This time around: Nicolas Cage comes under fire in 211, Jennifer Lawrence is the Red Sparrow, George Segal takes a tense Rollercoaster ride, there’s trouble in Chappaquiddick for Jason Clarke in The Senator and Paula Patton gets caught in some serious Traffik.
DVD Review: 211
211 starts off as one of the worst Nicolas Cage movies in recent times, but it somehow manages to pull itself together around the half-way mark to deliver something which is actually quite good. Cage plays a cop nearing retirement who gets caught up in a bank robbery. This Bulgaria-shot actioner has a lot of bad moments – but Cage delivers above and beyond the material. There’s a scene where he loses his shit in front of his superiors that sees him hit some seriously good acting notes.
Is this silly? Yes, but it’s Nic Cage.
Blu-ray Review: Red Sparrow
A bland spy thriller with a great cast (Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Jeremy Irons, Matthias Schoenaerts), Red Sparrow looks good but it lacks thrills. Lawrence gives it her all, but this Francis Lawrence (no relation) directed flick is over-long and lacking focus. It has the right elements for a good spy flick, but somehow they never come together. A shame because this could have been Jennifer Lawrence’s Bourne franchise. Instead it’s more boring than Bourne.
Red Sparrow doesn’t skimp on the extras. You get a lot of mini-docs and a Francis Lawrence commentary.
Blu-ray Review: Rollercoaster
Rollercoaster is an excellent thriller with a wonderful central performance George Segal. This 1977 flick sees Timothy Bottoms mysteriously causing havoc at theme parks around the US. There’s a lot of Die Hard on display here, with Segal’s rumpled safety inspector making a tremendous everyman for the audience to get behind as Bottom’s terrorist takes the fun out of funland. Rollercoaster is tense, well composed and worth seeking out.
101 Films has gone to town with Rollercoaster. The blu-ray comes with a documentary on the film and disaster movies in general, a commentary with Allan Bryce and David Flint and an interview with the film’s writer Tommy Cook. Fab!
DVD Review: The Senator
Jason Clarke takes the lead in this true-life drama which charts the course of a week where it looked like Ted Kennedy’s political career was over. Kennedy was in a car with political campaigner, Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara) when it went off the road into a lake. It took hours for Kennedy to report the incident and by then Kopechne was dead.
The Senator (also know Chappaquiddick) is a well intentioned piece of cinema with good performances. It’s not as engrossing as a film of this type should be, but it has a lot of strong elements and it’s a valiant effort to deliver a political thriller with a difference.
DVD Review: Traffik
Traffik feels like it was unearthed from an early noughties time capsule (take that anyway you want). This thriller sees Paula Patton and friends running into Luke Goss and a bunch of human traffickers when they go for a weekend away in the country. Traffik is silly and predictable, but there’s fun to be hand with Deon Taylor’s thriller (Dante Spinotti’s cinematography being one of them).
You get a couple of solid enough mini-docs. Not great, not bad.