Zoe Saldana is a latterday Columbian ninja, executing La Femme Nikita killings in this exploitation action-flick of slim girls, big guns, revenge and Missions Impossible.
In a tense opening fifteen minutes, nine year old Cataleya (Amandla Stenberg) sees her parents murdered by drug barons, before making a thrilling but improbable escape on foot worthy of the French Connection; free-running over roof tops, markets and sewers.
Handing over her father’s incriminating lists to the Americans in exchange for asylum, the child makes it to America, escapes the CIA, finds her relatives in Chacago and bides her time for revenge. Like you do. Continue Reading
Move over Don Cheadle, it’s Irish whimsy and Brendan Gleeson all the way in this black comedy replay of High Noon; a violent, profane tale of drug trafficking, casual murder and police corruption amid the Paddy stereotypes of the Emerald Isle .
Beginning as a fish-out-of-water comedy with the arrival of black FBI agent Wendell Everett, in Galway to investigate a major drugs shipment, Cheadle (Oceans trilogy, Iron Man) beautifully underplays the humourless and straight-laced agent.
His Irish liaison is the crass and confrontational rural police Sergeant Gerry Boyle (Gleeson – Harry Potter, Troy), whose interests include class-A drugs, prostitutes, swimming, Russian literature and casual racism – “I’m Irish. Racism is part of my culture.” With an incisive Columbo-like persona and his own moral code, world-weary Boyle appears to be the only man in Ireland with any shred of integrity. Continue Reading
In 2077, time travel is invented and immediately banned; not that it stops criminal syndicates using it to ‘disappear’ their victims back to 2044 where contract killers – loopers – dispose of them, until the day their older selves are sent back for disposal to ‘close the loop’.
Rhian Johnson’s Looper is smart, tense, suspenseful and just left-field enough to be out of the ordinary. And like ALL time travel movies, makes no sense whatsoever once the time paradoxes start flowing.
John-Gordon Levitt (Brick, The Dark Knight) as Young Joe does a fantastic impression of Old Joe; Bruce Willis (Die Hard, Fifth Element) in his best performance since time travel head-breaker Twelve Monkeys. But Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau) is again in a different class to the boys.
Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar-winning technical tour-de-force is a thriller come adventure come survival story, yet, with a cast of only two, remains epic in every sense.
Sandra Bullock is entirely sympathetic (if not entirely believable) as civilian astronaut Dr Ryan Stone, a technical specialist in orbit to upgrade the Hubble telescope. George Clooney is barely, but memorably, there as shuttle commander Matt Kowalski.
Don’t you know it, those pesky Russian have shot down one of their own satellites creating a shower of debris hurtling across the sky at 20,000 miles an hour. The high speed space junk takes out their shuttle, then the ISS, until the only refuge is a Chinese space station. Continue Reading
The admirable ensemble cast of Disconnect does for the Internet what Crash did for the multi-cultural urban landscape. Trash it.
If you can ignore its unrelentingly bleak outlook, didactic tone and occasional melodrama, this worthy drama turns our connected on-line world on its head in a tidal wave of suspicion, distrust, paranoia and personal betrayal.
A collection of interwoven plots forms an overall narrative as the lives of the talented cast crossover and tear apart entirely because of the connections made on line. Continue Reading
Despite a title that sounds like an EU treaty from Brussels, Europa Report is a ‘found-footage’ sci-fi thriller that crosses Blair Witch with The Abyss. In Space.
With the challenges of deep space exploration coming to the fore in factual shows like BBC’s Horizon, and in fiction with the aborted Defying Gravity series, Europa Report focuses on a manned mission to the body most likely to contain life in our solar system: Jupiter’s moon, Europa.
Hardware-heavy and with a fractured, CCTV and talking-heads narrative, the admirable cast nonetheless turn in fine performances as astronauts facing their own, fragile mortality. If it can go wrong, it does; and in space, no one can hear you say ‘I told you so.’ Continue Reading
Looking for the Twilight zone, all you get are testosterone-fueled pretty boys snarling their way through a macho version of The Craft. Some impressive special effects can’t disguise the vacuous, sub-Supernatural script. Unintentionally comedic, courtesy of ham-fisted Finnish demolition-meister Renny Harlin.
Somewhere in Massachussets; the Ipswich Colony (which immediately destroys the movie for the Brit’s – we can’t take anything from Ispwich seriously), where, since 1692, a ‘covenant of silence’ has kept witchcraft from the world.
Now, in the present day, the teenage heirs of four ancient families of warlocks battle it out with the banished evil fifth son… meh. Continue Reading