Wings of the Apache is perhaps one of the most dreaded films on the Cage list, with a score of 4.5 on iMDB and the most bland set up for a film you could imagine. Basically the government has offered its services to other countries that need help in the war on drugs, Cage who is training as an Apache pilot is considered one of the best potential fliers in the business and is set to work to learn to fly the Apache and take down an evil drug baron who also flies a fighter helicopter. Cage stars alongside Tommy Lee Jones.
Also known as Fire Birds this Cage outing is a copy cat affair. Following in the footsteps of Top Gun and blatantly attempting to recreate pretty much everything in that movie this film is devoid of any kind of originality. The script is one of the most dire things you could possibly imagine and the majority of it is taken over by a hideous cliched romance btween cage and the only other woman in the Apache school. It becomes apparent that the pair have some previous but that Cage is not going to take no for answer so for many of the scenes in the mid-point he simply reels off hideous chat up lines and innuendos in an attempt to woo her. It’s pretty creepy really until there’s one scene were suddenly he just wins her over with no real explanation. The only other major plot point is to do with Cage having a dominant left eye which means he has trouble guiding the helicopters as you can only view through your right with the aid of an eye piece. However this issue which for much of the film appears to threaten his chances of ever getting to fly for real, is solved in one five minute exercise that involves Cage driving a Jeep with a pair of pants on his head. And that’s not even a joke. Tommy Lee Jones is distinctly average with some dreadful dialogue that he proceeds to just spit out in his monotone voice. Despite all this horror when it comes down to the final action sequence I found that actually hadn’t hated the film at all. It had been awful but there was something really fun about it. Objectively awful but subjectively actually not bad.
Cage is pretty average throughout with a couple of odd moments of shimmering madness and some bubblegum popping cheese that make this an enjoyable if not exceptional performance.
Spielberg’s latest film tells the story of America’s sixteenth President, Abraham Lincoln in the fight to pass the thirteenth amendment and abolish slavery in the USA. The film has so far, as far as I’m aware, received nothing but praise which has materialised in the form of a number of Oscar and BAFTA nominations including the coveted Best Picture award. Daniel Day-Lewis plays the central figure while support is provided in the form of Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The story is of course a great one but let me tell why I think this film has got it completely wrong.
Let me start by saying that I didn’t hate this film it had it’s share of good moments, the majority coming from Jones’ Thaddeus Stevens in the courtroom scenes where he insults everyone in the most intellectual way possible. Day-Lewis portrayal is excellent as always, as an actor it appears he can literally do no wrong. And at the end of the film when the amendment is passed it’s hard not to feel how big the achievement really was. Unfortunately, though, this is where my praise reaches it’s end and leads on to why the film really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
We all know the story of the abolition of slavery and I was looking forward to the ins and outs of what happened being put up on the big screen but I instead found that the film taught next to nothing I didn’t know already. Every scene seemed to be saying exactly the same thing until the last half an hour, all that was made clear is that Lincoln needs 20 votes from the Democrats in order to pass the bill, that is literally all that is established in getting on for an hour and half of film, it seems no progress is made, nothing much is done just a group of politicians umming and arring about the fact they need these votes. When it comes down to the wire there is one short scene in which Lincoln goes round to the houses of these Democrats that had previously been written off to vote for the passing of the bill says a few sentences changes their minds and that’s it, job done. The character of Lincoln isn’t even particularly celebrated here either despite Day-Lewis’s performance there are perhaps two scenes in which he is really given the chance to shine but for the pivotal courtroom scenes he is not even present and it is left for Jones to steal the show making him the real stand-out of the film. Once the bill is passed in what is by far the best scene of the film being the only one that really has any kind of tension or emotion there is still another fifteen to twenty minutes of running time to go that seems utterly pointless. His assassination is done within five minutes and you don’t even see it happen, nothing is really said about it it happens and then that’s the end of the film. The Gordon-Levitt character makes no sense as well there is one scene in which he is shaken up by seeing a load of limbs thrown into a pit and then for the rest of the film he is almost completely forgotten about.
While Spielberg got the casting right there is not much else to love about this uneven and bland, half-biopic, it would be a great shame if this took the Oscars.
Well its been a bit too long since my last post, I’ve been busy settling in to my new house for my second year of uni. Fortunately there has been no lack of media to talk about so first of all I’ll talk about romantic comedy, Hope Springs. When I originally saw the trailers for the film I thought it looked a bit naff but thanks to the persuasion of some trusted reviewers and a girlfriend who has had enough of miserable films I decided to give it a watch.
Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones star as a couple whose marriage has completely lost its spark, Streep, desperately trying to salvage it books an intensive counselling course in Hope Springs where they are helped through their issues by Dr. Feld, played by Steve Carrell. I went in thinking Carrell would be the one bringing the laughs, but his psychiatrist is a surprisingly straight turn for the actor best known for his hilarious performances on The U.S. Office. Instead the majority of the laughs come from Jones, whose grumpy old husband frequently produces a chuckle just from his facial expressions and extreme pessimism. Streep is, as always, perfect for her role but in my eyes it’s really Jones that steals the show.
With the exception of a about three scenes though, this film isn’t so much about the laughs and much more about its central couples relationship which it deals with very seriously and provides an uplifting look on long-lasting marriages with a heartfelt conclusion. It never feels to over the top or corny, it’s just all very nice indeed. The only issue is the film is so happy to just sit in its comfort zone. It will hardly stretch outside its target audience and will end up lumped alongside all the other romantic comedies about aging couples that middle-aged couples will buy on dvd and never watch, or maybe watch once and forget. But in truth it deserves to be more than that, perhaps the film makers should have taken a bit more risk and chucked a few more jokes in that would appeal to a younger viewing age, as this film should really get much more exposure than it inevitably will.