Movie Review #3965 STAN AND OLLIE.
Sentimental biopic based on Laurel & Hardy’s final tour of the UK in 1953. Well past their heyday, the chaps are booked on a tour that sees them barely reaching half concert hall capacities while chasing a movie deal that will hopefully put them back on top.
Usual partner tensions arise amidst quarreling between respective spouses with the inevitable parting of ways and subsequent reconciliation pretty predictable. John C Reilly and Steve Coogan were I thought great in the lead slots and based on the latter’s portrayal of Stan Laurel, it’s easy to see where Michael Crawford might have got his Frank Spencer from.
A bit tedious to in parts and somewhat verbose when perhaps a more straightforward approach might have sufficed.
Nevertheless quite entertaining for this critic who would p*ss himself laughing at the antics of these two in the old black-and-white featurettes playing before the Saturday afternoon movie matinee. 7/10
Movie Review #7532 COLD PURSUIT.
Just when we thought yet another Liam Neeson ‘special set of skills’ has an outing, this black comedy shows up.
Coen-esque with a dash of Tarantino on top, it’s violent but not overly so as everyone’s favourite Irish leading man is a Colorado snow plough driver who’s only offspring manages to get himself entangled in the local drug scene.
Working his way up the chain of command, dispatching thugs as he goes, Mr Neeson finally homes in on the top guy which is where things start to go a bit awry. Add a local Indian tribe as an opposing drug arm plus a local bushy tailed policewoman into the mix as well as a pro hitman and the chain of fortuitous events culminate as expected in a major blood bath in the snow.
I like Liam Neeson as an actor and he carries off this dark comedy well by playing it quite straight, leaving the comic turns to a few key scenes and a few one liners from unexpected sources. Surprisingly entertaining and a pleasant deviation from that expected despite the copious quantities of bad guys dispatched.
Does build nicely towards the end and leaving early will screw the whole thing. 8/10.
Movie Review #7321. THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD.
Peter Jackson continues with his WWI love affair with this documentary film using digitally restored and colourised footage. The result is quite spectacular and almost looks like a modern day re-enactment except that it’s not.
Starts and ends with original variable speed, black-and-white takes for contrast and while the background soundtrack is a modern day overdub, the commentaries along the way are not. Content is raw and uncompromising, showing the stark brutality of a war that for the first time was not fought according to Queensbury Rules.
We also get a full frontal reminder that these were men with lives, dreams and aspirations like any of us, not merely images on 100 year old film while their treatment upon demobilisation was nothing short of disgusting.
Forget all other WWI docos you might have seen, think you’ll find this one trumps them all however I’m not going to rate it as it seems inappropriate to associate it with entertainment.
I also understand that Mr Jackson’s next project is another doco job around the final years of The Beatles, will certainly be looking forward to that!
I'm a movie nut from way back with my first ever being The Hallelujah Trail from 1964. Ever since, I've been mesmerized by the giant screen, and the darkness that went on forever. Despite the infernally uncomfortable seats, (plus having to stand for God Save the Queen), I've been enticed ever since to duck into a theatre whenever I can for a few hours of escapism.