Monday, 28 June 2010

Con Air (1997)

Tagline: One wrong flight can ruin your whole day
Cusack Plays: US Marshal Vince Larkin
Family Connections: Bill Cusack gets a role as a paramedic

Die Hard, stand aside, for Con Air has to be my favourite action film of all time. I take your "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker", and raise you a "put the bunny back in the box". Utterly ridiculous, but rather joyfully so. Cusack plays the straight(ish) man in the this over the top action fest. Criminals (all with fabulous names and backstories) being transported on a plane take it over. Thankfully good-ish guy Nicolas Cage and his mullet are on board to help Cusack who's down on the ground.

If I had a criticism it would be that the end scenes in Vegas aren't really all that necessary, but the ending (which Bruckheimer didn't originally want) is fairly fantastic in making you feel terribly happy a mass murderer walks away unscathed. Also I suspect that there must be several brilliant drinking games you can play along to this one.

He did this one for the money, but John, you really don't have to be that ashamed. It was nominated for two Oscars. And two Razzies.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

Even A Hit Man Deserves A Second Shot!
Cusack plays:
Hitman Martin Q Blank
Family Connections: Sister Joan being awesome as Martin's assistant Marcella, brother Bill as 'waiter' (clocked him puring drinks at the reunion) and bit part for sister Ann.

For one of the key films in the Cusack catalogue you think they would have gone for a different picture for the poster - looks a bit unlike him right?

Things which are great about this film: every single Dan Aykroyd scene, the 80s soundtrack, Cusack looking ace in a suit, sharp script, the performances (wasn't a massive fan of Minnie Driver before but I guess she's ok in this), and THAT scene where he holds the baby as Under Pressure plays in the background. Swoon. This is probably the film which made me fall for Cusack, and it was great to watch it again with friends, cakes and Rum. One of the best.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

City Hall (1996)

Tagline: Murder...Corruption...Cover-up...Scandal...
Cusack plays: Deputy Mayor Kevin Calhoun

Cusack goes Southern (Loueeeessssssiana) to play the deputy Mayor of New York to Al Pacino's Head honcho. The story begins with a shoot out between an off-duty police officer and a drug dealer. Both are killed, as is a young boy in the crossfire. Events take a turn for the sinister with lies, bribes and coverups.

Cusack is pretty irresistable as a perma-suited guy who grew up loving politics and wanting to do the right thing (or maybe thats just my kind of chap...) and although the story was interesting, it wasn't thrilling enough to be a top notch example of the genre. Or maybe I've been tainted by all the outlandish plots in other films that this just seemed quite tame.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Road to Wellville (1994)

Tagline: A comedy of the heart and other organs.
Cusack plays: Aspiring cereal businessman Charles Ossining

Make sure you're not having your tea when you watch this one, because they talk a lot of shit in this film. Anthony Hopkins is Dr Kellogg (he of the cornflakes) who runs a health farm in the early 20th century to return people to well health through enemas, vegetarianism, anal yoghurt treatment and a raft of other procedures. Married couple Matthew Broderick and Bridget Fonda visit to get better, but find themselves recieving some sexual healing from other residents.

Cusack features in the parallel story where he attempts to start a company cashing in on the recent craze for health food cereals and ends up with Kelloggs wayward adopted son as a partner.

The story keeps viewers interested, although it keeps getting sillier throughout. No performance really stands out as particularly special and Hopkins bunny rabbit buckteeth are rather irritating. Fine for one watch but not repeat viewings.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

Tagline: A killer comedy!
Cusack plays: Playwright David Shayne.

After his small part in Allen's Shadows and Fog Cusack is rewarded with a leading role this time around. He is a playwright in 1920s New York forced to cast the untalented actress girlfriend of the mobster financing his production. Thankfully her bodyguard turns out to be quite a talented scribe.

I don't have any great love for Woody Allen, but this was pretty enjoyable. There's probably all kinds of intellectual stuff going on there that I won't claim to understand, but for story and humour its a good film. By god Jennifer Tilly's voice grates though.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Floundering (1994)

Tagline: A post-riot comedy
Cusack plays: JC

This was, so far, the hardest film to get hold of. I had to import the DVD from the States. I was kind of hoping that the billing and picture on the cover meant that he would have a significant part. But no, he's only in one scene. Grr.

I get the feeling this 'comedy' and social commentary was a real collaborative effort and the people involved enjoyed being part of it. But as a viewer, its not that engaging. John (James Le Gros) 'flounders' in LA in the aftermath of the 1994 riots, thinking of how he could help others and improve the world, but lacking the motivation to do so. There are a bunch of disjointed and often imaginery scenes with various characters in his life.

it feels very 90s, and perhaps had some relevance and meaning at the time, but 16 years on, its dated at worst, retro at best. I found the singing and dancing by cast and crew over the end credits rather excruciating. At least JC just nods along and looks cool in his shades.