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.
Continue: 45 Years Trailer
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.
The hit serial killer drama returned for it's final ever season, with network Showtime making the episode available to all by uploading it to YouTube (US viewers only)
Dexter returned for the last time last night, with the hit Showtime drama returning for it's eighth and final season. Being that it was such a momentous occasion, Showtime made the latest episode of the hit serial killer drama available for all, for free, by uploading the episode to YouTube. You can watch the full episode at the bottom of the page or just read the round-up, which obviously contains spoilers.
Michael C. Hall is back as Dexter
In his return, things seem to be turning out for Dexter at last and dare we say his life in 'normal' in Miami. He is back seeing women, gotten the bowling team back together and Harrison seems to be a natural at soccer as the recreational serial killer has found solace in himself six months on from LaGuerta's death. Dexter is becoming more human and returning to normal life, but as we know things are bound to take a turn for the unexpected and drag Dex back into his old, anti-hero lifestyle.
The premiere of season 8 of Dexter, airing last night (Sunday 30th June) has opened up even more questions than we had at the end of season 7. Here's a quick re-cap of last night's episode.
A quick re-cap of season 7: Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) now knows Dexter is a serial killer; Deb killed LaGuerta (Lauren Velez) and it was all very, very messy at the end of last season. But this is the last season, the last 12 episodes which will tie up the loose ends and we'll finally find out if Dexter will fly or fall.
The episode is called 'A Beautiful Day' and in Dexter's world it most definitely is. It is six months on from La Guerta's death which has made sure Dexter's safe - for now. Everything is going well with Hannah McKay, Dexter's girlfriend and serial killer in arms. Dexter turns up, after romping around with Hannah for a while, to a bench dedication in honour of LaGuerta.
Michael C.Hall, who plays Dexter, at the Showtime Celebrations 8 Seasons of Dexter at Milk Studios, L.A.
Instead of going out tonight, and spending money, seeing people you don't actually like talking to, grab a full-fat cheesecake, and settle down in front of Sundance, because tense World War II drama Restless is on, and you don't want to miss it.
In what The LA Times call "a very British Story" The Sundance Channel miniseries tells the tale of a woman who might be in danger because of her secret past as a World War II spy. They, The LA Times go on to call it, "a dimly lighted labyrinth of clipped sentences, meaningful glances and sudden bursts of passion rather than rock 'em, sock 'em car chases and gunplay. The work Eva and her compatriots are doing consists mostly of introducing false intelligence into the foreign press in the hopes of confusing the Germans and, later, persuading the United States to come to the aid of the Allied forces. (So there are no Nikita-like acrobatics, which would have only split Eva's skirt anyway.)
Continue reading: Some Reasons To Watch Restless On Sundance Tonight
Even though this British mystery-drama is rather too creepy for its own good, it gives Rampling yet another superb character to sink her teeth into. She's working with her son, writer-director Southcombe, who reveals the plots secrets very slowly, manipulating the audience by withholding key details and misleading us with red herrings. But Rampling makes it gripping.
She plays the eponymous Anna, who is trying to get her life back on track after the end of her marriage. Living with her single-mum daughter (Atwell), Anna attends speed-dating events to meet men, and one night goes home with George (Brown), who turns up dead in the morning. Police detective Bernie (Byrne) connects Anna to the death and secretly gets to know her without telling her that she's a suspect. Meanwhile, Bernie's colleague Kevin (Marsan) follows the trail to a mother and son (May and Deacon). And as clues begin to emerge, Anna starts to remember what happened that fateful night.
Southcombe cleverly creates an eerie tone that often makes this feel like a horror movie. So before he gives us any real details about what's going on here, we already know that something very nasty is involved. The problem is that he dribbles the truth to us so slowly that we lose interest in the plot long before the actual revelations. Which makes it all feel like a cheat when he pulls the rug out, since the filmmaker has been lying to us all along.
Continue reading: I, Anna Review
As always, he creates a stunning visual film experience full of raw, wrenching performances. And he tackles themes that are so big that we're not quite sure what to make of it in the end.
Justine (Dunst) is feeling a bit detached on the day of her wedding to the doting Michael (Alexander Skarsgard), and her brother-in-law John (Sutherland) is annoyed that she's not enjoying the expensive party he's staging. Her sister Claire (Gainsbourg) is more understanding, even when events take a few strange turns. Later, the shattered Justine will become the voice of reason when the planet Melancholia, which has been hiding behind the sun, heads towards Earth in a dramatic fly-by. Now it's Claire who's overwhelmed with moodiness, fearing for her young son (Spurr).
Continue reading: Melancholia Review