Thursday, October 01, 2009

9 Britflicks and a Remake

They Who Dare: Why is it that every war film with Dirk Bogarde in it is so massively homoerotic? The additional presence of Denholm Elliot meant that it looked like everyone was going to start ripping the clothes off each other within minutes. Also celebrated for the line "Stiff? Mine's hanging out like a Ubangi's" (in reference to upper lips, but it's funnier out of context)

Return from the River Kwai: Another one with Denholm Elliot, as well as Nick Tate off of Space: 1999, and George Takei, who is surprisingly good as a sadistic Japanese officer. Unfortunately the rest of it is full of logical inconsistencies and plotlines that make you go "um... no, not believing that" (mainly involving an American officer and his Boy's Own Adventures in Southeast Asia).

Silver Bears: Substandard Michael Caine caper film, costarring a miscast Cybil Shepherd who seems to be channelling Goldie Hawn. An attempt by the writers to keep everybody in the film just on the right side of likeable and give them all a happy ending, and to avoid any hint of any sort of actual serious crime, hampers its ability to be an original Pink Panther-style dark comedy. Oh, and there aren't actually any bears in it, even metaphorical ones.

The Madness of King George: A complex film about leadership, responsibility and legitimacy of government. I remember seeing this on its first release, and it hasn't lost any of its power or significance.

Zulu Dawn: Not as good as it's cracked up to be, though better than I was expecting. Most of its drive comes from a Titanic-like sense that all these people are going to be dead by the end of the film.

The Narrow Margin (1990 remake): Good lines, good (if slightly predictable) twists, and fun to see Canada as the location for an American film (I suspect because only Canada still had sleeper trains at that point).

Rogue Trader: Not-bad retelling of the Nick Leeson story, which needs to be retold as often as possible so people don't keep doing this sort of thing.

Shadow Run: Just when you think Michael Caine can't be in any worse movies, he signs a contract, takes out a pickaxe and starts digging. Slightly enlivened by the fact that they filmed round Gloucester so people who know the area can play "Spot the A40 off-ramp."

Swimming with Sharks: Like The Player on a tiny budget, but if anything darker and more ironic. Starring a fantastically evil Kevin Spacey and Michelle "Cain" Forbes; features a brief cameo from a then-completely-unknown Benedicio del Torro.

Defense of the Realm: An attempt to cash in on "Edge of Darkness", with a great cast but a plot which makes no sense whatsoever. Apparently the Americans are murdering Brits to cover up the fact that an escapee from juvenile prison wandered onto one of their UK airfields and was hit by a landing airplane. Why bother? Stars Denholm Elliot, again.

Movie count for 2009: 80