London Has Fallen
2016
**½
Director: Babak Najafi
Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Alon Moni Aboutboul, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell, Sean O’Bryan, Waleed Zuaiter

Mike Banning is back on the presidential detail as President Asher and other world leaders gather in London to attend the British Prime Minister’s funeral. All hell breaks loose when terrorists attack the dignitaries and the city’s landmarks. The sequel to Olympus Has Fallen turns everything to 11. The explosions are bigger, the body count is higher, and the script is even dumber and more far-fetched than before. Now the hero can’t turn a street corner in London without running into another member of the terrorist group. Nevertheless, the movie is short and snappy, and oddly enjoyable. Followed by Angel Has Fallen (2019).


Olympus Has Fallen
2013
**½
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Cole Hauser, Finley Jacobsen, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, Dylan McDermott, Radha Mitchell, Rick Yune

Mike Banning, a tainted Secret Service agent who was removed from the presidential detail, is the only hope when a North Korean terrorist group attacks the White House and takes the President hostage. This entertainingly hard-boiled and violent action movie about one good guy against a gang of bad guys proves that the Die Hard formula is alive and well. The script here is dumb and implausible, not to mention similar to the superior White House Down, which was released only a few months later. Followed by London Has Fallen and Angel Has Fallen


Carol
2015
*****
Director: Todd Haynes
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy, Kyle Chandler

Therese, a young aspiring photographer, works in a department store, where she meets Carol, an older woman who is going through a nasty divorce. Todd Haynes’ exquisite drama about forbidden love in the 1950s is pretty much perfect on all departments. The screenplay by Phyllis Nagy (from Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt) is excellent, the performances are superb, the sets and costumes are beautiful, and the score by Carter Burwell is hauntingly moving.


Spiderhead
2022
**½
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, Jurnee Smollett, Mark Paguio, Tess Haubrich, Angie Milliken, Stephen Tongun, Daniel Reader, Sam Delich, BeBe Bettencourt

The remote Spiderhead Penitentiary and Research Center houses a small number of inmates, who have volunteered to act as medical test subjects in order to reduce their sentence. Is the brilliant and ridiculously handsome head scientist Steve Abnesti a good guy or a bad guy? Like the recent Swan Song, this psychological thriller features an interesting science fiction concept, but the resulting film feels like an overstretched episode of Black Mirror. As the story builds momentum, some plot holes begin to appear. Based on a short story Escape from Spiderhead by George Saunders.


10 Cloverfield Lane
2016
***½
Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher Jr.

Following a car crash, a young woman wakes up in a locked underground bunker occupied by two men. The older man who built the bunker, claims that the country is under attack and it is not safe to go outside. Despite the confined setting, this is a tense and gripping psychological drama, which is slightly spoiled by the fact that we know it’s part of the Cloverfield franchise.


Happy End
2017
***
Director: Michael Haneke
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Mathieu Kassovitz, Franz Rogowski, Fantine Harduin, Laura Verlinden, Toby Jones, Loubna Abidar

Michael Haneke’s subtle and biting social satire follows three generations of the wealthy Laurent family, who live in Calais, close to a migrant encampment. The voyeuristic story of these damaged people is captivating and well acted, but Haneke has covered similar ground in superior films like Benny’s Video, Caché, and Funny Games.


Stuber
2019

Director: Michael Dowse
Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Bautista, Iko Uwais, Natalie Morales, Betty Gilpin, Jimmy Tatro, Mira Sorvino, Karen Gillan

LAPD detective Vic Manning receives a promising lead on the drug trafficker who killed his partner. However, he cannot see clearly after corrective eye surgery, so he must rely on the help of Uber driver Stu. This buddy action comedy, brought to you by Uber, has two contrasting leads who have good onscreen chemistry. Unfortunately, I have no other positive comments to make about this movie. The story about a half-blind cop who drags an innocent civilian on a personal revenge rampage doesn’t include one believable moment.


Army of Thieves
2021
**
Director: Matthias Schweighöfer
Cast: Matthias Schweighöfer, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ruby O. Fee, Stuart Martin, Guz Khan, Jonathan Cohen

In this prequel to Army of the Dead, we learn the backstory of Ludwig Dieter, German specialist who was brought in to crack the Las Vegas safe designed by the legendary Hans Wagner. Now he is recruited to a team who aim to open Wagner’s three other safes in Paris, Prague, and St. Moritz. The zombies remain enclosed in Nevada, this a traditional heist movie with likeable performances and visuals. That is, however, not enough to compensate for an utterly stupid and implausible script. The team, which is entirely comprised of hot young adults, know they can’t get away with the money, but they are happy to risk their lives to break into three banks for the thrill of it. In the silliest scene, the hero spins the dials of the safe and listens for a click on the back of a truck going down a curvy road.


