Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored by a terrific performance from Jim Broadbent. With an unusually realistic depiction of London life, this an introspective story about finding closure, and it's nice that the filmmakers avoid ramping up the narrative to push a big emotional climax. Instead, it's in the small moments that the film rings true.
Broadbent plays Tony, a pensioner who runs a small camera shop as a hobby. His primary distraction is his single daughter Susie (Michelle Dockery), who is in the final stages of pregnancy. So Tony and his ex-wife Margaret (Harriet Walter) are providing whatever support they can. Then out of the blue he is notified of an inheritance from someone in his distant past. This sends him down memory lane, as he remembers his life as a university student (then Billy Howle), falling in love with Veronica (Freya Mavor) and feeling crushed when she fell for his best friend Adrian (Joe Alwyn) instead. So Tony tracks down Veronica (now Charlotte Rampling) in the present day to try to sort out their loose ends.
This is a complex story about how tricky it is to make sense of a messy past. The film refuses to simplify things in any way, leaving the audience to see themselves in the characters and situations as it flickers back and forth between the two timelines, dropping hints and details until the final piece falls into the puzzle. And the message is that you can't get closure until you accept even the more difficult elements of your story.
Continue reading: The Sense Of An Ending Review
Tony Webster is a retired man in his sixties whose past comes back to haunt him when he receives a strange letter in the post. It takes him back to his university days when he met the love of his life Veronica Ford. Though they have been estranged since then, she bequeaths him a diary in her will. Their separation was one of bitterness and heartbreak; his best friend Adrian Finn ended up stealing Veronica's heart, and Tony reacted by sending them a very angry letter in response to their partnership. Not long after, Adrian died in mysterious circumstances and with all the horror of those years brought up once again, Tony is forced to confront his guilt and innoncence in the whole saga - as well as other people's suspicions.
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Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on videogames. There may have been some hits (like Tomb Raider or the Resident Evil franchise), but none has ever been critically acclaimed. So perhaps reuniting the cast and director of 2015's Macbeth might finally break the cycle. But while there's plenty of whizzy stuntwork, this film never finds a story or characters to grab hold of the audience.
In present-day Texas, death row prisoner Cal (Michael Fassbender) is executed by lethal injection and wakes up in a gloomy fortress towering over Madrid. He's been saved by shady businessman Rikkin (Jeremy Irons), whose daughter Sofia (Marion Cotillard) is a scientist experimenting with DNA memory. Rikkin needs Cal to travel back into his own history using a mechanical contraption called an Animus to find out where his 15th century ancestor Aguilar (also Fassbender) hid the Apple of Eden, which holds the key to controlling human will. But Cal discovers that he is the last in a long line of Assassins who have sworn to protect the apple from Knights Templar like Rikkin or his imperious supreme leader Ellen (the fabulously gloomy Charlotte Rampling).
The idea is a clever one, and director Justin Kurzel keeps the visuals grounded with action that feels earthy and real rather than digitally manipulated. Indeed, the combination of sleek sci-fi thrills with medieval fantasy horror is very cool. But there's one huge problem with the premise: all of the big fight sequences and eye-catching parkour acrobatics take place in distant history. Cal can experience these things, but he can't actually do anything, so there's no peril involved. Instead, we get endless explanations of the technology and historical inter-connections, which never quite make sense regardless of how much the characters talk about them.
Continue reading: Assassin's Creed Review
Charlotte Rampling - Celebrities attend 88th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood. at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, Academy Awards - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 28th February 2016
Like an antidote to vacuous blockbusters, this intelligent, thoughtful drama packs more intensity into a quiet conversation than any number of death-defying stunts and explosions can muster. Not only does it offer some of the finest performances ever from treasured actors Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay, but it also cements Andrew Haigh's reputation as an unusually perceptive writer-director after his surprise hit Weekend (2011) and his groundbreaking but misunderstood TV series Looking.
Rampling and Courtenay play Kate and Geoff, a childless couple living happily in rural England. A week before their 45th wedding anniversary party, Geoff is informed that the body of an old girlfriend has been discovered in a Swiss glacier more than 50 years after she accidentally fell to her death. Kate is startled that she never knew about Geoff's earlier love, and as she looks into his past she begins to suspect that maybe she was his consolation prize. Meanwhile, Geoff is also taken back to his earlier life, wondering about twists of fate and the choices he made. In other words, after a wonderful life together, Kate and Geoff are suddenly seeing fractures in the foundation of their marriage. And they're not sure what to do about it.
This is a movie that exists in silences, so audiences that prefer dramatic fireworks should probably look elsewhere. Rampling and Courtenay can pack more into a flickering glance than a long speech, so the thoroughly English way their characters approach this situation is utterly riveting. These are complex, fascinating people with full inner lives, still fiery and curious and open to what life has in store. And this new information forces them to redefine their world in ways they never expected. Haigh's sensitive, unflashy direction captures every telling detail perfectly, building subtle yet powerful suspense over the course of the week.
Continue reading: 45 Years Review
It doesn't matter how long or how happy a marriage is, all of them have the potential to be flaked with bitter feelings of jealousy and heartbreak. Kate and Geoff Mercer are about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary, and on the outside it seems they couldn't be happier as a couple. However, just days before their big celebration, Geoff receives a letter explaining how the body of his missing first love has finally been found, preserved in the glaciers of the Swiss Alps. He is forced to face feelings he had buried deep for so many years, while Kate finds herself inexorably consumed in a desperate competition with a dead woman, torn between feelings of sympathy for her husband, fear for her marriage and guilty for her feelings of resentment. The experience throws into question their romantic future, as they realise they must both shine a light on the dark shadow that has always stayed with them.
