Geoff Cox’s DVDs: The Railway Man, The Best Man Holiday

I caught THE RAILWAY MAN (15: Lionsgate) at my local cinema back in January, just before it was shunted into the sidelines to make way for yet another superhero movie.
The Railway ManThe Railway Man
The Railway Man

Really looking forward to seeing this biographical drama, I came away a tad disappointed.

While it’s a polished production and the performances of the leading players are fine, the flashback structure gives the film a disjointed feel.

The casting of Nicole Kidman alongside Colin Firth is also a strange one and it’s also rather deceptive, suggesting a love story that never quite materialises. The story begins in 1983 when train-spotter Eric Lomax (Firth) meets future wife Patti (Kidman) en route to Scotland. They marry and Patti discovers that the nerdy former soldier has horrific nightmares.

As she investigates, more is revealed about Eric’s past as a prisoner-of-war who was captured by the Japanese in 1942 and forced to work on the notorious Thai-Burma railway.

Unable to talk to his wife about his time in captivity, Eric learns that the cruel Japanese officer who tortured him is still alive, prompting him to travel east for a confrontation.

Here, the narrative changes tack once again, only to build to an unexpected and powerful conclusion.

> Fourteen years after The Best Man was released, the ensemble of that American comedy have largely realised their ambitions in the sequel, THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY (15: Universal).

Lance (Morris Chestnut) is a football star, Jordan (Nia Long) a TV news producer and Quentin (Terrence Howard) a marketing consultant who gets paid to tell white people what black people want.

Meanwhile, Harper (Taye Diggs) is struggling to equal the success of his first novel, and his wife, Robin (Sanaa Lathan) is soon to give birth after a series of miscarriages.

A Christmas reunion of old college friends brings everybody together with their personal crises and the cross currents of their many relationships are managed more artfully than in the first film.

The script’s silliness makes every plot turn questionable, yet it’s goofiness is near-impossible to resist.

> A documentary about what went wrong with the making of REASONABLE DOUBT (15: High Fliers) would no doubt be more involving than the movie itself.

This legal ‘thriller’ is so lame it should be put on trial for mediocrity. When District Attorney Mitch Brockton (Dominic Cooper) is involved in a fatal hit-and-run, he seizes the opportunity to flee the scene and save his reputation.

After Clinton Davis (Samuel L. Jackson) is found with the body and charged with murder, Brockton uses his position to prove his innocence, all the time making sure not to reveal his own guilt.

> Israeli film BIG BAD WOLVES (18: Metrodome) is a dark comic thriller that succeeds in reeling you in.

This grisly tale of murder, abduction and revenge sees a cop suspended after footage of him intimidating a murder suspect goes viral. He still vows to bring the timid teacher to book when the headless corpse of a missing girl is discovered in the woods, but the grieving father takes the law into his own hands.

Even the hardiest torture porn aficionado will flinch at what happens in the soundproofed basement of a rented house.

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