Every Monday we will be recommending films that are on TV that week, films playing at the cinema, and also remind you of those brilliant films hiding on streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and possibly in your own collection.
The Mountain Between Us: Idris Elba and Kate Winslet are stranded after a tragic plane crash. They must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain. ‘The Mountain Between Us’ opened in UK cinemas last Friday and our full review will up be up later this week!
Coyote Ugly (2000): A great feel-good romp following the fresh-faced ingenue; Violet (Piper Perabo) and her introduction to the world of wet and wild bar-top dancing. Whilst meant to be sexy and shocking at the time, it all feels curiously innocent now. Worth watching for an insight into early 2000s fashion and music (LeAnn Rimes) and some surprisingly good actors (Maria Bello, John Goodman, Melanie Lynskey). Strange to feel nostalgic for a film from this century, but it certainly feels like it belongs to a different era.
Mission Impossible 3 (2006): Witness the debut directoral effort of J.J Abrams as he gives plenty of bangs for your buck as Tom Cruise returns for his third outing as IMF agent Ethan Hunt; ready to save the world again with his allies Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Simon Pegg and Maggie Q going up against the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. In a world where 007 was on the brink of being re-booted, this doesn’t break new ground for action films but keeps the foundations solid of what makes ‘Mission: Impossible’ so much fun – it’s entertaining and exciting with Abrams adding his spin on, what is really, a tried and tested genre to deliver a satisfying and comfortable third outing.
The Hurt Locker (2008): As far as war movies go, there’s not many more that supersede Kathryn Bigelow’s 2008 Oscar-winner ‘The Hurt Locker’; a thrilling, heart-stopping thriller. It’s superbly acted from its star-studded cast, and is also beautiful to look at; with Barry Ackroyd’s eye for detail resulting in his best work yet. A truly must see for all fans of the war genre, or for those with any interest in expert cinematography.
Judge Dredd (1995): Let’s just get this out of the way. This is a terrible movie, but somehow I still love it. If you are like me and like good bad movies then this is a must watch. ‘Judge Dredd’ was released way back in 1995. It was panned by critics and the Dredd fanboys were in uproar. ‘Judge Dredd’ was a very popular comic book which was published by 2000AD comics. It was their MVP and most popular character. A live action movie was always inevitable. How did this go so wrong? Danny Cannon was the man behind the camera and he cast Sly Stallone as the man under the famous helmet. Now you must remember back in 95 Stallone was one of the biggest actors on the planet. He had a lot sway in front of the camera and behind it. It was either his way or the highway. This meant Danny Cannon and Sly Stallone were always butting heads. Cannon wanted a dark, gritty film like the comics. Stallone wanted a fun, comedy action film. Stallone ultimately won the arguments and got his way. Turns out Stallone had never read any of the Dredd comics and boy does it show. Dredd wears his helmet all the time, he is never seen without it. In this adaptation he loses the helmet in the first 20 minutes! Poor dialogue, poor acting and a pretty thin story-line doesn’t help the cause at all. But if you could for one second forget that this is a Judge Dredd movie and enjoy it for what it is, a post apocalyptic sci-fi comedy action film, then it gets slightly better. The studio threw a lot of money at it and some of it stuck. For example some of the design and costume work is actually very good. Its all very colourful and shiny. Just sadly it’s not very good. But if you’ve had a long hard day and want to watch a movie where you don’t have to concentrate, then ‘Judge Dredd’ is the perfect choice for you.
Die Hard (1988): Is this a Christmas film or not? Good news – it’s both! You can watch it at Christmas AND any time of the year. 12 terrorists. 1 cop. An office skyscraper. That’s it. Bruce Willis goes up against the late, great Alan Rickman in this 1989 action classic; a solid example of how to do the genre right. It only made just over $140m at the box-office, but back when numbers didn’t dictate a film’s success, it was the simple story, memorable characters, well-staged balls-to-the-wall action, solid performances and bone-crunching dangerous stunt-work that helped define this as an action classic where less really is more, and it didn’t shy away from swearing, shooting and blowing things up for a really exciting and tense movie. Yippie-ki-yay mother f*word count exceeded*
Dracula Untold (2014): If you’re looking for peculiar stories of vampire reign and revived histories, here’s a film for you. Luke Evans stars in ‘Dracula Untold’ as Vlad the Impaler, the prince of Wallachia, and a previous child soldier who endured a dark, haunting journey to where he’s come. Vlad’s lifelong rival, Sultan Mehmed, played by an up and coming Dominic Cooper, is received by him with a great ultimatum: surrender him 1,000 Transylvanian child soldiers or pay the price for resistance. Vlad is known to stand by his people and do what is always best for them, but the time has come for him to see how far he’d go to protect his city. He seeks a certain strength that only an elder vampire beyond the mountain can provide. Catch Gary Shore’s feature film debut with the dark fantasy that is ‘Dracula Untold’.
Step Brothers (2008): What better way to spend your evening than with a silly, wholly entertaining comedy starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as a pair of middle-aged men who are forced to live together when their parents move in together. A little absurd, but a whole lot of fun that’ll have you in stitches with Ferrell and Reilly’s constant childish bickering.
40 Year Old Virgin (2005): The film that kick-started Judd Apatow and Steve Carrell’s careers and opened them both up to a world beyond TV, it’s hard not to laugh at some of the excruciating awkwardness on offer here. I firmly believe Carrell is one of the best actors working today (The Big Short and Battle of the Sexes are recent examples of his dramatic acting), but this does not mean his earlier, more comedic work should be dismissed. He brings believable humanity to all of his roles and engenders empathy in the audience even when playing a seemingly ridiculous character. He also fully commits to his roles, as demonstrated in the infamous chest-waxing scene here. Still laugh out loud funny.
Machete (2010): Grindhouse alum Robert Rodriguez serves up a splatter platter of explosive violence and titillating action showcasing Danny Trejo as the vengeful Machete. A feast of revenge porn armed with relentless bullets, savage taglines and beautiful women, reestablishing the iconic style of B movies with ballsy style. Machete knows where you live if you dare to miss his show.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006): A chilly Meryl Streep causes headache for Anne Hathaway in this sharp and stylish comedy from director David Frankel, concentrating a hearty cast and priceless one-liners around the extravagant requirements of “The boss from hell”. A runway of sophistication and devilish drama with a dazzling breakout performance from Emily Blunt. You wouldn’t want to be late…
Hiding Online / In Our Collection / Out This Week
Unbreakable (2000): In the late 90s, M Night Shyamalan was revered as the next big thing when he released the phenomenon that was ‘The Sixth Sense’. Whatever you think of him now, Shyamalan managed to follow up his brilliant debut with, for my money, his best work to date. ‘Unbreakable’ stars Bruce Willis as a man who mysteriously survives a catastrophic train crash and discovers secrets about himself. To say much else would spoil the magic of what’s in store, but ‘Unbreakable’ is often considered as one of the genuinely great origin stories. Bruce Willis delivers a greatly reserved performance and Samuel L Jackson commands every scene, as expected. I wholly recommend you seek this one out if, like me, you loved his return to form in this year’s terrific ‘Split’.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006): The fearless revival of Wes Craven’s 1977 slasher establishes a keen modernisation of a classic in Alexandre Aja’s chilling pursuit of a vacationing family hunted by psychotic hillbillies. Emilie de Ravin and Ted Levine star in the harrowing battle for survival that maintains the outlandish terror of the original. Change the channel, they’re watching you.