Thursday, October 28, 2010

Red

Director: Robert Schwentke

Starring: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban, Brian Cox, Julian McMahon, Ernest Borgnine, and Richard Dreyfuss

A-list celebrities join together in an A-Team style action-comedy. Oldies retired from the Service once again reform to save the world in this film based on a DC comic book series created by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner. Retired CIA 'black ops' agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) becomes pre-occupied with Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), a call-centre employee, who handles his pension payments. On their first date a hit squad attempts to them and Frank takes action. Suspicious of a cover operation called RED ( Retired, Extremely Dangerous) and led by his old boss, Frank enlists the help of his retired colleagues. Enter Morgan Freeman (Joe), Helen Mirren (Victoria), John Malkovich (Marvin the paranoid), and Brian Cox as a delicious Russian ring-in. Will definately appeal to fans of fun loving, Bruce Willis and all that ‘root’en toot’en stuff’.

Monsters

Director and writer: Gareth Edwards

Starring: Scott McNairy, Whitney Able

Six years ago a crashed NASA probe sets free alien DNA samples in central Mexico. The result is fishy terrors grow and start to run riot overturning pickup trucks and knocking down buildings. Most of the country (Mexico) has been cordoned-off into Infection Zones and Andrew Kaulder (Scott McNairy) is an American photo-journalist documenting the post-invasion ruins. He is assigned to escort the boss' daughter, and bruised fruit, Samantha (Whitney Able) back to safety. Ultimately, the hapless pair find themselves alone in the warzone and things get complicated. If you enjoyed “District 9,” and “The Host” you may like this post-apocalypse road picture.

Sins of My Father (Pecados de mi padre)

Director: Nicolás Entel

A documentary from Argentina based on the sinful life of Pablo Escobar, as told by his son, Pablo Escobar Jnr (or Sebastian Marroquin as he prefers to be known). Daddy was a much feared and revered Columbian drug lord who was allegedly responsible for the deaths of many people as head of the Medellin drug ring. Like Robin Hood, Pablo Escobar Snr had a philanthropic side and according to the documentary anyway helped his community by buying housing projects and soccer fields for the poor. Behind the facade of criminal mastermind lay a good husband and father and his son wrestles on camera with the father he loved and the monster he was. Nicolas Entel also interviews the sons of assassinated Columbian politicians Luis Carlos Galan and Rodrigo Lara Bonilla to get perspective of the enigma, Pablo Escobar Snr. The story of Escobar is told mostly through stock footage filmed by news crews in Columbia, which is often shaky and dull. Definitely has elements which will interest historians and criminal sociologists but lacks mass appeal.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Red Hill

Director and writer: Patrick Hughes

Starring: Ryan Kwanten; Claire van der Boom; Tom E. Lewis; and Steve Bisley

Constable Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten) is a big-city cop who asks to be reassigned to a small Australian town after hesitating to shoot a young junkie in the course of his duties. The sea change is ostensibly because his wife, Alice (Claire van der Boom ) is pregnant and life is simpler in the country. The city slicker arrives in a small town,( Red Hill) set ranching community for his first day at work. His new boss is sheriff, Old Bill (Steve Bisley) is less than impressed. Slowly Shane is adjusting to the quirky locals when there is news of a prison break nearby. Local bad boy, Jimmy Conway (Tom E. Lewis) has escaped for murderous vengeance. Novice Shane discovers there is more to this situation than meets the eye. Set in marvelous countryside atmospherically caught on camera by Tim Hudson this is a suspenseful thriller that pays loving tribute to the old cowboy movies. Something old, but nothing new.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wild Target

Directed by : Jonathan Lynn (my cousin Vinny)

Starring: Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Everett and Rupert Grint

Remake of a French farce which has sadly lost a lot in translation.
Following an audacious art theft, small-time scammer, Rose (Emily Blunt) sells art crook, Ferguson (Rupert Everett) a forged Rembrandt. Keen for revenge he hires professional hit man Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy) but after the hit goes pear-shaped, the debonair Maynard discovers he has lost the killer spirit and has a crush on Rose. Further complications arise when Tony (Rupert Grint) =Victor’s hapless, de-facto son, witnesses his father in action . Martin Freeman (The Office) has a small part as the rival assassin sent to kill Victor and Rose. Not nearly so good as previous comedies of the same genre, but quirky enough and with the odd flash of black humour, to keep most in the audience, mildly amused.

Anything for her (Pour elle)

Director: Fred Cavayé

Starring: Diane Kruger, Vincent Lindon

Nightmare thriller about a happily married couple whose life is shattered when one is falsely accused of murder. After his beautiful wife, Lisa (Diane Kruger) is arrested for murder, literature professor; Julien’s (Vincent Lindon) grasp on his family becomes more and more tenuous. As Lisa’s health deteriorates in prison she begins to lose her will to live. Julien refuses to accept the destruction of their lives and plans desperate measures. Well structured narrative in classic Hitchcock, style, beautifully filmed in various parts of Paris and suburbs. Performances are par excellent in this suspenseful drama which sees the innocence of Lindon’s character challenged as the audience is left guessing as to her true nature of Lisa’s involvement in the original crime. Well worth seeing and catch it before the American remake, The Next Three Days (starring Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks and directed by Paul Haggis) is released in 2011.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Town

Director: Ben Affleck

Starring: Ben Affleck, Pete Postlethwaite, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall and Jon Hamm.

