Elisabeth (Blethyn) is a widow living in Guernsey, and when she hears about the 7 July 2005 bombings, she immediately phones her daughter in London to make sure she's OK. When she can't reach her, she heads to the city, quickly realising how little she knows about her life there. Meanwhile in France, Ousmane (Kouyate) also decides to head to London to find his son, whom he hasn't seen since he was 6. Soon, these two people realise they're on the same trail, and that their children knew each other.
Continue reading: London River Review
Nick (Hassan) is an ex-criminal trying go straight so he can care for his wheelchair-bound mum (Blethyn). But New York gangster Thigo (Jackson), in the grip of the economic crisis, is calling in his loans. Now Nick has 24 hours to come up with ú100,000, or Thigo's goon (Davis) will kill both Nick and his mother. Nick's pal Bing (Dyer) offers to help, and they embark on an odyssey of underground fight clubs, fixed track-betting and drug deals in increasing desperation to round up the cash.
Continue reading: Dead Man Running Review
The same shot can be found in Wright's adaptation of Ian McEwan's monumental Atonement, though the setting is now 1930s France. Three soldiers from London come upon a beach filled with soldiers waiting to return to their respective homelands. The camera glides past sergeants executing diseased horses, a choir of damaged infantry men and dozens of wounded battalions. Smoke bellows from scrap fires and a looming ferris wheel turns in the distance as the three English soldiers make their way into a bar.
Continue reading: Atonement Review
Based on P.G. Wodehouse's novel, the film concerns the exploits of one Jim Crocker (Sam Rockwell), a young wastrel whose social-climbing American mother (Allison Janney, sharp as a tack) has forced him and his father (Tom Wilkinson), a failed British actor, to live in London and try and impress the swells there. She does this just to tick off her competitive sister, Nesta (Brenda Blethyn), a fact not wasted on the men of the family. Spoiling his mother's plans is Jim's penchant to booze it up all over town, getting into fistfights and leaving flappers scattered about the house and in his bed. Jim decides to ostensibly reform his wayward ways when he meets Nesta's step-niece Anne (Frances O'Connor), who won't have anything to do with him unless he pretends to be someone else - Jim once wrote a gossip column under the name "Piccadilly Jim", and once someone else writing the column (he hasn't worked on it for years) gave a negative review to a collection of Anne's poems. Jim thusly does the only sensible thing a fellow could do: He pretends to be a teetotaler Christian named Algernon Bayliss. Somehow, along the way, a German spy and some scientific secrets come into play, but one would be well-served to not wonder how.
Continue reading: Piccadilly Jim Review
That's vital here because Norman Maclean, on whose novella-length memoir the film is based, was a writer of exceptional grace and economy. This is a simple story that must be told the way he wrote it, and Redford delivers, even using excerpts as the narration he reads. Smart move, Bob.
Continue reading: A River Runs Through It Review
Hannah Taylor-Gordon is an interesting find for the role of Anne, her few credits belying her ability before the camera. The story itself is, at three hours, far too long to carry our attention -- most notably because the scenes in the annex are overly repetitious and can't carry the hour and a half they are asked to do. Although Ben Kingsley is quite good in these scenes, starring as Anne's father, he can't cut through the plodding repetition. After only 10 minutes, we get it -- it was really claustrophobic up there.
Continue reading: Anne Frank Review
The ignorant Carolyn (Christina Ricci) leads the perfect life of a college senior -- she's an officer in her sorority and dates Kent (Sam Ball), the tennis team stud. Everything is going well until it's decided that her sorority will mentor the handicapped adults of the Challenged Games (think Special Olympics). Carolyn is against the charity selection, but the sorority president (Marisa Coughlan) believes helping these special athletes train will give the sorority enough points to win Sorority of the Year.
Continue reading: Pumpkin Review
This Bobby Darin biopic reportedly spent about 20 years going through various drafts by many different screenwriters -- including James Toback and Paul Schrader -- before Kevin Spacey grabbed it and made it all his own.
Borrowing more than just a little from Bob Fosse's "All That Jazz," the co-writer, director and star sets his film in a kind of flashback/dream structure in which Darin (Spacey) talks with himself as a little kid. This non-reality also allows for the 45 year-old actor to play Darin, who died at age 37, throughout his career.
Spacey's Darin thinks very highly of himself; when he snatches up teen heartthrob Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth) as his wife, it feels more like trophy gathering than romance. Yet Spacey's own gigantic hubris fits the part perfectly, and when Darin grouses about not winning the Oscar for "Captain Newman, M.D.," you can feel Spacey going through the same thing. When Spacey sings in Darin's voice, it's an act of supreme ego; he's as sure of his Darin impersonation as he is of his own greatness, and it works.
Continue reading: Beyond The Sea Review
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