Sunday, December 29, 2013

Philomena

Director: Stephen Frears

Starring: Dame Judi Dench, Steve Coogan

Philomena Lee (Dame Judi Dench) was an innocent young Irish girl in the Fifties whose only mistake was to have unprotected sex. The resultant pregnancy left her disowned by her family and at the mercy of the sisters at the Roscrea convent. Required to work seven days per week in the notorious laundries her son is taken away her never to be seen again. On his 50th birthday she shares her long kept secret with her daughter. Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) plays former BBC journalist and disgraced spin doctor in need of a new project. A chance meeting with Philomena’s daughter brings him an invitation to investigate her mother’s case. Poles apart delve into the past which brings them together as they discover more and more surprises. This is based on a true story, infused with a righteous anger, about the cruelty and injustice at the heart of the Catholic Church. A real cracker of a movie and likely to bring an Oscar nomination for Dench. Coogan who co scripted and co produced the movie gives his best on screen performance (imo) to date. A fantastic piece of storytelling which necessitates watching the movie with a box of paper hankies . You will need them whether you laugh or cry. Well worth seeing.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Le Week-end

Director: Roger Michell

Starring: Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan, Jeff Goldblum, Olly Alexander, Judith Davis

Tired academics, Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg Burrows (Lindsay Duncan) are from Birmingham and decide to rekindle their relationship and celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in Paris where they spent their honeymoon. As they dine in quaint cafes and browse churches and bookshops, emotional tensions come to a head, and their union seems headed to oblivion. Then by chance they meet an old American friend, Morgan (Jeff Goldblum) who helps them put things in perspective. Supreme performances from Broadbent and Duncan with a great cameo from Goldblum. Well worth seeing this movie.

The Railway Man


Director: Jonathan Teplitzky

Starring: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Jeremy Irvine, Stellen Skarsgard,Tanroh Ishida, Hiroyuki Sanada

An adaptation of the bestselling autobiography by Eric Lomax. Lomax (Colin Firth) as a young officer he was captured and tortured by the Japanese and forced to work on the Burma-Bangkok railway. Many years later still suffering post-traumatic stress disorder he occupies his time singularly as a train enthusiast travelling the county in search of train memorabilia. He meets and falls in love with Patti (Nicole Kiddman) but despite brief happiness his demons soon return. Desperate to help Patti seeks advice from his best friend Finlay the “Uncle’ (Stellen Skarsgard). Reluctantly he tells her what he knows of the ordeal Lomax endured at the hands of the sadistic Takashi Nagase (Tanroh Ishida, as the younger man, and Hiroyuki Sanada as the older character). After Lomax learns that his Japanese tormentor is still alive and working as a tour guide at the site of the memorial to the notorious Burma ‘Death’ Railway; he returns to Thailand to seek final closure. The movie employs lengthy flashback sequences to detail what happened to young Eric (Jeremy Irvine) during the war. Amor Vincit Omnia. Good performances throughout , excellent cinematography, but rather slow in delivery. Take your box of hankies and be prepared for some violent scenes.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Her

Director: Spike Jonze

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams

A science fiction flick concerning lonely romantic, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) who lives sometime in the near future in a more perfect world . For solace in Utopia, Theodore engages with OS1, “the first artificially intelligent operating system.” This is a consciousness with a voice of your choice and rapidly evolves personality, as it grows exponentially. Her or Samantha (spoken by Scarlett Johansson) tidies Theodore‘s e-mails, reads a book in two-hundredths of a second, fixes him up on a date, and, when things go bad, has sex talk with him. Theodore and Samantha quickly become entwined as an item and Theodore’s friends appear unfazed. Paul (Chris Pratt) proposes a double date with his girlfriend and Amy (Amy Adams) who is recently separated welcomes Samantha. Catherine (Rooney Mara) his estranged wife finds it all rather distasteful. Not much else happens but the cast do perform rather well in this uturistic comedy. Pure Art House.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

Director: Ben Stiller

Starring: Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, Adam Scott, Shirley MacLaine, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Wiig, Patton Oswalt

A stunningly visual version of the Danny Kay 1947 classic based on the 1939 James Thurber story. Show off effects aside Stiller makes heavy work of the comedy in his attempt to dramatize the life and times of Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller). Our hero is an insecure photo researcher at Life magazine who escapes his humdrum existence by imagining himself in swashbuckling situations. Secretly in love with co-worker Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig) he would do anything to win her heart. When Mitty is faced with redundancy, he turns his dreams into reality, travelling the globe to find errant photographer (Sean Penn) and the lost negative for the magazine’s final cover. Only then do his far-fetched dreams come true. Very watchable, likable even, beautifully shot but sadly not a patch on the Danny Kaye version.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Wee Man

Director: Ray Burdis

Starring: Martin Compston, Denis Lawson, Daniel Kerr, Patrick Bergin, (Stephen McCole, John Hannah

Set in Glasgow in the 70s and 80s the movie is based on the memoirs of Glasgow gangland figure, Paul Ferris. Young tear away Paul Ferris (played as a child by Daniel Kerr: then adult, Martin Compston) grows up street wise the housing schemes of outer Glasgow where he is tormented by local bullies. Frustrated by the endless harassment including the killing of his pet dog, the older Ferris eventually retaliates. The joy he experiences gives him a rush like no other, and he soon embarks on a life of violent crime. Local crime boss, Arthur “The Godfather” Thompson (Patrick Bergin) likes the look of the young thug and takes him into his firm but this also provokes the displeasure of Thompson’s inadequate son, ‘Fat Boy’ (Stephen McCole). Rival mobster, the sinister, Tam McGrawn (John Hannah), capitalizes on the tension by turning them both against each other. Ferris needs to make sense of it all before it all descends in chaos. Stark viewing in places it tells a story of how even a good lad can go feral when in the company of bad people.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kill Your Darlings

