Joy starring Jennifer Lawrence is based on American inventor Joy Mangano who invents the self-wringing mop. It’s a story about family rivalry; control; making mistakes; learning about business; perseverance and sheer determination to not give up on something you believe in.
Captain Phillips is a riveting film based on a true story about the chaos caused by four Somali pirates who hijacked a US 17’000 tonne container ship, the Maersk Alabama, off the Somali coast in 2009. This is a story of two men from contrasting continents, where one continent values life and the other values money over life. Desperation speaks volumes and the rage against the western world is loud and clear in this film.
This film spares us the Hollywood special effects and ridiculously unbelievable scenarios. It holds its own by capturing the events as it happened which eventuated with Captain Phillips, played exceptionally well by two-time Academy award winner, Tom Hanks, being held hostage after succeeding to get the pirates off his ship. You may be thinking, ‘how exciting can a film be about a slow paced container ship?’, but I can assure you this film is full speed ahead under the masterful direction of Paul Greengrass. This director knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat.
You’ll want to get yourself mobbed by The Mob after watching this fast paced dynamic flick. It’s creative brilliance at its best. Credit goes to director, Scott Speer whose vision to create a visually spectacular dance film with heart and soul was realised far beyond what I might have imagined. Set in Miami, it sizzles with Latino spice. The storyline is straight from the cookie cutter of poor boy, Sean (Ryan Guzman) meets rich girl, Emily (Kathryn McCormick), they fall in love at first sight. Rich girl’s father (Peter Gallagher) is a mega property developer who is about to tear down the poor boy’s Latino neighbourhood in the name of progress and beautification of what he refers to as a slum. Sound familiar?
A refreshing film so beautifully made that it’s easy to be enchanted by its simplicity. You may wrinkle your nose up and be tempted to give up on it when you realise that it’s a silent film depicting the era when silent films were being replaced by ‘talkies’. But I encourage you to persist in watching this magic unfold with beautiful imagery that has been skilfully crafted by a talented crew. French director, Michel Hazanavicius’s vision was explicitly carried out with exquisite costumes, sets, and impressive cinematography by Guillaume Schiffman. My favourite shot was when Valentin pours his drink over the glass table. Such creativity.
Machine Gun Preacher, starring Gerard Butler, starts with the raid of a Sudanese village by the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army). A young boy watches his father being shot dead and is then forced to kill his mother by clubbing her over the head.
We are then taken back a few years earlier, to the other side of the world, in the United States. Sam Childers is being released from prison to wreak his own havoc on the community and his family. The first thing he does is fly into a rage when his wife tells him that she’s following Jesus and refuses to work as a stripper any more. He storms out of their trailer-park home and gets totally wasted on drugs and alcohol, slipping right back into his violent lifestyle. He gets what he wants the same way as the LRA, by raiding homes with a gun in his hand and hate in his heart.
This film may appeal to those who are familiar with the era and would appreciate the imagery, soundtrack, and emotional layers depicted in the film. Others will find it quite dull and depressing. Rachel Weisz plays Lady Hester whose soul can be felt screaming under her forced composure. Married to Sir William Collyer, a British judge played by Simon Russell Beale, she appears to find her life, based on etiquette and social acceptance unbearable. Deciding that it is better to live a life of passion, than one of controlled feelings and monotony that weigh her soul daily, she proceeds to have an affair with an ex-Royal Air Force pilot by the name of Freddie played by Tom Hiddleston. The contrast between her composed husband and Freddie who appears infantile, irresponsible and completely selfish is extreme.
This film can best be described as a psychological thriller based on the criminally insane. The Skin I Live In is disturbing on many levels and one has to wonder about the moral ethics of our society. There is a bestiality about the characters in this film that makes the film depressing. You watch in horror with no sense of hope throughout the film. The damage done is irreversible and frightening. Antonio Banderas plays Robert Ledgard, a surgeon who takes a matter of revenge into his own hands and proceeds to use a human as a guinea pig to advance his research. It is not clear whether the film is about revenge for a crime committed against Ledgard’s daughter, or about scientific research prompted by the horrific accident suffered by Ledgard’s wife. The combination is utter madness and quite bizarre.
Set in the shady streets of London, Sam, a young nurse played by Jodie Whittaker is walking home after dark when she is surrounded by thugs who mug her and push her to the ground. The thugs are a street gang of bored teens, looking for some action, and lead by the hardened Moses who lives with his often absent Uncle. As the thugs are harassing Sam, an alien falls from the sky and smashes into a car. Sam makes a run for it as Moses takes the opportunity to raid the car for goods. What he finds instead is an alien that rips into his face sending him into a rampage to kill the beast. Successful, they drag the beast through the streets and into the apartment of the local drug dealer, the same apartment that Sam happens to live in.