Here’s my mini review of Red Dawn which featured in Metro back in March…
Derek Cianfrance announced himself as a director of real craft and as a writer with a particular flair for character with the brilliantly sombre love story Blue Valentine. The Place Beyond the Pines reunites Cianfrance with Blue Valentine’s lead Ryan Gosling, a deft decision which elevates this sprawling and unconventional triptych to sumptuous heights. Hollywood is oft criticised for being staid and unoriginal, obsessed with remakes and never-ending sequels, so it’s a refreshing relief when a film like this comes along and blows off the cobwebs, because The Place Beyond the Pines is brimming with unabated quality. Continue reading
Sam Raimi’s 1981 picture The Evil Dead is rightly regarded as a classic of the horror genre, a pitch perfect, no-budget thrill ride suffused with terror yet tinged with knowing humour. Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead is less a remake or sequel and more of homage to Raimi’s pioneering spirit and in fact to horror as a whole. Given the nature of this beast it is wholly derivative, yet the fact that it still delivers what feels like a fresh take on a genre that has veered towards either torture or the paranormal in recent years is welcome and in these meta, post The Cabin in the Woods times that is an impressive feat in itself.
David Mitchell’s sprawling epic novel that intertwines a sextet of seemingly disparate narratives across the sands of time forms the basis for this hugely ambitious synonymous imagining from the Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer. Critically lauded upon its release for the effortless synergy of its unconnected strands, Mitchell’s novel was soon labelled unfilmable when the inevitable adaptation was mooted. Studios tended to agree and shied away from financing the project, but the passion and determination of the Wachowski’s and lead Tom Hanks ensured that with a little help from the German government and multiple independent financiers the film got made.
There are few constants in life; the changing of the seasons, the relentless progression of time and family are but a few. Judd Apatow has always concerned himself with the latter; thematically it’s central to much of his work, but here, as with Knocked Up to which This is 40 acts as a sequel of sorts, he casts real life wife Leslie Mann as main protagonist Debbie and delightful daughters Maude and Iris as her progeny.