Director: John Krokidas

Starring: Ben Foster, Daniel Radcliff, Dane DeHaan, Elizabeth Olsen, Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Cross, Jack Huston

A coming of age story about three freshmen at Columbia University, during the 1940s. They just happen to be Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliff), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston), and William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster), and their peripheral involvement in a murder of a friend, stabbed by his lover and dumped his body in the Hudson River. Ginsberg forges a friendship with fellow poet, classmate and bon vivant, Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan). Together, the four begin to explore the creation of a new creative movement, to be called the New Vision, which will rejuvenate American literature. Meantime the older David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall) is romantically attached to Lucien and considers Ginsberg and Kerouac serious rivals. The younger men seem to have taken his ideas and when his body is left floating in the river many questions remain. Intriguing movie, this brims with hipster New York attitude of the period, with overall good performances from the cast. Pure art house.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

On my way (Elle s'en va)

Director: Emmanuelle Bercot

Starring: Catherine Deneuve ,Camille, Nemo Schiffman, Gerard Garouste, Paul Hamy

Charming movie set in picturesque French countryside. Down on her luck Bettie (Catherine Deneuve) is an ageing beauty who discovers her estranged lover has been unfaithful with a much younger woman. Facing financial ruin and humiliation she decides to run away. This is a road movie in which Bettie and her troublesome grandson Charly (Nemo Schiffman) eventually travel across rural France. The odd couple inevitably bond as we discover a string of characters and just how interesting this older woman is . A stunning performance by Catherine Deneuve.

On My Way Theatrical Trailer from Umbrella Entertainment on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How I Live Now

Director: Kevin Macdonald

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, Anna Chancellor, George MacKay, Corey Johnson, Sophie Ellis, Harley Bird, Sabrina Dickens, Natasha Jonas, Gavin Sims

Adapted from the YA (Young Adult) novel How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff the plot concerns a spiky teenager called Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) who is sent by her widowed father to live with her aunt in England. There the snooty New Yorker falls for her fun loving step cousin, Edmond (George Mackay) and all in the garden seems lovely. Then just as things are doing well a nuclear war escalates and London is destroyed leaving the teenagers separated but determined to survive post-apocalyptic Britain. The coming of age love story is similar to The Road and Red Dawn but there is some decent acting and the movie is bound to have appeal to the young. Not a patch on Lord of the Flies, however.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Enough said

Director: Nicole Holofcener

Starring: James Gandolfini , Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Catherine Keener, Tracey Fairaway, Eve Hewson, Tavi Gevinson, Toni Collette

A charming, big-hearted movie featuring divorced, Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a masseuse with an array of narcissistic and self-absorbed clients and coping with the prospect of living alone again when her teenage daughter Ellen (Tracey Fairaway) leaves for college. She bumps into mild mannered schlub, Albert (James Gandolfini) at a party and they seem to share much in common. They start a relationship but unbeknown to both Eva befriends a client who happens to be Albert’s ex-wife the haughty Marianne (Catherine Keener). As the relationships blossom, Eva innocently at first absorbs Marianne’s bile for her ex and once she makes the connection between the two finds herself doubting her own relationship to humorous effect. Toni Collette plays Sarah, Eva's therapist friend who spends her life rearranging her furniture and whose marriage seems to be destined for the same fate as that of the other two women. Smart, sensitive writing with wonderfully pitched characterizations and terrific performances from Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini. Highly recommended.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fruitvale Station

Director: Ryan Coogler

Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer, Ariana Neal

A murder story based on a real incident in San Francisco. Ex-con Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) was shot by a transit policemen after being arrested for causing a disturbance on a train following a confrontation with a white supremacist. The senseless shooting at Fruitvale Station led to community riots and the two officers were eventually fired and the shooter was later convicted of an involuntary manslaughter charge. The movie follows the 24 hours leading up to the fatal shooting. A sensitive, well-acted and engrossing film.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

Director: Declan Lowney

Starring: Colm Meaney, Felicity Montagu, Nigel Lindsay, Sean Pertwee, Steve Coogan, Tim Key

After a takeover of North Norfolk Digital, a local radio station, slimy presenter Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) is in fear of losing his job and nominates fellow jock, Pat Farrell for the chop. At the launch of the new station an embittered Farrell returns with a rifle and ammunition and to hilarious effect holds the whole staff hostage. Partridge escapes to inform authorities and is then asked to talk the madman down. What follows is a series of mildly amusing to hilarious comedy as the hapless Partridge becomes the "face of the siege." If you want a laugh this is a good movie.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Sunnyboy

Director: Kaye Harrison

A documentary movie about Jeremy Saxon Oxley, the charismatic lead singer of The Sunnyboys, an Australian pub band of the 80s. Oxley was a child prodigy and young surfing champion who wrote songs and mastered the guitar. He and his brother started a group which quickly rose in popularity during the Punk era. Initially they enjoyed immense success but Oxley was battling bipolar disease and drinking heavily. As a result sales floundered and the band broke up in 1984 and Oxley withdrew from the Australian music scene. Over the following decades the lead sing was able to repair his life and relationships and re-emerge valiantly with his old band to perform again in 2012.` Kaye Harrison explores the life and times of Jeremy Saxon Oxley. The Sunnyboy also features lots of music, archive photos and footage of the band from their musical heyday and beyond. A must see for all Sunnyboy fans and everyone interested in learning more about bipolar disease.

THE SUNNYBOY TRAILER from Kaye Harrison on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mystery Road

Director: Ivan Sen

Starring: Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving, Ryan Kwanten, Jack Thompson, Tasma Walton, Tony Barry, Robert Mammone, Jack Charles, Damian Walshe-Howling, David Field, Bruce Spence, Daniel Roberts, Samara Weaving, Roy Billing, Zoe Carides, Tricia Whitton.