Army of the Dead
2021
**½
Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tig Notaro, Raúl Castillo, Huma Qureshi, Garret Dillahun

Zack Snyder takes a break from the DC universe to launch a new zombie heist movie franchise. The city of Las Vegas has been walled in after it was overrun by zombies. A few days before the government is about to nuke it, a ragtag group of mercenaries enter the city to break into a casino vault. Like he did with Watchmen, Snyder sets up the scene with a terrific title sequence, and it’s all a slow downhill from there onwards. However, the movie is more entertaining than I expected, but it is terribly formulaic (simultaneously in two genres) and needlessly long. Followed by Army of Thieves, which is a prequel spin-off.


The Comeback Trail
2020
**
Director: George Gallo
Cast: Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones, Morgan Freeman, Zach Braff, Emile Hirsch, Eddie Griffin, Kate Katzman, Blerim Destani

After Killer Nuns bombs at the box office, the movie’s producer Max Barber struggles to pay back his loan to a mob boss. He decides to carry out an insurance scam, which requires the elderly star of his next movie to drop dead during the shoot. This comedy is set in 1974 and it is a remake of a 1982 film of the same name. The set-up is like a mix of The Ladykillers and The Producers. Despite the promising premise, the film is not funny and some of the performances are awful.


Thor: Love and Thunder
2022
**½
Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Jaimie Alexander, Taika Waititi, Russell Crowe, Natalie Portman

In his fourth feature, Thor must deal with the return of Jane Foster, his old flame who now wields Mjolnir, and Gorr, a vengeful father who has vowed to kill all gods with the help of Necrosword. Taika Waititi’s Thor:Ragnarok (2017) injected a healthy amount of wacky humour into the franchise, and for many people it represents the highpoint of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The follow-up ups the comedy ante and turns the god of thunder into a total buffoon. While the bad guy is butchering gods and kidnapping children, and the ex-girlfriend is dying of cancer, Waititi cannot get through one scene without turning it into a joke. When everything’s a joke, nothing ends up being funny, or moving. This tone-deaf superhero movie delivers passable two hours, but it doesn’t seem to add anything to the overarching MCU storyline. With four songs, a renamed character, and background props, it looks like Guns n’ Roses sponsored the production.


Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
2022
**
Director: David Yates
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, Katherine Waterston, Mads Mikkelsen

The third and hopefully final episode in the Fantastic Beasts series offers marginal improvement on the dreadful second film, The Crimes of Grindelwald. At least this time an actual fantastic beast (Qilin) plays a key role as Gellert Grindelwald (now played by Mads Mikkelsen) seeks political power in the wizarding world. His former lover Albus Dumbledore asks Newt Scamander to lead a team that aims to confound the dark wizard. J.K. Rowling, who wrote the first two episodes alone, now shares the writing credit with Steve Kloves, who adapted all but one of the seven Harry Potter books, but the end result is another overlong movie comprised of inconsequential scenes. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them introduced a cast of characters, who have struggled to find a meaningful part to play in the subsequent two releases. Newt leads the team, but what does he actually do? Jacob’s contribution is to wave a fake wand in one scene. Credence walks around brooding and wondering who his daddy is. Queenie gives uncomfortable looks in Grindelwald’s gang, and that’s it. Her sister Tina, Newt’s love interest, is not involved at all because she is busy. After three releases, it is still unclear to me what the overall story of this franchise is.


Greenland
2020
**½
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Cast: Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin, David Denman, Hope Davis, Roger Dale Floyd, Andrew Bachelor, Merrin Dungey, Holt McCallany, Scott Glenn

When comet fragments start raining down on Earth and panic begins to spread among the population, a construction engineer receives a surprising message that his family have been selected for emergency sheltering. Like Deep Impact more than 20 years ago, this disaster movie asks what would happen if only a handful of people were saved from an extinction-level event. Most of the resulting on-screen drama comes from the people going bonkers rather than the comet fragments causing destruction. The end result is stupid and predictable but rather entertaining.


The Man from Toronto
2022
**
Director: Patrick Hughes
Cast: Kevin Hart, Woody Harrelson, Kaley Cuoco, Jasmine Mathews, Lela Loren, Pierson Fodé, Jencarlos Canela, Ellen Barkin

Teddy Jackson is full of energy and industry, but he seems to mess up every promising idea with his ineptitude. During a weekend break with his wife, he is mistaken for a ruthless hitman/enforcer only known as the Man from Toronto. This formulaic buddy action comedy brings together two very different characters; one is a bumbling nincompoop who is black, the other is a grumpy and serious tough guy who is white. The premise is somewhat promising, but Hart and Harrelson lack chemistry and the movie is never as funny as it thinks it is.


