Tuesday, February 21, 2012

La Délicatesse (delicacy or sensitivity)

Directors: David and Stephane Foenkinos Cast: Audrey Tautou, Francois Damiens, Bruno Todescini, Melanie Bernier, Josephine de Meaux, Pio Marmai Based on David Foenkinos’ bestselling novel this is a romantic comedy which never really gets beyond being boring Audrey Tautou and Francois Damiens, do their best with a threadbare plot about two 30-somethings who fall into an improbable and ultimately deep-seated romance. A grieving young widow, Nathalie (Audrey Tautou) and her (timid man) Swedish-born colleague, Markus (Francois Damiens), wind up forming an unlikely couple in La Delicatesse. Despite some reasonable on-screen chemistry the characters remain altogether impassive, hinting at deeper feelings but never revealing themselves in an intriguing or appealing way. Fans of Audrey Tautou will enjoy this but otherwise its a bit of a yawn.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Margin Call

Director: JC Chandor

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker , Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci

A tense white-collar drama about morality in a Wall Street investment firm set during the meltdown. The trading firm are in damage control as top executives Seth Bregman (Paul Bettany), Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey) and John Tuld, CEO (Jeremy Irons), lead an all-night crisis meeting to decide on ruthless measures to preserve their personal wealth. Faced with an 80% lay off of the company's workforce, the chief casualty is top risk analyst Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci). Dale's whip-smart protégé, Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto) is given top secret research revealing due to the toxic of the firm’s assets, it is more than likely the investment firm is in imminent danger of bankruptcy. Despite a wordy script there are good performances, particularly from Spacey as the most tormented executive, in this study of greed and opportunism highlighting the ease in which principled employees are swayed to engage in unprincipled acts before others do it to them. Worth a view.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Carnage

Director: Roman Polanski

Starring: Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz, Kate Winslet

A brisk and bracing four-handed comedy about two Brooklyn, N.Y., bourgeois couples: Nancy and Alan (Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz) and Penelope and Michael (Jodie Foster and John C Reilly) , who get-together in a luxurious Manhattan condo to sort out a playground fight between their children. The meeting quickly descends into near-savagery as the characters are exposed by events and we soon discover politeness is but a thin veneer. Based on Yasmina Reza’s stage hit “God of Carnage,” the movie is a wicked comedy brilliantly shot and executed. Try not to miss the tiny but important coda that happens behind the closing credits.