Archive for February, 2010
In the midst of an international political storm a ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) is hired to finish the memoirs of Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), the former British prime minister. While re-working the manuscript, making it a more interesting and sexy read, inconsistencies about Lang’s early past start popping up. Confused and unsettled, the ghostwriter referred to as “The Ghost” begins putting the pieces of a much larger political scandal– CIA control of the British Government, but who’s pulling the strings, and what of the tensions between Lang’s wife (Olivia Williams) and his assistant (Kim Cattrall).
Adapted and directed by Roman Polanski, this latest offering brings a meaty suspense thriller screenplay with lots to chew on. Add in top notch acting and story telling and it’s easy to see why Polanski is revered as one of the great directors of late 20th century, regardless of personal scandal that has dogged him for years. On the note of Polanksi’s personal troubles, it seems more than coincidental that one of the plot driving devices of the film also happens to be a man threatened to be exiled from his homeland; to this end, parallels between the film and the director’s own life seem closer than ever yet interesting none the less. Worth seeing, The Ghost Writer is rated PG-13.
When a patient vanishes from her cell at a maximum security mental hospital U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) takes a particular interest in the case. Upon his arrival at Shutter Island, home to some of the worst mental cases and criminal minds in the nation, things seem off. It appears as though everyone on the island has been coached or silenced and is in on some sort of greater conspiracy, the doctors, the patients, the guards, everyone. Before long Teddy realizes the further he and his partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) dig into the affairs of Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley), the less likely it will be that he ever leaves the island. Meanwhile, several burning questions remain, what’s Teddy’s ulterior motive for coming to the island, how will he ever cope with the loss of his wife, and, who and where is patient number 67?
Directed by acclaimed director Martin Scorsese, the art of the psychological suspense thriller is invigorated. And, the twisting unapologetic screenplay based on the novel by Dennis Lehane promises to keep audiences guessing right up until the bitter end. All of the actors involved give top notch performances, DiCaprio in particular offers perhaps the best we’ve seen of him yet. Although before this turns into a total love fest for the film, it should be pointed out that some questionable cinematography choices do make the first 20 minutes of the film a bit rough. Attempts at being artistic end up calling attention to themselves and detracting from the overall experience by pulling the viewer out of the narrative. A stronger choice of score would have also helped the overall ambience of the film. Regardless, fans of the genre will find plenty to appreciate. Worth Seeing. Shutter Island is rated R.
Actor Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) is called home when his brother’s fiancee, Gwen (Emily Blunt), writes to tell of his brother’s disappearance. Upon his return it becomes quite clear that supernatural forces are at work behind his brother’s death as townsfolk and members of a neighboring gypsy camp are also dismembered and mutilated. While investigating the occurrences Lawrence is bitten by a wolf like beast responsible for the attacks. Now healed, by the next full moon, Lawrence learns of his new fate and curse, he too is now a wolfman/beast. But who was the original wolfman who bit him, what of his budding love for Gwen, and how will he evade the inspector Abberline (Hugo Weaving) from Scotland Yard?
Suspense, horror, and gore hit the bulls eye in this updated and artful reltold tale of the original Wolfman from 1966. High caliber acting from all involved advances the plot nicely and keeps the viewer engaged from start to finish. Nicely done makeup blended with modern day CGI effects feels almost seamless. And, plenty of homage paid to werewolf films of the past will keep true horror buffs quite happy. Danny Elfman’s masterful score also adds just the right amount of edgy ambience to complete the film. Horror fans, this is a must see. The Wolfman is rated R.