The Rock

This review was originally written for French Toast Sunday.

Michael Bay’s The Rock sees U.S. Marines, led by Ed Harris’ Brigadier General Frank Hummel, taking over the island prison of Alcatraz, now a tourist attraction, and keeping the tourists hostage until a ransom is paid to cover the money owed to unpaid troops. If the money is not paid, Hummel and his men will launch deadly chemicals into San Fransisco, killing thousands of people. The FBI arranges for a Navy Seal team to go after the marines, but to do so they need the help of a chemical weapon specialist, Dr. Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) and John Mason (Sean Connery), the only man ever to survive an escape from Alcatraz.  Nicolas-Cage-in-The-Rock-nicolas-cage-18205121-1067-800 Continue reading

Apollo 13

In 1969, man landed on the moon. This man was not Tom Hanks’ Jim Lovell, then first reserve for Neil Armstrong, but later he was given his own shat at the big floating wheel of cheese aboard the ill-fated Apollo 13. Hanks displays his greatest talent of evermanisation in this film, managing to make even an astronaut seem like a regular Joe, suffering from everyday concerns with young kids and a daughter dressing inappropriately on Halloween, coupled with the hours of arduous practice and training required for his profession and the worrying endured by the families left behind. Director Ron Howard evokes the feel of the late 60s well – the excitement of new scientific endeavours coupled with the period details, fashions, chain smoking and news reports, and Hanks is well supported by Gary Sinise, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon as his fellow astronauts, Ed Harris as the waistcoat wearing mission control and Kathleen Quinlan’s distraught wife, the latter of the two were Oscar nominated for their roles.
Choose film 8/10

Glengarry Glen Ross

Glengarry Glen Ross has an excellent ensemble cast that cannot be ignored, featuring Al Pacino, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Alan Arkin, Alec Baldwin, Jonathan Pryce and the great Jack Lemmon, all sharing the screen and delivering award-worthy performances. In particular, I was very impressed by the mesmerising cameo from Baldwin as corporate ball-breaker Blake, brought in to motivate the employees of the real estate firm (or make them feel about 2 inches tall, whatever works) and Kevin Spacey’s weasel-like manager Williamson, knowing he has no right to his job and sticking firmly to the rules and regulations to make sure he keeps it. I was reminded of 12 Angry Men whilst watching, with the confined locations, all-male cast and stage origins of the story, as well as the heightening tensions, hot and wet climates and outbursts of anger from its central cast. Harris and Arkin, as the angry Moss and deflated Aaronow respectively, seemed a little one-note, but their characters were still vital to the story, and each had their highlights.
Choose film 8/10