The Tuesday film medley

Hitchcock.

Hitchcock is a film about the making of Psycho which, in spite of it’s status in the cinematic classic, struggled to see the light of day in the face of objections from the censor and Paramount.

The film is also about the fraught relationship between Hitchcock and his wife, Alma. He has a roving eye and likes to perv at his actresses through a peep hole. She comes close to having an affair with the author of the book on which Psycho was based, but Hitchcock convinces himself that she is. Eventually, they agree to work together to create the film, which becomes a huge success.

Anthony Hopkins played the part of the corpulent Hitchcock, who had to finance the film himself, and who co-opted the head censor to advise on one scene in order to get the film past him.

Helen Mirren is the director’s wife Alma. She is remarkably patient with him, but craves a little excitement of her own even if it wouldn’t go as far as an affair with someone else.

James D’Arcy, who played Anthony Perkins, may not have been on screen all that much, but he captured the twitchy, neurotic Perkins brilliantly.

A note of fantasy gets injected into the film with the serial killer on whom Norman Bates is based popping up and chatting to Hitchcock now and then, or some piece of Hitchcock’s overactive psyche intrudes into the making of Psycho itself such as the murder scene where the director is supposedly acting out his rage against his wife. Such elements don’t feel out of place, but they seem to be trying to inject some note of psychological drama that is not really necessary.

Overall, though, Hitchcock is worth a look.


Liability.

This is a fairly understated gangster flick in which a 19-year-old moron has the job of driving around his mother’s boyfriend’s hit man (Tim Roth) because he smashed up the boyfriend’s Mercedes-Benz.

I suspected that Roth might end up whacking the idiot, but things went wrong with the appearance of a Latvian woman hunting her sister who had been sold as a sex slave.

It is only later that the half-witted adolescent discovers that he’s the real target because he’d seen a video of the boyfriend raping and murdering some girl, probably the sister of the Latvian.

As I said, this is an understated film. Drinks coaster? Not quite. Worth a second viewing? No. Recommendation: wait for it to be screened on terrestrial TV and then don’t worry if you miss it.


The Amazing Spiderman.

Like Man of Steel, this is another remake of a film which was remade fairly recently. The only real difference between this and those is that Spiderman fights a lizard man, and the love interest is a rather plain girl.

And that’s about all there is to be said about this.


Zero Dark Thirty.

I thought some of the films I’d seen recently were long, but this one, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, was even longer. I think if I’d been watching this in a theatre, I would’ve started muttering, “He’s in Abbottabad.”

The film is a bit like a lengthy drama-doc. The CIA clutches at straws in their search for bin Laden so that by the time Maya is fairly certain she knows where he is, the response is mostly, “Osama bin who?”

Unlike the right-wing version of this story, there’s no flag waving and comparatively little woohooing. The hunt was a long, tiring, dehumanising, and often dispiriting process.


Assault on Wall Street.

If anything can go wrong, it will at the worst possible moment. Financial investments lost? Yes. Inability to pay for wife’s expensive medical treatment? Yes. Wife’s suicide? Yes. Loss of job? Yes. Loss of house? Yes. Ability to buy guns, grenades and ammo in spite of having no money? Yes.

Like Tower Heist, this is another wish fulfilment movie about the bankers on Wall Street getting what they deserve for ruining the lives of ordinary people; and in an ironic twist, the hero gets away with it just as the bankers have been getting away with it.

A drinks coaster for those occasions when bankers are your dinner guests.

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