Monday, May 26, 2014

The Two Faces of January

Director: Hossein Amini
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Isaac, Kirsten Dunst

A Hitchcock type thriller set in the Mediterranean in the 60s and based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel. Glamorous American couple Chester and Colette MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst) are on holiday by the Acropolis and bump into a small-time hustler and tour guide Rydal (Oscar Isaac). Rydal sees a wealthy mark and offers them a private tour confident he can skim a little extra off the top from such sophisticated yet seemingly na├»ve tourists. But is all as it seems? Transpires the suave Chester is himself a major criminal and when he kills the private investigator who is tracking them they must flee and use the unsuspecting Rydal to good effect. The trio board a ferry to Crete to escape the hue and cry but when Rydal finds himself smitten with Colette jealousy and paranoia set the characters on a collision course. If only the drama matched the cinematography this would be a wonderful movie. Sadly it does not and what you see is not a Hitchcock masterpiece.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars


Director: Josh Boone

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern

Based on John Green’s novel “The Fault in our Stars is a teenage tear jerker flick involving Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) a feisty teenager recovering from the aftermath of childhood cancer and now carries an oxygen tank with her everywhere. In a recovery group she meets a charming upbeat, young man Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort ) who has lost one leg to cancer. Touchingly they fall in love. A heartfelt story which never really feels insincere. Elgort’s character is less credible however but good supporting performance from Laura Dern as Hazel’s mother, whose silent suffering at her daughter’s fragile mortality, makes this a watchable movie. Take your box of tissues.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Healing

Director: Craig Monahan
Starring: Hugo Weaving, Don Hany, Mark Leonard Winter, Xavier Samuel

A meandering story about triumph over human frailty. Viktor Khadem (Don Hany), a convicted killer from Iran spends his final years of an 18-year prison sentence in a low-security prison farm run. Keen ornithologist and case worker Matt Perry (Hugo Weaving) recommends bereft Khadem takes part in caring for ailing birds in the prison farm's new bird sanctuary. Viktor uncharacteristically takes to the task and recruits his troubled roommates Paul (Xavier Samuel) and Shane (Mark Leonard Winter) and together they reassemble some semblance of their lives despite the menace from fellow inmates. Fine photography from cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, some good support especially Hugo Weaving, but otherwise little else to make this movie memorable. Definitely not Kes.