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Trap for Cinderella Review


Grim

Stylish and moody, this twisty dramatic thriller gets under our skin with its mysterious tone and darkly insinuating performances. But the script is badly underwritten, never quite connecting the dots between what happens on screen. Several of the events are frankly unbelievable, which is made more frustrating by characters who continually do things that don't make logical sense. So we end up struggling to see the point of it all.

Everything happens in the wake of a massive explosion at a holiday house in the south of France. Micky (Middleton) wakes up with amnesia, having had her face rebuilt by surgeons. But her childhood best pal Domenica (Roach in flashbacks) died in the fire, leaving a huge hole in her life. Her guardian (Kerry Fox) tries to help her return to her daily routine, but she's obsessed with piecing together the nagging puzzle about what happened. And she doesn't really want to be the person she apparently was before the accident. Her old boyfriend Jake (Bernard) is some help, but the more she learns about her former life, the more she wonders who she really is.

The insinuation from the very start is that Micky and Do may have swapped identities in the accident, which seems rather ridiculous since they aren't the same height. Reconstructive surgery can't overcome that, and their different coloured hair would become obvious pretty quickly. So every time writer-director Softley tries to drop a hint or throw us off the trail, we feel like we're being had. At least he maintains a terrific sense of film noir creepiness, with lush visuals and scenes that draw us in to make us wonder what will happen next. And there is the tantalising possibility that the swap is psychological.

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Centurion Review


Good
With a raucous, gruesome tone, this Roman-era British action movie takes us back in time in such a vivid way that we often feel a bit queasy while watching. If the story were stronger, we'd be glued to the screen.

Quintus Dias (Fassbender) seems to be an unusually lucky centurion. Stationed in the nastiest outpost on the edge of the Roman Empire in Britain, he's the only survivor of a Pict attack by the vindictive Gorlacon (Thomsen). So he teams with General Virilus (West) and heads back into the hot zone. Again, the Picts launch a devastating attack. This time seven Romans survive, and it becomes a cat-and-mouse chase as mute huntress Etain (Kurylenko) tenaciously tracks Quintus and company across the Highlands. Can they make it back to safety in the south?

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Run Fatboy Run Review


Terrible
Simon Pegg and Asia Argento are birds of a feather: They both have a preternatural ability to enliven even the limpest of cinematic propositions. Whereas Argento has a longer track record (xXx, Land of the Dead, and the recent Boarding Gate), Pegg doesn't have the American market completely (forgive me) pegged, nor does he have the pedigree. But the man has a way of balancing sarcasm and general incompetency that gives a goofy zing to some mighty soggy material (The Good Night, Mission: Impossible III).

With Run Fatboy Run, the directorial debut of Friends' David Schwimmer, Pegg moves up in the world and proves that he can, indeed, carry a movie. Written by Michael Ian Black, a seminal member of the comedy troupe/television show The State, Fatboy tells the story of Dennis (Pegg), a 1980s reject who gets the daft idea to leave his pregnant wife Libby (Thandie Newton) at the altar. A few years later, he has a gut, works security for a lingerie shop, and must vie for the attention of his son and once-fiancé against Whit (Hank Azaria), a healthy businessman who wants to marry Libby. This passive-aggressive tête-à-tête finally leads Dennis to attempting to compete in the same marathon as Whit.

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Dirty Pretty Things Review


Good
The title of Stephen Frears' new film Dirty Pretty Things revels in contradiction. The same might be said of the film itself, which is part melodrama, part social critique, and part black comedy all rolled into one delectably grimy treat. It's a thriller that only nominally wants to thrill, and a critique of modern society's disregard for the illegal immigrant class that only sporadically bothers to drum up the audience's indignation over its characters' plight. Willfully unwilling to be pigeonholed, the film embraces its various temperaments with a poise imparted by a director whose steady hand never allows the unconventional material to falter. That the lurching tone of the film coalesces into a satisfyingly original narrative at all speaks to Frears' keen sense of the delicate balance between sentimentality and somberness.

Okwe (newcomer Chiwetel Ejiofor) works as a cab driver by day and a hotel desk clerk by night, regularly chewing addictive plant leaves to keep himself from dozing off. An illegal immigrant and former doctor who's arrived in London to flee political forces who sought his arrest in Nigeria, Okwe now resides on the couch of fellow hotel employee Senay (Amelie's Audrey Tautou), a Turkish maid whose legal immigrant status, in a puzzling twist that's never fully explained, prohibits her from being employed. The two social outcasts keep their friendship hidden from their fellow coworkers, each interested in blending into the environment like a chameleon changing spots to elude predators. In a city that eagerly makes use of immigrant labor, Okwe and Senay are the tattered fringe of society, forced to endure humiliation and unable to fight back for fear that their presence might be detected by the immigration police who constantly scour the city's underbelly. What's not mentioned, however, is that since Okwe is an illegal immigrant, he doesn't have any right being in London, and this near-sighted portrayal of his situation - one can assume that his life in London, no matter how difficult and unpleasant, is better than the life in Nigeria that he fled, although the film glosses over this fact - saps some of our sympathy for him.

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Simon Magus Review


Terrible
What the hay? Noah Taylor plays a young (and crazy) Jew who is cast out of his temple because he makes up his own words to the prayers -- not to mention because he thinks he talks to the devil, too -- and then he gets all wrapped up in a local land squabble. Huh? Either I just didn't get this... or it really was a lost couple of hours.

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