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.