weapon in their armoury to win the heart of Lauren (Witherspoon).

The film opens with a massive gunfight in which director McG tries to be John Woo. But this isn’t Hard Bolied, and it’s not even Hard Target. Hell, This Means War isn’t even Hard Rain. After the op goes wrong, Tuck and FDR are “grounded” by their stereotypical ‘angry black captain’ (the talented Angela Bassett wasted in such a small role).

While out of action Tuck and FDR fall for the same woman, Lauren. Lauren is an executive working for a Which?-like company; fastidiously comparing products and their features. I wonder if that skill will come into play when she has to decide between the two ‘secret’ agents who fall for her.

Yes, it will. Like everything else in the film, this aspect is telegraphed by the writers like someone who nudges and winks at you at all the ‘important’ or ‘ironic’ parts in a story their mate is telling in the pub. It leaves literally nothing for the audience to figure out themselves.

I’m also pretty sure CIA agents don’t have to keep their profession a secret from the families. I learnt that from Homeland. The fact Tuck’s estranged family think he’s a travel agent is straight out of the Hollywood big book of things that only happen in films. Like stopping an elevator to have sex with someone. Or a woman responding to pretty severe sexual harassment by saying “if I say yes, will you go away?”

Oh wait, that also happens in This Means War.

The biggest insult to the audience’s intelligence, though, comes in the form of a conversation about film between FDR and Lauren. Trying to pick up Lauren in a video store, FDR recommends Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes. Lauren responds by calling it “second-tier film”, and appears to dismiss all of his work pre-1960. Including Notorious, an infinitely superior film also about two spies who fall in love with the same woman.

This from the director who gave us Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.

Bar one or two scenes in which Tom Hardy takes the film by the scruff of the neck and almost wills it into being something better, This Means War is cynical and clichéd with no heart whatsoever. Why not take FDR’s advice and watch The Lady Vanishes instead?

Failed Critics Review – The Bourne Legacy

This week we welcome Gerry and his shitty microphone back to the Failed Critics Review – and thank God he’s back, as when the discussion turned to the latest Justice League movie rumours and Aquaman’s name was mentioned, James was hopelessly out of his depth.

When we finally got around to reviewing films we discussed our differing reactions to The Bourne Legacy, Gerry’s Failed Listener assignment Withnail & I, and impending nuclear apocalypse.

We seem to have got the hang of keeping the podcast under an hour now. Anyone unhinged listeners who need more can download our Triple Bill on Friday (Favourite Fight Scenes), or if you ask nicely we’ll give you Steve’s phone number so you can discuss Mighty Ducks whenever you want.

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