This months movies are made up of sports biography, B movie horror, dumb action and gritty thrillers. I enjoyed them all, even the ones I didn’t expect to.
Rush: The true story of the rivalry between F1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the 1976 season. Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl are excellent as Hunt and Lauda. Ultimately it is a story about people not about racing making it suitable for audiences who are not F1 fans, the story is close enough to the real story to keep race fans happy.
You’re Next: Having debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness program two years ago the low budget home invasion slasher movie finally makes it to UK and American cinemas. The direction isn’t great, a lot of the acting is poor and the dialogue is often terrible. Despite this, I really enjoyed it largely for a likeable performance from Sharni Vinson and a plot that has just enough twists and turns.
Riddick: A series of plot contrivances put Vin Diesel’s Richard B. Riddick back in a situation reminiscent of his first outing in 2000’s Pitch Black. Not as good as Pitch Black but a vast improvement on The Chronicles of Riddick.
White House Down: Die Hard in the West Wing part two. Fun and funny, very knowing and self aware it is considerably better than Olympus Has Fallen and A Good Day to Die Hard. Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx and James Woods are all on greet form and clearly having fun, Maggie Gyllenhaal is grossly underused.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints: 1970’s Texas, an escaped convict heads home to see his wife and the daughter her has never met. The dreamlike narrative, long lingering visuals and muted tones have been compared to Terrance Malick, while less interesting than Badlands it is worth seeing for great performances from Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck and Ben Foster.
Prisoners: Often stark and grim thriller about two abducted children from French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve making his English-language debut. The story cleverly manipulates the viewers and has an interesting and timely subtext. The all star cast (Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano) are all on great form. Too grey and grim to be completely enjoyable but certainly a compelling watch.
Blue Jasmine: When her banker husband is revealed to be a crook, New York socialite Jasmine moves to San Francisco to live with her working class sister. Described by many as Woody Allen’s best movie in years, I’m not sure its better than Midnight in Paris, but its certainly good. Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins are both sensational. Anything less than a best actress and best supporting actress Oscar nomination would be a travesty.
Runner Runner:Slick but lightweight crime thriller set against the backdrop of online gambling. Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck are both good but Gemma Arterton isn’t given much to do. Its predictable and cliched but worse than that, it is unoriginal (its basically a pale imitation of Gilda) and has nothing of interest to say on the subject.