Synecdoche, New York


I’m going to simultaneously both recommend and warn about this film. If you go and see it and love it, then great – if you hate it (and many do) then please don’t insist that I recommended it to you – like Marmite you really need to decide for yourself.

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The Wrestler


Much like Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler arrives on a wave of publicity that means that it may get a bigger audience. Fortunately like Slumdog the publicity is once again warranted, someone has actually made a good film about wrestling (which unfortunately renders part of the joke about Barton Fink moot, but the Coen’s are hardly going to worry about that).

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The Dark Knight Revisited

Of all the films I never got round to commenting on this summer probably the most glaring omission was The Dark Knight. I made a brief reference to it with regards the BBFC’s rating of it but I never actually got to sit down and watch it again. The thing was I recognised that it would take a second viewing to fully appreciate it, not to determine whether it was any good (that much was apparent) but just how good it was. The problem is now its not really a recommendation – everyone knows how good it is – but rather a comment on how it stands up four / five months down the line. This was after all a rare thing; a summer movie that lived up to the hype.

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The Baader Meinhof Complex


Near the end of The Baader Meinhof Complex the remaining members of the Red Army Faction take a vote as to whether they should increase the ferocity of their attacks against the German state. As each member raises their hand in turn the camera focuses in on the one person who does not. Eventually the uncomfortable silence and the stares from his comrades lead him to raise his hand but the point is not lost on him, the RAF have become the thing they fear most and the democracy they seek no longer exists.

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Bond + Eagle Eye

So, the second of this years sequels to hugely successful franchise reboots hits the screens. Quantum of Solace is interesting in that it is the first actual Bond sequel rather than series – the action begins almost immediately after the end of Casino Royale – so its intentions to be “Not just another Bond” are clear from the beginning. Like the other aforementioned sequel it hasn’t rested on it’s laurels but once again upped its game to try to provide a better film than last time – unfortunately (for me at least) I’m not sure it’s managed this.

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Burn After Reading

The Coen Brothers can be tricky – whilst their hit rate is very high their mis-steps are usually spectacular, Intolerable Cruelty & The Ladykillers lacking that essential Coen Brothers Thing (much like wanting a Barton Fink film to be, well, Barton Fink). Add to this the fact that their latest has been described as being closest in tone to The Big Lebowski – a film that whilst I can see the appeal of I’ve never had much time for – and I wasn’t looking forward ot this in the same way that I was No Country For Old Men. I expected it to be good, but not great.

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Wanted is never going to task the little grey cells, but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. A throwback to the hard-actioners of the late 80’s (albeit with a high-tech CGI makeover) it doesn’t have a plot but rather a means of delivering you from one set-piece to another. You rarely have to wait ten minutes before one comes along that tries (and suceeds) in upstaging what has gone before it. It’s also refreshing to find a film that doesn’t downplay the violence in search of the R-13 (12) certificate, and thus a bigger audience but instead delivers on the frenzied bloodletting front to maximise its impact.

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Speed Racer

The second of the big tent pole movies out of the gate, and the first serious flop of the summer (financially) isn’t the film you’re expecting. Advertised on the back of the directors Matrix pedigree it’s somewhat understandable why some have been put off by this – it’s not dark and violent, rather a bright neon fantasy.

It’s also really rather fab.

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