Hating remakes is practically a hobby for some. Drawing fire this week is the American version of Park Chan-wook’s modern classic, Oldboy. Just to confuse matters, they’ve only gone and hired a credible director (Spike Lee) to remove those pesky subtitles and make a palatable version for English language audiences. With Josh Brolin starring as a man out for revenge after being locked up for decades for no apparent reason, Oldboy has emerged with mixed reviews and a trailer that suggests it’s little more than an American run through of the original plot. But we do get to watch Brolin emerge from a chest dumped in a park so it can’t be all bad.
Also arriving is Alexander Payne’s sixth feature, Nebraska. If the idea of a low-key black and white film following Bruce Dern trekking across Nebraska to claim a non-existent million dollars doesn’t appeal, then you shouldn’t be allowed in the cinema. Beautifully shot, Payne’s home state seems a bleak and rundown kind of place. But the central story, following the Oscar worthy Bruce Dern as Woody Grant on a crazy road trip, is equal parts funny and heart-warming. Simple and straightforward, it’s also a delight even if it’s unlikely to do much to promote Nebraska as a tourist destination.
Finally, Jason Statham completes another busy year with a trip to the deep south in Homefront. The bad news first – a distinct shortage of Statham in a suit. The good news – he still hits a lot of people. If great art could be performed with your fists, Statham would be one of the best. But it can’t, so instead he brutally beats his way through a succession of bad guys to save his daughter. Oh, and James Franco and Winona Ryder appear for some reason. Perhaps they’d mistaken it for Homeland.
Coming to DVD this week is the highly anticipated Superman update, Man of Steel. Much of the attention has since been stolen by the announcement that Ben Affleck in a Batsuit is likely to fight Henry Cavill’s Superman in the sequel. Put that aside for one moment and bask in the glory of a thoroughly good superhero extravaganza. It’s certainly split opinion, but the tale of Clark’s journey to become Superman is one of my favourite blockbusters of the year. Throw in another classic Hans Zimmer score, the superlative Michael Shannon as the evil General Zod, and a restrained Zack Snyder managing to keep his finger off the slow motion button while directing and what’s not to like.
That’s it for now. See you next week when I expect you all to have cleared your diaries for The Hobbit.