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.


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.