With “Looking for Eric,” Ken Loach, purveyor of the socialist struggles of the working class, unexpectedly delivers an uplifting, exceptionally funny film. Yes, there are the expected Loachisms running throughout – the broken marriages and the errant kids – but Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty manage to suffuse this tale of middle-aged postman Eric Bishop (Steve Evets) dealing with a mid-life crisis with some heart.
Icelandic superstar Baltasar Kormakur takes up the directorial reins on Contraband, a Hollywood remake of 2008’s Reykjavik-Rotterdam in which Kormakur played the lead role. Transporting the action to New Orleans and Panama, Kormakur’s retelling centres on smuggler gone straight Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg), who must take on one last job after his brother-in-law upsets some rather unpleasant characters. On the face of it, we’re in perfunctory thriller territory, but Kormakur’s raw directorial style, a wry screenplay and a plethora of unseemly characters ensure that Contraband duly delivers.
With The Hunger Games set to devour all comers at the box office this weekend, alternatives are few and far between. However, the post awards season malaise seems to have subsided and fare is of a markedly higher quality, albeit thin on the ground. If the child murder premise of said hunger games isn’t your bag, then Dexter Fletcher’s directorial debut Wild Bill, US Navy Seal propaganda pic Act of Valour and intimate Belgian fable The Kid with a Bike round out an eclectic line up.
Such was the success of South Korean director Na Hong-jin’s debut, “The Chaser,” that Hollywood took notice and Fox International signed on to bankroll his next project. Despite the cash injection, Na doesn’t deviate too far from what made “The Chaser” such a hit with his follow-up picture, “The Yellow Sea.”