|Director: Levinson Starring: Connolly, Denham Run-time: 84 mins|
The Bay is a faux-docu horror much like The Tunnel, The Fourth Kind or Lake Mungo. It takes the basic premise of Cabin Fever but sets its flesh-eating virus amongst an unknowing island community. The film is told in the past tense. Interviews with survivors of the virus are juxtaposed with handheld footage of the day in question. There's the odd freaky moment of bodily horror but mostly the film is bogged down by its documentary style and odd conspiracy theories. The Bay never really climaxes either, it just tells its tale and finishes abruptly. It actually did feel like a waste of time!
|Director: Mackenzie Starring: Green, McGregor Run-time: 92 mins|
Perfect Sense is another film that features a life-threatening epidemic, only instead of losing their flesh and limbs, the characters in this film are slowly losing their senses. Eva Green and Ewan McGregor fall in love whilst the rest of the world collapses around them. This film wastes its intriguing plot. A world where everyone is blind and deaf opens up so many possibilities, yet the director frames every scene in Eva Green's bedroom or Ewan McGregor's kitchen. The end of the world has never been this boring. Eva Green's nipples and some fantastic cinematography were the only thing that kept me watching.
|Director: Polanski Starring: Foster, Waltz, Winslet, Reilly Run-time: 80 mins|
Carnage see's two sets of parents meet for reasonable talks after their sons are involved in a fight. Now, I totally 'got' this film; the parents end up being no better than their kids, they're shown as fake and it exposes the truth of humanity yada yada yada. The script is based off of a play by the same name, so Polanski films the whole 80 minutes in the one building. Three times Waltz and Winslet's characters are out the door but for some lame reason they return. It annoyed me because real people would've left. The acting almost salvages the farcical plot and John C. Reilly did make me laugh a couple of times. For me though, this is a failed experiment.
|Director: Burton Starring: Ryder, O'Hara, Capron Run-time: 87 mins|
Yay, a Tim Burton film without Johnny Depp, nor Helena Bonham Carter! Frankenweenie is a simple, unspectacular black-and-white animated film that tells the story of Victor, a boy who brings his pet dog Sparky back to life using science. I do enjoy Burton's uniquely-drawn animated characters with their wide bug eyes and oddly shaped heads. The film's plot isn't as original though and things do get a little sappy towards the end. It's no ParaNorman but it's a charming little flick that should win the hearts of Corpse Bride and Nightmare Before Christmas fans.
|Director: McQuarrie Starring: Cruise, Pike, Herzog Run-time: 130 mins|
Tom Cruise is back guys! After creeping everyone out as Stacee Jaxx in Rock Of Ages, he returns to more familiar territory as a former-army investigator who hunts down the identity of a military-trained sniper who's gone rogue. Without Cruise, Jack Reacher would be average beyond belief. The script keeps you guessing but it's riddled with inconsistency and loose ends. Even more disappointing is Werner Herzog, who barely makes an impression as the film's main villain. Despite these draw-backs, the film still succeeds and its down to Tom and his commitment to the character. I was also impressed by Rosamund Pike, an actress usually admired for her looks rather than her acting talent.
|Director: Trevorrow Starring: Plaza, Duplass, Johnson Run-time: 86 mins|
Made for just $750k, Safety Not Guaranteed is a fine example of what can be achieved when you cast the right people and have a great script. Aubrey Plaza plays a journalist, tracking down a man (Duplass) who put an ad in the paper claiming he has built a time-traveling device. The sci-fi element of the film is brilliantly underplayed and you almost forget about the time-traveling element until the truth is revealed at the end. Can this guy really time travel? You'll have to watch the film to see. Safety Not Guaranteed isn't for everyone. Most people will brand this as a 'hipster' movie but I found it honest, endearing and well made.
|Director: Curtis Starring: Williams, Redmayne, Branagh Run-time: 99 mins|
Michelle Williams won many plaudits for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe and whilst I enjoyed her part in the film, it wasn't the one that interested me the most. The insight that My Week With Marilyn offered into the film industry was what grabbed me. I enjoyed exploring the politics and emotions of a Hollywood film set through the eyes of the naive Colin (Redmayne). Kenneth Branagh steals the film as a frustrated Sir Laurence Olivier, adding further to his impressive list of performances. The film also looks gorgeous, brilliantly capturing the time and place it's set. As a Monroe biopic I wouldn't recommend it but as an insight into the psychology and dynamics of film-making, it's great viewing.
|Director: Leo Carax Starring: Lavant, Mendes, Minogue Run-time: 115 mins|
Last but not the least we have Holy Motors, a film that I'm still trying to piece together three weeks after viewing it. The plot isn't obvious, in fact it's entirely up to interpretation, which makes it even more intriguing. Essentially though, Denis Lavant is a chameleon who gets chauffeured to various places assuming different guises and roles depending upon the situation. One minute he's a disappointed father lecturing his doctor, the next he's a dying man on his death bed. Is it all real? Is he a performance artist? Is it a comment on film-making? A comment on identity and performance? Or just another wacky nonsensical film by those pesky French? Either way, it's an absolute must see if you're interested in foreign, non-mainstream cinema. It's unforgettable and once you've seen it, you'll want to share it with everyone you know.