New Releases: 30th June

NON-STOP:

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If you’re looking for a tense-cum-silly thriller, Non-Stop looks promising. It marks the first time I’ve felt anything more than complete indifference to Neeson’s reinvention as an action hero. I might even watch the actual film. These are some selling points culled from various reviews: a “solid premise and tense setup” … an “absurd, Looney Tunes logic” … Neeson’s “enormous conviction” … cinema “no more or less than what it intends to be” … action “ridiculously entertaining”. Tom Shone’s Guardian  review is what’s really sold me though – he says of Neeson, “He’s at his best striding up and down the aisles of the aircraft with that big, rolling gait of his, carving out great wads of air with his hands, barking orders, his face in Rodin-ish profile, his destiny, like Mitchum’s, enlivened by a nobility far greater than the film he finds himself in – the true sign of a B-movie king.”

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THE ROCKET:

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Critically acclaimed Australian drama set and shot in Laos. Seems verrry sentimental. Too sentimental? You tell me. I’m going to go out on a limb and recommend this to anyone who enjoyed that sketchy dollop of condescension with François Cluzet in a wheelchair.

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RIDE ALONG:

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Oink, oink, oink. Ice “Fuck the Police” Cube plays a cop, again. Hmm. It’s okay though, in interviews he’s explained how playing a cop in a film isn’t the same as actually being a cop, and that playing one is okay as long as you get paid millions of dollars to do it. Phew, I was worried he’d sold out! Ride Along looks kind of funny and I like the part in the trailer where he bashes someone’s head into a glass display case.

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ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

HELIX SEASON 1:

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BOSS SEASON 2:

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 posted by William Goodey

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One To Watch

Sleeping Beauty (2011) – written and directed by Julia Leigh

Sleeping Beauty: Lucy, a university student with several part-time jobs, joins an exclusive company specialising in fulfilling the desires of elite (and apparently elderly) clients.

If you’ve heard it’s pretentious, don’t be put off – it’s not pretentious, it’s just not your average Hollywood-style drama where everything is neatly tied up for you, bow and all. The performances are brave and the script is a good one – the viewer is kept guessing about pretty much everything – who this girl is, her background, her relationships to other characters and what exactly it is that motivates her. But, whilst this sort of open-ended script can be annoying in some films, it never is in Sleeping Beauty – perhaps because these ‘unexplained’ scenes always seem quite complete in themselves and are never given the unnecessary weight of over-signification which can often drag a film into the steaming pile of pretence. Even the scene which has caused some viewers the most annoyance, where an elderly ‘gent’ is re-telling a story he had read years before – the actor speaks directly to the camera, the first and only time any character does so in the film – even this scene works, drawing the viewer in and making an uncomfortable scenario unexpectedly tender, poetic and thoughtful.

The film did well at Cannes, and it’s easy to see why – it has a distinctly European quality to it. Stylistically, the film is like a half-forgotten (and somewhat perverse) dream, where each scene makes perfect sense in itself, although you’re left musing over where it fits in and what it actually means. This is not a criticism, however. At no point does the film jolt along or feel uncomfortable (other than at times when it is intentionally so). The film has a warm, easy pace and a soft, quiet intimacy, but at the same time a slightly bemused removal from its subject. The juxtaposition works well. First-time director, Julia Leigh (apparently mentored by Jane Campion) is definitely one to watch.

Cert. 18, Australia.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CU_gV-8esY