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Max Morden Goes Back To His Harrowing Childhood In 'The Sea' [Trailer]


Ciaran Hinds

‘The Sea’ – an adaptation of John Banville’s book of the same name – sees Max Morden (Ciarán Hinds) return to the idyllic setting of his harrowing childhood as he confronts deamons of the past to help exhume the ones currently plaguing his life.

The SeaThe Sea - A harrowing exploration of one man's childhood

Introducing the burgeoning talents of Missy Keating, Matthew Dillon and Padhraig Parkinson, ‘The Sea’ is produced by Luc Roeg - whose work on We Need To Talk About Kevin was celebrated - and Michael Robinson of U.K. production, finance and distribution banner Independent with David Collins of Irish production label Samson Films.

Continue reading: Max Morden Goes Back To His Harrowing Childhood In 'The Sea' [Trailer]

Cory Monteith's Final Film Project, 'McCanick', To Premiere At Toronto Film Festival


Cory Monteith David Morse Mike Vogel Zoe Bell Glee Rachel Nichols Ciaran Hinds

Cory Monteith's final film McCanick is due to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9th. In one of his final roles, Monteith plays Simon Weeks a drug addict and recently released prisoner. According to reports by MTV, Weeks is suspected of a murder he committed whilst in his teens, he is tracked down by two detectives: Eugene 'Mack' McCanick (David Morse) and Floyd Intrator (Mike Vogel).

Cory Monteith
Cory Monteith at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, appearing in the Glee press room.

The trailer suggests Monteith's character is likely innocent of the suspected crime. One character warns the irritable McCanick "he's done bad things but he is not a killer", whilst the detective retorts "you don't know him as well as you think." This could be a red herring in itself, but we shall have to wait and see!

Continue reading: Cory Monteith's Final Film Project, 'McCanick', To Premiere At Toronto Film Festival

Closed Circuit Trailer


Martin and Claudia are two lawyers who were formerly in a relationship. They are roped into a case together on the defense team of an alleged terrorist, following a tragic bombing in a London market one morning in November. It may be a difficult job to being with, but things don't get any easier when they covertly discover that their client was actually assigned as an undercover spy for MI5 and was supposed to lead them to the bombers before the attack. They soon begin to realise that their every move is being closely watched, and with threats on their life by some powerful people following their investigations and risky suggestions in court, they must escape the controlling force that is the government before they are eradicated - though it could be too late.

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Scarlett Johansson Stuns In Broadway's Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (Pictures)


Scarlett Johansson Tennessee Williams Rob Ashford Ciaran Hinds Benjamin Walker

Scarlett Johansson, Cat On A Hot Tin RoofA Defiant Looking Scarlett Johansson At The Cat On A Hot Tin Roof Opening

 

Scarlett Johansson Stuns In The Latest Production Of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

Scarlett Johansson received warm applause for her opening performance of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof at Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre on Thursday evening (January 17, 2013). Johansson - a Tony Award winner - stars as leading lady Maggie in the latest revival of Tennessee Williams' classic play. 

Continue reading: Scarlett Johansson Stuns In Broadway's Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (Pictures)

Pictures: Scarlett Johansson Sizzles In Broadway's 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof'


Scarlett Johansson Ciaran Hinds Ryan Reynolds Debra Monk

Scarlett Johansson began previews of the Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' classic play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof this week. The Hollywood actress plays the lead role of Maggie the Cat in the forthcoming show, which officially opens to the public at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on January 17, 2013.

Scarlett Johansson, Cat On A Hot Tin RoofScarlett Johansson Certainly Looks The Part As Maggie The Cat In 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof'

One of the most famous plays of all time, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is set at the plantation home of a wealthy cotton tycoon Big Daddy Pollitt. Exploring themes of greed, superficiality, mendacity, sexual desire, repression and death, the play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955. Ciaran Hinds stars as Big Daddy, while the Tony Award winning actress Debra Monk plays Big Mama. Though best known for her roles in The Avengers and Lost in Translation, Johansson has a passion for the stage and won a Tony for her role in Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge.

