Film

Street Kings

By Gerald Aaron, April 17, 2008

(15)

Alcoholic Los Angeles cop Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves) goes to the line and well beyond it to rescue two kidnapped young girls at the start of this hard-edged and bloody thriller. “We’re the police,” he says, “we can do whatever the hell we want.”

Which is exactly what happens when, while being investigated for alleged wrongdoing by cynical Captain James Biggs (Hugh Laurie, doing an enjoyably grumpy riff on his moody medico in television’s House), he seeks revenge and sets out to clear himself.

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Fool's Gold

By Gerald Aaron, April 17, 2008

(12A)

Treasure hunters Ben (Matthew McConaughey) and Tess (Kate Hudson) have just divorced. The reason for the split is revealed by Tess’s sardonic divorce lawyer who observes: “You married the guy for sex and expected him to be smart?”

But the couple reluctantly join forces again to find sunken Spanish treasure off the coast of Florida (played here, quite convincingly in fact, by the coast of Queensland, Australia).

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21

By Gerald Aaron, April 11, 2008

(15)

This fascinating fact-inspired thriller (adapted from Ben Mezrich’s book Bringing Down the House) centres on genius maths student Ben (Jim Sturgess), who is recruited by Kevin Spacey’s devious professor Micky Rosa to join a team of gifted students who use their number skills to win fortunes at Las Vegas casinos.



Kate Bosworth in 21

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Leatherheads

By Gerald Aaron, April 11, 2008

(PG) Wise-cracking Chicago newspaper journalist Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger) is assigned to investigate too-good-to-be true World War One hero-turned-college football idol Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski) who is signed by fellow football hero Dodge Connolly (George Clooney) to save his failing team. Naturally both men make a play for Lexie. Clooney, who doubles as director, stages some exciting football sequences, but, hampered by the lumpen screenplay, he mostly fails to revive the spirit of vintage 1930s screwball comedies.

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Shine A Light

By Gerald Aaron, April 11, 2008

(12A)

This concert movie is guaranteed to please Rolling Stones fans, who will love the vivid coverage of the band’s recent concert at New York’s Beacon Theatre, interspersed with flashbacks to past interviews, notably one showing Mick Jagger speaking in an upper-class English accent rather than his more usual mockney. Given all four of the Stones — Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood — are now eligible for bus passes, their on-stage energy is remarkable.

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Secret plight of the desert nomads

By Nick Johnstone, April 11, 2008

Ori Kleiner’s film demands that Israel’s Bedouins be rescued from a life of terrible poverty.

Nobody could view Ori Kleiner’s documentary about the lives of Bedouin communities in Israel as anything but a damning social critique. Shot on location in the Negev over the summer of 2006, Recognized presents a shocking portrait of the desperate poverty facing many of Israel’s estimated 110,000 strong Bedouin population.

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Son Of Rambow

By Gerald Aaron, April 4, 2008

(12A)

Too many recent period movies — The Other Boleyn Girl is a notable example — have excessive period detail dumped on them. But writer-director Garth Jennings’s perceptive coming-of-age comedy subtly establishes its 1982 suburban England setting without over-dressing.

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Funny Games

By Gerald Aaron, April 3, 2008

(18) Ten years ago, Austrian writer-director Michael Haneke made a German-language thriller about two young psychopaths holding a holidaying family hostage, terrorising them and forcing them to “play” the eponymous funny games. It was well directed and acted. It was also shocking, sordid and exploitative.

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My Brother Is An Only Child

By Gerald Aaron, April 3, 2008

(12A) Working-class brothers Accio (Elio Germano) and Manrico (Riccardo Scamaricio) come of age on opposite sides of the political spectrum in late 1960s Italy in director Daniele Luchetti’s powerful family drama adapted from Antonio Pennacchi’s bestselling novel Il Fascio comunista. Manrico becomes a Communist organiser while Accio, expelled from a seminary, joins up with a band of fascist thugs. Luchetti’s skill is that he has made the film not as flat-out political polemic, but rather as a telling, sharply characterised story of relationships.

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Awake

By Gerald Aaron, April 3, 2008

(15)

At the start of writer-director Joby Harold’s feature debut, we learn that every year, one in 700 people wake up during surgery. The prospect is scary enough on its own. Harold resourcefully goes one step ahead by having his wealthy captain of industry protagonist, Clayton Beresford Jr (Hayden Christensen), find himself still awake, paralysed and unable to communicate after having been anaesthetised for a heart transplant operation.

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