With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should be a first-rate thriller. But a deeply compromised screenplay lets it down badly, leaving the actors floundering as people who make little logical sense. Meanwhile, the mystery develops in directions that aren't remotely interesting, leaving the entire movie feeling flat. At least it's beautifully photographed in stunning Norwegian scenery.
It opens in Oslo, as detective Harry (Michael Fassbender) struggles both with debilitating alcoholism and trying to be a father to his teen son with ex-girlfriend Rakel (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who is now married to plastic surgeon Mathias (Jonas Karlsson). When he's able to work, Harry is looking into missing women cases with his rookie partner Katrine (Rebecca Ferguson). And several of these disappearances seem to be connected in some way, linking back to a murder years ago in Bergen that was investigated by two local cops (Val Kilmer and Toby Jones) and was somehow connected to a leery property developer (J.K. Simmons) who is now trying to lure a winter sporting championship to Oslo.
Continue reading: The Snowman Review
John le Carre's novel is adapted with plenty of inventive style into a remarkably personal thriller, packed with thrills that find suspense in the characters and their predicament rather than pushy movie cliches. It's so sleek and involving that it's easy to ignore the nagging plot holes. We're too busy imagining what we might do in the same situations.
It opens in Marrakech, where poetry professor Perry (Ewan McGregor) and his lawyer wife Gail (Naomie Harris) have gone in an attempt to save their troubled marriage. One evening in a bar, Perry meets the boisterous Dima (Stellan Skarsgard), a Russian who openly admits that he launders money for the mafia. And he asks for Perry's help in delivering information to British intelligence in exchange for his family's safety. Back in London, Perry meets MI6 agent Hector (Damian Lewis), who sees this data as vital to bring down corrupt British politicians. But he has to go rogue to continue on the case, drafting Perry and Gail in to help. Soon they're travelling to France and Switzerland in a dangerous game that puts them in the crosshairs of both a Russian mafia boss (Grigoriy Dobrigyn) and a shifty British MP (Jeremy Northam).
The key point here is that Perry and Gail get involved because they are trying to help Dima's family. This makes everything that happens unusually down-to-earth, with a plot that hinges on the safety of a wife and children rather than the fate of the world. Actually, it's the state of the world that's the villain here, as corrupt Western politicians accept huge money to sidestep the rule of law. Screenwriter Hossein Amini is terrific at keeping the film's focus on the people rather than the plot machinery. And director Susanna White fills the screen with classy touches that are gorgeously shot and edited. The action sequences are unusually clever, avoiding cliches for something more deeply involving (a big shootout is particularly imaginative).
Continue reading: Our Kind Of Traitor Review
This sun-drenched thriller is much more than a pretty picture: it's also a slow-burning story about moral compromises that worms its way under the skin. Based on a Patricia Highsmith novel, there are clear parallels to The Talented Mr. Ripley as three characters circle around each other and all kinds of Hitchcockian subtext gurgles around them.
Set in 1962, the plot opens with Chester and Colette (Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst) on a romantic holiday in Athens, where they meet slightly too-helpful American tour guide Rydal (Oscar Isaac). He's already wooing one rich young tourist (Daisy Bevan) and soon locks eyes on Colette. But it's Chester he becomes entangled with, when a private eye (David Warshofsky) turns up trying to reclaim cash Chester stole from a client. So Rydal helps Chester and Colette flee to Crete and, while they wait for a plan to develop, Chester becomes convinced that Rydal and Colette are having an affair.
Writer-director Hossein Amini has already proven himself as a skilled writer of innuendo-filled dialogue (see Drive or The Wings of the Dove), and here he shows a remarkable eye for setting. It helps to have ace cinematographer Marcel Zyskind and composer Alberto Iglesias adding their considerable skills to the mix. The film looks utterly gorgeous, providing plenty of glaring sunlight and murky shadows in which Mortensen, Dunst and Isaac can bring their characters to vivid life. Every scene bursts with suggestiveness, as the inter-relationships between these three people shift unnervingly.
