THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING (18)
D: Philip Kaufman
Orion (Saul Zaentz, Paul Zaentz & Bertil Ohlsson)
W: Philip Kaufman & Jean-Claude Carrìere [based on the novel by Milan Kundera]
DP: Sven Nykvist
Ed: Walter Murch
Mus: Mark Adler
Daniel Day-Lewis (Tomas), Juliette Binoche (Tereza), Lena Olin (Sabina), Derek de Lint (Franz)
I understand that the book this adaptation is based on was a critically-acclaimed bestseller, and perhaps one day I might read it, but this film is just a load of tits and bums, to be incredibly frank.
Set during the Prague Spring of 1968, Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Tomas, a surgeon who embarks on love affair with two women, one a bohemian free spirit with the same sexual appetites as him, and the other, a coy artist with a more conservative view of their relationship.
Their relationship is affected by a Soviet invasion, bringing about it the Warsaw Pact and communist oppression, which, quite disappointingly happens in the background, without really offering any knowledge for anyone who isn't read up on it.
Personally, I'd rather watch something on the same subject with more political mechanics, and if I wanted to watch three people fucking, I can always visit some adult websites... it's all quite pretty, and probably did as good a job it could with adapting a novel with such adult themes, but it glosses over the important stuff and still feels an hour too long.
What starts as an intriguing and mysterious Hitchcock-esque thriller nosedives into Clichéville soon after the hour mark. Unknown advertised itself on The Bourne Identity meets Taken, as Liam Neeson's character awakens from a coma to discover that his identity has been taken by another man and his wife appears to be part of the conspiracy. He forms an alliance with the cab driver (Diane Kruger) who was also involved in the car accident which put him into the coma.
It's actually a decent, nail-biting movie until 'the twist' when it emerges that Liam Neeson is actually a super assassin and that his entire identity was a lie and he develops a heart of gold, saves the day and gets the girl.
In short, this isn't too dissimilar from Total Recall, except without Mars, aliens and replacing an air McGuffin with some rubbish about harvesting corn.
Massively flawed, but worth watching for the performances of Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger and ex-Stasi private eye Bruno Ganz.
It must also be said that January Jones' performance is pathetically limp.
D: Steven Soderbergh
20th Century Fox/Bleeker Street/Regency (Joseph Malloch)
W: Jonathan Bernstein & James Greer
DP: Peter Andrews
Ed: Mary Ann Bernard
Mus: David Wilder Savage
Claire Foy (Sawyer Valentini), Joshua Leonard (David Strine), Jay Pharoah (Nate Hoffman), Juno Temple (Violet), Aimee Mullins (Ashley Brighterhouse), Amy Irving (Angela Valentini)
This psychological thriller from Steven Soderbergh is not without its flaws, but considering this was wholly filmed in 10 days using an iPhone app, it's a noble experimental effort from a very talented director.
Claire Foy plays Sawyer, a young woman who is convinced that she is still being stalked by a man who forced her to move to a different city. Following an appointment with a psychiatrist, Sawyer is involuntarily committed to a mental institution where a bigger nightmare unfolds.
Although the final act does descend into typical horror movie tropes and clichés, the build up is reasonably well done, toying with a conspiracy involving insurance which it doesn't quite follow up with and disappointed drops halfway through the proceedings.
Claire Foy is excellent in the main role, especially in the build up, where her sanity is convincingly ambiguous.
USS INDIANAPOLIS: MEN OF COURAGE (12)
D: Mario Van Peebles
Saban/Hannibal (Michael Mendelsohn & Richard Riondo del Castro)
W: Cam Cannon & Richard Riondo del Castro
DP: Andrzej Sekula
Ed: Robert A. Ferretti
Mus: Laurent Eyquem
Nicolas Cage (Capt. Charles Butler McVay), Tom Sizemore (Chief Petty Officer McWhorter), Thomas Jane (Lt. Wilbur 'Chuck' Gwinn), James Remar (Admiral Parnell)
Based on the true story of the USS Indianapolis, a cruiser tasked with the secret mission of delivering the atomic bomb which would be dropped on Hiroshima, only to be torpedoed by the Japanese, leaving the crew stranded in shark-infested waters.
This disaster film had potential, but filmed on a low budget and without any great flair, the overall result is nothing more than a TV movie of the week.
Director Mario Van Peebles fails to capture the period convincingly, the CGI is poor, the characters are lazily written and Nicolas Cage doesn't even try anymore.
The worst part is; for a film which involves both sharks and warfare, it fails to maintain any tension. Not quite as bad as Sharknado, but it would be easily forgivable to skip over it completely.