10-Second Film and Book Reviews #5


  1. (of language or style) Concise and forcefully expressive.
  2. (of a fruit or plant) Containing much pith.
  3. (often) I take the pith for your entertainment.

FILMS (mainly DVDs; some recent releases)

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (dir. S Lumet; A Finney, PS Hoffman, E Hawke, M Tomei)

High-octane melodrama; not a dull frame in sight; pathetic brothers make one dopey decision after another starting with plan to rob their parents’ jewellery store with a toy gun.

Cover of "Before the Devil Knows You're D...

Cover of Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead











The Alibi (Coogan, Romijn)

There’s a roaring trade in the business of propping up cheating guys until suffocation-sex makes a ‘stiffie’ out of a lady with ‘connections’; chases along like a runaway Moulinex; denouement a blast.

The Alibi

The Alibi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)











The Company Men (Lee Jones, Affleck, Costner, Bello)

Jobs and self-esteem down the Insinkerator; downsizing has its upside if you manage to forego the car exhaust option; no woman would be as big a star as Tommy LJ if she looked like him (he’s great though).


My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? (Dafoe, Shannon, Sevigny)

Amateur actor takes ‘method acting’ an insanity verdict too far. Laid-back hostage standoff resolved via surreal, polite  conversation and flashbacks; FULL of flamingos, people in pyjamas and porridge oats.  Take bets with your mates re the identity of the hostages.

Cover of "My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Do...

Cover of My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?











Ice Age 4 Continental Drift (Lopez, Romano, Dinklage)

New characters including a grandma for Sid and ‘Precious’; new struggles including pirates with ice-floe ships complete with a nasty kangaroo and dipstick sea-lion; word up the teenage mammoth hairstyles; the rodent, Scrat, chasing the big nut finds Nirvana and causes Atlantis; as fresh as the other three and fair skips along.

Ice Age: Continental Drift

Ice Age: Continental Drift (Photo credit: Wikipedia)











Beautiful Boy (M Sheen, Bello) School shooting aftermath that spotlights the parents whose relationship was well down the skids anyway; almost all interiors; believable in the end.


Uncertainty (Gordon-Levitt)

The ‘let’s toss a coin’ school of film narrative; ‘yellow’ premise ludicrous; enticing until flabby ending; moral: if you find a phone just hand it in; and there’s a ‘will she have the abortion’ dilemma thrown in to keep the thing moving; nice dog.


Unbreakable (Willis, Jackson)

If Willis was any more laid back he would be a deceased mole; comic superhero theme; guess the hero’s ‘kryptonite’; unusual and absorbing with a surprise ending – well, it surprised me.


Waking the Dead (Crudup, Connelly)

Annoying ‘did she really die?’ premise; what does her family think/know?; even the ending might be imagined; his political career survives in case you were worried even though he looks far too young.

Waking the Dead (film)

Waking the Dead (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)











Rock of Ages (Baldwin, Cruise, Brand, Zeta-Jones)

Set in the 80s for some unknown reason; a dozen popular songs (some recent) strung together with the flimsiest of storyline: the mothers’ union wants to shut down a music venue; we are even asked to believe for 30 seconds that Brand and Baldwin are gay; worth seeing purely for almost unrecognisable, pumped-up Cruise complete with primate buddy.


and the Big Yawn today goes to … ta-dah …

The Deal (WH Macy, M Ryan)

Hard to follow the politics of movie-making; some memorable cartoon-type characters; veers between crummy and mildly amusing; Macy wrote it and I was in wince-along mode throughout at his desperation evident in every syllable to try and make the thing fly (cue: pigs nary a trotter off terra firma); the film premise felt like a metaphor for this rag-tag effort.


Killer Clothes by Anna & Brian Clement

Your boobs won’t sag if you never wear a bra; our clothes are killing us quicker than climate change will; learn why your sperm are retreating like the ice-shelves; and oh yes, they put volunteer dogs in undies for two years – half in cotton and the rest in nylon.

The Mammoth Book of Great British Humour Ed. by Michael Powell

All the greats and the new wave, eg, Brand, Fielding; like having your own personal stand-up show on tap; original quotes in categories to pep up your after-dinner speeches; invest.

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