A smoldering psychological drama about an Aboriginal police officer, Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen), increasingly at odds with his department, family and his people. After the discovery of a local girl slain by the roadside Swan, recently returned from working in the city, begins to investigate but is soon hampered by his Sargeant (Tony Barry) and colleague, Johnno (Hugo Weaving), with whom he clashes. The more mystery Swan untangles the more he highlights the divide that exists between blacks and whites, young and old, rural values and big city smarts. This is a well crafted cinema noir with some great cameos from David Field, Jack Thompson, Damian Walshe-Howling, Roy Billing, Ryan Kwanten, Zoe Carides, Tasma Walton and Jack Charles. If you enjoyed Jedda, Red Hill and Dead Heart, then this is a must for you.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sunshine on Leith

Director: Dexter Fletcher

Starring: George MacKay, Kevin Guthrie, Peter Mullan

Based on a stage play by Stephen Greenhor it features the songs of the Proclaimers. Two battle weary soldiers, Davy (George MacKay) and Ally (Kevin Guthrie) are trying to rebuild their lives and loves back in their hometown of Leith after a tour of Afghanistan. Davy is suffering PTSD and has just met Yvonne (Antonia Thomas) and loner Ally is planning to marry Davy’s sister, Liz (Freya Mavor), but she wants to go to America. Davy’s father Rab (Peter Mullan) is hiding a secret from his wife, Jean (Jane Horrocks). Not exactly plain sailing, the drama is played out in the backdrop of the Capital of Scotland. The Proclaimers’ harmonies translate well into musical numbers, but the delivery varies between polished and somebody hollering in the shower. Not the best choreographed musical but what it lacks in subtleties and emotional wallop it certainly makes up in cheeriness.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Thanks For Sharing

Director: Stuart Blumberg

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim Robbins, Josh Gad, Joely Richardson, Patrick Fugit, Alecia Moore (Pink)

Set in New York this is comedy drama about six revering sex addicts. Likable, Adam (Mark Ruffalo) is celebrating five years of sexual sobriety and attends his 12-step meetings. His sponsor Mike (Tim Robbins), suggests he start dating again and he meets Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow), a cancer survivor with her own personal issues. Meantime Adam’s son Danny (Patrick Fugit) has a drug problem which ‘causes his mother (Joely Richardson) much stress. Adam’s life becomes more complicated when he becomes a sponsor, to Neil (Josh Gad), an obnoxious, porn-addicted E.R. doctor who will lose his job because of his addiction. This is a well meant sporadically entertaining’ thirty something’s with addiction issues. ’ To its credit it does paint a sympathetic picture of addiction but in the name of light entertainment glosses over the uglier bits.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Gatekeepers

Director: Dror Mareh

A riveting and intimate documentary into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict told by six surviving former heads of Israel’s secret service agency, Shin Bet. After Israel’s crushing victory over its neighbours during the Six Day War in 1967 the country was left it in control of a vast, hostile population living under Occupation. Revealing confessions of torture and terrorism, arrests and assassinations are illustrated with archival footage and chilling animations. The Bus 300 executions, the monitoring of Jewish militants, the intelligence failures leading to the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin are all described leaving the viewer to work out is this the whole truth. However the extra ordinary documentary does off a window into the moral dilemmas faced by the government agency as events unfold. Amazing viewing.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Percy Jackson Sea Of Monsters

Director: Thor Freudenthal

Starring: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Douglas Smith, Leven Rambin, Jake Abel, Nathan Fillion, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Head

Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman )returns as the son of Poseidon for another treacherous, Olympus-saving escapade based on a novel from the Greek mythology-inspired adventure series by Rick Riordan. Percy is assisted in his quest to the Sea of Monsters (a.k.a. the Bermuda Triangle) to capture the legendary Golden Fleece by Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), a skittish satyr; Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), daughter of Athena, goddess of wisdom; and his newly discovered half brother, Cyclops, Tyson (Douglas Smith). The quartet of heroes meet a host of other treacherous, myth-centric obstacles on the way and intersecting with Percy and company are the hyper-competitive Clarisse (Leven Rambin), daughter of war god Ares; Half-Blood turncoat Luke (Jake Abel), son of Hermes, messenger of the gods; Hermes himself (a broad Nathan Fillion), and wine enthusiast Dionysus, or "Mr. D" (Stanley Tucci); and wise centaur (half man-half horse) Chiron (Anthony Head), among others. Rather clichéd with not always the state of art animation but otherwise a good yarn none.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blue Jasmine

Director: Woody Allen

Starring: Blanchett, Clay, Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Peter Sarsgaard, Louis C.K.

To see ourselves as others see us is a gift few have but Wood Allen gives us the classic ‘what if,’ in his tragi-comedy about the ex-wife of a wealthy financier, Hal (Alec Baldwin), who struggles to find her way when after her husband is exposed as a crook. Impoverished, Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) struggles desperately to find a way back into the elite social circle from which she has been expelled. Happy to use and abuse as she goes the cast give great performances in this movie which has Oscars written all over it. Miss it at your peril.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Red 2

Director: Dean Parisot

Starring: Dame Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins , John Malkovich, Byung-hun Lee, Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Neal McDonough, Catherine Zeta-Jones, David Thewlis, Brian Cox

They are back! No , not Ghost Busters, they are on their way, but the aging troup of artisits in another, it has to be said, watchable spy thriller spoof. Crammed with nonchalant one-liners featuring a distinquished cast you would expect to see on Broadway. Based on the DC comic-book series, the likeable bunch of oldies have reformed and have to track a rogue nuclear bomb that is set to go off in the middle of Moscow. In the process they need to clear their names in a Cold War scandal but what else would you expect. Pure nonsense escapism but rather well acted and with never a dull moment.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Stoker

Director: Chan-wook Park

Starring Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman.

