Directed by Ridley Scott
Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley
In Ancient Egypt, Pharaoh Seti I (Turturro) sends his son Ramses (Edgerton) and foster son Moses (Bale) to destroy a Hittite army massing near the border. In the battle, Moses saves Ramses’ life, completing the first part of a pre-battle prophecy that ‘a leader will be saved, and the saviour will one day lead’. Moses later visits the Hebrew slave works under Viceroy Ambiguously Queer Hedonist Scumbag (Mendelsohn; the character has a name, but names are actually pretty hard to come by in this film), and there learns from one of the elders (Kingsley) that he is in fact the child of a slave, floated down river during a cull of the slave population (and by ‘floated downstream’, I mean literally walked downriver into the hands of a childless princess by his sister.)
Directed by Rupert Sanders Starring Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han, Juliette Binoche and ‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano
Major Motoko Kusanagi, a human brain in a robot body (the ‘shell’ which holds her psyche/soul/’ghost’) pursues cyberpunk criminals in a cyberpunk world. I’ll be honest, this is about all I know except a) she has an active camouflage system in her robot skin and b) jumps off high roofs while looking into the camera. I will try to watch the anime (the actual original is a manga comic, originally titled ‘Mobile Armoured Riot Police’,) and maybe even Stand Alone Complex and the new movie (imaginatively entitled ‘The New Movie’.)
What we’re looking at here is of course the US remake starring Scarlett Johansson as Major Mira Killian, a woman whose refugee boat was blown up by terrorists, leaving her brain to be implanted in a robot body by not-even-slightly-dodgy corporate giants Hanka Robotics so that she can fight crime.
Directed by Rob Cohen Starring Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Samuel L. Jackson, Marton Csokas and Michael Roof
After an NSA agent is killed while trying to James Bond his way through a Rammstein gig in pursuit of Russian ex-military crime syndicate Anarchy 99, maverick senior agent Augustus Gibbons (Jackson) is given carte blanche to recruit and deploy an asset drawn from the criminal world, without the tells of a professional agent or ex-soldier. Of those chosen, the only one to pass all of Gibbons’ tests is extreme sports athlete and political pre-YouTube video prankster Xander Cage (Diesel).
Directed by Oliver Parker Starring Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Toby Jones, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon, Blake Harrison, Daniel Mays, Bill Paterson
Dad’s Army, by Jimmy Croft and David Perry, is perhaps the most beloved and enduring of Britain’s classic sitcoms.
Set in the seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea, the series told the story of the local Home Guard platoon, who for nine years engaged in scrapes and shenanigans more or sometimes less war related, from camouflage exercises, to hunting down escaped IRA operatives, to capturing enemy parachutists and submariners. The writers and the characters became national treasures, the series continues to be repeated long after the morbid passtime of calling out which of the actors had since died during the closing credits became monotonous, and a scene in which a German prisoner asks for the name of the youngest platoon member, only to be cut off by Mainwaring’s sharp “Don’t tell him, Pike!” was voted the nation’s favourite comedy line over many more recent offerings.
Often conceived as ‘cosy’, Dad’s Army was pretty racy for its time, with about half the characters engaged in extramarital affairs. It revived the Home Guard in the national memory, launched a thousand catchphrases and while ostensibly focused on the comedy of old men and boys playing soldiers, never failed to present its protagonists as intelligent, good-hearted and courageous. With a run almost unprecedented in the history of British sitcoms, it established unusually rich characters in a full and developed world.
There was also a 1971 film, which remade the early episodes about the formation of the platoon, and added a hostage rescue with German airmen invading the church hall.
In 1944, the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard platoon still diligently guard their little stretch of the south coast, under the command of Captain Mainwaring (Jones) and the leadership of Sergeant Wilson (Nighy). The arrival of glamorous reporter Rose Winters (Zeta-Jones) throws the platoon into a spin, provoking the jealousy and ire of the women of the town as the men prove once more the claim of Cleopatra, that all men are fools and what makes them so is beauty like what she has got.
Directed by Nic Mathieu Starring James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer, Max Martini, Bruce Greenwood and Ursula Parker
Incongruously pacifist DARPA researcher Mark Clyne (Dale) is called to war-torn Moldova to investigate a series of attacks by seemingly invisible enemies, detectable only using the hyper-spectral goggles developed by his team. The local General (Greenwood) and CIA liaison Fran Madison (Mortimer) think that the enemy insurgents are using active camouflage, while the locals blame the deaths on restless spirits. Clyne’s job is to get a decent picture of the attackers and help a Delta Force team led by Major Sessions (Mancini) to capture a sample of the active camo.
Directed by Tim Burton Starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, Ella Purnell, Judi Dench, Samuel L. Jackson
Jake Portman (Butterfield) is a regular American (honest) loser, who connects better with his grandfather Abe (Stamp) than with his father (O’Dowd). When Abe dies, an apparent victim of a wild dog attack, and Jake believes that he sees a faceless giant looming in the bushes, his psychiatrist (Janney) suggests that it would do him good to go to the island in north Wales where his grandfather once lived in a children’s home, run – he always insisted to Jake – by a woman named Miss Peregrine who could turn into a bird, for the protection of children with extraordinary powers.
Directed by Sam Firstenberger Starring Michael Dudikoff, Steve James, Larry Poindexter, Gary Conway and some women
When the Marines guarding the US Embassy on a small, Caribbean island start disappearing, Washington dispatches Ranger Sergeants Joe Armstrong (Dudikoff) and Curtis Jackson (James) to investigate. Cue Army vs. Marines shenanigans of an extremely low grade. This step seems prescient, when an ambush on an R&R party is launched by ninja.
Directed by Lee Tamahori Starring Ice Cube, Willem Dafoe, Scott Speedman, Peter Strauss, Samuel L. Jackson
A commando team bust into the secret HQ of the xXx programme, killing everyone except station chief Agent Gibbons (Jackson) and technical comic relief Shavers (Michael Roof). Informed of the incident, the president (Peter Strauss) is determined that his State of the Union address must tackle the causes of such attacks by building up international relations, much to the chagrin of hawkish Secretary and obvious villain Deckert (Dafoe).
“The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity. Imagine what she could do with 100%.”
Directed by Luc Besson Starring Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Choi Min-sik, Amr Waked
Lucy (Johansson), an American student in Taipei, falls foul of her loser boyfriend’s murderous contacts in the Korean mob and finds herself forced to act as a drug mule by Mr Jang (Min-sik). A packet of experimental nootropic drugs is sewn into her abdomen and ruptured when a particularly stupid mob soldier decides that hitting on the mule and then kicking her repeatedly in the stomach is a good plan. Seriously, for an all-powerful drug lord, Jang needs better help.
Directed by Nick Powell Starring Hayden Christensen, Nicolas Cage, Liu Yifei, Ji Ke Jun Yi, Andy On
During the Crusades – doesn’t really matter which ones – Jacob (Christensen) and his mentor/retainer Gallian (Cage) kill some Saracens; probably, in the final analysis, way too many. Gallian is already thinking of getting out, and three years after a particularly bloody siege we find Jacob following Gallian’s dream to head east, because there’s something that you probably didn’t pick up on from that poster.