Utterly bonkers, this movie confounds any attempt to categorise it, blending comedy, romance, horror and drama to become a true one-off. And it maintains such a darkly playful tone that it's impossible not to smile even as things turn rather hideously nasty. Against all odds, these contradicting moods come together into something surprisingly involving, thanks to skilled director Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) and clever writer Michael R. Perry. Their approach is so inventive that it's impossible to guess what might happen next.
Set in a small industrial town, the story centres on Jerry (Ryan Reynolds), who was set up with a job in a bathtub factory after his release from a psychiatric institute. Overseen by therapist (Jacki Weaver), Jerry is settling in nicely. He has a crush on Fiona (Gemma Arterton) in accounting, even though it's actually her office colleague Lisa (Anna Kendrick) who likes him. But no one realises that he has gone off his meds and is starting to listen to advice coming from his lovable dog Bosco and his evil cat Mr Whiskers. What they tell him to do is pretty horrific, but he thinks that this is the only way to get his life back on track.
Where the plot goes is seriously grisly, but it's played out by the cast and filmmakers in a blackly comical way that's highly stylised, seeing everything through Jerry's warped perspective. The question is whether he's a serial killer, an insane criminal or an emotionally tormented young man. Whatever, the film is a remarkably internalised exploration of mental illness, because the tone refuses to let us off the hook. And because all of the performances are riotously funny, bridging the gaps between the humour, romance and violence.
Continue reading: The Voices Review
Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) is just a normal guy. Well, that might not be totally correct - while he is chipper and happy, he is also incredibly mentally unstable. While the people he works with at the bathtub factory think he is just a happy-go-lucky guy, Jerry is steadily trying to stop taking his anti-psychotic medication, and this has led to him believing that his cat and dog are talking to him. After a co-worker (Gemma Arterton) stands him up for a date, Mr. Whiskers the cat convinces him to become a serial killer, despite the dog's better judgement. As Jerry steadily gets further and further down the rabbit hole, his conscience (in the form of his cat and dog) battle for control over whether or not he will just give up and go totally crazy.
Continue: The Voices Trailer
After the high of last year's Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen is back in playful mode for this rather goofy comedy, which only works for audience members willing to abandon their cynicism and just go with the flow. A solid cast makes the most of Allen's cleverly barbed dialogue, even if the performances and filmmaking sometimes feel a bit slapdash. And Allen's deeper existential themes add a hint of depth to the silliness.
It opens in 1928 Berlin, as the magician Stanley (Colin Firth) is convinced by his friend Howard (Simon McBurney) to travel to the South of France to debunk a young American mystic named Sophie (Emma Stone), who has a wealthy family in her thrall. Not only has Sophie convinced the matriarch (Jacki Weaver) that she can communicate with her dead husband, but she has also attracted the puppy-dog devotion of Brice (Hamish Linklater), the sweetly dim heir to the family fortune. But no matter how hard Stanley tries, he can't prove that Sophie is a fraud, and accepting her supernatural powers completely upends his relentlessly pessimistic view of humanity. Although it's even trickier to convince himself that he might be falling for Sophie.
Allen sets all of this up in a very simple way, prodding Firth to a hilariously ridiculous performance as a repressed Englishman for whom life has to be completely rational. Facing him off against Stone's young, free-flowing American is a bit obvious, but the script makes sure that their barbed banter overflows with witty repartee. This includes astute commentary on Allen's favourite theme: exploring the meaning of life through the contradictory blending of science, religion and human emotion. So even if the performances are rather oddly matched, Firth and Stone find some superb chemistry along the way. Although the snappiest role belongs to Eileen Atkins, as Stanley's beloved aunt, who has a wonderfully dry way of speaking the truth.
Continue reading: Magic in the Moonlight Review
Steven (Ryan Phillip) and Shannon (Rachelle Lefevre) want nothing more than to have a child of their own. After some deliberation, the couple decide to adopt a child from Haiti, although when she goes missing the same evening, they realise that things are not as they seem. After consulting the local police, they discover that this known practice of 'reclaiming' is a scam, set up to take large amounts of money from wealthy individuals. Soon, the couple begin to spiral further into the seedy underworld of child trafficking as they battle against the sinister Benjamin (John Cusack) to keep either their money or their lives.
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Co-President, Co-Founder of Sony Pictures Classics Tom Bernard, Woody Allen, actress Jacki Weaver, and Co-President and Co-Founder of Sony Pictures Classics Michael Barker - New York premiere of 'Magic In The Moonlight' at The Paris Theatre - Arrivals - New York, United States - Friday 18th July 2014
Crime drama Animal Kingdom was the big winner at the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards, scooping six top prizes including the best actress trophy...