Hitchcock type thriller which sadly does not quite reach the mark. On the same day India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) is 18 her father, Richard (Dermot Mulroney). At the funeral estranged Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), arrives and agrees to stay on with India and her mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman) to help and keep the pair company. This causes much concern of the family housekeeper (Phyllis Sommerville) and an estranged aunt (Jacki Weaver), both of whom know about Charlie’s mysterious past. Within no time the sullen teenager and her flirtatious mother find themselves inextricably drawn to his mysterious demeanor. Not too difficult to work out the outcome but none the less a well acted horror and which is beautifully shot.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Rocket

Director: Kim Mordaunt

Starring: Sitthiphon Disamoe, Loungnam Kaosainam, Thep Phongam, Bunsri Yindi, Sumrit Warin, Alice Keohavong

Ahlo (Sitthiphon Disamoe) is ten years old and the surviving twin. Local Laos customs dictate he should have been killed at birth otherwise he would bring bad luck to the village. His mother (Alice Keohavong) flatly rejected the custom and decided to bring him up. Ahlo’s grandmother (Bunsri Yindi), is the only other person aware of the circumstances of his birth, continues to be the boy’s harshest critic. When personal disaster strikes the family the grandmother reveals his secret to his hitherto unaware father (Sumrit Warin), arousing conflicting emotions in the stalwart paterfamilias. Ahlo’s village is forced to abandon their ancestral home to make way for a dam. The villages are promised to be relocated to a new town called Paradise but must live in squalid conditions meantime. After Ahlo provides his friends with an electrical supply the entire family is driven from their jerrybuilt home, hitching a ride on a cartful of the unexploded bombs that litter the countryside. When the young larrikin discovers a local village holds an annual rocket-launching contest with a large cash prize he decides to prove he is not the cause of all disasters and win the cash prize for his family. Endearing, gripping and heartwarming coming of age film which is pretty intense, even for adults. Well worth seeing.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Frances Ha

Director: Noah Baumbach

Starring: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Charlotte d'Amboise, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen, Grace Gummer, Patrick Heusinger

Bitter sweet womance about two twenty something best friend New Yorkers, who share a flat. Frances Halliday (Greta Gerwig) and Sopie (Mickey Sumner )’s friendship is seriously tested when Sophie nips off with Frances’s ex. Now with nowhere to stay Frances needs to come of age and she does as the film will attest to some comic effect. Reasonable performances in this black and white Manhattan-esque comedy. Sure fire art house.

Jobs

Director: Joshua Michael Stern

Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J. K. Simmons, Matthew Modine, James Woods

The dramatized life and times of the late Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) founder of Apple is overly sentimentalized but none the less watchable despite its length of 2 hours. The scenario draws in part on interviews with many Jobs acquaintances, but not on Walter Isaacson’s best selling Jobs biography. Ironically there are no bells and whistles.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Bling Ring

Director: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga

Based on a true story the movie tells of how a group of pampered L.A. teenagers systematically steal millions of dollars in cash and property from celebrities (like Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom and Lindsay Lohan). Following the location of their targeted celebs on gossip websites they strike when no one is at home. The Bling Ring relish the lavish life style of their victims and openly boast about their illicit exploits on Facebook. Inevitable capture means instant celebrity in this truly 21st century crime wave and their true mission is accomplished. The ringleader Rebecca (Katie Chang) is a reality-TV-obsessed girl who finds a kindred spirit in Marc (Israel Broussard). Blooded after burglarizing the home of a friend they swiftly advance to more noteworthy victims. The thrill of it all soon attracts Nicki (Emma Watson) and her adopted sister, Sam (Taissa Farmiga) to the gang and the quartet live large on their ill-gotten gains until reality bites. Good performances in this quasi-satire on celebrity obsession. The film has a fluid morality which makes it more interesting but the main attraction(for me anyway) is the memorable sound track.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

To the wonder

Director: Terrence Malick

Starring: Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem

To the Wonder is a love story and exploration of a man who finds it increasingly difficult to believe in the things he has devoted his life to. Neil (Ben Affleck) is an American tourist who meets Ukrainian divorcee, Marina (Olga Kurylenko), in France. The pair fall in love and relocate to Oklahoma to marry. Marina grows restless, passions cool, and eventually she takes her daughter back to France. Neil meantime seizes the opportunity and rekindles an affair with Jane (Rachel McAdams) a local rancher. Just as at all seems to be working out for Neil, Marina returns seeking another chance and a classic, tragic love triangle is played out against the empty, pitiless vista of an Oklahoma sky. A sort of paradise lost in celluloid but the cinema photography is good, otherwise but pretty hard going.

Friday, June 21, 2013

White Lies

Director: Dana Rotberg

Starring: Rachel House, Whirimako Black, Antonia Prebble

A slow moving movie based on Witi Ihimaera’s novella "Medicine Woman. " Maori , Paraiti (Whirimako Black) is left to live the life of a nomad after her father is killed by soldiers and learns to become a Maori healer (aka Medicine Woman) and teach tikanga (i.e. the old ways). When Maraea’s (Rachel House) mistress, Rebecca Vickers (Antonia Prebble) falls pregnant and wants an abortion she asks a reluctant Paraiti to help her. Clash of cultures ensues in this beautifully shot but rather melancholic movie.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Before Midnight

Director:Richard Linklater

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick

Before Midnight is the sequel to Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004). Ethan Hawke plays Jesse, an American who is now living with Celine (Julie Delpy), his significant French partner. The forty somethings have twin girls and live in Paris. Now a celebrated author the pair is in retreat in Greece as Celine considers her future as an environmental activist. Jess laments his enforced separation from his beloved teenage son, Hank (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) and plans to move his new family back to America. Will this put undue pressure on their relationship; well you will need to see the movie to find out. Hawke and Delpy do however put on another great performance in this modern romance.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Look of Love

Director: Michael Winterbottom

Starring: Anna Friel, Imogen Poots, Matt Lucas, Shirley Henderson, Stephen Fry, Steve Coogan, Tamsin Egerton

