Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Disappearance of Alice Creed: Movie Review

Stark and brutal and phenomenal filmmaking.

In The Disappearance of Alice Creed, Alice (Gemma Arterton) is kidnapped. Danny (Martin Compston) and Vic (Eddie Marsan) are careful criminals and think they know what it takes to get what they want and not get caught. What follows is a well written, unconventional and startling exploration of the relationships of everyone involved and their plans to get to a better life. 2009

Directed by: J. Blakeson

Screenplay by: J. Blakeson

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston

Everything in this film is thoughtful, intelligent, and only slightly dark. This is a well thought-out, incredibly well written, and a rather unique character drama disguised as a thriller. There are some stark and brute acts of selfishness to withstand, but the rewards are remarkable.

The Disappearance of Alice Creed is the paramount of independent filmmaking. Writer and director J Blakeson has crafted a truly impressive film giving both the perpetrators and the victim interesting but realistic character traits that translate into an original and astute plot about kidnapping. I recommend this as a must-see for the dominating and masterful performances by Arterton, Compston and Marsan, for the perceptive, engrossing and bewitching story-telling and direction, and for capturing the true art of independent filmmaking.
Best of 2010


The Town (2010) - A thriller that is driven by characters and their relationships just as much as plot.

The American (2010) - A character study disguised as a thriller with an impressive visual telling.

Best Laid Plans (1997) - An interesting, twisted story of committing crimes.

Dark Matter (2007) - Hauntingly real story when academic drive turns dark and dangerous.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Four-Faced Liar: Movie Review

Starts nowhere, goes nowhere, and apparently that doesn't matter because it's New York City.
"The Four-Faced Liar" seems to have an interesting enough title, and it is done very well for its low budget. It also has a whole host of problems.

Where should I begin? It doesn't really matter because the film itself doesn't begin anywhere, except, of course, in New York City. I'm starting to think that young film-makers have never been anywhere else.

Directed by: Jacob Chase

Screenplay by: Marja Lewis Ryan

Starring: Marja Lewis Ryan, Emily Peck

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cemetery Junction: Movie Review

Ricky Gervais comes of filmmaking age with "Cemetery Junction".

Cemetery Junction is one of those poor, small British towns, where the men go to work in factories and the women try to keep their kids out of jail. Freddy (Christian Cooke) wants something different; he wants to wear a suit to work, drive a Rolls Royce home to a beautiful wife and kids in a big house. He thinks this is a more noble life to live, and at least he's doing something about it.   2010

Directed by: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant

Screenplay by: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant

Starring: Christian Cooke, Felicity Jones

Friday, November 26, 2010

127 Hours: Movie Review

More of a bold adventure film, less soulful drama.

Based on the true, survival-against-all-odds story "Between a Rock and a Hard Place", James Franco is Aron Ralston, and he is literally stuck between a rock and a hard place—a canyon wall in the Utah desert to be more exact. "127 Hours" records the time from when Aron finds himself stranded and trapped alone in a canyon, and has to use everything that he is mentally and physically capable of to try and get himself free.   2010

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Screenplay by: Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy

Starring: James Franco

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tamara Drewe: Movie Review


A comedy of affairs.

Ewedown is an idyllic, little English countryside village where writers retreat to seek inspiration, and peace and quiet. Or at least it was idyllic until Tamara Drewe returned home. The stunningly beautiful Gemma Arterton plays Tamara Drewe. Her presence immediately sparks the interest of the local men, and the bored, local teenage girls who are looking for excitement to spice up their mundane town life. 2010

Directed by: Stephen Frears

Screenplay by: Moira Buffini

Starring: Gemma Arterton

She is so sexy that she has her choice of affairs, but as usual, it's always the asshole who gets the girl.. It almost doesn’t matter which character I’m referring to as this is one of those films where almost every character is flawed and still likable, or at least entertaining.

Here’s the thing about the comedy style of Tamara Drewe: you just have to accept the thought processes of these (let’s call them socially-inept) people, but once you do it is pretty funny, even if you just find it odd at first. You see, when Tamara left home as a teemage girl in search of success in the big city, she was not hot. She had a big nose and was thus undesirable like everybody else. In London, she worked her way up as a successful rock journalist and got a nose job.

Now, back in Ewedown, the head writer of the retreat, philandering husband, semi-famous crime novelist Nicholas (Roger Allam) is lusting after Tamara; former teen flame Andy (Luke Evans), now a handsome handy-man, is not into Tamara – but would be after he settles a grudge. Meanwhile, American writer Glen (Bill Camp) is attracted to Nicholas’s wife Beth (Tamsin Greig); and two very entertaining teenage girls (Jessica Barden and Charlotte Christie) are going to snoop all of this out.

Just as it looks like Tamara is going to settle down with the rock and roll drummer Ben (Dominic Cooper) to interrupt the reserved lifestyle of the village, life gets complicated for everybody who wants something with Tamara.

Tamara Drewe is a comedy of affairs, complete with foul language, quirky characters and the irreverent British humour. Arterton sparkles as Tamara, but it's less about the characters and more about who will bed who and what will the consequences be? It sometimes seems to forget the age of its audience when it goes for the comedy of teenage girls getting into mischief, but it's also exactly what you would expect for an odd British comedy about a group of writers and one hot girl.

Best of 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Winning Season: Movie Review

(2010, directed by: James C. Strouse, written by: James C. Strouse, starring: Sam Rockwell and Emma Roberts)
(Available now on DVD)

The same sports story, but done with quality dramatic and comedic elements.

At least "The Winning Season" knows that the whole down-on-his-luck coach and group of misfit girls basketball team who learn about life and winning together type of story has been done before. They did unfortunately follow the exact same formula, but with a hint of whimsy and self-awareness, it's above average for the genre.

Emma Roberts and the other girls comprising the team actually come across as real teenage girls. I found them cute and funny. As a big fan of Sam Rockwell, he seems to be the reason why this film is pretty good. He's basically a drunken asshole, very unlikable, but he completely draws you in so there's a real emotional connection for the dramatic elements. And as he has demonstrated before, his physical comedy antics are perfect making the comedy scenes pretty funny.

"The Winning Season" has been done many times before, but here they managed to do it without being cheesy, while providing quality scenes of drama and comedy. If you like the genre, it is certainly worth a look.

This film is on my best unknown films of 2010 list - explore The 20 Best Over-Looked Films in 2010