AT THE CINEMA [Mar 4th]
The Adjustment Bureau [Main picture]
Eoin Says: Based loosely on the 1954 Phillip K. Dick short story ‘Adjustment Team’, The Adjustment Bureau sees politican David Morris (Matt Damon) fall for ballerina Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) and get into a relationship during a failed political campaign by Damon. As he soon finds out, something is keeping them apart, going as far as to erase all existence of it happening with the reasoning being that it is not part of the plan for him. Well, obviously, Damon’s not going to stand for that BS so he decides to do something about it, finding his lost lover and finding a solution to this craziness. Some people see the immediate comparison with another based-on-a-book movie series Damon was in, the Bourne series, and whilst that’s easy to see, something about this rings more cerebral than the more explodey friendly formula of that series. From what I’ve seen, it looks interesting enough and Damon has proven himself more and more as a force in Hollywood especially recently in True Grit, and hopefully it turns out good.
Hopefully, in the annals of good and bad movies based on Dick’s work, we get more of a Blade Runner from this then, say, a Paycheck.
The African Queen
Sam Says: There are plenty of interesting new films out this week, but still, that doesn’t mean you should pass up another chance to catch this classic on the big screen. Jack Cardiff’s masterful cinematography, John Houston’s energetic direction and the fiery performances of Katharine Hepburn and an Oscar winning Humphrey Bogart, both clearly enjoying the crackling dialogue that they share, mean that this film is every bit as engaging now as it was when it was first released 60 years ago.
This restored print is showing mainly at BFI Southbank, but it should be touring some arthouse screens over the next month or so, so check your local listings
Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer
Sam Says: The latest from Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Taxi to the Dark Side director Alex Gibney continues his long standing engagement with the politics of our time. This time Gibney turns his camera on the former Governor of New York, Elliot Spitzer, who was forced to resign in 2008, after he was revealed as a client of a prostitution ring, and particularly of high priced hooker Ashley Dupre.
Gibney, an effective interviewer on the evidence of his previous films, has secured an extensive interview with Spitzer (though not, it appears, with Dupre) and it should make for fascinating viewing if Gibney can get his subject to really explore why he managed to throw away what seemed a very promising political career.
Mike Says: Could this be the film to disprove the long-held belief that Verbinski is nothing more than a Hollywood hack? From the look of the trailers – which are a perfect blend of Western tropes, surrealist fantasy and broad comedy – it could well be one of the most exciting and original animated movies of the year. Although it’s an original script and not based on any TV show or videogame, Rango reminds me of the Xbox mini-classic Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath, and if it recreates any of the tone of that dry, off-kilter little actioner then I’m really excited. Johnny Depp seems to be channeling Billy Crystal for his lively voice-work and the animation looks nothing short of stunning (especially that shot of the giant eye). Western fans, keep your eyes on this one… there’s even a reference to Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas!
Mike Says: Probably the most polarizing American filmmaker working today (Harmony Korine would qualify if more than five people saw his movies), Julie Taymor has upset Shakespeare fans once before with her revisionist fantasy Titus, a theatrical revenge epic which mixed historical and contemporary settings/ideas to create one nightmarishly violent vision. Her 2002 biopic Frida is a sensuous dream of pain and rapture channeled into art and her controversial 2007 musical Across The Universe is richly intoxicating, visually spectacular and one of the most underrated films of the last decade. The Tempest played in Venice last year and divided the room, and its critical reception thus far bodes well for her fans. With a top-notch cast (Helen Mirren, Chris Cooper, Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou), this version looks like it has kept the original dialogue and seems to be another visually inventive treat. It’s probably highly flawed, but I’m still salivating with anticipation.
ON DVD / BLU RAY [Mar 7th]
Mike Says: I know very little of this dark UK drama/thriller except that IMDB describes it as “A love story set in the world of obsessive birdwatchers.’ A young couple who met on a suicide website break up and just as the guy, Nikko (Harry Treadaway) begins to recover the girl, Stevie (Emma Booth) arrives back on the scene, and starts to wreak havoc as their dangerously sexual relationship picks up where it left off… it sounds decidedly odd and cultish, and the trailer makes it seem completely off-base and quite funny. Treadaway, a hugely talented rising star, has tackled dark material before with the terrifying, violent thriller series Cape Wrath, the definition of cult television which is sure to attract a Twin Peaks style audience in the next decade. There were a couple of odd little British movies last year, including Nick Whitfield’s Skeletons. This one looks meaner and more brooding – frankly, it could be a belter.