Top Gun: Maverick
2022
****½
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Cast: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris, Val Kilmer

Pete “Maverick” Mitchell returns to TOPGUN to train an elite team of fighter pilots for a mission, which requires them to fly through a canyon in order to destroy an uranium enrichment plant. One member of the team brings up Maverick’s past trauma. This belated sequel to Top Gun is a massive upgrade on the original and way more fun than it has any right to be. It’s definitely a movie made for the big cinema screen. The story is gripping, the performances are strong, the obligatory romance feels believable, and the 100% real flight scenes are simply breathtaking. It makes several callbacks to the 1986 original, sometimes through music, other times through characters, and occasionally recreating scene for scene.


The Father
2020
****½
Director: Florian Zeller
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell, Olivia Williams, Mark Gatiss, Ayesha Dharker

This brilliant drama provides a first person view to dementia. While Anne is forced to hire another caregiver for her grouchy father, the 80-something Anthony tries to make sense of his increasingly confusing existence. Where does he actually live? Why do the names and faces around him seem to change? Who keeps taking his personal items? The Oscar winning screenplay by Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton is based on Zeller’s stage play Le Père. Its disorienting structure beautifully reflects the character’s memory loss. Anthony Hopkins’ wonderfully nuanced performance earned him his second Academy Award.


Against the Ice
2022
***
Director: Peter Flinth
Cast: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Joe Cole, Charles Dance, Heida Reed, Gísli Örn Garðarsson, Sam Redford, Ed Speleers

In 1909, explorer Ejnar Mikkelsen and an inexperienced mechanic Iver Iversen embark on a dangerous quest across the northeast of Greenland to recover the records of an ill-fated expedition. This fact-based story was co-scripted by its star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from Mikkelsen’s book Two Against the Ice. This is a captivating survival drama, which deals with isolation and perseverance, but it is as much a story about its location as it is about the people who attempt to survive in it. In the last third, the film does becomes a bit of a trudge when the men patiently wait for rescue and time seems to come to a standstill, so much so that as months turn to years, even hair and beard stop growing longer.


Game Night
2018
***½
Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall, Kyle Chandler

Max and Annie are a childless couple who regularly host game nights for their friends. This time Max’s obnoxious brother Brooks organises a staged kidnap mystery game, which feels strangely authentic. This silly comedy starts with a rather predictable premise, but it slowly wore down my resistance with its numerous laughs, clever twists, and likeable characters.


Little Women
2019
****
Director: Great Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, Meryl Streep, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, James Norton, Louis Garrel, Chris Cooper

While their father is fighting in the Civil War and their mother tries to keep the family afloat, the four March girls (Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth) face big decisions regarding their professional, financial, and romantic aspirations. This is the seventh adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved 1888 novel. Greta Gerwig’s version intercuts between two time periods, which is a bit disorienting at first. However, in the second half, the film really finds its groove and these wonderful characters all get their moment in the spotlight. The cast is amazing, so the performances are predictably great. Academy Award winner for best costume design.


The Matrix Resurrections
2021
*
Director: Lana Wachowski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Jada Pinkett Smith

The Matrix trilogy started with a bang and went out with a whimper. Now 18 years later, Thomas Anderson (Neo) is a renowned creator of a popular computer game trilogy who is haunted by odd memories. Is this his real life or is he back in the Matrix? After two pointless sequels, the last thing the world needed was another Matrix movie, and in that respect this reboot does not disappoint. The fourth feature is utterly needless and so boring throughout the 150 running time that I found myself constantly drifting in and out of its over-convoluted plot. Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are back, Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving knew better and stayed away.


The Dig
2021
***
Director: Simon Stone
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James, Johnny Flynn, Ben Chaplin, Ken Stott, Archie Barnes, Monica Dolan

In 1939, a wealthy widow hires a self-taught archaeologist Basil Brown to excavate the large burial mounds in her estate. When the news of their discovery gets out, the leading experts in the country take over the site. This enjoyable drama tells the real-life story behind the Sutton Hoo excavation in Suffolk, England. The film starts as a warm and authentic character piece, with lovely performances from Mulligan and Fiennes. In the midsection, Basil Brown is pushed to the sidelines, as Moira Buffini’s script introduces an entirely fictional pre-war romance between the younger cast members. Thankfully the wrap-up is satisfying. Based on John Preston’s 2007 novel.