Continue reading: Pictures: Scarlett Johansson Sizzles In Broadway's 'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof'

Scarlett Johansson Returns To Broadway In ‘Cat On A Hot Tin Roof’


Scarlett Johansson Tennessee Williams Arthur Miller Ciaran Hinds Debra Monk Woody Allen

Scarlett Johansson will grace Broadway once more, as she plays Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, reports The New York Daily News.

Tennessee Williams’ award winning play, which has won the Pulitzer Prize, and has been revived several times on Broadway already, will set the scene for Johansson’s return to the stage; her first since her Tony-winning performance in a 2010 revival of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge. Benjamin Walker will join her on stage. The actors will play Maggie and Brick in a new production that is expected to open Jan. 17 at New York's Richard Rodgers Theatre. Ciaran Hinds (Game of Thrones) will play Brick’s plantation-owner father, Big Daddy. Tony winner Debra Monk will play Big Mama.

The show’s lead producer will be Stuart Thompson, and Johansson, who worked with him on “View From the Bridge,” has wanted to play Maggie for some time, and her box office star power proved strong enough for the Broadway producers to bring back a play that is already familiar to many theatre-goers. It’s hard to pigeonhole Johansson as an actress, given the range of roles she’s fulfilled. More art-house performances, notably with Woody Allen, include; Match Point, Scoop and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, but she has also featured in many Hollywood blockbusters, like Iron Man 2 or The Avengers.


The Debt Review


Good
A melodramatic tone and fragmented plotting undermines this film's serious edge, almost losing the point in the process. But it has strong characters and a first-rate cast, plus moments that are hugely involving.

In 1965, three young Mossad agents infiltrate East Berlin in search of escaped Nazi killer Vogel (Christensen). In their 20s, a romantic triangle develops between them as Rachel (Chastain) finds herself attracted to both David (Worthington) and their leader Stefan (Csokas). But the mission takes an unexpected turn. And 30 years later, Rachel, David and Stefan (now Mirren, Hinds and Wilkinson) are forced to face up to the truth of what happened, even if it might undermine the official story of their heroism.

Continue reading: The Debt Review

John Carter Trailer


Civil War veteran John Carter wakes up in a strange, barren land with no idea of where he is. He soon discovers that he has been transported to the populated Barsoom, which is more commonly known as the planet Mars. He becomes involved in a massive conflict on the planet, with civilisation on Barsoom dying as a result. The beautiful Princess Dejah Thoris tells John that fate has brought him here and that the population and existence of Barsoom depends on him, which John reluctantly accepts.

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Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Review


Excellent

The eight-part saga comes to a close with an action-packed finale that neatly ties up the strands of the whole series and also manages to give its actors some meaty scenes to play with. While it's hugely satisfying, there's also a letdown as we reach the end.

With Voldemort (Fiennes) in possession of the mythical Elder Wand, and four Horcruxes still at large, Harry (Radcliffe) and pals Hermione and Ron (Watson and Grint) know that they have work to do. Breaking into a Gringotts vault is tough enough, but when they sneak back into Hogwarts, they find themselves in all-out war against Voldemort and his Death Eaters. So with the help of adults (Smith, Walters and more) and fellow students (including Lewis, Wright and Lynch), they make their final stand.

After a sort of "Previously on Harry Potter" prologue and a quietly intense opening, the film plunges into the Gringotts heist and barely pauses for breath. Director Yates adeptly juggles action and drama, keeping images razor sharp and making sure the effects work is seamlessly eye-catching (they're also the most consistently high-quality effects in the series). But of course Lord of the Rings-scale spectacle is nothing without great characters, and this film pushes everyone into new territory.

Radcliffe takes on the challenge extremely well, bringing Harry's self-doubt and crippling guilt together with a potent sense of destiny and sacrifice. Of the supporting cast, Rickman, Smith and Gambon get the weightiest scenes, while Lewis and Walters finally have superb moments in the spotlight. And Bonham Carter clearly has a ball with a terrific scene as a shape-shifted Hermione.
Meanwhile, that outrageously starry ensemble fills out each scene, including many who barely utter a word.