The (high) life and (sad) times of Paul Raymond (Steve Coogan), London nudie club owner, property magnate and porn baron. The movie explores the richest man in Britain’s meteoric career and domestic relationships with his wife, Jean (Anna Friel), daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots) and love life with mistress, Amber (Tamsin Egerton). The 20th century libertine led a hedonistic and druggy lifestyle with tragic circumstance. Reasobale performances in this watchable movie which conveys the world of a semi-respectable Soho porn king.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Filth

Director: Jon S Baird

Starring: Eddie Marsan, Imogen Poots, James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent, John Sessions, Shirley Henderson

Detective Sergeant Bruce Robinson (James McAvoy) is an alcoholic, cokehead ,bully and one of Edinburgh’s finest. Bruce is corrupt, foul mouthed and an eye on the main chance. Desperate to win a promotion, he endeavors to humiliate and destroy his colleagues as well as everyone else he comes in contact with. A high profile murder of a Japanese student gives him the career opportunity he seeks but his heinous actions soon start having devastating consequences on all those around him. Some sterling support from Eddie Marsan, John Sessions and a swag of British acting talent including Jim Broadbent and Shirley Henderson in this the latest screen adaptation of an Irvine Welsh novel. Definitely not for the faint-hearted but if you fancy seeing a brilliant performance by McAvoy then this is for you.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Internship

Director: Shawn Levy

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne, Aasif Mandvi, Max Minghella, John Goodman

After two middle-aged watch salesmen Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are fired by their boss (John Goodman) Nick briefly tries unsuccessfully working at his brother-in-law’s mattress store, run by Will Ferrell. Billy decides to signs them up for an unpaid internship at Google’s Mountain View, Calif., campus. There the misfits make the best of team-building challenges with a bunch of brainiac 20-year-olds who live and breathe technology in a race for a handful of coveted jobs under the watchful eyes of Google taskmaster Mr. Chetty (Aasif Mandvi). Not the greatest comedy with only a few merry moments in an overlong advert for Google.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mud

Director: Jeff Daniels

Starring: Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Sam Shepard, Michael Shannon, Ray McKinnon, Sarah Paulson

First rate adventure movie about two teen-age boys, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland). Set in Arkansas Ellis lives on a houseboat with his warring parents, and Neckbone is a trailer kid raised by his scapegrace uncle. Disgruntled with their lives the two set out on an adventure down the Mississippi where they discover a fugitive, Mud (Matthew McConaughey), living on an island. Mud is love lorne for his beloved Juniper (Reese Witherspoon), and when promises them his wreck of a boat if they help him reconnect with his long-time sweetheart (Reese Witherspoon), they agree. Good performances all round in this reprise of Mark Twain’s Mississippi tales of coming of age. Highly recommended.

You ain't seen nothing yet

Director: Alain Resnais

Starring: Michel Piccoli, Lambert Wilson, Anne Consigny, Pierre Arditi, Mathieu Amalric, Anne Duperey, Sabine Azéma, Denis Podalydes

At the reading of the will after the demise of a well know author Antoine d'Anthac's (Denis Podalydes), a group of actors who have previously performed in the playwright's play "Eurydice" are gather together at a mansion tucked away in the Alpes-Maritimes mountains. In a lounge-like screening room their legacy is to appraise a video of the rehearsal of a new production of the play with young actors. The beneficiaries are soon overwhelmed by memories of their own youthful performances and start re-enacting them, interacting with both the video and one another. The deeper they get into their old roles, settings and perspectives start to perceptively shift. This is very clever works from the avant-garde film maker but despite the phalanx of French actors who play themselves wonderfully it is over long and hard going at times. Still worth the effort.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Still Mine

Director: Michael McGowan

Starring: James Cromwell, Geneviève Bujold

Craig Morrison (James Cromwell) is a sturdy, stubborn, and practical octogenarian who decides to build a house for his Alzheimer’s-afflicted wife Irene (Geneviève Bujold). He wants to finish the framing so he and Irene can grow old in the same house together, without endangering her fragile health. Hampered by local building regulations and no support from his immediate family the simple task becomes an epic endevour for a proud and directed fellow. Based on the true events the movie is slow and meticulously crafted as it plays out a story of old traditions versus new rules, youth versus decrepitude, and loving denial versus responsible acceptance. Marvelous performances from the main characters and would not be surprised if there are Oscar nominations for Still Mine.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

We Steal Secrets - The Story of WikiLeaks

Director: Alex Gibney

A long documentary about Julian Assange and the rise and fall of WikiLeaks. Much use is made of old footage and archived materials and the documentary does not engage Assange et al directly. Hence the film lurches awkwardly between basic infotainment concerns and a sharper political agenda. Gibney ponders on whether Assange was a righteous whistle-blower or self promotional egotist? The director seems to prefer the latter and aligns his sympathies more with Bradley Manning, the young soldier arrested for sharing damaging military documents with WikiLeaks. At best the documentary highlights the potential of WikiLeaks as a beacon of truth but at the same time demonstrates the complexities in this practice.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Haunted House

Director: Michael Tiddes

Starring: Marlon Wayans, Essence Atkins, Cedric the Entertainer, David Koechner, Nick Swardson, J.B. Smoove.

Two young folks Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins)are haunted by an unseen ghost after they set up home together. When things get weird Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) with the help of his hapless brother (Dave Sheridan ) and a quirky security-camera installer (David Koechner ) use the house cameras to track the spooks. As it becomes apparent there are supernatural forces at work eventually they seek assistance from the psychic Chip (Nick Swardson) and priest (Cedric the Entertainer). To give plenty opportunity for smuttyness Malcolm and and Kisha have friends (Alanna Ubach and Andrew Daly), who are swingers. Plenty purile sex jokes and fart gags for the younger teenager, otherwise less than spectacular.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Director: Mira Nair

Starring: Riz Ahmed, Kiefer Sutherland, Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber

A tense drama set post Sept 11th and spanning the next decade. Influencial Pakistani professor, Changez (Riz Ahmed) gives an interview to a journalist Bobby Lincoln (Liev Schreiber) following the kidnap of a US citizen in Pakistan. The interview is granted on the condition Lincoln listens to the whole story, which begins 10 years earlier. As a younger man Changez chased corporate success on Wall Street, working for Jim Cross (Kiefer Sutherland) in the prestigious financial consultancy, Underwood Samson. During this time he falls he falls in love with Erica (Kate Hudson) but after 9/11 things change and the young Pakistani is singled out by authorities and discriminated because of his looks. Additionally he is apprehended and humiliated before a personal betrayal that is the final straw. The older and wiser Changz must now reconcile his recent past with the beliefs of his culture amidst the chaos of the high profile abduction . The film explores profound and timely issues and thanks to great cast is well worth seeing .

