She drives a mini-cooper, she wears Hello Kitty t-shirts, she writes serialised young-adult, girl’s high school based fiction for a living – she’s Charlize Theron! And yes, you’ve guessed it, growing up is proving tricky. Simultaneously superficial, city slicker, independent woman and messed up, stunted adolescent, Mavis Gracy is our Young Adult. And her aftertaste is at once bitter, acidic, pitiable, manipulative and just plain confused.
There is no messing with that title. Within five minutes ex-cop Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) is on that ledge and inside fifteen minutes a character has uttered those immortal “awkwardly working in the movie title” words and we have – A MAN ON A LEDGE! Good fun but hardly going to challenge, say, Steve McQueen in the cerebral cinema stylings. But then again, that’s not the point.
A love-letter to Hawaii, the type of movie you would want made about your own family, George Clooney finally shedding his very “George” persona to inhabit a role to full dramatic effect and another expertly crafted slice of Alexander Payne’s mid-life angst Americana.
Clint Eastwood is now something of a marvel. More so considering how low he had sunk by the late 80s. No Clint, no! Then Unforgiven came along and he’s been enjoying a resurgence in respectability, reputation and general Hollywood all-purpose legend status ever since. This has translated into some of the finest work of his career: Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, and The Flags / Letters WWII sister films. Not bad for a septuagenarian. Now eighty-one, this remarkable sustained creative energy continues, but J. Edgar simply does not hit the mark.
So Gerrrraaaarrrrd Buttttllller (actual pronunciation) has a good role again. Shakespeare’s prose has been brought to the screen in the fullness of its poetic majesty / imponderability. Ralph Fiennes does being really mean and bad really very well (again) and Jon Snow makes his cinematic debut! Ladies and Gentleman I give you Shakespeare’s Coriolanus as Ralph Fiennes very own directorial debut.
“A comedy about a college student on suspension who is coaxed into babysitting the kids next door, though he is fully unprepared for the wild night ahead of him.” That’s what IMDB says about this film because I couldn’t be bothered synopsise myself. It’s really quite bad. That’s all you need to know if you don’t want to read on. If you do…I’ll make it as painless as possible.
Grim, provocative and starkly confrontational, Shame is another serious piece of heavyweight filmmaking from Steve McQueen. To follow his debut feature, Hunger, with a movie as relenting and brutal – albeit in a very different guise – is quite a feat. It will not be for everyone but it cannot fail to be noticed. This is heightened brute art minimalism.
The dawning of world-wide financial catastrophe as portrayed in debut Writer-Director JC Chandor’s Margin Call is boiled down to micro-level as we watch a small group of analysts come to terms with what’s unfolding before their very eyes. It’s a tidy picture, with some impressive casting and supporting roles and a worthy addition to the small, but growing, canon of post-2008 financial crises films.
Abi Morgan has been very busy of late. The British playwright and screenwriter has recently come off the back of creating and writing BBC’s The Hour (commissioned for a second series) will soon be adapting Sebastian Foulk’s Birdsong for the BBC and has two of her penned films being released practically back to back. Shame follows next week, but the first of these is The Iron Lady. Directed by Mamma Mia’s Phyllida Lloyd it is a portrait of Margaret Thatcher told in flashback from the perspective of an older, isolated, confused and decidedly frail Lady Thatcher.
Every half-decade or so Tom Cruise dons the increasingly super-hero like costume of Ethan Hawke and we, the audience – long suffering (as is our ever increasing wont with Mr Cruise) get another gawk into the world of nearly, but not strictly, impossible missions. Ghost Protocol has already out-grossed the so-so Mission Impossible III and looks well on the way to breaching the box-office of the Brian De Palma directed original of the species. But is it any cop?