Film Four & Film Four +1 12-07-08.
Astra 2D at 28.2E 10729 V SYM:22000 FEC 5/6
Film Four SID8335 VPID2312 APID2313 Eng
Film Four +1 SID8330 VPID2332 APID2333 Eng
(1999) Director Albert Brooks also stars as a successful Hollywood scriptwriter who hits writer's block.Hollywood satire in which Sharon Stone provides divine inspiration to struggling screenwriter Albert Brooks. Suitably riddled with high profile cameos
Though never a prolific director, Albert Brooks (Modern Romance, Lost In America) is well deserving of his reputation as one of America's most incisive comic talents. Here he presents a showbiz satire that's somewhat slow, but reliable entertaining. Stephen Philips (Brooks) is a Hollywood screenwriter in desperate need of inspiration. Enter mysterious muse Sarah (Stone) who appears to have been instrumental in box-office hits by Martin Scorsese, Rob Reiner and James Cameron. However Sarah's services come at a price: a suite at the Four Seasons and unquestioning submission to her every whim.
The satire is really restricted to the first half, which sees Stephen arrange a meeting with Spielberg, only to be presented with the director's cousin Stan (Wright). Thereafter things drift in a different direction as Sarah sets herself up in Stephen's home and helps his wife (MacDowell) start a cookie business.
This isn't classic Brooks by a long shot - the premise swiftly loses its novelty. However, even a bad Brooks film has something to recommend it and he exploits his characters' unpleasantness with ruthless efficiency.
A Ticket to Tomahawk
(1950) Dan Dailey plays a travelling gambler and medicine show man inveigled by sure-shot Kit Dodge Jnr to help her father's railroad win its franchise.
North to Alaska
(1960) Henry Hathaway's rumbustious western set in the frozen north stars John Wayne and Stewart Granger as gold miners who strike it rich in Alaska.Hathaway's films often seem to lie in the shadow of the greater John Ford, and this enjoyable, macho comedy drama yarn is no exception. Set at the turn of the century, the film follows two prospectors, Wayne and Granger, battling each other, trying to control the excesses of Granger's kid brother Fabian, outsmarting con man Kovacs and avoiding the clutches of gold-digger Capucine. Ford would have added a little more humanity and pathos, and the performances would have been less broad. The two male leads are oddly coupled and Fabian, in his third film, cannot shake off his 1960s pop singer image.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
(2002) A Greek-American girl finds happiness with a non-Greek man, overcoming the objections of her traditional - but highly amusing - family.A Greek-American girl finds happiness with a non-Greek man, overcoming the objections of her traditional - but highly amusing - family in this romantic-comedy. A surprise hit in the US
My Big Fat Greek Wedding Where have all the decent romantic comedies gone? Even the biggest UK hit of 2002 was about Hugh Grant's friendship with a schoolboy. Evidently audiences in the States were wondering the same thing, so when a low-budget film about an inter-ethnic relationship with no major stars (Corbett is better known from his roles in 'Northern Exposure' and 'Sex And The City') came along, word of mouth made it into the surprise hit of the summer. My Big Fat Greek Wedding belongs to Nia Vardalos, who turned the concept into a one-woman show, wrote the screenplay and takes the starring role as Toula. It's basically her life, from being the ugly duckling in a school full of petite, blonde American princesses to the frump working in her parents' restaurant, forever harassed by her family to get married and have children ("Nice Greek girls are supposed to do three things in life: marry Greek boys, make Greek babies and feed everyone until the day we die," she moans). However, Toula's life changes when she meets Ian (Corbett), a gorgeous, but definitely not Greek, man.
The film doesn't contain any shocks; no star-crossed lovers forever destined to remain apart are found here. What gives 'Greek Wedding' its wonderfully sweet charm is the warmth and humour found in all the characters and situations. Toula's smothering family are stereotypes, yes, but everyone has their own quirks. Toula's father (Constantine) may be on a mission to educate his neighbours about the superiority of the Greeks ("There are two kinds of people, Greeks and everyone who wishes they were," he insists), but his alpha male status is subtly and hilariously undermined by his wife (Kazan) knowing exactly how to play him, while Aunt Voula (Martin) responds to Ian's vegetarianism by saying "It's okay, I'll make lamb." You wouldn't want to live with any of these people, but they make wonderful company for 90 minutes.