The Girl in the Spider’s Web
2018

Director: Fede Álvarez
Cast: Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, LaKeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks, Stephen Merchant, Vicky Krieps, Claes Bang, Christopher Convery

A guilt-ridden computer programmer hires Lisbeth Salander to hack into the NSA’s servers and steal Firefall, a program which allows access to all the nuclear weapons around the world. A crime organisation known as the Spiders wants the same software for less humanitarian reasons. This unnecessary sequel to/reboot of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo turns Lisbeth Salander into a Jason Bourne-style action hero and all-around genius, who can fight men twice her size and hack into the car in front of her while driving. While Lisbeth’s abilities may be laughable, the Firefall MacGuffin is just stupid beyong belief. One might say that Claire Foy as the heroine perfectly embodies the overall drabness and joylessness of this silly movie. Loosely based on a novel by David Lagercrantz, who took over the Millennium series after Stieg Larsson’s death.


Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
2022
***½
Director: Sam Raimi
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg, Rachel McAdams

Following his first encounter with the multiverse in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange meets America Chavez, a teenager who is being hunted for her ability to travel between dimensions. Sam Raimi, who directed the original Spider-Man trilogy, returns to the Marvel franchise, and this time he can display the skills he honed in the horror genre with movies like Evil Dead 2 and Drag Me to Hell. This enjoyably unusual MCU movie features witches, zombies, and a high body count.


Passengers
2016
***½
Director: Morten Tyldum
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, ichael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy García

The Avalon is on a 120-year journey to a far-off planet, with 5,000 passengers and more than 250 crew members on board. Some 90 years before arrival, one of the hibernation pods malfunctions and mechanical engineer Jim Preston wakes up. This captivating science fiction drama deals with loneliness on a cosmic scale, and asks what is the right thing to do in Jim’s situation. Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence give strong performances. The Avalon is beautifully designed.


The Adam Project
2022
***½
Director: Shawn Levy
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner, Walker Scobell, Catherine Keener, Zoe Saldaña, Alex Mallari Jr.

In 2050, time travel is possible, but it has destroyed the world. Fighter pilot Adam Reed travels back in time to save his wife, but ends up in 2022, where he team up with his 12-year-old self. This time travel action adventure may not have a particularly original story or design, but it is funny, entertaining, and surprisingly moving. Ryan Reynolds is in likeable form in another typecast role.


Jackie
2016
**
Director: Pablo Larrain
Cast: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, Richard E. Grant, Caspar Phillipson, John Carroll Lynch

Tne good news is that this is not a conventional and linearly told biopic of Jacqueline “Jackie” Kennedy. The bad news is that Noah Oppenheim’s scrambled screenplay, which focuses on the days before, during and after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, never translates into a captivating drama. Jackie attempts to come to terms with her personal tragedy, but the events on the screen feel more philosophical than personal. The decision to dwell on the gory details of the JFK shooting is a gross misjudgment, as far as I am concerned. Although Natalie Portman is commanding in the lead, her vocal performance is distractingly unnatural. Mica Levi’s monotonous score drowns out the dialogue in almost every scene.


The Guilty
2021
***
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Ethan Hawke, Riley Keough, Christina Vidal Mitchell, Eli Goree, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Paul Dano, Peter Sarsgaard

A tarnished LAPD officer Joe Baylor has been demoted to 911 call center duty. The day before Joe’s about to face trial, he takes a call from a woman who says she was kidnapped. This remake of the 2018 Danish film Den skyldige is a minimalistic thriller which relies heavily on a tight script and Jake Gyllenhaal’s solid but slightly overdramatic performance. This is a short and enjoyable but disposable film which reminded me of Phone Booth.


Parasite
2019
*****
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Choi Woo-shik, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Park So-dam, Lee Jung-eun, Jang Hye-jin, Park Myung-hoon, Jung Ji-so, Jung Hyeon-jun

The poor Kim family, who live in a dingy semi-basement apartment in Seoul, infiltrate themselves into the household of the wealthy Park family, who reside in a luxurious house up on the hills. Bong Joon-ho’s thrillingly unpredictable film starts as a light social satire and ends as a tragic drama. In-between, it’s funny, poignant, surprising, and shocking. It deservedly won four Academy Awards, which include best picture, director, and original screenplay.


