Showing posts with label Vinessa Shaw. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vinessa Shaw. Show all posts

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Side Effects

I was in America recently and thought it would be a good opportunity to see a movie which won’t be out here in the UK for a while. Unfortunately I was there at a rare time during which there was little in US theatres which wouldn’t be in the UK by the time I got home. So instead I saw Side Effects, a film I hadn’t had a chance to see in England. Side Effects is said to be the final movie by Director Steven Soderbergh, the man behind films such as Erin Brokovich, Solaris and Contagion. Although not a huge fan of his entire back catalogue I think losing Soderbergh to film making would be a shame. He has produced some very fine films over the years with Side Effects being one of them.

We join the story days before Martin Taylor (Channing Tatum) is released from a four year prison sentence for insider trading. His wife Emily (Rooney Mara) is eagerly but nervously awaiting his release. In the days following his return, her mood shifts towards anxiety and depression and when she drives her car straight into a wall she begins to see Psychiatrist Jonathan Banks (Jude Law). Banks tries various methods and drugs before discovering the new drug Ablixa seems to control Emily’s moods. The drug gives her the side effect of sleep walking though, a side effect which turns out to have disastrous consequences for Martin, Emily and Dr Banks. The event destroys Banks’ career and while trying to clear his name he discovers a deeper, seedier plot.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Eyes Wide Shut

Completed mere days before his death in 1999, Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut is an erotically charged thriller starring the then married Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Based on the 1926 novella Dream Story by Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler the plot revolves around a rich New York City doctor Dr. William ‘Bill’ Harford (Cruise) and his wife Alice (Kidman) during a tumultuous few days in their marriage. The sexually charged Bill is accused of flirting and wanting to make love to women at a party and to his patients by his jealous and paranoid wife who then gets upset when her husband tells her that he isn’t the jealous type and trusts her implicitly. She drops a bombshell on Bill who then receives a call to attend to a patient. During the night Bill ventures into the city on a journey of sexual discovery and mystery which leaves him worried for his safety.

Eyes Wide Shut is split into two distinct halves, the first of which is an often explicit tale of sex, debauchery and passion. The second half mostly drops the erotic nature of the story in favour of all out thriller. Both halves were massively tense but equally enjoyable. I thought the film was fantastic and although it could be argued that in the hands of a lesser director and without the A List cast this would end up as a straight to video release, in the capable hands of Kubrick it is a taut and creeping film which I couldn’t take my eyes off.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Big Miracle

Based on a true story, Big Miracle is about the efforts in 1988 to save three Grey Whales from drowning in frozen seas of Point Barrow, Alaska, one of the most northerly inhabited settlements on Earth. Anchorage based reporter Adam Carlson (John Krasinski) is reporting from Barrow when he spots a small gap in sea ice through which three whales are struggling to breathe. Once his story gets national coverage, thousands of reporters, National Guard and Greenpeace activists including Rachel Kramer (Drew Barrymore) descend on Barrow to cover the story and help set the whales free.  

Although billed as a family film, for me this feels like the next generation disaster movie. We’ve already seen a shift from the terrorist style movies of the 90s towards the 2012 environmental type movies and this feels like the next step. Throughout the film I was constantly reminded of Deep Impact and Independence Day. There are several intertwining stories with overlapping characters, families watching the proceedings on TV, reporters from all over the world lined up in that tracking shot which you always get, enemies coming together, several love stories, tragedy to open the third act and surprising international cooperation saving the day. If you substituted the whales for a meteor or alien invasion then you have the exact same disaster film which everyone has seen before.