Archive for the ‘★ ★ ★ ★’ Category

With their latest outing True Grit, Joel and Ethan Coen (A Serious Man, Burn After Reading) appear to be taking a well-deserved break from being themselves. As a straight shootin’ Western, their 15th feature is largely without the wordy and wry dialogue, exaggerated characterisations, richly satirical scenarios, and graphic violence that characterises much of their impressive filmography. But who said [...]

By on January 27, 2011

A horrific, almost literal adaptation of the timeless ballet Swan Lake, Darren Aronofsky’s evocative thriller Black Swan tells the story of Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), a talented ballerina selected for the leading role in the company’s production of Tchaikovsky’s classic.

A driven perfectionist, Nina is the White Swan personified, yet ballet director Thomas (Vincent Cassel) stresses that she lacks the emotional resilience and passion that it takes [...]

By on January 12, 2011

If there’s one thing to admire about director Tony Scott (The Taking of Pelham 123, Déjà Vu), it’s that he doesn’t bother trying to please everyone. While other filmmakers have taken on the role of mad scientist, desperately mixing together action, comedy and romance  in the blind hope that it will result in box-office dynamite, Scott is happy doing what he [...]

By on January 7, 2011

The Fighter is a boxing drama in the tradition of Rocky, straightforward and predictable in its concept and narrative, but deftly executed, finely acted and surprisingly heart-warming.

Directed by David O. Russell (I Heart Huckabees, Three Kings), and written by Paul Tamasey, Scott Silver and Eric Johnson, The Fighter is based on the true story of American boxer Micky ‘Irish’ Ward. It’s a family drama, and at [...]

By on December 31, 2010

There is simply too much truth to the heartbreak of Blue Valentine for it to not come from a deeply personal place. If writer/director Derek Cianfrance hasn’t lived this profoundly moving story about a crumbling marriage blow for blow, he most certainly knows someone who has. In fact, we probably all do. That’s what makes Blue Valentine so authentic, so poignant and so haunting.

It’s the sublimely nuanced performances of the [...]

By on December 16, 2010

If Pixar is the venerated superhero of digital animation, DreamWorks is their conniving arch-nemesis, their grand plans for global animation domination (and Oscar glory) constantly being thwarted by Pixar’s pristine reputation. But if there’s one thing DreamWorks have proven with their villainous comedy Megamind, it’s that bad guys still have the capacity to do good. Indeed, Megamind is very good.

By on December 8, 2010

As the name suggests, GasLand is a documentary about gas, but thankfully not of the flatulent kind. Rather it is about natural gas, or to be more specific, an equally suggestive process known as “fracking”. Fracking is a term I had never heard of before, but thanks to the surprisingly solid investigative documentary by novice filmmaker maker Josh Fox, it’s something I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.


By on November 21, 2010

Skyline, that tacky alien-invasion flick you’ve hopefully managed to avoid, showcased the ease in which a shoddy B-movie can obtain a global cinematic release by virtue of its impressive visual effects.  Although that in itself isn’t surprising – hi there, Transformers 2 – the fact that Skyline was made from the contents of Hollywood’s swear jar most certainly is. My point? If el cheapo B-movies [...]

By on November 18, 2010
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