I liked this one, particularly Kevin Spacey getting to reprise his evil boss-ness from Swimming With Sharks. I also can't remember ever liking Jennifer Aniston in a role before. Some of the humour is offensive, but it is usually laughing at the perpetrators.
The Driver (DVD found for £1)
From the late 70s, Ryan O'Neal is a very good getaway driver and Bruce Dern is the detective who will do anything to try to catch him. Walter Hill has directed seven very good films. This was his second, and as with all but one of the others, he also did the very sparse script (no one has a name!) Unfortunately, he went on to make thirteen others, rather than sticking to writing and producing.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) (DVD found for £1.78)
This was one of the very first UK 'X' films I saw at the cinema (it's now a 15 and I am a bit surprised it's not a 12...) I can't remember if I had seen the original or read one of the versions of the book (it keeps being updated) beforehand. According to the commentary, there were people telling the crew that the original was better even while they were filming this one! It is (if you watch it as originally intended, without the framing device of a flashback and happy ending) but not by much, and this one is easily the best of the remakes, with a good build up, paranoia middle and ending.
Tosca (1992) (DVD found as part of a set)
Twenty one years ago Channel4 was one of a consortium of TV stations which funded a 'doubly live' production of Tosca, the opera with the melodrama turned up to eleven. Not only was it shown as it was performed, but the three acts happened in the actual places and at the time of day they were set in. So a church in Rome at noon was followed by the second programme in the villain's offices that evening, and the final one on the castle walls early the next morning. It all works superbly well, and my only complaint is that there's no 'making of' on the disc - this was a difficult undertaking to pull off and it would be fascinating to see how they did it.
Alan Partridge - Alpha Papa (cinema)
I'm not entirely convinced by the some of the last act, but this is great stuff for all of Alan's fans. Easily the best 'film based on the 30 min comedy series' I can remember seeing. I wonder if it's because of the journey we've been on with Alan that it doesn't feel stretched out, unlike the The Inbetweeners where there were fewer laughs in total than in any individual episode.
The Watch (DVD found for £1.65)
I had seen the trailer at some point in the cinema and went 'Oooh, must see that!'. The trailer did go on to win an award, but the only ones the film will get are the sort it doesn't want. Do you think the idea that alien blood tastes like cum inherently hilarious? No? This is not the film for you.
When there's more product placement in a comedy film than jokes, you have a problem. It started life as a PG-13 Ghostbusters clone, but at some point someone said 'Let's be much ruder! And give it to someone who can direct short sketches but not a feature!' Both of those were mistakes. The director has a cameo as one of a trio of men masturbating each other at an orgy, and probably enjoyed that much more than I did watching the film.
The bit of the Ghostbusters clone that did remain was the idea that having a big FX-based ending was the funniest thing they could do. No, it's not. And if anyone is surprised by the 'twist', I will be amazed. The only reasons for seeing it are Richard Ayoade (even if too much of the culture clash ended up in the deleted scenes) and R Lee Ermey. The real highlight was selling the DVD for £4.37 within a couple of hours.
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