9 items from 2012
No matter how spectacular, expensive or star-studded Hollywood blockbusters may be, there will always be vibrant, inventive, international gems that consistently prove that less is more. Very little happens in Pablo Giorgelli's debut feature Las Acacias (2011, Verve, 12), a pitch-perfect, low-key road movie about a long-distance lorry driver (Germán de Silva) who agrees to transport a young woman (Hebe Duarte) from Paraguay to Buenos Aires, only to discover that she has a five-month-old child in tow.
Initially dismayed by the prospect of the overcrowded journey ahead, loner Rubén gradually warms to his charges, and a hesitant relationship emerges between him and Jacinta. Casting an established actor (De Silva) opposite a talented newcomer (Duarte), Giorgelli conjures an extraordinary balance between an air of unaffected naturalism and a precisely defined, acutely observed dissection of human interaction. The result is an absolutely »
- Mark Kermode
★★☆☆☆ Frédéric Schoendoerffer's Switch (2011) stars Karine Vanasse as Sophie Malaterre, a 25-year-old suffering from a case of mistaken identity, and Eric Cantona as Damian Forgeat, the detective assigned to investigate the murder she has been accused of. In Canada, Sophie is stuck in rut until an acquaintance recommends a house switching website to liven up her summer. She takes the plunge and relocates to Paris where a luxury apartment awaits her.
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Are people ever going to get tired of movies where some unlucky soul finds out what happens when a brand new technological innovation or social craze goes horribly wrong? To be fair to Frédéric Schoendoerffer's serviceable little thriller Switch, it's a decent piece of work, and undemanding entertainment that's nowhere near as throwaway as scaremongering cinema du jour like The Net. Still, despite all the hard work that's gone into it the whole thing feels as if it came out of some late-night brainstorming session where the writer thought 'Wouldn't it be freaky if...?' and was so pleased at how clever this was they forgot to finish editing the script.Switch is slick, elegant filmmaking with a cast trying their hardest, and there are a few »
Die Hard Quadrilogy
Big-budget action movies have become so safe (just compare the first and fourth of this franchise) that it's not uncommon for a film that's more than 20 years old, like Die Hard, to still outclass newcomers in almost every department.
This is not just rose-tinted romantic nostalgia or mere opinion. John McTiernan's 1988 Die Hard is a thing of perfection. It arrived when Hollywood's idea of an action hero was the almost supernaturally beefed-up likes of Schwarzenegger and Stallone. In Bruce Willis's John McClane we were presented with a regular(ish) guy who, faced unsurmountable odds, won through but took a severe beating in the process (having him barefoot then having to walk across broken glass was a masterstroke). With Alan Rickman proving that an action movie is only as good as its villain (and also ensuring British actors bad guy roles for decades to follow), Die Hard »
- Phelim O'Neill
The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (U)
Aardman sets sail on seas of clay, in what feels more like an animated Blackadder than Pirates Of The Caribbean. Grant's inept rogue is good company, falling foul (or rather fowl) of Queen Victoria and Charles Darwin in a nonsensical, if inconsequential, romp that's lifted, as usual, by Aardman's eccentric details and fine craftsmanship.
Into The Abyss (12A)
(Werner Herzog, 2011, Us/UK/Ger) 107 mins
Herzog studies a Texas homicide from all angles, building less a polemic against the death penalty than a humane survey of death and loss.
Panahi boldly defies his own house arrest by "not making" a film within his apartment, the confinement provoking a profound questioning of cinema itself.
Wrath Of The Titans (12A)
- Steve Rose
Eric Cantona has revealed that he is enjoying his new career as an action movie star. The former Manchester United footballer has previously starred in the likes of Elizabeth alongside Cate Blanchett and Looking For Eric as a fantasy version of himself. Cantona is currently appearing in Switch as Damien Forgeat, a man brought in to investigate a young woman's murder in Paris. "For me it is all the same - it's an expression - find a way to express myself. Football, cinema - it is all the same," he told Sky News. Watch Eric Cantona's interview below: The Frenchman explained that he was looking for a change, and that action roles help him remain fit. "I like to do action - to prove that I am still in good shape. (more) »
- By Tom Eames
The footballer gave Julian Coman some of his happiest memories at Manchester United but left him devastated when he abruptly retired at 30. Over coffee in a Paris cafe, the enigmatic star explains why he broke football fans' hearts to pursue a career as an action hero
As the minutes tick by towards the appointed hour of the interview, memories come thick and fast. The Saturdays spent singing Eric's name to the tune of "La Marseillaise" in the halcyon days of the mid-1990s; standing behind the goal as he produced an exquisitely calibrated chip against Sunderland, before striking an emperor's pose, collar upturned, to accept the crowd's acclaim; the time I almost lost my job as a night news editor, after talking half the night to my brother about the ramifications of the infamous assault on a Crystal Palace fan in 1995 – I forgot that it might be an idea to put something in the paper. »
- Julian Coman
The Kid With A Bike (12A)
Once again, the Dardenne brothers pull you into the world of a poor, marginalised soul and keep you there, without resorting to any fancy tricks. How do they do it? In this case it's impulsive young Cyril: no mother, rejected by his father, no friends, and only his talismanic bike to cling to. What's to become of him? It sounds rather worthy but, in fact, it's an effortless watch – powerfully acted, paced like an action movie, and shifting into a higher gear of spiritual grace when it needs to.
The Hunger Games (12A)
Teens are signed up, trained up and scrubbed up for a reality TV game of death in this »
- Steve Rose
The enfant-not-at-all-terrible of French cinema, Eric Cantona is proving that he's got more than a few strings to his bow. Since his days illuminating Old Trafford with his lavish skills and acutely-timed collar adjustments, he's forged an increasingly convincing career on the screen.If you're a movie-loving seagull following the trawler that is Cantona's big screen career - bear with us here, this loopy metaphor is our tribute to the great man - then you'll be wanting to get your, erm, beak straight into this new clip and trailer from his latest, Switch.In this scene, Canadian holidaymaker Sophie Malaterre (Karine Vanasse) discovers that the Parisian flat switch that seemed too good to be true is too good to be true. She's been framed for all manner of nefarious deeds and is suddenly staring at approximately a basquillion years in jail. Merde. brightcove.createExperiences(); But help may be arriving in »
9 items from 2012
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