Sunday, August 01, 2010

Film Highlights from July

Read more at the 50 Word Film Reviews blog.

The Fountain (2006) Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz. Dir: Darren Aronofsky

In 3 different time periods a man tries to save his dying love with the help of the tree of life. A dazzling rush that packs a breathtaking amount into 95 minutes. Metaphysical clap-trap or a meditation on love, destiny and death? – opinions will be divided. Definitely worth seeking out.

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Man On Wire (2008) Dir: James Marsh

Wire walker Philippe Petit has (illegally) done his act across landmarks all over the world, but his dream is the twin towers... An absolutely gripping story of obsession and daring with a fascinating cast of characters. Not just a brilliant story, but a brilliant piece of documentary filmmaking.

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Hard Candy(2005) Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson. Dir: David Slade.

A man lures a 14 year old he met on the internet to his home, but then she takes him hostage. Sharply directed psychological thriller with 2 exceptional lead performances, but it goes on too long and the final quarter is more clich├ęd. Warning: includes some mild castration.

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Get Carter(1971) Michael Caine, Ian Hendry, John Osborne, Britt Ekland. Dir: Mike Hodges

A violent London gangster travels up north to find out who killed is brother. A stark, cold thriller that features Caine in one of his most striking and impressive roles as brutal sociopath. What it lacks in substance, it more than makes up for in style, intensity and pure grit.

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This Film Is Not Yet Rated(2002) Dir: Kirby Dick.

A look into the secretive Motion Picture Association of America and how it rates films. A bold eye-opening look at the hypocrisy and bizarre behaviour of a subtly powerful organisation, which culminates in the unmasking of its secret raters. A smart, insightful argument for a better system.

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Road to Perdition(2002) Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Daniel Craig. Dir: Sam Mendes.

A high ranking mobster must go on the run with his son, after he witnesses a murder carried out by the boss’ son. A handsome looking film, but ultimately, not a very gripping one. The film feels slow, the characters 1 dimensional, and Hanks is just too dull.

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Harvey(1950) James Stewart, James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Peggy Dow, Charles Drake. Dir: Henry Koster.

Jolly Stewart’s relatives try to have him committed for having an invisible 6 foot rabbit as a best friend. A delightful farce; Steward is wonderful as jolly hero whose relentless optimism and cheer brings out the madness and eventually, the best in others. Supporting cast is also excellent.

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Battle of Algiers(1966) Brahim Haggiag, Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef. Dir: Gillo Pontecorvo.

A reconstruction of events in Algiers in the 50s as the French try to suppress the movement for independence. So realistic in its depiction of guerrilla warfare it was screened at the pentagon before the Iraq war. A masterpiece of realism, as relevant today as it ever was.

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