Babel (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, 2006) - ***1/2
Babel is another powerful and compelling installment from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Amores Perros and 21 Grams), but is far too long. The screenplay covers four separate international stories that become intertwined through disastrous circumstances, resulting in heartbreaking consequences. Features excellent performances, especially from Rinko Kikuchi (who received an Oscar nomination), and a beautiful score. The only story that kept me completely captivated was the one set in Japan. Really depressing stuff.
A Single Man (Tom Ford, 2009) - ****
Tom Ford's sad but satisfying debut, A Single Man, features some stunning production design, a beautiful score and another superb performance from Colin Firth (more recently, The King's Speech). The film follows a likable middle-aged college professor (Firth), who over the duration of a 24 hour period, which also marks the year anniversary of the sudden death of his lover, experiences a turbulent emotional journey. One of the most visually sensual films I have ever seen.