Film

Review: The Boat That Rocks

By Gerald Aaron, April 2, 2009

Nostalgia for the golden age of pirate radio infuses this evocative comedy about a diverse group of 1960s rock ’n’ roll DJs broadcasting to music-starved British listeners from a ship in the North Sea.

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Review: Two Lovers

By Gerald Aaron, March 26, 2009

Director James Gray is known for crime thrillers such as The Yards and We Own the Night. Here he changes pace with this gentle, emotional drama which enjoyably takes its time establishing character and narrative, and steadfastly refuses to tip into melodrama, despite ample opportunity.

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Review: The Damned United

By Gerald Aaron, March 26, 2009

After playing Tony Blair and David Frost with distinction, Michael Sheen scores again with a riveting performance as legendary football coach Brian Clough in this winning dramatisation of Clough’s disastrous 44-day tenure as manager of Leeds United in 1974. While never selling the beautiful game short, screenwriter Peter Morgan’s adaptation of David Peace’s best-selling novel concentrates on the interplay of key characters, centred on the overly self-confident Clough’s bitter rivalry with his Leeds predecessor, Don Revie (splendidly played by Colm Meany).

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The Jewish Scorsese turns to romance

By Nick Johnstone, March 26, 2009

James Gray first came to attention in 1994 with his directorial debut, Little Odessa, a Martin Scorsese-influenced drama about a hitman (Tim Roth) returning home to the Russian Jewish neighbourhood of his youth, Brighton Beach, New York, for a job. Next came The Yards (2000) and We Own The Night (2007) which both further justified the “Son of Scorsese” tag, while introducing two mesmerising performances by Joaquin Phoenix, who has become something of a Robert De Niro to James Gray’s Scorsese.

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Review: Paul Blart: Mall Cop

By Gerald Aaron, March 19, 2009

An undemanding comedy which sees Kevin James (who also co-wrote the amusing, but one-note, screenplay), playing the eponymous security guard with engaging charm, suffering frequent pratfalls but ultimately saving attractive sales assistant Amy (Jayma Mays) from a gang of robbers. Adam Sandler produces.

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Review: Duplicity

By Gerald Aaron, March 19, 2009

An ingeniously-plotted romantic crime caper from director Tony (Michael Clayton) Gilroy.

Former MI6 agent Ray Koval (Clive Owen) and one-time CIA operative Claire Stenwick (Julia Roberts) are pitched into a complex tale of corporate treachery and double- and treble-crosses. Owen and Roberts play their parts well, although there is precious little sexual chemistry between them. Slick and suspenseful.

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Review: Flash of Genius

By Gerald Aaron, March 19, 2009

Producer Marc Abraham makes an impressive directorial debut with this gripping, true-life David versus Goliath story. Greg Kinnear is utterly convincing as unassuming Detroit college professor Robert Kearns who developed a revolutionary windscreen wiper in the 1950s, and then spent years fighting the Ford motor company in the courts for breaching his patents, at great emotional cost to him and his family. The climactic courtroom sequence is laden with suspense. Highly recommended.

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Exposing hatred’s hidden face

By Nick Johnstone, March 19, 2009

Back in 2005, Israeli documentary maker Naftaly Gliksberg, an avid consumer of European news, noted another year of disturbing antisemitic outrages in France. In those 12 months alone, 504 antisemitic incidents were reported. Gliksberg, who had been following news reports of antisemitic attacks in France since 2003, when he was profoundly affected by the savage murder of Jewish Parisian DJ Sebastien Selam by an Arab neighbour, felt not enough was being done to protect French Jews.

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Review: Bronson

By Gerald Aaron, March 12, 2009

Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Britain’s longest-serving (34 years) jailbird “Charles Bronson” (born Michael Peterson) is extraordinarily visceral, foul-mouthed and terrifyingly maniacal. If you really, really have to see this over-directed (by Nicolas Winding Refn), pretentious and far too sycophantic “tribute” to Bronson/Petersen, wait for its appearance on television.

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Review: The Burning Plain

By Gerald Aaron, March 12, 2009

Screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga turns director but the result is disappointing, even with Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger in the leading roles.

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