This Week’s Films (27/01/14)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

The Kid with a Bike (2011)The Kid with a Bike

Twelve-year-old Cyril (Thomas Doret), all coiled anger and furious motion, is living in a group home but refuses to believe he has been rejected by his single father (Summer Hours’ Jérémie Renier). He spends his days frantically trying to reach the man, over the phone or on his beloved bicycle. It is only the patience and compassion of Samantha (Hereafter’s Cécile de France), the stranger who agrees to care for him, that offers the boy the chance to move on. Spare and unsentimental but deeply imbued with a heart-rending tenderness, The Kid with a Bike is an arresting work from the great Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (Rosetta), masters of the empathetic action film.

Verdict: Well-acted story of an unwanted boy at an important crossroads in his life. 8/10

BeginnersBeginners (2010)

When graphic designer Oliver (Ewan McGregor) meets free-spirited Anna (Melanie Laurent) shortly after his father (Christopher Plummer) has passed away, Oliver realizes just how much of a beginner he is when it comes to long-lasting romantic love. Memories of his father, who, following the death of his wife of 45 years, came out of the closet at age 75 to live a full, energized and wonderfully tumultuous gay life, encourages Oliver to open himself up to the potential of a true relationship.

Verdict: Moving drama with great performances from McGregor and the Oscar-winning Plummer. 8/10

Tideland (2005)Tideland

A young girl (Jodelle Ferland) lives in a terrifying and gruesome world. When her father (Jeff Bridges) takes her away to a rural farmhouse, she finds herself in a bizarre fantasy world where only her dolls’ heads keep her company. When she meets a mentally damaged man and a tall ghost-like woman, the line between her imagination and reality quickly disappears. Tideland is a spine-chilling tale from the visionary mind of acclaimed director Terry Gilliam.

Verdict: Arguably Gilliam’s most challenging film but sadly, for me, his most disappointing. 2/5

lividLivid (2011)

Within a vast, desolate and slowly decaying mansion an aging woman lies in a coma, kept alive by a life support machine. Assigned to look after her, a young care worker named Lucy discovers that the old woman is Madam Jessel, previously a ballet teacher of some repute and rumoured to have hidden great riches inside the house. 

Determined to find the treasure, Lucy and two of her friends break in at night and uncover a darker secret that will throw them into a deadly labyrinth of hell. 

From the directors of Inside, Livid will have you reeling with fear. 

Verdict: Intricate and atmospheric horror though the conclusion leaves more questions than answers. 7/10

Please Give (2010)Please Give

A family looking for some extra space gets drawn into a difficult relationship with the folks next door in this comedy drama from writer and director Nicole Holofcener. Kate (Catherine Keener) and Alex (Oliver Platt) are a couple living in New York City who run a successful store specializing in vintage furniture. Kate and Alex have a teenage daughter, Abby (Sarah Steele) and their apartment is starting to feel a bit small for the three of them; Kate and Alex own the unit next door to them, and once the flat becomes vacant, they plan to knock out a wall and take over the space. However, Andra (Ann Morgan Guilbert), their tenant, is an elderly woman with a poor disposition who doesn’t seem eager to go anywhere soon, and it’s occurred to Kate and Alex that they’re probably going to have wait for her to die, since evicting her would be very awkward. Hoping to make the best of the situation, Kate tries to strike up a friendship with Andra and her fiercely protective granddaughter Rebecca (Rebecca Hall), but Andra isn’t especially interested in making new friends, and Rebecca’s sister, Mary (Amanda Peet), isn’t much easier to deal with.

Verdict: The story feels unfinished by the end but worth watching for an excellent performance from Catherine Keener. 6/10

19411941 (1979)

Steven Spielberg’s monumental comedy, based on a true incident, about the war panic that erupted in Southern California after a Japanese sub was spotted off the coast six days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

Verdict: Steven Spielberg’s weakest film has a great cast but a surprising lack of laughs. 4/10

30 Minutes or Less (2011)30 Minutes or Less

Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a small town pizza delivery guy whose mundane life collides with the big plans of two wannabe criminal masterminds (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson). The volatile duo kidnaps Nick and forces him to rob a bank. With mere hours to pull off the impossible task, Nick enlists the help of his ex-best friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari). As the clock ticks, the two must deal with the police, hired assassins, flamethrowers, and their own tumultuous relationship.

Verdict: Mildly funny comedy that could have done with a longer run-time. 6/10

Mission Impossible 2Mission: Impossible II (2000)

The world’s greatest spy returns in the movie event of the year, M:I-2. Top action director John Woo brings his own brand of excitement to the mission that finds Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) partnering up with the beautiful Nyah Hall (Thandie Newton) to stop renegade agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) from releasing a new kind of terror on an unsuspecting world. But before the mission is complete, they’ll traverse the globe and have to choose between everything they love and everything they believe in.

Verdict: The acting isn’t great but the action sequences are top-notch. 6/10

The Resistance (2011)The Resistance

In 1937, Japan began their invasion of China by murdering over 300,000 people in Nanking. In Beijing, there are rumours that a masked man is systematically killing Japanese soldiers, working his way up to the top Japanese general. With the world s attention focused on Europe all this carnage is allowed to rage throughout the country almost unnoticed. An American reporter is sent to China to uncover the truth behind the unrest, but what he finds threatens his own life and the very sovereignty of the United States.

Verdict: A poor script, weak acting and unconvincing effects (especially the rain) make this a big disappointment. 3/10

The Man Who Shot Liberty ValanceThe Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

A senator, who became famous for killing a notorious outlaw, returns for the funeral of an old friend and tells the truth about his deed.

Verdict: Well acted and poignant Western from the great John Ford. 8/10

Arn – The Knight Templar (2007)Arn

Set in the Middle Ages Arn, the son of a Swedish nobleman, must journey to the Holy Land on horseback as a sentence for falling in love with a forbidden romantic partner, Cecilia, who in turn, is banished to spend the rest of her days in a convent. The harsh voyage carries Arn through the heart of the medieval world and into the core of brutal and bloody Crusades. Both he and Cecilia must learn to fight to survive, to confront evil and overcome tremendous suffering and misery, guided by the faith that one day they will be reunited. Arn returns home to fight for his love and his life s mission: to unite Sweden into one kingdom. With an esteemed all-star cast, this epic adventure blends thrilling factual and fictional characters to offer up brave knights, powerful queens and treacherous kings in a tale of war, intrigue, friendship and betrayal.

Verdict: Epic Medieval tale with a moving love story at its core. 7/10

Mission Impossible 3Mission Impossible 3 (2006)

Ethan Hunt comes face to face with a dangerous and sadistic arms dealer while trying to keep his identity secret in order to protect his girlfriend.

Verdict: A decent cast, especially the addition of Philip Seymour Hoffman make this one of the better missions. 7/10

Company of Heroes (2013)Company of Heroes

During the last major German offensive of World War II, a company of American soldiers is lost behind enemy lines during the Battle of the Bulge and they make a horrific discovery – Hitler has a super bomb in development. The soldiers soon learn about a secret allied mission to retrieve a defecting German scientist in charge of Hitler’s weapons programme. Faced with impossible odds, the company and an escaping POW go on a daring raid into the heart of Nazi Germany in pursuit of the scientist. 

Verdict: Starts well but fades disappointingly in its second half to become distinctly average. 5/10

Follow Dave

Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
Follow Dave
Pin It

Leave a Comment