“Get to the chopper!”
Greetings one and all, and if that less than subtle quote wasn’t clue enough, it’s a bit of an Arnie-fuelled fest on At The Flix this week. So, let’s see what’s out this week, shall we!
Already open from Wednesday, Arnie in post-Governator mode returns to the big screen in the story of an elite DEA task force who find themselves being taken down one by one after they rob a drug cartel safe house.
I’m a firm believer that Arnie needs some good material rather than just relive his 80s action days as quite a few of his post-political career films have done. The ironic “I’m getting old” type jokes were running thin in the Terminator sequels, frankly.
With David Ayer at the helm, whose previous film End of Watch, was very good, one can be slightly hopeful. Yet it’s always going to be difficult to avoid comparison for Arnie – with the element of camp, the wisecracking and the guns, there’s a hint of self-parody in all of this, yet this is always gonna be a big draw for the mainstream crowd (especially those aged in their mid 30s upwards). Sly Stallone knows this all too well with his Expendables films.
Yet I also hope the film has some decent thriller elements alongside a strong looking cast of familiar faces and a very simple premise. Hopefully this can be matched by some actual characterisation and some acting.
Frankly, if it isn’t any good, watching Olivia Williams as the FBI agent on the chase to catch Arnie, has hopefully got to definitely be worth something.
Irish director Lenny Abrahamson brings us an offbeat comedy about a bored office worker and young wannabe musician (Domhnall Gleeson) who finds himself out of his depth when he joins an avant-garde pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender), a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head ala Frank Sidebottom, and his terrifying bandmate Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal).
The film written by Jon Ronson is fictional but based loosely on his own experiences performing as a member of a rock group fronted by Frank Sidebottom. Frank serves a bit as a tribute to bands that live on the margins but who few people really know about them.
Next Goal Wins (15)
This documentary tells the story of the American Samoa football team, one of the worst football teams in the world. Still somewhat haunted by a 31-0 defeat to Australia from a few years back, filmmakers Mike Brett and Steve Jamison follow them with their new coach, a Dutchman called Thomas Rongen, who responds to an ad, and for whom everything is dedicated to his daughter, who died in a car accident at the age of 18.
Sure, this is another underdogs film but it is also an affirmation of humanity, values team work and camaraderie. Reviews have also been very strong. I’ll be at the cinema, lining up at the touchline with them.
The Wind Rises (PG)
It’s brilliant to welcome back Hayao Miyazaki to the big screen in his latest marvel in animation. The Wind Rises (aka Kaze tachinu in Japanese) tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II.
Whatever a brilliant backdrop and canvas for Miyazaki’s animation. Jiro dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes and we follow him to becoming one of the world’s most innovative and accomplished airplane designers. Jiro meets and falls in love with Nahoko, and grows and cherishes his friendship with his colleague Honjo.
I’m hoping that this isn’t Miyazaki’s last film, as has been reported. In terms of imagination, whimsy, power and legacy, he stands alone, and the film sounds very much like a representation of himself – building fantasies based around reality.
I’ll be back.