John Banville’s 2005 Booker prize-winning novel about the grand themes of life, love, death, joy, loss, nostalgia and remorse, has made a less grand film that is charming in its smallness. It was a deep and compelling book and the film version, although wonderful to look at and marvellously acted, hasn’t the power of the printed version, even though the script has been written by Banville.
Shot in sequential order over eight consecutive days, using actors situated in a Canary Wharf hotel phoning in their performances to Tom Hardy’s increasingly exasperated Ivan Locke, this is the story of a renowned construction manager whose life is slowly beginning to unravel through a series of in-car phone calls. To reveal anything more than that would be to spoil your enjoyment of a very special passenger seat journey.
Fans of Lukas Moodysson’s early films may have deserted the divisive director by this point in his career. After the early, warm-hearted, yet attitude-laden tales of Swedish life depicted in Show Me Love and Together, Moodysson headed for the dark side, first with the impressive if harrowing Lilya 4-Ever, before veering towards more experimental, misanthropic or just misguided territories in later films. (One memorable festival screening of A Hole in My Heart saw an audience member asking Moodysson why he'd made such a rubbish film).
The Descendants director Alexander Payne once again has his eye in when it comes to delicately told parables of humdrum human existence, this time dealing with the onset of age and the domino effect it has on one particular backwater family.
Reminiscent of an early Coen Brothers film, for the first half at least, this beautifully shot dark revenge comedy spirals off into unfunny, cruel pointlessness.
Half of A Yellow Sun stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Odenigbo, an academic who is heavily involved in his county Nigeria’s politics. He lives with his devoted houseboy, Ugwu (John Boyega) in the small university town of Nsukka.
This is a dark, disturbing, anarchic and lacerating Catholic comedy starring Brendan Gleeson as Father James, a priest who has a week to put his affairs in order after being told he is marked for murder during a confession.
The Lunchbox focuses on two individuals who form a connection over a rare mistake made from a delivery. Writer/director Ritesh Batra’s first full length film is an unquestionable success as it provides a heart-warming, tender examination of love, loss and loneliness.
It’s only a year since compelling, gritty Nordic Noir hit Easy Money beached up on our shores, but the sequel – set three years after events in the first movie – is here already. It’s an even more lugubrious affair, but the signature intertwining stories, radical inter-cutting between story strands, multi-cultural characters and down beat tone are all very much in evidence.
Don’t come to Darren Aronofsky’s biblical blockbuster expecting anything clever or beautiful or jaw-droppingly bizarre or inspiring (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler). At all. You know the story: Noah (Crowe) is on a vision-inspired mission to build a big boat and save animals and his own family from floods that wipe out the rest of humanity.