Apollo 10 1⁄2: A Space Age Childhood
2022
*****
Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Milo Coy, Jack Black, Glen Powell, Zachary Levi, Josh Wiggins, Bill Wise, Natalie L’Amoreaux, Jessica Brynn Cohen, Sam Chipman, Danielle Guilbot

Just as NASA are about to put a man on the moon in July 1969, 9-year-old Stanley joins a top secret Apollo 10½ mission, at least in his own head. Richard Linklater’s nostalgic and loosely autobiographical film is an absolute delight. The story revolves around the space race, but for most parts this is a plotless but absolutely charming and detailed depiction of Stanley’s childhood in Houston with his parents and five sibling. The film is a mix of full or partial animation and rotoscoped live-action footage, like Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly.


The Highwaymen
2019
**½
Director: John Lee Hancock
Cast: Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson, Kathy Bates, John Carroll Lynch, Kim Dickens, Thomas Mann, William Sadler

Despite killing several policemen and civilians during their crime spree, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are adored by the public. In 1934, the Governor of Texas hires two former Texas Rangers Tom Hamer and Manye Gault to hunt the pair down. While Arthur Penn’s classic Bonnie and Clyde told a romanticised version of these famous lovers and outlaws, this conservative and matter-of-fact drama views the events from the other side. This is probably the more truthful version, but it certainly doesn’t provide much entertainment.


Finch
2021
***½
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Cast: Tom Hanks, Caleb Landry Jones

In the near future, the ozone layer is in tatters, and the Earth has turned into a scorchingly hot wasteland. As the weather events become more and more extreme, engineer Finch Weinberg, one of the very few survivors, packs his dog and his robots in an RV and heads west. This post-apocalyptic drama lands somewhere between I Am Legend, Wall-E, The Road, and Cast Away, if you will. The story is not terribly original or particularly harrowing, but it is charming and entertaining. Jeff the robot is an amusing if very anthropomorphic character. The film is visually stunning.


Wolfwalkers
2020
****
Director: Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart
Cast: Honor Kneafsey, Eva Whittaker, Sean Bean, Simon McBurney, Tommy Tiernan, Jon Kenny, John Morton, Maria Doyle Kennedy

While a renowned English hunter Bill Goodfellow attempts to hunt down a pack of wolves near Kilkenny, his daughter Robyn befriends Mebh, a mythical wolfwalker, whose spirit can transform into a wolf. This delightful 2D animation is set in 17th century Ireland, and its story offers a nice mix or personal drama, Irish history and folklore, and pure fantasy. The film’s visuals are a breath of fresh air alongside all the identical looking 3D animations.


The Batman
2022
**½
Director: Matt Reeves
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, Colin Farrell

It’s only 10 years since Christian Bale wrapped up the Dark Knight trilogy and 5 years since Ben Affleck last played the Caped Crusader in Justice League. Both Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck are rumoured to play the character in the upcoming DC Extended Universe releases. And let’s not forget that young Bruce Wayne also featured in Joker. Now Robert Pattinson puts on the batsuit for yet another Batman franchise, which is not connected to anything listed above. This stylish and assured but insanely long comic book movie fails to answer why the world needs another version of Batman? Once again, Bruce Wayne attempts to come to terms with the assassination of his parents, while a mysterious criminal known as the Riddler is eliminating the corrupt officials of rain-drenched Gotham City. Matt Reeves’ epic is even darker than Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, at least visually; I can remember just one scene shot in daylight.


The Counselor
2013

Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Rosie Perez, Natalie Dormer

An unnamed lawyer hopes to score big by taking part in a drug deal, although everyone tells him that the Mexican cartel shows no mercy should things go wrong. And things go wrong. Cormac McCarthy’s novels have been turned into films, which range from awful (All the Pretty Horses) to brilliant (The Road). Ridley Scott’s adaptation of McCarthy’s first original screenplay lands firmly in the first category. It tells an unoriginal story about uninteresting characters, who cite pretentious and over-dramatic dialogue through some bizarre scenes which seem to exist only to signpost upcoming events.


You Dont’k Know Jack
2010
***½
Director: Barry Levinson
Cast: Al Pacino, Danny Huston, Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, Brenda Vaccaro, James Urbaniak, Eric Lange, Richard E. Council, Cotter Smith

Dr. Jack Kevorkian (1928-2011) was an advocate for euthanasia, who earned the nickname Dr. Death. In the 1990s, he ended up in legal trouble after carrying out numerous assisted suicides on terminally ill patients. This compelling but obviously one-sided autobiographical drama is based on Between the Dying and the Dead by Neal Nicol and Harry Wylie. The story concentrates on a few years in Kevorkian’s life, and the film is all the better for it. Al Pacino gives a wonderful and unusually understated performance.