This Week’s Films (24/02/14)

Battle of Algiers

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

In an alternate Victorian Age world, a group of famous contemporary fantasy, SF and adventure characters team up on a secret mission.

Verdict: 3/10

Woman on TopWoman on Top (2000)

Isabella (Penelope Cruz) is a beautiful Brazilian enchantress who runs a successful restaurant with her husband, Nino. However, when Isabella finds out that Nino has been cheating on her she heads for San Francisco to pursue her dream of a culinary career on her own. She moves in with her childhood friend, cross-dresser Monica, and is soon given the opportunity to host her own TV show – an offer she cannot refuse. Meanwhile back in Brazil, Nino has decided to travel northwards in a bid to win back his wife’s love.

Verdict: 4/10

Memorial Day (2011)Memorial Day

Memorial Day, 1993. When 13-year-old Kyle Vogel discovers the World War II footlocker belonging to his grandfather, Bud, everyone tells Kyle to put it back. Although Bud has never talked about his time in World War II he finds himself striking a deal with his grandson: Kyle can pick any three souvenirs, and Bud will tell him the stories behind each one. Memorial Day not only takes us on a journey into Bud’s complicated wartime past, but also into Kyle’s wartime future. The film shows the similarities between two generations of one family as the two men share parallel experiences in combat, Bud in war torn Europe and Kyle in modern day Iraq.

Verdict: 5/10

ATMATM (2012)

Three office workers find themselves trapped by a sadistic psychopath in this horror from director David Brooks. Offering a ride home to his co-worker and love interest, Emily (Alice Eve), after their late night Christmas party, David (Brian Geraghty) feels obliged to help out when another employee, Corey (Josh Peck), asks for a lift to the nearest cash dispenser. But after entering the stand-alone unit, the three soon realise that they are being watched by a threatening hooded figure lurking in the car park. Trapped inside the booth, with their phones left in the car and panic setting in, they are horrified when the figure savagely murders a passing dog walker, setting in motion a terrifying game of cat and mouse.

Verdict: 3/10

The Battle of Algiers (1966)Battle of Algiers

One of the most influential political films in history, The Battle of Algiers, by Gillo Pontecorvo (Kapò), vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s. As violence escalates on both sides, children shoot soldiers at point-blank range, women plant bombs in cafés, and French soldiers resort to torture to break the will of the insurgents. Shot on the streets of Algiers in documentary style, the film is a case study in modern warfare, with its terrorist attacks and the brutal techniques used to combat them. Pontecorvo’s tour de force has astonishing relevance today.

Verdict: 8/10

The WordsThe Words (2012)

“There’s more than one way to take a life…” and THE WORDS couldn’t be truer. Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper) has achieved his every goal: a loving wife critical success and a best-selling novel. The only problem is he didn’t write it. Now as his conscience starts to haunt him and his past wrongs are revealed it’s difficult to tell fact from fiction. Jeremy Irons Dennis Quaid Olivia Wilde Ben Barnes and Zoe Saldana star in this romantic thriller that keeps you guessing until the very end.

Verdict: 6/10

Lonesome Jim (2005)Lonesome Jim

Steve Buscemi directs and Casey Affleck stars in this comedy drama about a failed novelist who returns from New York to the small Indiana town he grew up in. When Jim (Affleck) runs out of money in the big city, he is reluctantly forced to return to his dysfunctional family home. He doesn’t really get on with his folks and he has no interest in the family business. But after his depressed, older brother Tim (Kevin Corrigan) ends up in a coma, he is forced to help out at his parents’ ladder factory as well as looking after his two mischievous nieces (Rachel and Sarah Strouse). At the factory he meets his Uncle Stacey (Mark Boone Jr), aka Evil, who is using the plant as a front for his drug dealing business. When Jim’s mother (Mary Kay Place) is mistakenly arrested and jailed for narcotics smuggling, it looks like things can’t get any worse. But between his budding relationship with his brother’s nurse Anika (Liv Tyler), and coaching a junior basketball team that includes Tim’s daughters, the perenially glum Jim concedes that there may be a chink of light at the end of the tunnel.