Continue reading: The Two Faces Of January Review
Hossein Amini, Oscar Isaac, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen and Daisy Bevan - The Two Faces of January' U.K. film premiere held at the Curzon Mayfair - Arrivals - London, United Kingdom - Tuesday 13th May 2014
Chester MacFarland is a wealthy businessman whose business ventures are often far from lawful. During a vacation to Athens, Greece with his wife Colette, the pair meet a handsome young man named Rydal who works as a tour guide and earns extra cash through elaborate scams. After dining with the couple, Rydal returns to their hotel, but Chester is thrust into disaster when he is forced to defend himself from an armed man who had been on the end of one of his dodgy dealings. Chester persuades Rydal to move the unconscious body, but he soon finds himself trapped in Chester's criminal world with no escape. To make matters worse, he is becoming increasingly enchanted by the highly fragile Colette and, with her accepting his offers of comfort as the trio go on the run, there's only so much jealously Chester can take.
Set in the early sixties, crime thriller 'The Two Faces Of January' sees a tense story of entrapment, jealousy and suspicion. Directed and written by Hossein Amini (writer of '47 Ronin', 'Snow White and the Huntsman', 'Drive, 'Killshot), the movie is based on the 1964 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith. It is due for UK release on May 16th 2014.
Viggo Mortensen, Daisy Bevan and Hossein Amini - Premiere of The Two Faces of January, 64th Berlin International Film Festival, (Berlinale), at the Zoo Palast - Berlin, Germany - Tuesday 11th February 2014
Keanu Reeves takes on witches, trolls, giant snakes and other fiends in the '47 Ronin' new trailer.
Keanu Reeves plays an outcast in the fictional retelling of the forty-seven ronin, and while it looks a lot more promising than his other recent movies, could it be the one to save his career?
Keanu Reeves in '47 Ronin'
So, he's not exactly been rolling in the glory in recent years with 2012 seeing him star in major commercial and critical flop (an understatement) Generation Um and this year in the China based film Man of Tai Chi which was also his directorial debut and fared a lot better considering it was his first directing stint but still failed to grasp mainstream attention.
After the gorgeous Ravenna (Theron) marries and then murders a benevolent widower king, she locks his beautiful daughter Snow White (Stewart) in a tower.
All the better to continue draining the youth from the entire kingdom. But just as she prepares to take the now of-age Snow's heart, Snow escapes into the woods, and Ravenna hires huntsman Eric (Hemsworth) to find her. Of course, Eric switches sides when he finds her, joining with Snow's childhood sweetheart William (Claflin) and a gang of dwarves to end the evil queen's reign.
Continue reading: Snow White And The Huntsman Review
A young Hollywood stunt driver (Gosling) moonlights as a getaway driver, overseen by his mentor Shannon (Cranston), who has just negotiated a partnership with businessman Bernie (Brooks) and his shady partner Nino (Perlman). But the driver's isolated life is breached when he gets to know single mother Irene (Mulligan) and her young son (Leos) who live in his building. And when Irene's husband (Isaac) is released from prison, the driver offers to help clear an old score so he can start with a fresh slate. Of course, nothing goes as planned.
Continue reading: Drive Review
Based on an Elmore Leonard novel, the story sets half-Indian contract killer Armand "Blackbird" Degas (Mickey Rourke) loose in Detroit, where he puts a bullet into the skull of Hal Holbrook, of all people. When he meets equally dangerous and trigger-happy career criminal Richie Nix (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in a bar, the two decide to team up to finish off an extortion job Richie has set into motion at a real estate agency. Pay me $20,000, he has told the broker, or I'll burn down your inventory.
Continue reading: Killshot Review
Harry Faversham (Heath Ledger), a soldier with the British Army, is unwilling to travel into the Sudan with the rest of his regimen to protect British interests there. So, he resigns his commission. In response, Harry's fellow soldiers issue him three feathers symbolizing his cowardice for leaving. Looking for support, he turns to his father (a former military officer), who disowns him. As well, his fiancé Ethne (Kate Hudson), who provides a fourth feather and calls off their engagement. Unable to cope with the harsh reactions his decision prompts, Harry hastily departs for the Sudan to find a way to help his friends and redeem his honor.
Continue reading: The Four Feathers Review
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In grade school, history lessons were painfully boring, but at least we learned the facts....