Film

Rudolf Kasztner: The hated Shoah hero

By Jenni Frazer, February 26, 2009

The film director and producer Gaylen Ross was working on the film Blood Money: Switzerland’s Nazi Gold, when she first met a Holocaust survivor who said she had been on the Kasztner train. “I had no idea what she was talking about,” says Ross, “but I was fascinated and started to pursue the story.”

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Review: The Class

By John Nathan, February 26, 2009

Laurent Cantet’s award-winning portrait of a year in an inner-city Paris school is a magnificent adaptation of his semi-autobiographical novel, Entre Le Murs.

Non-professionals play the pupils and teachers, while schoolmaster François Bégaudeau plays himself, in what is a consistently thought-provoking and fascinating docu-drama, right up there with that other French school masterpiece, 2002’s Etre et Avoir.

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Review: The Unborn

By Gerald Aaron, February 26, 2009

A young woman is haunted by a dybbuk, a malicious spirit that appears as a demonic boy. Yes, it’s a Jewish take on The Exorcist.

A theologian might be able to pronounce on the Jewish exorcism ritual at the climax of writer-director David S Goyer’s shocker. For mere movie-goers, however, The Unborn is actually little more than a routine scaremonger decorated with Judaism to imbue its standard shockmaking with a “serious” element.

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Review: Notorious

By Gerald Aaron, February 12, 2009

This saga of the short, violent, often reprehensible life of Brooklyn rapper Christopher Wallace, known as Notorious B.I.G, is relentlessly foul-mouthed, but never less than compelling. Hip-hop artist Jamal Woolard is excellent as B.I.G.

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Review: The Pink Panther 2

By Gerald Aaron, February 12, 2009

I don’t think I would be lying if I described this redundant remake as a “laugh-a-minute comedy”. It contained about one laugh but I cannot actually remember in which minute it occurred.

Otherwise Steve Martin’s energetic but unfunny efforts to bring bungling accident-prone Inspector Clouseau, originally created by Peter Sellers 45 years ago, is about as amusing as a tax demand.

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Review: Hotel For Dogs

By Gerald Aaron, February 12, 2009

This amusing and warm-hearted children’s adventure delivers exactly what it says on the tin. Canine-loving kids are in for a real treat. The young cast (of humans), an attractive tribe of amiable mutts, and enthusiastic first-time director Thor Freudenthal all ensure accompanying adults, too, should be pleasantly entertained. Expect a well-assembled mixture of comedy, four-legged slapstick and, at the climax, sentiment.

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Review: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

By Gerald Aaron, February 5, 2009

David Fincher’s epic fantasy about a man who is born a wizened elderly midget and grows younger as he ages resembles a kind of reverse riff on Forrest Gump.

It showcases highly impressive film craft, extraordinary special effects and make-up that brilliantly superimpose Brad Pitt’s features at different stages of ageing on to various sized bodies to chart his growth into an ever younger man.

Cate Blanchett, covered in latex ageing make-up, tells the strange story in flashback via her diary and plays Button’s ballet dance lover.

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Review: Vicky Cristina Barcelona

By Gerald Aaron, February 5, 2009

Woody Allen’s latest film is certainly an improvement on his last three offerings — Match Point, Scoop (never released in Britain except by DVD pirates) and Cassandra’s Dream.

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Review: Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans

By Gerald Aaron, January 29, 2009

Len Wiseman, who directed the first two supernatural shockers in the Underworld series, cedes the director’s chair to Patrick Tatopoulos, who designed the monsters for all three movies.

The result is thrilling for audiences following the ongoing battle between the vile aristocratic vampires and ravening lycanthropes (or werewolves).

Rise of the Lycans illustrates, in gory detail, the origins of the bloody feud

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Review: Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist

By Gerald Aaron, January 29, 2009

Like Superbad, in which Michael Cera appeared to advantage, this light and likeable teen rom-com takes place over a single night in Manhattan.

Here, Cera plays high school misfit Nick, the only straight member of an all-gay indie band, who meets Nora (Kat Dennings). Romance blossoms during a night of wild, mostly comic adventures.

Energetic direction by Peter Sollet, and the charming double act of the nerdy Cera and the engagingly natural Dennings make this an enjoyably experience.

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