Why is it that some Fridays I look back on my week's viewing and can't grit my teeth to write about one or even two movies in some depth? Why is it that I struggle to remember even a small detail about some of the flicks that flash by my jaded eyes? Why, you may well ask, do I watch so many forgettable films? And why when a worthy title begs for some insightful analysis do I shy away? I don't actually plan to answer any of these questions today, but will fall back on my answer to previous 'barren' weeks -- to briefly comment on some of the week's contenders for blog glory:
Let's start with a few of Sky's boring, boring, boring premieres. The two that have faded into oblivion only days after watching them are "The Hooligan Factory" about an old-time football yobbo taking a youngster under his wing as some sort of lost-son surrogate and "Deliver Us from Evil" a cross between a policier and supernatural hokum. Then there was "Sex Tape" with Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel in an idiotic chase to retrieve copies of their aging lust, inadvertently sent to all and sundry. Desperate, if you ask me. "Keeping Rosy" which played like a British TV Movie was marginally more interesting with Maxine Peake's life spinning out of control after she accidentally kills her cleaning-lady and finds the char's child parked in the back of her car and nothing but champagne in the fridge. A rather nicely constructed nightmare for a totally unsympathetic heroine. As for "The Devil's Knot", I'll be dipped to justify this film even being made since the same story has been dealt with in depth in the three "Paradise Lost" documentaries and "West of Memphis" --teenaged goths unjustly imprisoned for so-called ritual kiddie killings.
Other channels offered some watchable fodder mixed in with the standard made-for-television dross (although "The Devil's Teardrop" was a superior offering in the latter category.) "Bunraku" (2011) was a feast for the eyes with its mash-up of spaghetti Westerns, samurai actioners, video games, anime, and more, with a surprisingly starry A-list cast. However the colourful staging began to pall half-way into its two-hour running time, undermined by the somewhat incomprehensible plot. "Safe" (2012) starring the inexplicably popular and money-spinning action star Jason Statham (I do wish he would learn to shave) had him entering into the fray between nasty Russian gangsters, fiendish oriental gambling kings, and corrupt cops, as he tries to protect a little Chinese girl with an eidetic memory for important numbers. I didn't (or couldn't) count the number of bodies Statham dispatched, but it's amazing there were any baddies left in New York when he finished. And what ever became of the Mafia? I especially liked the fact that one of the Chinese villains was that nice Wu out of Grimm (one of the few serials I faithfully watch). No kind words, however, for "Soldiers of Fortune" (also 2012) with Christian Slater (he once had a career!) shepherding thrill-seeking millionaires into actual war-zones -- largely spoiled by the prominent role given to what must have been the producer's or director's girlfriend.
Then there were the 'golden oldies' or at least two of them along with two now rather tarnished early talkies. "Salome" (1928) is always worth a look for its visuals with Natacha Rambova's sets and costumes evoking Aubrey Beardsley and the would-be actress Nazimova throwing her all into this Wildean folly as she is spurned by John the B. "Beggars of Life" (also 1928) is another worthy watch, if only for the charismatic Louise Brooks spending half the film disguised as a boy as she is on the run from a murder charge and fending off the lecherous approaches of Wallace Beery. No, they don't make them like these anymore! Against these two 'classics', "Ten Nights in a Barroom" (1931) -- it felt more like ten months -- had little to recommend it as an upright man succumbs to the perils of booze and his sickly little daughter must plead "please come home Daddy" before being knocked unconscious by a rogue whiskey bottle. The other pre-code movie was "Blood Money" with George Bancroft as an iffy bail bondsman and Judith Anderson, of all people, as a vaguely femme fatale. The highpoint of this movie for me were the two appearances of chanteuse Blossom Seeley, a kind of cross between Mae West and Al Jolson.
That's not the lot, but it will certainly do for now, as I face another week of who knows what delights....