As well as the usual reviews we post from the various screenings we’re lucky enough to go to, from time to time we still like to part with our hard earned wages and enjoy the movies we weren’t fortunate to see for free. Here are some brief reviews of some of the delights July had to offer. Including White Material, L’affaire Farewell, Tetro, Heartbreaker and Toy Story 3.
This first time collaboration of two off French cinemas most influential women is everything you’d expect from a film directed by Claire Denis and starring Isabel Huppert. Edgy, affecting and gripping from the get go, this tale of one woman’s fight to keep her plantation amidst inner turmoil in an unnamed African country is powerful stuff. Denis has yet again produced another fine piece of work to help firmly cement her name amongst the list of today’s greatest directors. Her ability to consume you in an atmosphere of fear that sticks with you long after the film finishes, is what makes White Material in a way more horrifying than any of the recent ‘gorno’ movies that continue to do the rounds.
Starring: Emir Kusturica, Guillaume Canet, Willem Dafoe
This cold war thriller by director Christian Carion (Joyeaux Noel) is based around what has been described by many as the most important piece of espionage ever undertaken by the US government, singlehandedly exposing the Soviet Union and ending the cold war. Staring two of Europe’s current ‘hot’ directors Emir Kusturica (Underground) and Guilliame Canet (Tell No One) we have a film which is driven by two great performances. Subject matter as serious as this can sometimes be hard to make entertaining, yet the rapport between the two leads turns this from a classic spy story into a gripping character study which leaves you less worried about the troubles lurking under the iron curtain and more on the well being of our two heroes, risking everything they have in the slim chance that their actions can make a difference. Certainly a film that offers a lot more than you may be expected
Director: Pascal Chaumeil
Starring: Romain Duris, Vanessa Paradis
With the recent World Cup, cinemas all over the country have taken the opportunity to release a barrage of movies directly aimed at women and those uninterested in sporting pursuits. We’ve had romantic comedy after romantic comedy oozing their way out of Hollywood and into our theatres. As to be expected many of these have been nothing but over the top emotionally driven drivel. Yet somehow Heartbreaker manages to hold its own and not sur-come to the usual pitfalls of the genre. Perhaps it’s down to the ‘A’ star acting talent provided by Roman Duris (Beat that my heart skipped) and Vanessa Paradis ( Girl on the bridge) or maybe just the fact that some things look and sound better in French.
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Vincent Gallo, Alden Ehrenreich, Maribel Verdú
Coppola and Gallo have of late both been described as two incredible talents slipping away into a sea of mediocrity, or worse self indulgence. However Tetro, Coppola’s first script since The Conversation is a simple tale of family feuds and sibling rivalry that brings these two art house heavyweights back to a level where we can comfortably sit back and enjoy their artistic styling’s run riot over solid foundations. Set in Argentina the film also manages to combine that South American passion which can help make the most basic family dramas come to life with some serious stylish American indie trickery. By no means at the same level as Buffalo 66, or Apocalypse Now, but certainly a step closer to how things were, and should be.
Toy Story 3
Director: Lee Unkrich
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack
What more can you say other than this is simply just another case of Pixar showing they can do no wrong. With this financially uncertain climate, and constant threat of ‘Terror’ we apparently live amongst it’s nice to sit back and watch a film like Toy Story 3 and forget about your troubles, resting in the knowledge that there are still things you can rely on.