Paul Bettany makes a strong impression with his first film as a writer-director, exploring the big issue of homelessness from a variety of pointed angles. He also casts his wife Jennifer Connelly and his Avengers costar Anthony Mackie in demanding roles. The resulting film sometimes feels a little overworked dramatically, and relentlessly grim, but it's also provocative and moving.
It's set on the streets of New York, where Nigerian musician Tahir (Mackie) is living, having overstayed his US visa. Then he runs into junkie Hannah (Connelly), and the two have an immediate spark of camaraderie that blossoms into a tender relationship. But Tahir is trying to be a good Muslim, while Hannah is indulging in opportunistic crime to fund her habit. A brief respite squatting in an empty luxury home gets them off the streets briefly, so he can help her through withdrawal. And later when he's ill, she nurses him back to health. But finding somewhere to feel safe as winter bites down isn't easy. And desperation drives them to extraordinary actions.
The film is shot in an earthy, offhanded style that feels improvised, allowing Tahir and Hannah to emerge as complex people with a variety of talents and flaws. As they chat, details from their back-stories emerge, sparking anger and wrenching emotion, and drawing them inexorably together. Both Connelly and Mackie give performances that are full of passion. These are intelligent people who have been beaten down by life and don't have a clue where to turn next. So their sojourn in the empty house offers a glimpse into what kind of private life they would make if they had a chance, including borrowing some clean clothes from the vacationing owners ("I look like a zombie Goldilocks," Hannah observes).
Continue reading: Shelter Review
Robert Miller is billionaire hedge fund businessman who at first glance seems to have the perfect life; successful, plenty of money, a supportive wife and a daughter/ business partner willing to take on the company when he retires. However, something much darker is going on underneath as he is struggling to cover up many years of fraudulent activities while trying to sell away his business to a bank. Not only this, but he has also embarked on an illicit affair with the young and beautiful Julie Cote who he attempts to whisk away with him for a while. As fate would have it, Robert finds himself drifting off to sleep in the car as they drive out of town and subsequently fails to prevent a crash that instantly kills Julie. As he attempts to cover his tracks by setting fire to the vehicle, his whole life is on the line with suspicious police officers, a mistrustful wife and a daughter with an unfortunate eye for detail threatening to collapse the empire he has worked so hard for.
This gripping thriller drama premiered in the US in September 2012 and serves as the full-length feature directorial debut of Nicholas Jarecki ('The Informers' screenwriter) who was also responsible for writing the fantastic screenplay.
Starring: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Brit Marling, Laetitia Casta, Nate Parker, Stuart Margolin, Chris Eigeman, Graydon Carter, Bruce Altman, Larry Pine, Curtiss Cook, Reg E. Cathey, Felix Solis, Monica Raymund, Gabrielle Lazure, Shawn Elliott, Maria Bartiromo, David Faber, Josh Pais, Alyssa Sutherland, Paula Devicq, Zack Robidas & Betsy Aidem.
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News reporter Adam Carlson is based in a remote part of Alaska, in a town called Point Barrow. As a consequence, there usually is little to talk about in the way of local news. After one news report, which saw him explaining how food can take up to four plane journeys to arrive in town, his boss rings to comment about how 'thin' his stories are. That is, until Adam sees something extraordinary out to sea. It transpires that there are three California gray whales stuck under the ice near Point Barrow. Adam captures the incident on his camera and rings his boss to tell him of his findings.
Adam's report on the whales makes it onto the news, where he tells stunned viewers that the ice the whales are trapped under extends five miles to the ocean. No one is more stunned than Rachel Kramer, a Greenpeace activist and Adam's ex-girlfriend. She rings him up to announce that she will help him rescue the whales. Soon enough, Adam not only has the support of his ex but of the entire town as well, all doing what they can to make a path to the ocean through the ice. Adam and Rachel soon find themselves united under a common goal and they slowly start to fall back in love again.
Starring: John Krasinski, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Bell, Dermot Mulroney, Vinessa Shaw, Ted Danson, Stephen Root, Tim Blake Nelson, James LeGros, Rob Riggle, Andrew Daly, Bruce Altman, Gregory Jbara, Michael Gaston, Mark Ivanir and Jonathan Slavin
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