As the story propels to the climactic moments, there are a few fits and starts while events recoil and wait to burst forth again. Even though this is the shortest of all eight movies, it feels a little long due to its intensely focussed plot. This means every moment on screen is vitally important, and most are given the chance to play out without feeling rushed. But it also means that, as the ending (and epilogue) get closer, we simply don't want it to end.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Trailer


In the 1970's, former spy George Smiley (who is in forced retirement), is called in to investigate the news that there is a Soviet mole of high-ranking within 'the Circus' - the in-house name for MI6 - who has been there for years making him one of George's former colleagues. George manages to narrow his search down to four men, all colleagues of his. His rivalries and friendships with each of the suspects will make it difficult for George to locate the mole who is eroding at the centre of the British government.

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Race To Witch Mountain Trailer


Watch the trailer for Race To Witch Mountain.

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Race To Witch Mountain Review


Good
The '70s were not a good time for Disney. Not only were their animated "masterworks" failing to live up to their flawless ancestry, but their live action efforts -- Super Dad, Castaway Cowboy -- were truly testing audience patience. In 1975, British director John Hough, responsible for the genre hit The Legend of Hell House, was hired to adapt Alexander Key's 1968 novel Escape to Witch Mountain into a feature film. The story of two children possessing paranormal powers, and the extraterrestrial origins of said skills, became one of the company's few hits of the day.

It was so popular that they made a sequel (1978's Return to Witch Mountain), a '90s TV movie, and now a full blown remake starring former wrestling icon Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. While the title suggests a sort of urgency, there really was no need to create this Race to Witch Mountain. While enjoyable, it's largely foolish and forgettable.

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The Tale Of Despereaux Review


OK
The Tale of Despereaux began life as a children's book, and the animated film version does its best to reproduce the sounds of a storybook: The characters, especially the brave little titular mouse, are earnest rather than wisecracking, and Sigourney Weaver speaks in soothing, empathetic tones as the narrator, just like mom. The movie might have looked a bit more like a lush picture book, though, if it had been hand-drawn rather than computer-generated.

Computers are now the default tools of the animation world, of course, and animators have produced many stunning and even personal images using them. But the animation in Despereaux is hardly state-of-the-art, and so in exchange for that token modernity we get the same waxy, deformed humans a computer could've struggled with in the late nineties. The mammals fare a bit better, but the movie's limited charm comes from its old-fashioned, homespun quality, not CGI breeze rustling through tiny CGI mouse hairs.

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Stop-Loss Review


Good
Any suspicions that Kimberly Peirce was a one-note art house auteur (her first and only feature was 1999's Boys Don't Cry) will be immediately assuaged by the full-throttle war-film assuredness of the opening sequences of her Iraq war film Stop-Loss. Shot in part like the homemade videos that modern American soldiers often make of their own experiences (filmed on the battlefield and then edited, usually with pop music soundtracks, on their personal computers), it establishes with smash-bang audacity and authenticity the camaraderie and of an infantry squad serving in Tikrit near the end of their rotation. The combat witnessed is typically brutal, up-close, and all-inclusive (military and civilian) in terms of casualties. Without having to put much of anything into words, Peirce has put her fresh-faced young cast (Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt) through a meat-grinder of an ordeal that makes it perfectly clear that once these guys are back stateside, patriotic or not, they're done.

Like In the Valley of Elah -- which this film occasionally seems like an MTV/Varsity Blues pop variation of -- most of Stop-Loss is set back in the States. The war is seen mostly in flickers and video-montages, the kind that keep a man up at night. In one particularly grueling scene set at a military hospital, a hideously scarred soldier missing two limbs confides that at night his ward sounds like a horror movie, with all the nightmares and screaming. Also like Elah, Peirce's script (co-written with Mark Richard) is steeped in oorah military brio and discipline, where there is little questioning of war itself. Stop-Loss is, however, a message movie, and no matter how artfully Peirce directs her cast and tries to avoid any sense of political polemic, there's just no avoiding that message, a fact that nearly scuppers the whole film.

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Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day Review


Good
Some film types die out because audiences no longer support them. Others disappear because no one has the talent or skill to successfully resurrect them. The witty, wacky screwball comedies of the '30s and '40s were really nothing more than cultural clashes, the weird and eccentric meshing with the calm and conservative for some humor based class/gender warfare. The new film Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day harkens back to those days of ditzy heiresses, silly playboys, and suave leading men. And for the most part, it succeeds.

For Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand), London before the war is a cruel and heartless place. Fired from her most recent governess job, she's homeless and penniless. Without a single prospect in sight, her life looks fairly bleak indeed. An overheard referral at an employment agency has her rushing off to the apartment of American actress Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams). When Miss Pettigrew inadvertently helps the bubble headed girl balance the three men in her life -- nightclub owner Nick (Mark Strong), novice producer Phil (Tom Payne), and sensitive pianist Michael (Lee Pace) -- she's hired as a social secretary. Desperate for a part in a West End musical, Delysia will stop at nothing to get her way. During her adventures, Miss Pettigrew meets noted designer Edythe Dubarry (Shirley Henderson). A shared secret between the two will have our heroine trying to patch things up with the fashion maven's boyfriend (Ciaran Hinds) before the day is over.

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Margot At The Wedding Review


Good
Eventually it may be that Noah Baumbach could turn into this country's answer to France's Eric Rohmer, turning out a steady diet of small, circumspect dramas about the lives and neurotic times of New York-era literary bourgeoisie. That's one of the things that comes to mind as one takes in Margot at the Wedding, Baumbach's fourth time out as writer/director and one that seems to set a template for the future. It's a chill breeze of a film steeped in ugly inter-familial squabbling and the blinkered mentality of its self-absorbed characters who can generally only raise their gaze from their own navels long enough to find something lacking in the person they're addressing. The sour tone which was shot through Baumbach's previous work, The Squid and the Whale, has almost completely curdled here, though without losing any of that film's swift tartness.

As the titular Margot, Nicole Kidman does the yeoman's share of the work here, as the bitchy and borderline sociopathic older sister who's reluctantly comes up from Manhattan to her sister Pauline's wedding at the ancestral country home, where she's marrying a guy she finds barely even worthy of her contempt. "He's not ugly, he's just completely unattractive," is one of the many evil bon mots that Baumbach gives Kidman to spit out in her seemingly compulsive need to find fault in and drive to despair anyone within eyesight. She makes quite a pair with Jennifer Jason Leigh as Pauline, the two of them strangely beautiful while nestled under stringy and flyaway mouse-brown mops. Kidman's eyes are flashing and penetrating as Leigh's are dreamy, the two of them seemingly not of this planet but in entirely different ways.

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The Nativity Story Review


Good
There's a newly famous scene in Borat where a rodeo official advises the titular character to shave his moustache so as not to arouse suspicion that he's a terrorist. What could that possibly have to do with a movie about the birth of Jesus? Well, given that said rodeo official would have to advise (probably rather awkwardly) virtually everyone in this film to do the same, a whole lot.

Many Biblical epics have graced the screen but few have made any effort to match the casting with the geography. The Nativity Story is a notable exception. In a narrative long since detached from the holiday that celebrates it, Israelite Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes), living under Roman rule in, well, zero B.C., sees a vision in which the angel Gabriel (Alexander Siddig) tells her that she will conceive a child by the Holy Spirit. Cue the scratching of the record.

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The Nativity Story Review


Good
There's a newly famous scene in Borat where a rodeo official advises the titular character to shave his moustache so as not to arouse suspicion that he's a terrorist. What could that possibly have to do with a movie about the birth of Jesus? Well, given that said rodeo official would have to advise (probably rather awkwardly) virtually everyone in this film to do the same, a whole lot.

Many Biblical epics have graced the screen but few have made any effort to match the casting with the geography. The Nativity Story is a notable exception. In a narrative long since detached from the holiday that celebrates it, Israelite Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes), living under Roman rule in, well, zero B.C., sees a vision in which the angel Gabriel (Alexander Siddig) tells her that she will conceive a child by the Holy Spirit. Cue the scratching of the record.

Continue reading: The Nativity Story Review

Munich Review


Excellent
It's been a long, tough road watching Steven Spielberg grow up. Too often, the great Hollywood money machine seemed to flip self-consciously back and forth between his serious work (Schindler's List) and the popcorn flicks (The Lost World, The Terminal). For better or for worse, though, 2005 will be remembered as the year when Spielberg finally and resoundingly merged these twin desires into unified works of serious entertainment, first his stunning War of the Worlds, and now Munich, a less complete piece of work, perhaps, but the most ambitious of Spielberg's career and truly something to behold.