The Italian Job
(2003) A group of crooks plan to steal a gold shipment from the middle of an LA traffic jam. Action movie remake of the much-loved British film.A group of crooks plan to steal a gold shipment from the middle of an LA traffic jam. Action movie remake of the much-loved British film, with Mark Wahlberg in the Mini's driving seat
The Italian Job Everyone expected this to be rubbish. After all, Hollywood's track record in remakes of Michael Caine classics isn't exactly glowing (anyone fancy watching the Sylvester Stallone Get Carter?). But, for once, 'everyone' was wrong - the The Italian Job remake may be different, but in its own way it's almost as much fun as the 1969 original. Let's look at the differences first. The original version saw a group of cockernee crims heading off to Turin to nick a gold shipment out from under the noses of the Italian authorities. This one sets its gold robbery in LA, but justifies the title by holding an earlier heist in the middle of Venice (cue a boat chase down the canals to supplement the Mini action later on in the film). There, old master crook John Bridger (Sutherland) comes a cropper when his team - led by Mark Wahlberg's Charlie Croker - are betrayed by one of their own, namely Edward Norton's shifty Steve. The film then hinges on their search for revenge against him and their plans to steal back the stolen cash that he stole from them. Or something like that.
One Hour Photo
(2002) A lonely photo clerk fixates on the seemingly happy life of a suburban family. Tense and stylish psychological drama with Robin Williams on top form.A lonely photo clerk fixates on the seemingly happy life of a suburban family. Tense and stylish psychological drama with Robin Williams on top form
One Hour Photo Robin Williams has done unintentionally skin-crawling movies in his time (the unholy trinity of Jack, Patch Adams and Bicentennial Man leap screaming to mind), but this is his first deliberate foray into psycho thriller territory. It's a clever move. Williams plays Sy Parrish, the chief clerk at the photo-development counter of a large supermarket. This anonymous man has no personal life, so lives vicariously through the snapshots of his customers. Especially the apparently perfect Yorkin family: mum Nina (Nielsen), dad Will (Vartan) and little son Jake (Smith). But what will happen when Sy discovers that the Yorkin's home life isn't as idyllic as he thinks?
Mark Romanek has created a film painful in its bleak, penetrating clarity. Using beautifully framed images (the sterile whiteness of the supermarket, the amber warmth of the Yorkin house, the chilly emptiness of Sy's apartment) to peel back the layers of Sy's life, he reveals a man driven to madness by simple loneliness.
Unlike conventional psycho-thrillers from Basic Instinct to the likes of lazy efforts like The Watcher and Swimfan, One Hour Photo doesn't try to slather a cheap sexual motive or some twisted revenge ethos onto Sy's actions. This man is forced to extremes not because he wishes to be better than everybody else, but because he wants to be the same as them.
Don't assume, though, that Romanek's empathy with his lead character makes the film in any way soft. With more than its fair share of heart-pummelling edge-of-seat moments, most in a nerve-twanging final 30 minutes, this is a highly accomplished thriller.
In front of the camera, Nielsen and Vartan pitch their performances expertly as the superficially happy couple, while Gary Cole and Eric La Salle (of 'ER' fame) turn in rounded, intelligent turns as, respectively, Sy's corporate-minded boss and a soft-spoken police detective. But there's no getting around the fact that it's Williams' film.
Grey of hair and pudgy of midrift, Williams doesn't so much play Sy as become him. On screen for three-quarters of the film, he marries the character's surface creepiness to a sweet, vulnerable core, before stealthily drip-feeding violence and menace into him. The end result is a screen psycho you fear for as much as you fear. It's a fantastic performance.
Tell Me Something
(1999) A timid female museum worker may hold the key to unravelling a series of murders in this dark and gruesome serial killer thriller from South Korea.A timid female museum worker may hold the key to unravelling a series of murders. A dark and gruesome serial killer thriller from South Korea
David Fincher has a lot to answer for. In the years since he directed Seven (1995), his dark, moody and rain-spattered take on the serial killer genre has become the definitive text, and this South Korean thriller is happy to borrow most of his visual style. It also cranks up the gore level several notches, relishing the prospect of putting audiences through a handful of truly stomach-churning sequences. These revolve around the grisly discovery of seven black plastic bags dumped on the streets of Seoul, each one containing a hacked-up male corpse with one vital body part missing. Police search for a connection between seemingly random victims and the breakthrough comes when it's discovered that each had been romantically involved with Chae Su-Yeon (Eun-Ha), a worker at a local museum. The officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Cho (Suk-kyu), works closely with the horrified Su-Yeon to try and discover what is happening and inevitably starts to develop feelings for her.