I saw 1994’s The Specialist in the cinema when it came out. Until recently that was the only time I’d ever seen it, so I imagine that even as a teenager I didn’t think much of it. Many years on, and when I saw it was freely available on one of the web based content providers I subscribe to, I thought I’d give it another shot. And that’s 105 minutes of my life I won’t be getting back anytime soon. Dubbed an ‘action thriller’, it’s not remotely thrilling and, while there is some action, there’s not a whole lot of it. What there is a lot of is brooding and staring and deep contemplative thought, although quite what the characters are actually thinking about is difficult to establish. There is also a lot of is really bad dialogue. Justifiably nominated for a host of Razzies at the time, age hasn’t been kind and it might possibly be even harder to watch now than it was then. I’m not even sure it could be considered as being ‘so bad it’s good’ – it takes itself far too seriously for that.
Directed by Luis Llosa, a man who is probably best known for 1997’s Anaconda, which probably tells you all you need to know about his credentials, the film stars Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, James Woods, Eric Roberts, and Rod Steiger, all of whom are better than this and none of whom manage to bring an ounce of credibility to the movie.
Stallone plays Ray Quick, a man who seems to have some kind of a moral code, but who literally blows people up for a living, and he’s probably the most plausible character in the film. Stone does do her best with the revenge-seeking May Munro, but honestly has nothing at all to work with. Woods, as villain, Ned Trent has some moments which are almost engaging and probably has the most potential to be interesting, but, actually, when he meets his entirely predictable end, it’s hard to care very much at all.
Truthfully, I didn’t hate The Specialist, it wasn’t anywhere near intriguing enough to provoke such a vitriolic reaction. What it provoked instead was a complete sense of indifference.
It’s time for Door 2 of ‘The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films’.
Today we find Iron Man 3.
Which, like yesterday’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is another Shane Black and Robert Downey Jr. collaboration.
And it’s the first (and, to date, only?) movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be set during the festive period.
It’s not my favourite of the MCU films, but it’s by no means bad. At two hours ten minutes, it feels a little long but it’s pretty diverting for the most part. Ben Kingley’s ‘Mandarin’ is a particular highlight, with an enjoyable twist regarding his character, towards the end of the film, which may not be entirely faithful to the comics but works well within the context of the movie.
Score for Christmasishness:
There are plenty of references to Christmas, and lots of decorations in many of the scenes. There’s a snow scene. Jingle Bells is playing as Tony Stark tests his latest Iron Man suit at the beginning of the film. In truth though, Christmas is rarely relevant to the plot and I’m certain I’d enjoy watching this film just as much in July.
Last year I wrote a review of 2015 on the 31st December so it seems only fitting that I review 2016 today.
Except that I’d rather not.
It seems to be universally accepted that 2016 was a bit of a rubbish year all around.
Not for everyone obviously – some people might well be thinking that 2016 was quite good.
If you’re British and you hate immigrants then you might be feeling like 2016 was a pretty good year, what with Brexit and all that. Obviously 2017 is going to be a bummer for you when you realise that Brexit isn’t going to deliver on any of the things you thought you were voting for. Then again it might take until 2019 or even 2020 for you to work that out.
But thanks to Brexit, us Brits can pretty much write off 2017 before it even begins. Continue reading The Obligatory New Year’s Eve Review Of The Year That Was
There are no flies on me.
There were yesterday though.
It’s unseasonably hot in the UK at the moment.
I mean it’s summer so I suppose it is actually ‘seasonably’ hot but no-one really expects nice weather in Britain at any time of year and British summers are notorious for being miserable and wet.
So the fact that the sun is shining, and has been for some weeks now, must surely be regarded as ‘unseasonable’.
Or at the very least ‘unseasonably seasonable’. Continue reading James Reviews ‘The Rentokil Advanced Fly Trap Window Sticker’
Well it’s the last day of 2015 and that calls for some kind of review of the events of the past 12 months. I’m probably the only blogger that’s even thought of doing this. It’s a pretty original and exciting idea is it not? Continue reading James Reviews 2015, Just In Case Nobody Else Remembered To Do It
I wasn’t going to post anything today.
I haven’t really got anything to write about.
I’m still very much in the weird world of Twixmas, whereby I know that Christmas is ostensibly over, but there’s still a Christmas tree in my living room and lots of really unhealthy food in the house. I’m also still off work. But I’m not doing anything especially useful or exciting with my time off. And I’m feeling guilty about the fact that I’m not doing anything useful so I’m not really relaxing either. It’s like I can’t switch off my natural need to procrastinate, even when I don’t especially have anything I need to be doing. Continue reading My 2015 Blog Report