Monday, May 6, 2013

Snitch

Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Susan Sarandon, John Bernthal, Michael K William, Rafi Gavron, Benjamin Bratt

A crime flick with a story line purportedly based on actual events (PBS Frontline documentary). John Matthews (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is a divorced father and owner of a trucking company. His teenage son (Rafi Gavron) gets busted by the Feds in possession of a large amount of ecstasy. The boy faces a mandatory ten year prison sentence unless he can turn someone up the chain in. The truth is he is a patsy and knows no one but has been set up by a so called friend. Pappa John to the rescue and “The Rock” makes a deal with a cutthroat DA (Susan Sarandon) and tough DEA agent (Barry Pepper) to bring in enough low lives to set his kid free. For the convenience of the audience Mr. Matthews seems to easily insert himself into the North American drug trade led by local drug lord Malik (Michael K. Williams). Dodging bullets in gun battles between rival cartels our hero shows with the help of an ex-con employee (Jon Bernthal) saves the day. Despite what might have been a formulaic action movie it avoids the usual cliché and parodies with a good cast. Not the greatest movie around however for any shortcomings there is some serious acting.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Broken

Director: Rufus Norris

Starring: Tim Roth, Eloise Laurence, Zana Marjanovic, Cillian Murphy, Robert Emms, Rory Kinnear

A cautionary tale of three middle-class families in a suburban close tearing themselves apart. The director’s feature debut the drama is sadly strained, self-conscious and rather unconvincing. Skunk ( Eloise Laurence) an 11 year old living with her father Archie (Tim Roth) and coping with diabetes diabetes, bullying at school, and the defection of her mother from home. Angry neighbour Bob Oswald (Rory Kinnear) is coming to terms badly with the recent loss of his wife and trying to raise three lively daughters. He is quick to use his fists and beats up Rick (Robert Emms), a young neigbour with learning difficulties. One of Skunk’s teachers (Cillian Murphy) also finds himself at the receiving end of Bob’s wrath. In the midst of all this Archie is coping with a complicated relationship with the au pair Kasia (Zana Marjanovic) and he tries to act as pacemaker to his troubled neighbours. A sterling cast but despite that and some excellent cinematography Broken does not quite hit the spot for me.


Monday, April 29, 2013

The Place Beyond the Pines

Director: Derek Cianfrance

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Rose Byrne, Harris Yulin, DeHaan, Emory Cohen

A contemporary morality tale with Luke (Ryan Gosling) a motorcycle stunt rider who discovers he has a baby son Jason from a fling with Romina (Eva Mendez). He decides to take responsibilty for his son as Romina moves in with a new man, Kofi (Mahershala Ali). After a chance meeting with Robin (Ben Mendelsohn) an ex bank manager Luke and he plan a series of bank heists. All goes to plan then on one fateful robbery, Luke is pursued by policeman Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) with both deadly and unexpected results. Not an easy film to follow with loads of camera close ups and tracking, plus the on screen presence of lit cigarettes is both needless and irritating. Good performances from the cast but little else apart from the bike scenes, that is.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Place For Me

Director: Josh Boone

Starring: Greg Kinnear, Lily Collins, Nat Wolff, Jennifer Connolly, Logan Lerman, Liana Liberato

Weepy that will have you laughing and crying either way take a box of tissues. Bill (Greg Kinnear) has recently divorced from Erica (Jennifer Connolly) and is trying to cope. Once a gifted novelist he encouraged his two teenage children, Sam (Lily Collins) and Rusty (Nat Wolff) to write and the film opens on the eve of Sam's first novel being published. The kids find their domestic situation difficult and see their father as a sad loser. Bill meantime mops for the departed Erica and consoles himself with a casual relationship. Then in a coming of age moment Cupid touches the lives of Sam and Rusty. Good performances in this wide screen soap opera.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spring Breakers

Director: Harmony Korine

Starring: James Franco, Selena Gomez , Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine

Coming of age nonsense this time involving four raunchy college girls on an ‘anything goes’ Florida holiday. Faith (Selena Gomez) , Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty(Rachel Korine) steal money for the bash then run foul of the law only to be saved by the Machiavellian, Alien (hammed by James Franco). He has a devious and deadly plan which involves the unsuspecting bikini clad revelers. Through the mayhem and debauchery which follows we discover not all that’s bad is bad etc. Not quite the puerile sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll saga you might hope for but will no doubt have appeal to the Gen Y crowd. Mesmerizing score by Cliff Martinez and electronica artist Skillrex.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Promised Land

Director: Gus Van Sant

Starring: Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook, John Krasinski, Rosemarie DeWitt

Fracking is an emotive subject and forms the central pivot of Promised Land. An issue driven drama set in a complex social situation and with rather a verbose script. The movie is a metaphor for the battle between dependence upon foreign oil and domestic natural gas and simply put militarism abroad and poverty at home. Naïve but likable sales executive Steve Butler (Damon) and his business partner Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand) go to a depressed Pennsylvania town to purchase drilling rights from farmers for the purpose of fracking. They charm the pants off everyone in the process but is their quest really righteous. Local retired teacher Frank Yates (Hal Holbrook) and environmental activist Dustin Noble (Krasinski) challenge the safety of the gas extraction process (fracking) and the battle begins with some unexpected turns. What starts well as a political story ends as a personal morality tale in the standard Hollywood style and that is regrettable. Good all round performances from the cast.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Drift

Director: Morgan O’Neill (Solo, upcoming feature The Factory) and Ben Nott

Starring: Myles Pollard, Xavier Samuel, Sam Worthington, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Robyn Malcolm, Steve Bastoni, Aaron Glenane

Set in the 70s in Western Australia, the Kelly Brothers, Andy (Myles Pollard) and Jimmy (Xavier Samuel) are surfies and know how to shape the perfect board. They decide to start a backyard surf gear business and sell their unique surf gear out of the back of a van. All goes well until Jimmy gets mixed up with a local bikies. How they survive to become a global business in the nub of the narrative. The film features breathtaking WA South West locations with adrenalin-pumping surf scenes. Highly recommend.

