Saoirse Ronan dazzles in this unabashedly romantic adaptation of the Colm Tóibín coming-of-age novel as a reluctant Irish migrant. A top supporting cast adds weight to a flat screenplay, with the exception of love interest Tony, veering between puppy-dog innocent Italian boy, and stalker-ish would-be serial killer. No wonder our Soairse has a Sliding Doors moment back in Ireland. Continue Reading
Denis Villeneuve gets the award for most intelligent film of 2016 with this thoughtful, understated sci-fi of first contact with an alien race. Uncompromising, alienating and alienated, Arrival is the antidote to all those crash-bang-zap alien invasion movies of the last decade.
In a script that Arthur C. Clarke, Asimov or Philip K. Dick would admire, Villeneuve’s unreliable narrative plays with time; what’s a flashback and what’s present – or indeed future?
Oh, and Amy Adams again proves she’s one of the best actresses of her generation. Continue Reading
A taut and efficient thriller from director Dennis Villeneuve (Arrival, Prisoners), Sicario is embroiled in the US-Mexican drug war, as Emily Blunt’s DEA agent struggles to stay on the moral high ground as part of a covert intelligence task-force. It’s a dirty war with moral and physical hazard at every turn; violence is sudden and brutal.
Sicario (“hit man” in Spanish), shows it’s cards even from it’s very title and is obliged to switch focus from Blunt to Benicio Del Toro’s driven avenger. It’s a messy and distracting switch, and while Del Toro is at his best in years, there’s a bigger question over Blunt’s casting. Continue Reading
A workmanlike, if white-washed, live-action version of the classic animé fails to ignite, despite a lavish cyberpunk setting. Scarlett Johanssen copes admirably with future-shock existential moodling as The Major, but you can’t help but think the time for this came and went before either Robocops or Total Recalls. Or Dredds. Or… well, you get the picture. Continue Reading
I know; but the original is my young lady’s favourite animation as a kid, so we went to see it. Which begs the question: when there’s so much CGI on screen, including Dan Stevens’ beastly face, can you really consider this remake ‘live action’?
When it’s all just an excuse for uber-cynical Disney to wring more money from old properties, it’s even harder to give a fig for singing household utensils, however well Emma Watson flags her feminist credentials.
And as for the alleged ‘gay moment’, I barely noticed. But then I used to live in Brighton… get over it, people. Josh Gadd is camp as Christmas as LeFou, but no worse than C3PO or any number of other comedy sidekicks. Continue Reading
2016’s Best Picture Oscar winner is a well-executed, if rather old-fashioned, rendering of the real-life Boston Globe campaign to expose abusive Catholic priests. A top-notch cast does its’ best to breath life into a well-worn trope; crusading journalists chasing down an elusive story in the face of an institutional conspiracy of silence in the heavily Catholic ‘village’ that is Boston.
It’s a fine contemporary (2010-12) ensemble drama that feels like a 1970’s period piece in tone and style. Unfortunately the script never quite delivers on the promise of an All the President’s Men to become something altogether more pedestrian. Continue Reading
Thirty years into a hundred and twenty year interstellar journey, everyman Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) awakes from hibernation to find himself the only one of five thousand passengers awake on a vast colony ship. Unable to re-enter hibernation, he becomes Robinson Crusoe, a lone, lost soul surrounded by humanity but condemned to die alone – with only the company of a robot bar tender.
Until he commits the selfish act of waking a female passenger Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), condemning her to the same fate; stealing a life equates to murder. The initial romance turns sour when she finds out. But all that goes on hold when the colony ship starts to break down. Like they do… Continue Reading