Animal Kingdom – cheesy title, no? Conjures up images of pencilled lions, the wilderness and that Elton John number. Well, forget those cute cartoons, this is serious. Incredibly unsettling and unpredictable (except the end – I saw that coming), David Michôd has brought the world a fantastic drama that packs more punches than Mohammed Ali.
What would you do if you woke up in a cell during violent riots on your first day as a prison official? This is the terrifying premise behind Daniel Monzón’s prison drama, Cell 211. With fine perfomances from Alberto Ammann as the quick thinking official, and Luis Tosar as the menacing ‘Malamadre’, or ‘Badass’, little wonder that the Spanish thriller picked up eight Goya awards.
Five London teens make friends in an online chatroom and inspire each other to take drastic steps with their lives. The problem? One of them likes nothing more than inciting people to achieve the suicide he yearns for but dare not undertake himself. Suspense thriller from Hideo Nakata ( Dark Water).
So the saga of Lisbeth Salander is finally drawing to a close, and it’s time to find out if Noomi Rapace’s steely gaze can overpower the collective dribblings of The Bad Men. Suffering from the same inherent plot problems as part two (The Girl Who Played With Fire), The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest never quite manages to recreate the satisfying arc of the universally acclaimed part one – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Still, this is sleek and sophisticated film-making with a refreshing “anti-blockbuster” feel, it’s just a shame the story doesn’t quite suit the medium.
‘This is a film about a runaway train.’ The previous sentence is true, but it completely fails to capture the essential magnificence of Unstoppable so we’re going to try another sentence. ‘This is a film directed by Tony ‘Top Gun’ Scott in which Malcolm X and James T Kirk have to drive a train 80mph – in reverse – in order to chase down a half-mile long locomotive missile before it mashes an entire city.’ Yeah, that’s more like it.
A dark, ambitious re-imagining of Swan Lake, with the classic ballet itself handily packed inside like an instructional Russian doll, Black Swan is visually and psychologically mesmerising. A master of suspense, Aronofsky’s sumptuous direction ensures that we never lose concentration for a moment – which, actually, may be just as well. For all its beauty, upon closer inspection it may be that there’s less originality present in Black Swan than the reviews would have us believe. But does it matter? Probably not.
George Clooney finally backs away from cool, calm and collected in the strangely compelling tale of The American; a thriller that questions the humanity of a life without trust. Though occasionally frustrating and just a little pleased with itself, its nevertheless an absorbing account of one man’s descent into darkness, and Clooney – thankfully – is more than capable of taking us on the journey.
23 years after his Oscar-winning film Wall Street inspired a generation of high-rollers and corporate raiders, Oliver Stone has reunited with Michael Douglas to bring us the next chapter in the life of legendary greenmailer Gordon Gekko – this time crossing swords with Shia LaBeouf and Carey Mulligan. It’s perfectly adequate when judged on its own merits, but as a follow-up to its extraordinary predecessor it leaves much to be desired.
Jean Reno stars in Richard Berry’s compelling tale of a reformed mobster who must kill or be killed after an assassination attempt. We’re fine with that – in fact, we’d let him use our shirts to wipe the blood from his manly gun and his stubbly cheek – because he is SO DAMN COOL.