Tuesday, 2 August 2011

A confession

I was really busy with moving house over the weekend, and I'm afraid to say that I never really got around to updating the blog. I did watch a few films last week, so rather than not post anything this week, I thought I'd just try and give a very brief impression of every movie I watched over the last seven days. I may come back and post proper reviews for these movies, and I promise that normal service will be resumed next week. Honest!

Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)

A gripping French movie set at a Catholic school during the second world war. A Jewish boy is offered shelter by the head of the school; initially his classmates view him with suspicion, but he becomes friends with the main character, a rather spoilt boy who hides his insecurtiy beneath a facade of toughness. Spoiler alert: it doesn't end happily for any of the main characters. Very well made and ultimately, very moving. I thought I recognised one of the actors as the guy who plays the main judge in the French crime series Spiral, but it turned out I was sorely mistaken.

Rating: 8/10

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Has Al Pacino ever bettered this performance? He plays a nervous but charismatic bank robber whose plan to steal enough money for his lover's sex change operation goes horribly wrong; he has to take a vault full of bank employees hostage and winds up at the centre of a media circus. Another great film from Sidney Lumet - somebody I've got a lot of time for, and who was making brilliant films as far back as Twelve Angry Men (1957) and as recently as Before The Devil Knows You're Dead (2007).

Rating: 9/10

Get Carter (1971)

Gritty is probably the word to describe this film. It might be a bit of a cliche, but it's definitely the appropriate word to use here. Michael Caine is terrific as the eponymous antihero, a cold London gangster who heads back up north to Newcastle to investigate his brother's death, and is prepared to take anyone out who gets in his way. Some of the accents seem a bit dodgy - there don't appear to be many real Geordies in the film - but you can overlook that because the rest of the film works so well. A Northern noir.

Rating: 8/10

Three O'Clock High (1987)

A pretty generic '80s high school movie, featuring a whole load of people who look rather too old to be in high school, and whose careers seem to have petered out these days. (A few notable exceptions: Arrested Development's Jeffrey Tambor, The X Files' Mitch Pileggi and Philip Baker Hall (best known to me as the library cop, Bookman, from Seinfeld)). The plot of this one sees the well liked but rather wimpy protagonist (Casey Siemaszko) offend the new kid in school, who resembles Nelson Muntz (or possibly a young Heath Ledger) on steroids. The Muntz stand in challenges Siemaszko to a fight, at three o'clock, outside the school grounds - and like the Lonesome Hobo, our hero is prepared to resort to pretty much anything, including bribery, blackmail and deceit, to avoid getting his clock cleaned. A few funny moments, but pretty average on the whole.

Rating: 6/10

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