Verdict: 6/10

ThaleThale (2012)

Two crime-scene cleaners discover a mythical, tailed female creature in a concealed cellar. She never utters a word, unable to tell her story, but the pieces of the puzzle soon come together: she’s been held captive for decades for reasons soon to surface… Fun fact: THALE is based on a mythical character in Nordic folklore called the “huldra”. According to the myth, a huldra is a beautiful creature with female attributes living deep in the woods. It is said that it seduces men that works in the woods by humming a beautiful song, and they never return to their village. You can recognize a huldra by its cow tail.

Verdict: 4/10

Le Havre (2011)Le Havre

In this warmhearted comic yarn from Aki Kaurismäki (The Match Factory Girl), fate throws the young African refugee Idrissa (Blondin Miguel) into the path of Marcel Marx (La vie de bohème’s André Wilms), a kindly bohemian who shines shoes for a living, in the French harbor city Le Havre. With inborn optimism and the support of most of his tight-knit community, Marcel stands up to the officials doggedly pursuing the boy for deportation. A political fairy tale that exists somewhere between the reality of contemporary France and the classic French cinema of the past, especially the poetic realist works of Jean Duvivier and Marcel Carné, LE HAVRE is a charming, deadpan delight and one of the Finnish director’s finest films.

Verdict: 7/10

MutantsMutants (2009)

Like David Cronenberg’s The Fly, co-writer and director David Morley s fright flick Mutants turns the horror genre on its head and makes it personal. It s one thing to kill a zombie. But what if the zombie was someone you loved? ER doctor Sonia (Helene de Fougerolles) and her boyfriend Marco (Francis Renaud) take refuge in an abandoned base when a pandemic has turned almost everyone in the world into a flesh-eating monster. But one of the creatures infects Marco and soon Sonia is fighting off zombies, dealing with her own pregnancy and desperately hoping for a cure as Marco literally disintegrates before her eyes. Finally, Sonia faces the truth: the one man worth fighting for has become the one man she must fight against to survive.

Verdict: 4/10

Seven Years in Tibet (1997)Seven Years in Tibet

True story of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountain climber who became friends with the Dalai Lama at the time of China’s takeover of Tibet.

Verdict: 7/10

Hellraiser: InfernoHellraiser: Inferno (2000)

Supernatural villain Pinhead (Doug Bradley) finds himself on the wrong side of the law in this, the fifth film in the Hellraiser franchise. Joseph (Craig Sheffer) is a detective with the L.A.P.D. who one morning discovers he’s no longer living in California – he’s been exiled to Hades, and the only way to escape is by solving the mystery of the all-powerful puzzle box. The box is now in the hands of the fearsome demon Pinhead, and Joseph finds himself in a life-and-death struggle with the demon for control of the puzzle box.

Verdict: 4/10

Transit (2012)Transit

THIS IS NOT A PERFECT GETAWAY. To move four million dollars of stolen money past a police roadblock, the perpetrators of a deadly bank heist use a suburban family as unwitting couriers. Now, the criminals want their money back and will stop at nothing to reclaim their ill-gotten gains. 

Transit is a high-octane, explosive action thriller, from legendary action producer Joel Silver (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, The Matrix) and After Dark Films also starring James Frain (Tron: Legacy, True Blood, Diora Baird (30 Days Of Night) and Harold Perrineau (Lost, The Matrix Reloaded) 

Fasten your seatbelts, this is going to be one hell of a ride… 

Verdict: 6/10

Wall-EWall-E (2008)

The highly acclaimed director of FINDING NEMO and the creative storytellers behind CARS and RATATOUILLE transport you to a galaxy not so far away for a new cosmic comedy adventure about a determined robot named WALL-E. After hundreds of lonely years of doing what he was built for, the curious and lovable WALL-E discovers a new purpose in life when he meets a sleek search robot named EVE. Join them and a hilarious cast of characters on a fantastic journey across the universe. Transport yourself to a fascinating new world with Disney-Pixar’s latest adventure, now even more astonishing on DVD and loaded with bonus features, including the exclusive animated short film BURN-E. WALL-E is a film your family will want to enjoy over and over again.

Verdict: 8/10

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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.
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