Warm Bodies

Director: Jonathan Levine

Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich, Dave Franco, Rob Corddry

Adopted from Isacc Marion’s novel of the same name the movie is set sometime time in the future when much of the world’s population have turned into zombies. R (Nicolas Hoult) is a lost soul who meets and falls in love with Julie (Teresa Palmer), a human survivor of the zombie carnage. Although R has long forgotten his human name his new feelings kindle long lost human traits. There are some nice touches such as, the film is shot in luminous shades of grey and due to the zombie characters lack of vocabulary the couple communicate via vinyl records and experience flashbacks in a sort of Instagram-filtered glow. This unlikely version of beauty and the beast combines the excess of the zombie genre with the conventions of a boy meet girl romance, but there is never really a dull. Amor Vincit Omnia.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

First Position

Manet: Portraying life

Director: Phil Grabsky and Ben Harding

A movie of a Manet exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts which features over 50 portraits and related works. Annotated throughout by experts, Manet: portraying life celebrates the father of modern painting. Intercut with additional interviews and segments that detail the artist’s life, visit his hometown as well as revealing how exhibitions of this kind come together this is a very interesting documentary. Those who know little about Manet will find a more than useful introduction to the man and his art. If you cannot attend in person then tis is truly the next best thing.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Sleepwalk With Me

Director: Mike Birbiglia, Seth Barrish

Starring: Mike Birbiglia, Lauren Ambrose, James Rebhorn, Carol Kane, Sondra James

This is a funny movie which explores what makes comedians funny and more specifically the origins of their source material. Matt Pandamiglio (Mike Birbiglia) is a funnyman with a serious sleep disorder called Rapid Eye Movement disorder (REM) i.e. he physically acts out his dreams as he sleeps. Living with his girlfriend Abby (Lauren Ambrose) he feels trapped and his frustration compounds by his lack of success as a stand up. Living in fear of hurting Abby during his sleepwalking episodes he starts taking work away from home and begins using his personal dilemmas and fears as comedic source. The act takes off but his sleep disorder soon spins out of control. Matt’s bemused parents Frank (James Rebhorn) and Linda (Carol Kane) watch on as crusty agent Colleen (Sondra James) tries to keep the comedian on track. A good cast which features many of Birbiglia's real-life funny friends.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

First Position

Director: Bess Kargman

The film follows six young dancers over a year as they prepare for a chance to enter the world of professional ballet, struggling through bloodied feet, near exhaustion and debilitating injuries while navigating the drama of adolescence. The fly-on-the-wall documentary goes behind the scenes at the Youth America Grand Prix and we meet individual dancers all committed to compete for scholarships and job offers with major ballet companies. Each comes from a different background but they all share talent, work ethic and family support. The documentary follows the dancers to the final in New York. Riveting.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Disney's Oz the great and the powerful

Director: Sam Raimi

Starring: Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis, Zach Braff, James Franco

A visually ambitious prequel to the 1939 classic, Wizard of Oz . Oscar Diggs (James Franco) is a carnival magician and small time con man who is swept by a tornado from Kansas to the magical world of Oz. He is mistakenly taken for savior of Oz and all he needs to do is kill “the wicked witch” who lives in the Dark Forest. Along the way Diggs meets a flying monkey named Finley (voiced by Zach Braff) and a China Doll (voiced by Joey King) with his way hampered by t he three witches. Theodora (Mila Kunis) is a young woman who begins as good and trusting but transforms into the Wicked Witch of the West; the villainous Evanora (Rachel Weisz) ; and Glinda (Michelle Williams) tries to help where she can. The Munchkins put in an appearance but there is no Toto. Not a patch on the original screen adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s classic story but the computer imagery does enhance more than it detracts.

Big Shoe Trailer 2011

A good day to die hard

Director: John Moore

Starring: Yuliya Snigir, Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney

The 5th in the Die Hard franchise with all the usual bullets, trucks flip, choppers explosions, shattering glass and buildings collapsing. Sadly, yet again, the action supersedes story as the John McClane saga loiters on. The plot involves McClane's (Bruce Willis) undercover CIA agent and estranged son Jack (Jai Courtney). Jack is stationed in Moscow and dad travels to Russia for a holiday only to find Jack has been arrested. In a blaze of explosions Jack breaks loose and dad follows in hot pursuit. On an undercover mission McClane junior resents his father’s interference but the pair bond as they create havoc and mayhem until they end up in Chernobyl and discover a major national security threat. The highlights are the movie was Shot in Moscow, Budapest and Chernobyl otherwise little to recommend it.