What makes Munich even more ambitious than films like List or even Empire of the Sun is that it's not as recognizable a film as those classically-structured epics. This film is part spy thriller and part meditation on violence but not completely either. The result comes out as somewhat scrambled by the end, with the pieces of about a half-dozen lesser movies mixed around inside, but there's rarely a moment when it's not grabbing you by the collar and demanding your undivided attention. We should have more of this kind of thing.

Continue reading: Munich Review

The Lost Son Review


Good
Forget 8MM. The Lost Son's look at a troubled P.I. who gets caught up in what turns out to be a nasty child prostitution ring is exceptional considering it's barely anything more than a direct-to-video thriller packed with stars that barely speak English.

French ¾ber-actor Daniel Auteuil stars as Xavier, an investigator with a seedy past -- he's had a mysterious scrape or two, and now, to get by, he does double time, accepting money for an engagement only to blackmail the subject for more. When a wealthy woman (Nastassja Kinski) and her family hire Xavier to find a grown man who's gone missing, Xavier ends up cracking a child porn gang wide open.

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Titanic Town Review


Weak
Oh, hey, it's a movie about the IRA in Belfast! Does nothing take place in Ireland aside from IRA activity? When Billy Elliot's Julie Walters gets fed up of all the bombing, burning busses, gun battles, and home raids, she does something about it -- speaking out against war altogether. So, if you like your rock throwing broken up by a petition campaign, well, this movie's for you.

Veronica Guerin Review


Very Good
Before we even get into talking about Veronica Guerin, one thing needs to be made abundantly clear: Cate Blanchett is most likely the greatest actress working in film today. Like pretty much every other performance she has given, Ms. Blanchett (how long it will be before she becomes Dame Blanchett?) buries herself so thoroughly in her role here as a real-life crusading Irish journalist that one wonders how she could ever dig herself out again. As for the movie, it's essentially a vehicle for Blanchett's tour de force performance, and while that's not always a great thing (there are several wasted opportunities in the film) it's not necessarily a bad thing (it stays the hell out of her way).

And from the looks of it, everyone stayed out of Veronica Guerin's way. The real Guerin (her story was previously made as the morose When the Sky Falls, starring Joan Allen) was a star columnist for Dublin's Sunday Independent in the 1990s who decided to start writing about the gangsters behind the explosion of drug trade sweeping across the city. As presented by Blanchett, Guerin was a pretty fearsome, fearless creature, not afraid to simply walk into Dublin's worst slums, stepping over the syringes carpeting the ground, and start asking questions of the junkies and even the dealers. She has a convenient stool pigeon in arch-criminal John "The Coach" Traynor (the marvelous Ciarán Hinds), whom she treats as an underworld rock star of sorts in her column, in exchange for information. It's an education in charm just watching Blanchett stalk into a room, fix on the person she needs to get something out of, be it The Coach, a friendly police detective, or even a member of Parliament, and just about always get what she wants. She's like a bulldozer in a sharp suit. And when Dublin's worst start pressuring her to back off the story - a fist to the face, a bullet through the window of her study - it just adds fuel to the fire.

Continue reading: Veronica Guerin Review

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life Review


Weak
What is it about archaeology that makes us want to go to the movies? Is it the magic of being able to breathe life into ancient legends, like the riddle of the Sphinx and the lost city of Atlantis? Is it the illusion of uncovering the secrets behind grand and mystical artifacts, like the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail? Or is it simply the white bodysuit that fits Angelina Jolie so tightly that you can't possibly avoid looking at her nipples?

If you chose the latter, you'll definitely want to arrive on time to see Tomb Raider sequel Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, for the first twenty minutes are packed with plenty to gawk at. There's Jolie -- er, Croft -- riding in on a jet ski wearing a black sports bra and soaking wet shorts. There's Croft climbing aboard a ship as seductively as possible while two deckhands watch greedily. There's Croft appearing on deck in the all-too-critical bodysuit, ready to dive into the water and fight a shark one-on-one. And there's even Croft doing some unnecessary splits in mid-air as she rolls her way toward the mysterious "orb" -- an object that soon becomes the focus of the movie due to the fact that it holds the map to the legendary Pandora's box.

