A long-overdue recommendation of a double-bill with Winding Refn’s Drive, Derek Cianfrance’s (Blue Valentine) three-act drama packs three movies into one; the robberies, corruption, chases and shoot-outs are not the main draw; this is a character drama of lost souls and broken families, with Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper in some of their best work. Continue Reading
In a world… where dead superheroes can be resurrected at will, where supercharged mo-capped super-villains can look like giant Plasticine men, where 300 years-worth of CGI rendering can still look like the Masters of the Universe cartoon, and where three stone boxes can produce an identikit apocalypse: Warners’ and DC revert to over-the-top bash-smash-and-crash that nobody cares about.
Superman, Batman, Fish-man, Flash-man, Tin-man and Wonder Woman get to take on an 8-foot maniac with an axe and a large horde of winged monkeys staight outa Oz. At least Gal Gadot’s got her groove on. Continue Reading
Seemingly innocent teen Jesse (Elle Fanning – Maleficent) moves to LA to become a model and immediately has to contend with the sleaze and depravity of a town that preys on ambitious young beauties. Attracting a stalkerish makeup artist (Jena Malone – Hunger Games, Donnie Darko), and the enmity of established models Sarah and Gigi, Jesse reveals a harder, darker character beneath her ingenoue persona to join the Women in the Edge of Self Destruction.
Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive, Valhalla Rising) quickly reverts to type to subvert his glossy Indie thriller into something altogether crueller and more perverse, with a shocker of an ending. Continue Reading
DC’s comic-book adventure about the press-ganged-from-prison team of super-villains is… The Dirty Dozen. That’s it.
Okay, Will Smith (After Earth) is back on Fresh-Prince form as fast-talking family man and lethal assassin Deadshot, whilst Margo Robbie (Focus) again steals the show this time as crazy, vulnerable Harley Quinn. Jared Leto (Blade Runner) is properly unsettling as The Joker. The rest is by the comic-book, block-buster numbers. Continue Reading
As YA-fiction adaptations go, this teen crime drama from Sacha Gervasi (Hitchcock), based on Sam Munson’s 2010 novel, is strictly middle-of-the-road plot cliché, and only star performances from Ansel Elgort and Chloe Grace Moretz save it from bland disappointment.
When the murder of their black, model-student school-friend is dismissed as gang violence, angsty teenage nerd Addison (Eglort – Divergent, Baby Driver) teams up with best friend Phoebe (Moretz – The Equaliser, Fifth Wave) to investigate in snowy Washington DC.
Indie-inflected, or simply under-budget, November Criminals ambles through twin threads of inept vigilantism and dealing with grief. Rian Johnson’s 2005 Brick, this isn’t… Continue Reading
Natalie Portman aims for Oscar glory in this bio-slice of Jackie Kennedy, covering the aftermath of the JFK assassination. From socialite to First Lady to widow, Jackie was a famously difficult and challenging character, a Washington outsider, briefly the most famous woman in the world, suddenly cast aside in the moment of her greatest loss.
With an equally difficult, mystery-thriller, jump-cut-flashback structure, jarringly stagey dialogue and a honkingly intrusive score, Pablo Larrain’s movie almost goes out of its way to be as difficult as Jackie herself. Continue Reading
Spielberg’s handsomely mounted, fact-based, Cold War drama reunites him with Tom Hanks as the non-spy sent into the cold. Packed with period atmosphere, a restrained Coen Brothers script delivers tension and humour as Hanks’ character attempts to arrange a prisoner exchange amidst the paranoia, fear and political games of the superpowers. Continue Reading