Rust and Bone

Director: Jacques Audiard

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Armand Verdure, Céline Sallette, Corinne Masiero, Bouli Lanners, Jean-Michel Correia

A romance drama written adapted for the screen from a story by Craig Davidson tells the story of a single parent Alain aka Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) a homeless street hustler who is he is suddenly handed custody of a 5 year-old son, Sam (Armand Verdure). He given them a chance he moves from his native Belgium to Antibes to live with his sister, Anna (Corinne Masiero). There he gets a job as a bouncer becomes romatically entwined with Stephanie (Marion Cotillard), a double amputee who works at the local oceanarium. Steph has lost her legs in a terrible accident with a killer whale and is struggling to come to terms with her new life she finds Ali’s strength helpful. Under the wing of a local crook, Martial (Bouli Lanners), Ali starts fighting in illegal, bare-knuckle fights and the unbridled violence excites Stephanie. But before the two are lost in their animal behaviours gradually Ali finds his sensitive side. Good performances from the principles as the unlikeliest of lovers.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Performance (A late quartet)

Director: Yaron Zilberman

Starring: Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mark Ivanir

The fallout following the announced retirement of ageing cellist Peter (Christopher Walken) from a world-famous string quartet forms the basis of the movie. Upended at the prospect, fellow musicians Juliette (Catherine Keener), her husband Robert (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Daniel ( Mark Ivanir) begin to come unstuck. As long-buried resentments and desires rush to the surface can the ensemble set aside their conflicts and come together to play for their 25th anniversary concert? Well you need to see the movie to discover that but there are some good performances from the cast although the movie is rather clichéd. The score is however quite outstanding and was inspired by Beethoven's Opus 131 String Quartet in C-sharp minor.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

In the fog

Director: Sergei Loznitsa

Starring: Vladimir Svirski, Vladislav Abashin, Sergei Kolesov

Based on a novel by Vassily Bykov, the slow moving movie unpicks the agonising ethical choices faced by citizens under Nazi occupation in Belarus during the Second Woirld War . Following the hanging of three railwaymen, a fourth man, Sushenya (Vladimir Svirskiy ), is released from custody and two partisans, Burov (Vlad Abashin) and Voitek (Sergei Kolesov) believe he is a collaborator and decide to kill him. Nothing however is as simple as it would first appear and what transpires impacts on the rest of the characters’ lives. Told in flashback this is a grim and lengthy movie which explores perceived realities and truth. No soundtrack and pure arthouse.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Flight

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Starring: Denzel Washington, Nadine Velazquez; Tamara Tunie, Kelly Reilly, Bruce Greenwood, Don Cheadle, John Goodman

An airplane drama where the captain Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) pulls off a magnificent maneuver to save lives. In the aftermath it is discovered that hero Whip has his own demons and may have been under the influence of drink and drugs in charge the plane. What follows is a bit of mishmash and despite Oscar nomination the characters are about as shaky as the plane ride. Will Whip come clean to the tribuneral? Well you need to see the movie to find out.

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

Director: Takashi Miike

Starring: Ebizo Ichikawa, Eita, Hikari Mitsushima, Naoto Takenaka, Munetaka Aoki

Another remake this time of Masaki Kobayashi's great, classic Harakiri (1962) the movie is shot in colour and 3D. Miike’s new version is less violent and tells the story of Hanshiro Tsugumo (Ebizo Ichikawa) a poor 17th century samurai who asks a feudal lord, Kageyu (Koji Yakusho), if he can use the courtyard to perform a ritual suicide (the hara-kiri of the title). Hanshiro is suspicious he may be a malingerer and recalls, in flashback, a previous similar experience with a wayward samurai, Motome (Eita). Through flashback, the director reveals a surprising connection between the two ronin. A slow moving movie skillfully put together but no real match to the original black and white film.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

West of Memphis

Director: Amy Berg



This documentary is about one of the most heinous cases of wrongful conviction in American judicial history. In 1993 the bodies of three young boys were found bound, mutilated and drowned in a drainage canal in of West Memphis. The discovery caused such an outrage three local teenagers were soon in custody. Eventually one confessed and the other two were detained as his accomplices. The three young men spent 18 years in prison, one under a death sentence, for a horrifying triple murder they clearly did not commit. Eventually after initial public outrage more and more people began to take interest in the miscarriage of justice. This is the most graphic of the four documentaries to date with footage hard to watch at times. In hindsight there is no shortage of credible suspects and the film systematically investigates the available forensic evidence. Despite their innocence in order to receive a reprieve the three prisoners had to plead guilty thereby closing the case for ever. The film argues the action taken was to protect the state against the rights of the defendants leaving the real guilty parities free. Spectacular soundtrack.





Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Sessions

Director: Ben Lewin

Starring: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy

Based on Mark O’Brien’s autobiographical essay, “On Seeing a Sex Surrogate”, the movie recounts the quest of a paralyzed journalist (John Hawkes) who has spent his entire adult life confined to an iron long. When he is commissioned to write an article on the sex life of the disabled he decides to experience a serious relationship with physical intimacy. On advice of his psychiatrist he seeks the help of a sex surrogate Cheryl (Helen Hunt) with the blessing of his close friend Father Bryan (William H. Macy). The results are laugh-out loud funny, heartfelt, and touching. The sex scenes are neither gratuitous nor coy, but honest depictions of uncertainty, vulnerability, and pleasure. Brilliant performances throughout and highly recommended.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Taken 2

Director: Olivier Megaton

Starring: Liam Neilson, Maggie Grace, Rade Serbedzija

Boring and all rather predictable with some wooden acting thrown in for good measure. Same old, same old from aging lead man Liam Neilson reprising his role as Bryan Mills. Intent of revenge for the slaughter of fellow henchmen the Albanian gang lead by Rade Serbedzija captures Mills and his wife for torture and kangaroo justice. The dialogue is so bad as almost to be cult status. This is certainly an idea free movie which suffers chronic franchise fatigue. Awful.

Hitchcock

Director: Sacha Gervasi

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson

The movie is based on Stephen Rebello's Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho and depicts a complex love story of the great director and his mate. Great performances from Mirren and Hopkins. Centred around the making in Psycho many of the man’s character’s darker traits including a tormented glutton and peeping tom are openly played out. Under the microscope too is his relationship with his wife and close collaborator Alma Reville (Helen Mirren). A must for all film buff not exactly a classy movie. Destined for the art house.