Basic training for the Korean War is tough on a group of young British cadets. It's specifically tough on Bill Rohan (Callum Turner), as their sergeant hates him. The only consoling factor is the trainee nurses school just outside of his basecamp. When he's not trying to woo the nurses in the town, he's sneaking over to their school to see the woman he has fallen in love with. But when the sergeant's prize clock is stolen, Rohan must do everything to save his best friend from court marshalling, catch the girl of his dreams, and prepare for war.
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In The Tailor of Panama -- based on John Le Carré's novel and directed by John Boorman (Beyond Rangoon, Zardoz) -- Brosnan trades in the sophistication of James Bond for the identity of crude, disgraced spy Andy Osnard, an MI-6 operative that has to be shipped off to Panama on account of his loathsome behavior. Once he arrives in Panama City, the bad behavior doesn't stop: Osnard immediately sets upon the task of uncovering "what's going on" with the Panama Canal. Rumors swirl that it will be sold to another country now that Panama has it back from the U.S. Or perhaps there will be a coup from a populist underground?
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The story is "based on actual events." Patricia Arquette plays Laura, an American doctor trying to find peace after the brutal murder of her husband and son. With her sister (Frances McDormand), they embark on a tour of the exotic East, including a peaceful stopover in Burma, a war-torn country ruled by military dictatorship (As they say, "In Burma, everything is illegal."). Laura's passport is lifted, and she finds herself trapped in the capital city of Rangoon, while her sister and their tour group head off to Bangkok. The Burmese pick that time to revolt, and Laura finds herself caught up in a civil war, which basically amounts to dodging bullets in the jungle while covered in mud.
Continue reading: Beyond Rangoon Review
Inauspiciously beginning with a clunky montage of sun-dappled vistas and police brutality newsreel footage set to rousing (but still slightly heartbreaking) African singing, In My Country focuses on Anna Malan (Juliette Binoche), an Afrikaner journalist and poet whose white father and brother disapprove of her interest in the Hearings ("Remember where you're from, Anna," racist Dad ominously warns). While covering the event, she meets Langston Whitfield (Samuel L. Jackson), a Washington Post reporter opposed to the Hearings' disinterest in persecuting the country's heinous, government-sponsored white criminals. The two quarrel over the effectiveness and justness of the Hearings' guiding principle of "Ubuntu" (an African belief in forgiveness over punishment), but their horror and sadness over the proceedings' testimonials - many of which have been recreated, word-for-gut-wrenching word, by the filmmakers - helps them eventually bridge their initial ideological differences and, in the case of Anna, learn to reconcile herself to her family's own nasty role in apartheid. After some boneheaded flirting, the two attempt to heal the country's racial divisions themselves through lovemaking, all while Anna's cheery African-American sidekick Dumi (Menzi Ngubane) gleefully confirms the hoariest of stereotypes by breaking into jubilant song and dance at every available turn (including in court).
Continue reading: In My Country Review