Monthly Archives June 2013

Passion (2012)

Passion-Poster1Director: Brian De Palma

Cast: Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace, Paul Anderson, Karoline Herfurth

Cert: 15

Running time: 105 mins

Year: 2012

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The lowdown: Brian De Palma is a long way from his glory days with this latest clunker.  Attempting to recapture the dark eroticism of Dressed to Kill, he ends up floundering in a sea of Body Doubles and Femme Fatales.  Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace are warring advertising colleagues locked in a deadly psychosexual game of cat-and-mouse, but the only thrills to be had are from the unintentional chuckles.  A rush remake of the French film Crime d’Amour starring Kristin Scott-Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier, this is not De Palma’s worst (that’s still Mission To Mars) but the director has truly lost his (Carlito’s) way.

Passion - McAdams Rapace lesbian kissPassion - McAdams Rapace scarf

The full verdict: Passi...

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Blackfish

Blackfish - quad posterDirector: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Cert: 12 (TBC)

Running time: 84 mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: A shocking expose of greed, barbarity and callousness in the multi-billion marine life theme park industry, Blackfish is candidate for 2013’s best documentary.  Following the blood trail left by the 2010 killing of a trainer by the largest orca in captivity, Cowperthwaite’s movie is an unforgettable experience and, with shocking caught on camera footage, a disturbing insight into the world behind Shamu.

Blackfish - whale mouthBlackfish - dive

The full verdict: With the investigative zeal of Errol Morris, Gabriela Cowperthwaite knows when something smells fishy.

And Sea World’s explanation that the tragic 2010 death of Dawn Brancheau was “trainer error” became suspect when eyewitnesses at the public show claimed Tilikum, the par...

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Dario Argento’s Dracula

Dario Argento's Dracula - posterDirector: Dario Argento

Cast: Thomas Kretschmann, Rutger Hauer, Marta Gastini, Asia Argento, Miriam Giovanelli

Cert: 18

Running time: 106 mins

Year: 2012

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The lowdown: The one-time maestro of the macabre continues the gutting of his career with this bonkers, ham-fisted and laugh-out-loud adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic vampire tale. Rutger Hauer and Thomas Kretschmann head up the typical better-than-Argento-now-deserves cast as Van Helsing and his plasma-guzzling nemesis, and while great fun if taken in the right vein the director of Suspiria and Profondo Rosso has been truly staked.

Dario Argento's Dracula - KretschmannDario Argento's Dracula - Kretschmann, Gastini

The full verdict: Dario Argento’s Dracula. Thirty years ago an announcement that Italy’s premiere horror merchant would tackle fiction’s most infamous bad guy would have been a cause celebre...

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Stand Up Guys

stand-up-guys02Director: Fisher Stevens

Cast: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin, Julianna Margulies, Mark Margolis, Addison Timlin, Vanessa Ferlito, Lucy Punch

Cert: 15

Running time: 96 mins

Year: 2012

The lowdown: Enjoyable crime comedy-drama with the extra hook of seeing three Hollywood OAP all-stars riffing on their personas.  Pacino is a career criminal, out of the big house after a 28-year stretch and looking for a night of partying with his one-time partner Walken.  Problem is Walken’s been ordered to kill his buddy-in-crime or he’s for the dirt-nap.  Arkin adds crotchety fun as their one-time wheel-man, while Julianna Margulies is back in the ER as his nurse daughter.  Disposable, but fun thanks to the three game leads.

Stand Up Guys - drinkStand Up Guys - 3 guys, 1 girl

The full verdict: Stand Up Guys is Al Pacino’s best big scre...

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Despicable Me 2

DM2-QuadDirectors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud

Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Steve Coogan, Benjamin Bratt, Ken Jeong, Russell Brand

Cert: U

Running time: 98 mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: Steve Carell’s reformed supervillain returns with minions and triumvirate of cute moppets in tow for a riotous sequel to the surprise 2010 hit.  What plot there is revolves around Gru’s investigation into the theft of an experimental serum that transforms animals (and people, and minions) into ravenous, psychotic (purple-furred) beasties.  But, as with producer Chris Meladandri’s Ice Age series, the story is a mere launch pad for inventive comic skits guaranteed to tickle your inner minion...