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When a Latin professor, Raimund Gregorius (Jeremy Irons), sees a young Portuguese woman in a red coat about to throw herself from a bridge, he is compelled to save her. She wrestles her way out of the coat and runs off into the rain, leaving the bemused and mystified professor pondering what it all means. When he discovers a small book in the pocket of her coat, he begins to embark on an odyssey to find her, yet very soon he becomes more interested in the novel's author, Amadeu do Prado (Jack Huston). After discovering tickets for a train to Lisbon stuffed inside the book, Gregorius hastily boards the train himself, throwing caution to the wind, along with his normal, boring life.
Continue: Night Train To Lisbon Trailer
Max Morden is an art historian who's determined to re-discover his own history following the heart-breaking death of his ill wife. In a bid to re-visit his childhood, he descends upon an idyllic seaside town where he enjoyed much of his summer holidays alongside the Grace family. The boarding house he used to visit is now run by Miss Vavasour and is co-inhabited by a peculiar man named Blunden, and his own daughter is anxiously trying to convince him to return home. Instead, he reflects upon his time as boy, where he found himself infatuated with the dazzling Mrs. Grace and subsequently drew closer to her children, the hypersexual Connie and her brother Myles. He begins to remember significant details from his time there, including an affair between the children's nursemaid Rose and another member of the household, and starts to wonder just how accurate his childhood memories are.
Continue: The Sea Trailer
French filmmaker Francois Ozon continues to explore transgressive aspects of sexuality (see In the House) with this deliberately controversial drama about a teen prostitute. But since he refuses to indulge in the usual cliches, we don't react the way we think we should, so the film forces us to think about the story in a surprisingly fresh way.
The teen in question is Isabelle (Vacth), who in the summer of her 17th birthday orchestrates the loss of her virginity to a cute stranger. When she tells her little brother Victor (Ravat), he can't understand how Isabelle could so casually dump this boy. And she never tells her open-minded mother and stepdad (Pailhas and Pierrot). Back home in Paris, she secretly starts working after school as a high-class hooker, visiting her clients in pricey hotels. But when her favourite john (Leyson) dies suddenly, her secret comes out. And everyone wonders if she can go back to being a regular teen.
The twist here is that Isabelle comes from a liberal, wealthy family, and has no need to become a prostitute. She seems to do it out of boredom, because she doesn't need the money and isn't that interested in sex either. On the other hand, she loves pretending to be older than she is. Vacth reveals all of this through a remarkably transparent performance that's often unnerving to watch. By clouding her motivation, we almost become complicit in her actions. We certainly can't just sit back and watch passively.
Continue reading: Young & Beautiful [Jeune & Jolie] Review
New Francois Ozon French movie depicts a young girl leading a double life.
Francois Ozon's new French-language film, Jeune Et Jolie ('Young and Beautiful') explores one girl's venture into prostitution and the impact it has on her life via a beautifully shot coming of age story.
Isabelle's Balance Between Schoolwork & Prostitution Is Upset After She Is Discovered.
Isabelle (Marine Vacth) is a young and flawlessly beautiful young girl who makes the decision to earn her way through working as a prostitute after she loses her virginity. Things are going well as she gets to explore her sexuality, revel in the praise of older men and rake in the cash. That is, until she is found out by the police via one of her online, half-nude shots and her parents become involved.
Continue reading: Does 'Jeune & Jolie' Film Glamorise Prostitution? [Trailer + Pictures]
Isabelle is striking French 17-year-old girl living a secret life of sexual indulgence as a paid escort. On losing her virginity, she decides that prostitution is not only a brilliant way to earn bags of cash, but it also becomes her biggest thrill as she explores all areas of her sexuality while being worshipped by the rich men who pay her. However, when she is found out by the French police and an online profile featuring a half-nude photo of her is discovered, her situation becomes much more complicated. Her parents are devastated; her mother is torn between shame, anger and fear; and it soon becomes clear that she has to start thinking very carefully about what she wants out of her life.
'Jeune Et Jolie' (which translates to 'Young And Beautiful') is a heart-breaking coming-of-age drama about teenage desires and making life choices. Directed and written by BAFTA nominated Francois Ozon ('Swimming Pool', '8 Women', 'In The House'), the film was nominated for the Palme d'Or award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and won the TVE Otra Mirada Award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. It is set for release in the UK on November 29th 2013.
Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...
Tony Webster is a retired man in his sixties whose past comes back to haunt...
Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...
Callum Lynch is a criminal facing the death sentence but is given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity...
Like an antidote to vacuous blockbusters, this intelligent, thoughtful drama packs more intensity into a...
When a Latin professor, Raimund Gregorius (Jeremy Irons), sees a young Portuguese woman in a...
Max Morden is an art historian who's determined to re-discover his own history following the...
French filmmaker Francois Ozon continues to explore transgressive aspects of sexuality (see In the House)...
Isabelle is striking French 17-year-old girl living a secret life of sexual indulgence as a...
Even though this British mystery-drama is rather too creepy for its own good, it gives...
Von Trier continues to challenge audiences with his bold, bleak storytelling. As always, he creates...
In a grand castle located in the beautiful countryside, Justine and Michael have married. They...