Richard Gere delivers such a charming, layered performance that he overcomes a contrived plot that piles too many financial and personal crises on the central character. But Gere is magnetic, and the film's themes resonate at a time of economic difficulty, most notably in the idea that all major world events revolve around money.
Gere plays 60-year-old financial mogul Robert, who lives the high life with a private jet, glamorous philanthropist wife Ellen (Sarandon) and sexy French art-dealer mistress Julie (Casta). He seduces the press with his intelligent wit, and has managed to conceal the fact that he's in severe money trouble. Everything hinges on selling his company, but the buyers are dragging their feet. Then he is involved in a fatal car crash that could undo everything. He turns to an estranged friend (Parker) for help, but a tenacious police detective (Roth) is beginning to piece it all together.
Having Gere in the central role makes all the difference here, because he is able to add the subtext and moral ambiguity that's lacking in the script and direction. Otherwise, it's shot like a too-obvious TV movie with close-up camerawork, a bland Cliff Martinez score and constant moralising about family values. By contrast, Gere is a shady character who is up to all kinds of unethical things and yet holds our sympathies because we can see that he's not all bad. Even so, the script puts him through the wringer, with a never-ending stream of personal and professional problems.
Continue reading: Arbitrage Review
The film starts with a quick meet-cute at an American consulate 4th of July barbecue in Dubai, where MI-6 agent Ray Koval (Clive Owen) is flirting with Claire Stenwick (Julia Roberts). He doesn't figure out that she's a CIA agent until much later, long after she absconded from his room with a parcel of secret documents and he has woken up from the drugs she knocked him out with. Years later, the two are thrown together again when Koval takes a private security job with Equikrom -- a Unilver-like corporate giant that produces everything from shampoo to diapers -- only to find Stenwick already in place as a deep-undercover operative working for rival firm Burkett & Randle, which is on the brink of a delivering a paradigm-busting new product that Equikrom wants badly.
Continue reading: Duplicity Review
Soderbergh's relentlessly uncommercial enterprise logs in at 268 minutes and is split into two parts. Part One charts Che's involvement with Fidel Castro in overthrowing Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, concentrating on the popular grassroots campaign that began with 80 peasants. Part Two jumps to Guevara's final revolutionary sprint, the failed uprising in Bolivia, the antithesis of the Cuban campaign, where the Bolivian peasants abandon him and betray him to the Bolivian army. Che is then hunted down like a junkyard dog and murdered.
Continue reading: Che Review
Guest Sunday 2nd November 2008 AFI Film Festival 2008 - Che premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theater - Arrivals Los Angeles, California
Shainberg imagines Arbus, played by Nicole Kidman, as a faithful housewife, very self-conscious of her strange stares and off-putting manner. She's also a devoted assistant to Allan (a superb Ty Burr), her photographer husband who captures the poppy pastel colors of 1950s dresses and various appliances for catalogs. Her life gets a shock of electricity when she catches the eye of a strange neighbor named Lionel (Robert Downey Jr.). Lionel was featured in a freak show when he was younger as a dog boy, scientifically diagnosed as hypertrichosis. The relationship that builds between Arbus and her hairy friend accounts for her artistic awakening and liberation of feminine constraints.
Continue reading: Fur: An Imaginary Portrait Of Diane Arbus Review
A harrowing and thought-provoking film, Traffic revolves around three intertwining stories of cops, thugs, victims, enforcers, politicians, and the judicial system. The film is based on a British Channel 4 miniseries called Traffik, which traced a drug route from Pakistan through Europe and to Great Britain. Laura Bickford, one of the producers for Traffic, was attracted to the original miniseries because of the intersecting stories, the social commentary on drug usage, and the implication of The System itself being the major perpetrator of drug addiction.
Continue reading: Traffic Review