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M (1931)

M - poster

Welcome to Cinematic Greens

#3 – M (1931)

Director: Fritz Lang

Cast: Peter Lorre, Otto Wernicke, Theodor Loos, Ellen Widmann

Cert: PG

Running time: 110mins

Year: 1931

Accolades:
National Board of Review (1933)

Top Foreign Film

Contemporary review:
“(like) looking through the eye-piece of a microscope, through which the tangled mind is exposed…” – Graham Greene

Electric Shadows rating: medium_5

M - reflection MM - mirror

The lowdown: A still relevant, still troubling, still influential masterpiece, Fritz Lang’s M only improves with age. Peter Lorre was forever typecast as the sensitively portrayed child murderer who becomes the target of Berlin’s police force, criminal underworld and the increasingly vengeful mob...

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Man of Steel

MOS - bannerDirector: Zack Snyder

Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne

Cert: 12

Running time: 143mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: Six years after Superman Returns, Bryan Singer’s sort of sequel to the original Superman movies, Batman reviver Christopher Nolan and Watchmen director Zack Snyder deliver the first real Superman reboot.  Going the origins story route that resurrected Batman Begins, Snyder, Nolan and Dark Knight co-writer David S. Goyer retell the legend of the lad from Krypton with the realism and grit now expected from comic book adaptations.  And happily the Bat-method has worked; Man of Steel is big, bold, epic moviemaking, not without flaws great and small but enough to get all suped up about a second instalment...

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Summer in February

  SIF - poster Director: Christopher Menaul

Cast: Dominic Cooper, Emily Browning, Dan Stevens, Max Deacon

Cert: 15

Running time: 93mins

Year: 2013

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The lowdown: Downton Abbey alumnus Dan Stevens is joined by Dominic Cooper and Emily Browning in this unconvincing based-on-true-events love triangle drama set in pre-World War I Cornwall.  Cooper is renowned British painter AJ Munnings, a tempestuous soul who attracts Browning’s troubled Florence to his flame, to the dismay of Stevens’ upstanding army officer who has fallen for the willowy female.  Downton fans should find sufficient distraction amidst the longing looks, love pains, tragedy and horse painting for which Munnings achieved fame...

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Admission

ADMISSION-PosterDirector: Paul Weitz

Cast: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Michael Sheen, Wallace Shawn, Lily Tomlin, Nat Wolff, Gloria Reuben

Cert: 12

Running time: 108mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: 30 Rock comedy queen Tina Fey and the ever-affable Paul Rudd head up this likeable romantic drama from About A Boy director Paul Weitz.  Fey is Portia Nathan, a Princeton admissions officer whose routine life gets spun upside down when she meets Rudd’s John Pressman, a former college classmate now running an offbeat school.  Fizzy chemistry from the leads gets quality support from an engaging cast including Michael Sheen, Wallace Shawn and Lily Tomlin.

Admission - FeyFilm Review Admission

The full verdict: Despite the presence of comedy queen Tina Fey and Judd Apatow muse Paul Rudd, Admission is less romcom than (to use an ugly word) romdram, with co...

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Stuck in Love

SIL quad posterDirector: Josh Boone

Cast: Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Lily Collins, Nat Wolff, Logan Lerman, Liana Liberato, Kristen Bell

Cert: 15

Running time: 96mins

Year: 2012

The lowdown: Family isn’t a word, but most definitely a sentence in Josh Boone’s fresh and funny debut drama.  Greg Kinnear plays an acclaimed author pining for ex-wife Jennifer Connelly, who in turn is estranged from their daughter Lily Collins, while Nat Wolff as their son obsesses over a cute classmate and the novels of Stephen King.  Bittersweet and charming in the vein of Crazy Stupid Love, this is well played, wryly observed and surprisingly moving.

SIL - Collins, WolffSIL - Kinnear, Connelly

The full verdict: Films that open with characters’ inner monologues written onscreen typically fall into a trench of insufferability.

That Stuck in Love avoids...

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