Imagine what Facebook and Google might become in the near future, with a missionary zeal to compel the entire world to share everything, all the time. That’s what David Eggers did in his 2011 cautionary cyber-‘satire’ The Circle, brought to the screen with director James Ponsoldt and the star power of Emma Watson and Tom Hanks.
Cross The Social Network with a cyber-thriller such as, err, The Net and see an uber-Facebook-Google-Apple tech-giant get carried away with itself with disastrous consequences. Continue Reading
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
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
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
Taylor Sheridan’s left-field, superior detective drama set on a snowy Wyoming native reservation has atmosphere, tension and a terrific cast. Unfairly criticised for its racial politics on release, this is part police procedural, part revenge Western and has some finely nuanced playing from all involved, with Jeremy Renner finally getting to prove his acting chops in a thoroughly understated but dominant performance. Continue Reading