Daily archives "March 13, 2013"

Cloud Atlas ****

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Running Time: 172 Mins Cert: 15

Synopsis:

Six stories that connect a distant past to a bleak future. The adventure travels from a 19th-century Pacific island to a pre-War Edinburgh, ’70s San Francisco, present-day Britain, a dystopian Korea and apocalyptic Hawaii.

 

Based on the always thought of as infilmable David Mitchell novel of the same name. The Wachowskis and Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer have decided to team up to try to make a complex story with many time linked stories entertaining.

 

Putting these visionaries of modern cinema together works extremely well. In that the film has a stunning look and that each of the directors have worked on their strengths. The period pieces being handled by Tykwer, while Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski tackle the more complex futuristic pieces.

 

The actual narrative itself is very complex and initially very confusing. The story strands are mixed together into a never ending concoction events.

 

Chronologically it begins in 1840’s Pacific Islands, where notary Adam Ewing (Sturgess) learns about the cruelty of slavery.

 

In Thirties Britain Ewing’s journals of his voyages inspire composer Robert Frobisher (Whishaw) who struggles with his opus and affections for his mentor Vyvyan Ayrs (Broadbent).

 

While in San Francisco 1973, an investigative journalist Luisa Rey (Berry) reads the letters that Frobisher once wrote to his lover Rufus Sixsmith (James D’Arcy).

 

In London 2012 publisher Timothy Cavendish (Broadbent) is on the run after swindling criminal author Dermot Hoggins (Hanks) out of royalties.

 

The New Seoul of the future, clone Sonmi-451 (Bae Doona) faces execution for her part in a rebellion against an dictatorial regime.

 

While the final tale sees a post-apocalyptic Hawaii tribesman Zachary (Hanks) is visited by Meronym (Halle Berry) who is one of the last survivors of a lost civilisation.

 

The strongest stories are The 1930s strand about a young composer and his less talented employer, the IRobot influenced futuristic Korean tale and a very funny present day story about a crooked publisher confined to an old folks home.

 

Halle Berry and Tom Hanks lead an all star cast in taking on multiple roles with Hugh Grant, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Hugo Weaving and Jim Broadbent all appearing in different guises throughout the film.

 

The makeup effects are very hit and miss. At times it seems that the actors are using left over masks from Dick Tracy. This is ashame as the acting from everyone involved is great.

 

Ambitious and breathtakingly beautiful, this is Wachowskis’ best since Bound. Cloud Atlas is overlong and flawed, but never dull. Audiences will be amazed and thrilled by this intelligent adventure epic.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

Newsreel (W/e 10th March 2013)

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Christopher Nolan is rumoured to have started talks to work on the Justice League movie.

 

Steven Spielberg is developing a miniseries based on Kubrick’s abandoned project Napoleon.

 

Harrison Ford has joined the cast of Anchorman: The Legend Continues.

 

Rebecca Hall is set to star alongside Johnny Depp & Paul Bettany in cinematographer Wally Pfister’s directorial debut, Transendence.

 

Law & Order’s Jesse L. Martin will replace Lenny Kravitz as Marvin Gaye in the Julien Temple-directed biopic Sexual Healing.

 

Zach Galifianakis, Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone & Naomi Watts will star in Alejandro Gonzalez Inaritu’s Birdman.

 

Sam Mendes has confirmed that he will not return to direct Bond 24.

 

Liam Neeson & Giovanni Ribisi in in talks to join the cast of Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West.

 

Keri Russell joins the cast of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

 

Monster House’s Gil Kenan set to direct Poltergeist.

 

George Lucas confirms that the original cast Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill & Carrie Fisher have signed on for JJ Abrams’s Star Wars Episode 7.

 

Star Trek Into Darkness will open in UK cinemas a week earlier. It will now premiere on IMAX 3D, 3D and 2D screens on May 9.

 

Disney is already planning a sequel to Sam Raimi’s Oz The Great and Powerful.

 

Judge Reinhold is set to appear in the new Beverly Hills Cop TV show.

 

Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar will be on November 7, 2014, in theaters & IMAX.

 

Bad news as Disney reveals that it has no current plans to make any more hand-drawn animated films.

 

Oz has great & powerful turn at the top of the U.S. box-office.

Side Effects ****

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Run Time: 106 mins            Cert: 15

 

Synopsis: When psychiatrist Dr Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) prescribes an experimental drug to Emily (Rooney Mara) to treat her depression, there are profound consequences for all parties involved.

 

Directed by Steven Soderbergh and said to be his last project, “Side Effects” tells the story of Emily (Rooney Mara), a 28-year-old woman whose husband Martin (Channing Tatum) is released after four years in prison for insider trading. Emily becomes depressed and injures herself, resulting in her being taken to hospital and referred to psychiatrist Dr Jonathan Banks (Jude Law). Having unsuccessful tried several antidepressants, Dr Banks agrees to put Emily on a new drug called Ablixa that has been recommended by her previous psychiatrist Victoria (Catherine Zeta-Jones). At first it seems to have benefits for Emily but side effects soon occur and she kills her husband while sleepwalking. The remainder of the film centres around what really happened and whether Dr Banks is to blame as he prescribed the drug.

 

Thrilling and unpredictable, “Side Effects” keeps the audience in suspense until the very end. To begin with it seems a straightforward story: Emily is struggling with depression and is prepared to try any drug that will fix this so she and Martin can get on with their life. However as the film progresses it becomes clear things are more complicated and the twists lead to a surprise ending.

 

A theme that crops up repeatedly during the film is the extent to which the American health care industry focuses on money. There are scenes in which doctors are shown being offered large sums to try out drugs on their patients and when Emily requests the new drug, she is given it without proper discussion of the medication or its side effects. This leads the viewer to question Dr Banks’ motives: is her wellbeing his priority or is he seeing dollar signs?

 

Effects in the movie are minimal but Soderbergh creates a almost eerie feel by having the main scenes in very intimate settings such as bedrooms, doctors’ offices and a psychiatric hospital. There are times when the viewer will feel like they are literally in the room with the characters.

 

Rooney Mara gives a strong performance as Emily. Her character is portrayed as both the despairing and depressed woman who’s lost her rich lifestyle and the sly and twisted one that has everyone fooled. As the story unfolds, the audience will go from feeling sorry for Emily to questioning her true character. Catherine Zeta-Jones also performs well as psychiatrist Victoria who seems to conveniently “pop up”  at regular intervals and has mannerisms that could make the viewer’s skin crawl.

 

Of all the actors, Jude Law’s performance is probably the weakest. His character doesn’t show much emotion even when it appears he’s lost everything and Law seems rather wooden throughout the film. Despite being written out before the halfway point, Channing Tatum gives a reasonably good performance as Emily’s disgraced but concerned husband Martin. Vinessa Shaw also gives a realistic portrayal Dr Banks’ wife Deirdre, who wants to root for her husband but doesn’t know what to believe.

 

“Side Effects” is entertaining and has all the characteristics of a good psychological thriller. For those who enjoy films that keep them guessing it is a must see.

 

Reviewed by Lesley Logan