In cinemas this week: Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
and 47 Ronin.
The new film by Spike Jonze (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich
) tells the
story of the sad, lonely and silently hurting Theodor Twombly (played
brilliantly by Joaquin Phoenix, what a follow-up to The Master
falls in love with his highly advanced new Operating System (voiced perfectly by
Scarlett Johansson). Jonze has created an uncomfortably realistic
depiction of a not-too-distant future, with insightful commentary on
urban bewilderment, modern relationships, feigned connections, and the
impact that technology has on how we express our feelings. As we find
ourselves implicated in this unlikely romance, it is concerning, yet
feels completely authentic (and possible). The evolution of their bond
is hilarious at times, but achingly sad. Technically marvelous and
wonderfully performed (Amy Adams, Chris Pratt, Rooney Mara and Olivia
Wilde provide stellar support to Phoenix) this, for me, was a life-altering cinematic event. Can't wait to watch it again. ★★★★★
Inside Llewyn Davis -
Follows a week in the life of a young folk singer, Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac, fantastic) as he navigates the
Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar (and runway cat) in tow, huddled against the
unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician
against seemingly insurmountable obstacles - some of them of his own
making. The latest feature from the Coen Bros is another winner; albeit a strange one that certainly isn't everyone's tea. It is a fascinating period drama/comedy about an urban scavenger (he lives day-to-day on lowly paid gigs and couches to crash on) whose series of misadventures paint a sincere yet melancholy portrait of the cycles of habit that accompany the rejection of compromise, of a man blessed with few talents but whose destructive inability to connect with people amounts to his failure as an artist...and a man. Wonderfully shot, this peculiarly obtuse film has several unexpected twists and leaves plenty to ponder and speculate. And cats. ★★★★
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit -
Based on the character created by bestselling author Tom Clancy, "Jack
Ryan" is a global action thriller set in the present day. This original
story follow a young Jack (Chris Pine) as he uncovers a financial
terrorist plot. The story follows him from 9/11, through his tour of
duty in Afghanistan, which scarred him forever, and into his early days
in the Financial Intelligence Unit of the modern CIA where he becomes an
analyst, under the guardianship of his handler, Harper (Kevin Costner).
Ryan believes he's
uncovered a Russian plot to collapse the United States economy, he goes
from being an analyst to becoming a spy and must fight to save his own
life and those of countless others, while also trying to protect the
thing that's more important to him than anything, his relationship with
his fiancée Cathy (Keira Knightley). I have seen just two of the the Jack Ryan films - The Hunt for Red October and The Sum of All Fears). I'm not interested.
47 Ronin - From ancient Japan's most enduring tale, the epic 3D fantasy-adventure
47 Ronin is born. Keanu Reeves leads the cast as Kai, an outcast who
joins Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada), the leader of 47 outcast samurai.
Together they seek vengeance upon the treacherous overlord who killed
their master and banished their kind. To restore honor to their
homeland, the warriors embark upon a quest that challenges them with a
series of trials that would destroy ordinary warriors. Why does this exist?
Weekly Recommendation: Her and Inside Llewyn Davis are films that are not easily forgotten. Her is one of the most interesting and original films I have seen in the last twelve months. I'm still figuring out how I feel about Inside Llewyn Davis but it is undeniably worth seeing.
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