Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai – 6/10

Man with a silly name kicks ass and eats ice cream.


Ghost Dog is not a terrible film. It has a brilliant hip hop soundtrack composed by RZA of Wu Tang Clan fame and features an interesting idea at it’s core. Mafia hit man who follows the ancient way of the samurai. Forest Whitaker is fine. Good even. Although he has little to do other than narrate deep and meaningful extracts from his Samurai hand book.

The problem here is I didn’t connect with this movie. It flies straight in to the plot with little back story and character development and the film suffers massively for this. The ending should pack an emotional wallop but when the final shoot out hit I was already disinterested and also a bit bored. It is true I am not very familiar at all with cult director Jim Jarmusch or his work so maybe there is something I am missing here but Ghost Dog left me feeling cold. I think I might have preferred a film about an actual ghost dog. That sounds like fun.

Office Space – 8.5/10

The closest any film has ever been to capturing the absurd pointlessness of working in an office.


Beavis & Butthead creator Mike Judge has always endeavoured to slip biting social satire into his work (he would later go too far with this concept with 2006’s messy feature Idiocracy) and he captures life working for a big corporation perfectly with Office Space.

Gary Cole’s slimy boss Bill Lumbergh is somebody we have probably all been confronted with and likewise I imagine many see themselves as a Pete Gibbons type figure. Like Ricky Gervais’ The Office, it is seeing these recognizable caricatures that we have all encountered that makes Office Space so enjoyable.

I really don’t understand why protagonist Ron Livingstone has not appeared in more stuff as I loved him in this and Band of Brothers. Admittedly it is the first half of the film that cements Office Space as a modern classic but it has it moments right until the end and it a must see for anyone who has ever swore at a photocopier.

Galaxy Quest – 7/10.

galaxy-quest-01The cast of a science fiction show find themselves thrust into a real life space war.

Despite have an absolutely terrible poster and title, you can’t argue with the cast in Galaxy Quest: Sigourney Weaver, a suitably depressed and hilarious Alan Rickman, Justin Long, Sam Rockwell and headed up by Tim Allen. Unfortunately Galaxy Quest is not as good as the sum of its parts. It does have a satisfying 80’s feel to it though and would make a nice companion piece to Men In Black or Gremlins. The first half an hour is superb but when the actual action starts there is not enough room for comic maestro’s like Rickman and Rockwell to shine.

Angela’s Ashes – 8/10.

Follows the story of a poor Irish family told through the eyes of a young boy.

Ireland in the 1930’s and 1940’s is portrayed as a very bleak place. It actually feels like George R R Martin was involved in the script writing process such is the rotating list of characters (mostly children) introduced and then killed off. The juxtaposition of constant infanticide coupled with the presence of Father Ted’s Mrs. Doyle is an odd one to handle! Underneath the misery and poverty and possibly the worst patriarch committed to film, there is a lot of hope and positivity to take from Angela’s Ashes. Aforementioned father and head of the family Malachy is a very interesting character but in the hands of an overacting Robert Carlyle, he is not as fully realized as he could have been. Elsewhere Emily Watson is superb as Malachy’s long suffering wife (no Oscar nod surprisingly) and all the child actors actually go beyond my normal prerequisite for child actors to ‘say the lines – don’t be annoying’ to provide pretty much wonderful support throughout. If you enjoy the work of Ken ‘It’s grim up North’ Loach but prefer a story told with a bit more humour and optimism (and who doesn’t want that?) then you can’t go far wrong with Angela’s Ashes.

Arlington Road – 4/10.

First half – real and interesting movie about Jeff Bridges playing a cat and mouse game with his neighbour (Tim Robbins). Second half – nonsense terrible movie about Jeff Bridges running around shouting.


Before watching this film I researched the director and writer to see what else they had done. The name of director Mark Pellington sounded eerily familiar… So I checked his IMDB page and sure enough there it was, bold as brass, THE FUCKING MOTHMAN PROPHECIES! I assumed whoever directed the second worst film ever made (second only to A Good Day To Die Hard) would have done it under a pseudonym or as a tax write off or something but no, someone actually made that movie for reals (shudder).

After learning this, it was with some trepidation that I sat down to watch Arlington Road. I was pleasantly surprised by the first half as Bridges and Robbins play nicely off each other as you would expect from seasoned pros and the plot was actually interesting and intelligible too. But then… Pellington’s Mothman head kicked in and sure enough we have an hour of people talking into phones, running aimlessly through streets and going from looking bored to confused to angry before finishing with an ending that nobody cares about or understands. This man should not be allowed to make movies. I’m going for a long cry in the shower.