French thriller delivers knockout power up close
(4 out of 5 Stars)
Most of the time, foreign cinema is presented as cinema -- arty, big-idea films full of long takes and strong feeling. Anyone who's been abroad can tell you, of course, that foreign film industries make just as many buddy-cop flicks and stand-up-comedian-driven comedy projects as Hollywood does; we just don't get to see them that often. But when a 'mere' genre foreign film does make its way over here, that can be the best indicator that that real virtues of the film are what's pushing it over the ocean to America; so it is with "Point Blank," the new thriller from French director Fred Cavayé. Cavayé gave us the basis for the not-so-bad Russell Crowe thriller "The Next Three Days," and "Point Blank" is, if anything, even better.
It's got a classic Hitchcock plot, as a hurtling footchase that opens the film with a bang settles down when an accident victim ( Roschdy Zem) is taken to hospital, under the care of a nice-guy nurse's aide (Gilles Lellouche). It soon becomes clear that the accident wasn't, when a group of toughs tell Lellouche that he has to get Zem out of the Hospital ... or his pregnant wife (Elena Anya) will pay the price. Lellouche lacks skills. But he's highly, highly motivated.
Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz star in Roman Polanski's latest
Yeah, sorry to ruin the money shot there
While a mournful nation asks rhetorically, 'Is nothing sacred?'
Videodrone's take on the biggest, best, coolest and culty-ist home video releases of the week
The new "Jane Eyre" and John Carpenter films, early features by Stanley Kubrick and Roman Polanski, and "The Big Lebowski" on Blu-ray are just a few of the highlights on home video released this week.
"Jane Eyre" (Universal) is the best kind of reminder why the classics remain alive after centuries and can be effectively remade every generation or so. The co-production with BBC films is perfectly cast (Mia Wasikowska as Jane, Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester), beautifully produced and terribly engaging, and one of the best British literary adaptations since the 1995 "Pride and Prejudice" mini-series. Videodrone's review is here.
The Robert Redford-directed "The Conspirator" (Lionsgate), about the trial of the sole woman charged with conspiring to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln, failed to find drama in the true story according to MSN critic James Rocchi, while "Something Borrowed" (Warner) is more romantic comedy fluff with Kate Hudson.
Horror movie master John Carpenter returns with "The Ward" (Arc Entertainment), his first feature in ten years, and while MSN film critic Glenn Kenny finds the material wanting, he praises Carpenter as "comfortable, confident, ready to do what it is he does." More at Videodrone's "Expert Witness" post.
Foreign title of the week is "Queen to Play" (Zeitgeist), with Sandrine Bonnaire finding a flair for chess with Kevin Kline as her gruff tutor. Also new is "The Bang Bang Club" (eOne), about young combat photographers capturing the chaos of post-Apartheid South Africa, and the post-apocalyptic vampire thriller "Priest" (Sony).
The project will mark his first film since 2007's 'Redacted'
On aging gracefully, dressing awkwardly and Anne Hathaway as the faux-love of your faux-life
After the magical realism of the Beatles-inspired "Across the Universe" and the high-stakes suspense of "21," Jim Sturgess now stars in "One Day," Lone Scherfig's adaptation of the best-selling novel by David Nicholls, where Sturgess's Dexter and Anne Hathaway's Emma fall in love over 20 years of July 15ths. It's a carefully-crafted performance as Dexter moves up and down the wheels of fortune and karma -- and through the years. We spoke with Sturgess via phone about "One Day," which Britpop idol the artificially-aged Mr. Sturgess most resembles and the varied reception 'Acros the Universe" still gets.
Were you aware of Mr. Nichols's book before the script came? It feels like one of those books that really took Britain by storm.
Sturgess: I wasn't really around in England that much around that time, so I didn't know anything about it at all. The first I heard of it was the script. The script came on my desk directed by Lone Scherfig, who I knew from 'An Education,' so that was really what got me interested. I read the book after. I went and had a meeting with Lone in London, and then she gave me her copy of the book, so I started reading it after that.
Did you know about the essential model of the structure of it when you started reading it? Did you know that it was going to jump forward year by year on that specific date, or did that unfold for you the way it might unfold for the audience?
Sturgess: That just came. I knew nothing about it at all -- literally just said 'One Day' on the front, 'To be directed by Lone Scherfig; Focus Features,' it just (gave) you the who's involved kind of thing. I read it, and the script, which is a nice way around of doing it, really. I wasn't going, 'What happened in that bit? What have they done to that bit?' I just read it and took it at face value, as the audience watching the film. I really enjoyed it as a good script. I knew that it had engaged me the way that they had done it.
The film is still about vampires and werewolves
In advance of the next entry into their wildly popular "Twilight Saga" franchise, Summit Entertainment has just sent over a batch of new images from the upcoming film, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1." These new photos place a heavy emphasis on the long-desired honeymoon for Edward and Bella, so expect Twilight fans everywhere to swoon over seeing the happy couple swimming, playing chess, and going a bit too fast in a speedboat.
But there are also a few images that hint at the drama to come - a worried Bella clutching her tummy is a nod to the unexpected consequences of Bella and Edward's honeymoon in paradise. If you're not aware of what happens in the book the film is based on, you're like wholly unprepared for the massive battles that are waged, both on a very personal level for the star-crossed lovers and on a worldwide scale for vampires and werewolves everywhere.
Summit has also crafted a new official synopsis for the film: "In 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1,' Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson), plus those they love, must deal with the chain of consequences brought on by a marriage, honeymoon, and the tumultuous birth of a child… which brings an unforeseen and shocking development for Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). With more of the romance, passion, intrigue and action that made 'Twilight,' 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' and 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse' worldwide blockbusters, 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1,' based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling book series, begins the conclusion of the tale of vampire love, boundless friendship, acceptance, and finding your true self."
The films are based on the worldwide best-selling series from author Stephenie Meyer. The last two films in the franchise are directed by Bill Condon, with a script by Melissa Rosenberg (who has been all of the "Twilight" film adaptations).
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" will open on November 18. Check out the other new images after the break.