This is a tense, intelligent crime thriller set in Boston and based on the Chuck Hogan novel Prince of Thieves. Ben Affleck plays Doug MacRay, a working-class career criminal confronted with various moral dilemmas. He is the leader of a gang of armed bank robbers based in the Charlestown district of Boston. His love interest is junkie, Krista (Blake Lively), sister of his best friend, Jimmy Coughlin (Jeremy Renner). The latter is a psychopath. After the bank robbery Jem takes the bank manager, Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall), hostage but later releases her unharmed. Keen to tie up loose ends and frustrate the FBI investigation Jem decides to kill Claire but Doug has another plan. He starts a relationship and soon falls head over heels in love with her and decides to make a break from his life of crime. The news gets to neighbourhood crime boss, Fergie (Pete Postlethwaite) who insists the gang pull off one more heist. Claire begins to realize her new lover’s dark secret as the FBI investigation led by Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) closes in. Despite the unconvincing ending this is a reasonably good movie with a chilling (and all too short) portrayal by Pete Postlethwaite as the top villain. Good support performances from Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker), Rebecca Hall (Frost/Nixon) and Jon Hamm (Mad Men). The movie is long at 125 minutes.

Gainsbourg

Gainsbourg
Director and Writer: Joann Sfar
Starring: Anna Mouglalis, Laetitia Casta, and Lucy Gordon

This is a intelligent biopic about the controversial French singer / songwriter, Serge Gainsbourg . Gainsbourg enjoyed celebrity and notoriety as a womanizer with a string of famous lovers, including Brigitte Bardot (Laetitia Casta) and Jane Birkin (Lucy Gordon). Some touching and nostalgic moments in the telling of this fanciful portrait of France's most unlikely sex symbol. The movie runs from the gambit from the time the precocious Lucien Ginsburg grew up in Nazi occupied Paris; to when he finds success as a composer, ladies' man and recording star. Strong cast and an excellent score. Sfar is a cartoonist and makes good use of animation throughout. An imaginatively directed movie with a strong script, this is well worth seeing .Superb cast and excellent soundtrack.




La Danse The Paris Opera Ballet

Director: Frederick Wiseman

Legendary documentary maker, Frederick Wiseman is at it again with an intriguing documentary that follows the members of the Paris Opera Ballet as they rehearse for a series of ballets. Behind the scenes the dancers work on their movements over and over as the choreographers make their charges ready for performance. Watch as the dancers train and train until finally they come together into a single, fluid performance. Exquisite but with no interviews, narration, or explanatory captions, the documentary lacks context. Subsequently after the nearly three hour movie it is difficult to tell who is more exhausted, you or the performers. A must for the obsessed but take a cushion.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Let me in

Let me in
Director: Matt Reeves
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloë Grace Moretz , Cara Buono

This is a remake of the Swedish classic Let the Right One In, directed by Tomas Alfredson. Many consider this to be one of the most atmospheric, creepy, intelligent horror films in recent memory. Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) version is not a bad movie it is just not as good as the original. The story is based on John Ajvide Lindqvist’s vampire novel but unlike the book the movie is set in New Mexico in 1983. Oewn (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is an awkward 12 year old who lives with his alcoholic mother (Cara Buono ). Separated from his father they live in a depressing apartment complex. Bullied at school the young boy passes his time with his Rubik’s Cube. Then new neighbours arrive and he meets and eventually befriends young Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz) who like himself, likes to be to be left alone. Strange things start to happen in the neighborhood none of which seems to bother Oewn who is now infatuated. Unbeknown to all Abby is a vampire hiding in a little girl’s body and her “father” is a servant who plays the role of serial killer to procure blood for her continued existence. As the kids grow closer Abby begins to exert more control over her innocent and naïveté friend. Better than Twilight but otherwise so, so. Not so creepy as the original but otherwise good performances all round.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Loved Ones

Director & writer: Sean Byrne
Starring: Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, John Brumpton, Richard Wilson, Victoria Thaine, Jessica McNamee.

The Loved Ones is a scary movie from down under and tells the story of teenager Brent Mitchell (Xavier Samuels)who is in a car accident which kills his father. Devoured by guilt he turns drugs and self harm. His widowed mother Carla (Suzi Dougherty) and girlfriend Holly (Victoria Thaine) are unable to help him as he slips further into depression. When Brent declines to do a dance macabre with High School vamp Lola Stone (Robin McLeavy) she and her bazaar father plan revenge on the tormented teenager. Plenty for the squeamish to squirm over but not really my cup of tea. Movie score includes Little River Band's Lonesome Loser.