The Iceman: biopic / mobster film based on the notorious hitman Richard Kuklinski – who has killed over 100 people (believed to be nearer 300). This is definitely a post Killer Inside Me / Killing them Softly type film, a real focus on keeping things real, and when they need to be, graphic. The biggest problem is that film is that it’s essentially an indie re-telling of the Goodfellas story arc, but based on a hitman – so when the focus is on his life collapsing in the last act, you don’t care much because… well… he’s a hitman, and he should be in jail long before then; the film seems to make him a little more sympathetic. Otherwise, it’s a fairly standard Mobster piece, that doesn’t stray far from the path – other than a random scene of political opinion thrown in for no good reason (Vietnam war). Seriously!? Who the fuck casts David Schwimmer as a badass gangster? As soon as he opens his mouth, BOOM, character ruined! Quick note for Ray Liotta – change it up bro, this is getting hella boring. Winona Ryder’s decent, but flaunts her boobs an awful lot (distracts from her good performance). Chris Evans is really good – could have done with more of him. But the biggest, and most obvious, outcome of this is to cast Michael Shannon in as many films as possible – he can, and does, act with every single muscle in his face and body. In the end, The Iceman is a decent enough gangster film that focuses more on the hitman himself than his actions – but Shannon keeps this watchable with a captivating depiction of the cold-blooded mobster.
Immortals: King Hyperion will stop at nothing to obtain the Epirus Bow, but he faces an unlikely challenge from a peasant trained by Zeus himself. Directed by Tarsem – as you’d expect the clothes, masks, set designs and attention to detail is immaculate. It’s also technically impressive, well shot, and a good blend of CGI and real images that other directors would shun away from. Tarsem has some moments of intense vivid uber imagery (what he does best) however, the producers have clearly forced in as many ‘300’ similarities that the contract would support: plastic skies, million-man armies, traitors, rippling abs, oracles, boring grey colour pallets, scrolling one-on-twenty fight scenes… which everyone’s seen before, loads. The story is put to the front and played out well, although there are times when you think ‘less talk, more rock please’. It’s well cast, with Luke Evans, Stephen Dorff, Freida Pinto and John Hurt standing atop a mountain of decent performances; for a stylised Greek Myth! While it’s very watchable and a decent film, The Immortals and the Fall perfectly illustrate the differences between such an imaginative and unique director doing a stunning self-financed film, and a studio-backed blockbuster with some shining moments.
Somewhere: A successful-but-despondant film star has to spend time with his estranged daughter, they hang out, we watch. This film makes driving a Ferrari boring; it makes Italy look boring; it makes having beautiful women swoon over you boring; worst of all it makes two kinky blonde twins, doing cheeky pole-dancing as nurses rocking to the Foo Fighters boring!! I know this is supposed to be the point but when a character appears to loathe that lifestyle, this reviewer feels no pitty. Sofia Coppola definitely has her own style; unfortunately, it makes me nod off – I genuinely fell asleep twice in the cinema during Lost in Translation, and was so close during this – other punters were more sensible and walked out (and if it hadn’t been the actual ending I’d have walked out after the last scene too). There’s far too many overlong boring shots of mundane non-events. We see some cooking, guitar hero, sunbathing eating, smoking, breathing, empty conversations… it’s essentially a mind numbingly boring fly-on-the-wall focusing on a rather unlikable person. Neither the story or emotions progress, but Dorff and Fanning Jr both do particularly well considering what they have to work with. To top it all off this was sickeningly smug and self-referential; harking back to previous films, echoing a misunderstood celebrity upbringing, and even Sofia’s iPod. This is the rich and famous complaining about being rich and famous. Totally inconsequential, bourgeois, middle class ridiculousness.
NB: If I was that famous I would be traveling the world and having as much fun with family and friends as possible – definitely wouldn’t be a miserable shit like Johnny Marco.