Continue reading: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life Review

Persuasion Review


Bad
Whew! Sitting through 112 minutes of Persuasion is a true exercise in persistence. Full of performances that could have been done better by hand puppets, sloppy direction, and a script that's nearly impossible to follow, Persuasion has very little to redeem it.

Pay close attention: the story follows Anne Elliot (Amanda Root), a prim and proper 27-year old in 1814 England. Having once turned down a proposal from Frederick Wentworth (Ciaran Hinds), he has turned back up to try again. Also in the picture are Anne's younger sister Mary (Sophie Thompson), her husband (Simon Russell Beale), and his sisters (Emma Roberts and Victoria Hamilton), both of whom Wentworth chases after. Not to mention Anne's cousin William (Samuel West), who also chases after Anne in the hopes of getting his fingers on her father's estate. The story is based on the Jane Austen novel, and as you hopefully can tell by this rousing description, it's about as exciting as...a Jane Austen novel.

Continue reading: Persuasion Review

Veronica Guerin Review


Good

In 1996, high-profile anti-drug crusading Irish journalist Veronica Guerin was violently gunned down in broad daylight at a highway crossing. The event galvanized the island nation, resulted in a sweeping take-back-the-streets campaign in the Dublin slums and led to constitutional changes allowing the freezing of assets and seizure of "unexplained wealth" from suspected drug kingpins.

But Guerin's one-woman uphill battle against the nation's deeply entrenched criminal element might seem like the stuff of TV movies if it weren't for the warmth and tenacity of Cate Blanchett's beautifully well-rounded starring performance and the unblinking starkness of director Joel Schumacher's gritty account of the events leading to her death.

"Veronica Guerin" doesn't paint its subject as a saintly heroine, but as a the inexperienced investigative reporter she was, driven more by dogged fearlessness than journalistic savvy (she'd been a writer of human interest features and church scandal stories). The always sublime Blanchett ("Elizabeth," "Heaven") captures her character's beloved motherhood, her matter-of-fact compassion for the slum-dwelling young victims of Mercedes-driving heroine pushers, and her a gift for cutting to the bone with bold stories that do everything but name names (which she couldn't do under the nation's strict libel laws).

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The Weight Of Water Review


Good

Director Kathryn Bigelow may produce broad, middling big-budget fare when she has a studio breathing down her neck and a big-name star to appease, as she did in this summer's Harrison Ford submarine thriller "K-19: The Widowmaker." But left to her own devices, she's capable of creating fine layers of intimacy and intensity, as she does in "The Weight of Water."

The film, released two years ago in Europe, is a character-driven dual narrative -- the story of a troubled couple spending a tense working vacation on a sailboat with the husband's brother and his enticing girlfriend, and the story of a century-old murder on the New England island where they're anchored.

The wife Jean (played by the wonderfully nuanced and inconspicuously beautiful Catherine McCormack) is an intellectual photographer whose assignment to take pictures of the island and the murder site for a magazine story is the reason for their trip, and the movie's passport into the past. The husband Thomas (a complicated, imaginative and sullen Sean Penn), is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who some years ago stopped picking up his pen and started tipping back the bottle. Their normally steadfast but strained relationship is put particularly on edge by the company they're keeping on this trip.

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The Sum Of All Fears Review


OK

If there's any movie that might have been wise to shelve after Sept. 11, "The Sum of All Fears" is it. Of course, I can't tell you why without giving away a big part of the movie (which the TV commercials already give away). But suffice it to say if you're the least bit sensitive about terrorist explosions, steer well clear of this thing.

The movies that did get delayed in the wake of last year's attacks were either action-movie cartoonish ("Collateral Damage's" skyscraper bombing), tongue-in-cheek ("Big Trouble's" lax airport security and smuggled nuke) or unfortunate coincidences ("Sidewalks of New York" featured the twin towers prominently in several backgrounds).

This one portrays in all seriousness an enormously catastrophic terrorist attack, then virtually ignores its repercussions, casualties and aftermath except as they relate to a pseudo-intellectual political intrigue plot (substantially retailored from Tom Clancy's novel) about neo-Nazis trying to start World War III.

