April 29, 2015

Director Kenneth Branagh had a very clear vision in mind when he made this live action version of the Cinderella fairytale. He wanted it to look breathtakingly beautiful, and, it is! His movie faithfully follows the story, while, it is extravagantly sumptuous and magical. The sets, costumes, and special effects are all gorgeous. Lily James makes a charming and delightful Cinderella, as, Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham-Carter have heaps of ‘high camp’ fun playing the Evil Stepmother and Fairy Godmother. Lots of great English character actors fill out the minor roles. This wonderful production will be enjoyed by children of all ages, whilst, their parents will also discover much cinematic pleasure as they watch the movie together.

Fast & Furious 7
What can you say about Fast & Furious 7 except that it’s terribly Fast and terribly Furious! There is a plot, but, it’s easy to forget about it, seeing as how the movie is only concerned with fantastic action sequences. There is a car-chase which is just phenomenal, and, an amazing stunt which involves three skyscrapers. The action never lets up for a moment. Fast & Furious fans can relax. The movie ends on a cliffhanger, so, there will be a No. 8. As we all know, Paul Walker was tragically killed before completing the movie. One of the interesting things about the movie is trying to pick which is the ‘real’ Paul Walker and what is Paul Walker superimposed in from some out-takes. That is a really terrible thing to say, but, unfortunately, it is the truth!

The Harvest*
I don’t want to talk too much about the plot of this movie, as that would give too much away. Let’s just say that a doctor and her husband, who is a nurse, have a very sick son. They go to desperate measures to try and keep him alive. If you are already skeptical about the medical profession, then, this chilling movie may touch on a few raw nerves. It is extremely unpleasant. Director John McNaughton keeps the tension and suspense coming, while, Samantha Morton and Michael Shannon both present creepy performances. This is a contemporary horror story which is very upsetting and disturbing.

Good Kill
Directed by Andrew Niccol, this is another contemporary horror story, but, of a different kind. An American air force officer is stationed in Las Vegas. There, through remote control, he pilots drone aircraft. He blows up Taliban targets in the Middle East, as designated by the CIA. During this time, he becomes disillusioned with his role in the War Against Terrorism, and, he tries to find a way out. This movie is an eye-opening revelation about the sophistication of the weapons now available to the American Armed Forces.

Escobar, Paradise Lost
A Canadian surfer is spending some time on a beach in Columbia. He meets a beautiful local girl, and, they start on a love affair. Over a period of time, the girl introduces him to her family. As it turns out, the girl’s uncle is the local politician, and, Cocaine Drug Lord. Once they are engaged, the surfer is drawn into the girl’s family business. He finds himself doing things which go against his grain. As the Drug Lord, Benicio Del Toro is fantastic. He gives a performance which is full of an extremely wide range of emotions. Josh Hutcherson also presents a formidable performance as the surfer out-of-his-depth. This is a very good movie all about family, loyalty, and, betrayal.

Posing as a brother and sister, a French couple preys on unsuspecting lonely women. The man’s role is to seduce the women and extract money from them. The woman’s role is to offer a friendly ear. Both man and woman indulge in pagan rituals to enhance their sexuality. Eventually, the woman’s sexual jealousy over her partner is to take a homicidal bend. Serial killing becomes her next step. French director Fabrice Du Welz’s alarming piece of cinema is based on a real-life story. Nearly the entire film is shot in close-up. This enhances the complex psychological meaning of the movie. This is a fascinating film, in which French ‘art house’ meets the ‘serial killer’ genre.

Last Knights*
Set sometime in a mythological past, a Knight’s Lord is wrongly accused of treason, and hastily executed. The Knight vows revenge. He sets out to regain his clans honor, and, their lands which were unjustly seized. Coming from Korea, of all places, Kazuaki Kiriya makes a pretty good adventure movie. He clearly shows that he thoroughly understands this particular movie genre. In an interesting visual twist, he shoots his movie in a slightly tinted black and white. This gives the movie a rather nice antiquated feeling.

Lost River
Actor Ryan Gosling tries his hand at writing and directing. He tells a dark story about a woman struggling to keep her home and family together, through a series of macabre images. These images seem inspired by the styles of the different directors he has worked with as an actor. Ryan should hold off on directing again, until he has found a cinematic style of his own.

A high-school student discovers that she is the Designated Ugly Fat Friend (DUFF) within her peer group. She sets out to revamp herself in their eyes.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2*
The first movie was horrendous. Why on earth would you want to repeat it?

* Also available on Blu Ray.
# Also available in 3D.

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