Dragged across Concrete

Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn

Dragged across Concrete is a bit of a masterpiece, an urgent, drily funny, brutal, dirty and often ugly film full of horrible people, whom we nevertheless root for because writer/director S Craig Zahler focuses on the relationships rather than the genre aspects of this admittedly big genre beast of a movie. Zahler – he’s called that by everyone, apparently (his mum too?) – has done this before. In 2015’s Bone Tomahawk he re-worked the western, switching out of what you might call Revisionist Indian mode (they’re all noble, sinned against etc) into something far less PC and much more gruesome. If you’ve seen it, I’ll just say “that scene where…” and leave it … Read more

Boss Level

Roy puts an opponent to the sword

For those days when you just want something entertaining – Boss Level, a new Joe Carnhan movie that gives us the familiar Carnahan formula, action plus buffoonery, delivered with a deadpan rictus by a new arrival in geri-action heroics – Frank Grillo. Grillo plays Roy Pulver, a guy who wakes up every day to the same scenario – a “machete wielding asshole” trying to kill him, followed by an encounter with a helicopter gunship, followed by a deadly explosion and a fall from a high window, after which he’s chased down city streets in fast cars by gun-toting bad guys determined to kill him. That’s if they haven’t already killed him. Because Pulver has lived … Read more

The Million Dollar Hotel

Milla Jovovich in The Million Dollar Hotel

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     7 June   Groundbreaking of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1993 On this day in 1993, the groundbreaking ceremony of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame took place, in Cleveland, Ohio. It was attended by Pete Townshend, Chuck Berry, Sam Moore (of Sam and Dave), Dave Gardner (the Coasters), Billy Joel, Sam Phillips, Ruth Brown and Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum). The hall had been proposed in 1983 by Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records, with a view to capturing an ephemeral art form – or of confirming that rock and roll wasn’t ephemeral at all, take … Read more

Apocalypto

Rudy Youngblood as Jaguar Paw in Apocalypto

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     16 November     Pizarro captures Atahualpa at the Battle of Cajamarca, 1532 On this day in 1532, a Spanish expedition led by Francisco Pizarro, whose purpose was expressly to conquer the Inca Empire of South America, captured the Inca Emperor, Atahualpa. As Pizarro arrived in the region, Atahualpa had been waging a civil war against his brother Huáscar. Atahualpa’s generals had just defeated him, killed him and his family and seized his capital, Cuzco. Accompanied by 80,000 troops, Atahualpa was en route for Cuzco to survey the spoils of war. He was resting in the city of … Read more

What Women Want

Mel Gibson does yoga in What Women Want

    Nick Marshall, a sexy, charming and single Hollywood exec, hey it’s Mel Gibson everybody, suddenly develops the ability to hear what women are thinking. Of course he’s completely freaked, though obviously flattered at some of the “what a great butt” comments – this being the very last time that Gibson’s physique rather than his politics would be attracting attention. To start with Nick exploits his talents as many men would – getting laid, psyching out his female boss (Helen Hunt) and shortcutting his way back into his estranged daughter’s affections. But then something weird happens, which lifts this film right out of the common run. As a result of listening to … Read more