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Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life Review


Weak

Having apparently learned nothing from the first "Tomb Raider" movie, in this sequel, subtitled "The Cradle of Life," videogame-spawned pneumatic archeologist/adventuress Lara Croft makes another stupid, fundamental mistake with another dangerous antediluvian object that could result in the end of the world as we know it.

In the 2001 movie, two halves of an ancient-treasure time machine were being sought by leathery bad guys with evil ambitions. Croft (Angelina Jolie) gets her hands on one half in the third reel, and if she'd just had the common sense to destroy it, the threat -- and the movie -- would have been over in less than an hour.

This time around she recovers a golden orb that projects a holographic map to the hiding place of Pandora's Box -- yes, the one in the Greek myth that released all pain, suffering and evil into the world -- from a run-of-the-mill billionaire-scientist villain (Ciaran Hinds) who plans to create an unstoppable biological weapon using the box's contents and auction it off to the highest-bidding rogue state or terrorist. (Nevermind that the terrorists plan to create a viral apocalypse that will destroy civilization, thus rendering all his money worthless.)

Continue reading: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life Review

Calendar Girls Review


OK

Inspired by a group of middle-aged women in Yorkshire, England, who rocked the boat in their local knitting-and-baking club and made worldwide headlines by posing nude for a charity calendar, "Calendar Girls" is a quaintly cheeky comedy very much in the vein of "The Full Monty."

Blessed with sparkling performances from the fabulous Helen Mirren and Julie Walters ("Billy Elliott") as the feisty ringleaders who are bored with their group making a pittance each year by putting out boring 12-monthers with pictures of churches or flower arrangements, the movie is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser with a harmlessly fun sense of humor. But it's beguiling only throughout the planning and the posing -- and all the public discombobulation and personal-inhibition busting that results. Once the calendar is released, the picture runs out of steam and tries to keep afloat for a long third act by inventing false drama.

The catalyst for the calendar is the desire to buy a comfortable new couch for the waiting room of a hospital where many of the women spent long hours while one of their husbands was dying of cancer. Realizing they couldn't possible raise enough with their usual endeavors, Mirren's character hits upon the novelty notion of posing nude when she see a cheesecake calendar on the wall of a mechanic's garage.

Continue reading: Calendar Girls Review

Road To Perdition Review


OK

Let's dispel right now any claims of "Road to Perdition" being an extraordinary, Oscar-worthy film, as its advertising campaign touts.

This redemption fable set against a 1930s gangland backdrop may be vividly realized by director Sam Mendes ("American Beauty") and reasonably well acted by a talented cast. But while the picture's mood is inspired by the independent spirit of 1970s crime dramas, it's been given a send-'em-home-smiling, corporate Hollywood scrubbing clean. It has simplistically clear-cut (if somewhat cloaked) morals, it follows a rigidly predictable story arc, and it does not feature the departure performance by Tom Hanks that you may have been hearing about.

Sure Hanks plays an Irish mafia enforcer with a tommy gun and a taste for revenge. But he's a good and troubled soul, trying to save his 12-year-old son from the kind of life he's led. That makes Michael Sullivan very much a Tom Hanks kind of character. He may be sullied, but ultimately he's modest and heroic.

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The Statement Review


Weak

Michael Caine is in the midst of a career Renaissance, giving some of his all-time best performances in the last few years ("Little Voice," "Quills," "The Quiet American"). But while he continues this streak in "The Statement," the movie doesn't rise to his level.

A dramatic thriller that follows prosecutors and assassins hot on the trail of an aging Vichy war criminal played by Caine, it's a film with scads of potential for tension and chills that seems to go wrong in dozens of little ways from the casting to the camera work to the conclusion.

While historical films set in other countries usually work when characters speak English, the entirely British cast of this comparatively modern-day film (set in 1992) seems out of place in its story of a French prosecutor (Tilda Swinton) and a French army colonel (Jeremy Northam) hunting a French World War II officer who is wanted for crimes against humanity. And it doesn't help that, despite being played by talented actors, the pursuers are dry, uninteresting characters with a single distinguishing personality trait between them -- Swinton's tendency to come off like a little dog snapping at the heels of those conspiring to hide her quarry.

Continue reading: The Statement Review

Ciaran Hinds

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Ciaran Hinds

Date of birth

9th February, 1953

Occupation

Actor

Sex

Male

Height

1.85


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