Thriller

Thriller

Down in the Valley

Evan Rachel Wood enjoys the beach while Ed Norton enjoys her

  Ed Norton continues on his quest to become the new Sean Penn with this very unusual and initially brilliant examination of the cowboy myth and its survival into the modern world. This represents itself in a Bonnie and Clyde love story between Harlan, an itinerant cowpuncher cum gas station attendant (Norton) who immediately quits …

Down in the Valley Read More »

The Signal

Brenton Thwaites in The Signal

  Well, I loved this. A confident exercise in genre and genre misdirection that has the balls to invoke The Matrix, Close Encounters, and Vincenzo Natali’s Cube. So, yes, it’s about aliens and a gigantic conspiracy and there’s a lot of white light bathing its clinical setups, and it cost not very much at all.   …

The Signal Read More »

Snowpiercer

John Hurt, Chris Evans and Jamie Bell in Snowpiercer

  That sound? The plane taking off from LAX taking a great Asian director back home, sobbing with disappointment. It happened to John Woo, who did at least manage to crank out Face/Off, but his sad run of Hollywood films include Windtalkers, Mission: Impossible II and Hard Target. To the Pang brothers too, whose The …

Snowpiercer Read More »

The Prestige

Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson and Hugh Jackman in The Prestige

    After Insomnia and Batman Begins, big Hollywood numbers taken on to show studio willing – or so it seemed – Christopher Nolan is back to being master of his own destiny, writing with his brother Jonathan and also producing this lavish smoke and mirrors cat-and-mouser. Clearly an attempt to “do another Memento”, it’s about …

The Prestige Read More »

Casino Royale

Eva Green and Daniel Craig in Casino Royale

    You only live twice, or so they say. Casino Royale is the old Bond song incarnate. Because we have been here before. Not titularly – though we have, in the 1967 spoof made by a gaggle of writers and directors (John Huston, Billy Wilder, Woody Allen and Joseph Heller among them) who must …

Casino Royale Read More »

The Night Listener

Robin Williams and Toni Collette

  When he switches off the mouth, Robin Williams can be an incredibly effective actor. This is one of those turns, yet it’s ironically about a man who is a professional mouth, a DJ with a late-night show who uses his graveyard phone-in to tell and listen to stories. It’s another of Williams’s characteristics as …

The Night Listener Read More »

Enemy

Adam meets Anthony in Enemy

  If there is such a thing as “what the hellness” then Denis Villeneuve’s latest film absolutely has it. But then the French-Canadian does have form. With Incendies Villeneuve managed to turn the conflict in the Middle East into a thriller with a reveal that disconcerted and amazed. In Prisoners he made us feel bad …

Enemy Read More »

The Page Turner

Catherine Frot and Déborah François in The Page Turner

    It’s often forgotten how much genre output the French make, and how well they do it. This icy thriller in a Chabrolesque mould has two brilliant performances at its centre. On the one side we have Déborah François as Mélanie, a young girl from a poor family whose ambition to become a pianist …

The Page Turner Read More »

Dead Man’s Cards

Paul Barber in Dead Man's Cards

    There’s a grimy directness to the Liverpool gangster drama which substitutes Scouse sarcasm for the lairiness of the mockney geezer equivalent. Made by debut director James Marquand and starring its co-writer, James McMartin, it’s the story of a washed-up boxer with a low sperm count who takes a job as a bouncer, falls out …

Dead Man’s Cards Read More »

11.6

François Cluzet in 11.6

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     30 August   Warren Buffett born, 1930 On this day in 1930, the business magnate Warren Edward Buffett was born, in Omaha, Nebraska, the second of the three children of a father who was a US congressman and stockbroker. At …

11.6 Read More »