A drama from Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan (The Departed) based on a novel by best-selling crime writer Ken Bruen. There is plenty happening in the story, but most of the movie’s ideas seem to get used up in the first half hour before it descends into a litany of violence between leads Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley that is unrelieved by any real chemistry. Farrell is a hard case just out of Pentonville with all kinds of friends who don’t want him going straight. He gets into a kind of Costner-Houston The Bodyguard relationship with Knightley, an over-the-hill diva looking for something to cling on to. There is some good dialogue, though a bit heavy on the geezer-ish Brit-gangster idioms. Someone should tell Monahan that this vein has long since been mined out by Guy Ritchie.
The first in what has already been rumored to be a trilogy based on the goofy blue elves from the mind of Belgian artist Peyo and turned into a popular TV series in the 1980s. The film, inevitably in 3D, has not won any rave reviews, but is grudgingly admitted to have charm enough to get parents and kids through a hot summer vacation afternoon. Sitcom star Neil Patrick Harris and Glee’s Jayma Mays are more than adequate as the New York couple who rather unwillingly adopt the blue animated creatures after they accidentally travel through time and space from their home, bringing along arch foe Gargamel, played by Hank Azaria with great panto abandon.
Diner Escargot (Shokudo katasumuri)
Also released under the title Rinco’s Restaurant, Diner Escargot is yet another movie in the ever-expanding niche of Japanese food films in which the hero or heroine finds inspiration, liberation and self-knowledge through the preparation and appreciation of food. This is a superior example of this well-worn genre, with director Mai Tominaga, an award-winning animator now moving into feature films, taking the story in imaginatively different directions. The film mixes animation and live action in clever ways while relating how Rinco (Kou Shibasaki), after being dumped by her boyfriend, opens a diner and starts creating food perfectly suited to her customers’ psychological needs, taking the film into the realm of magical realism.
Thai comedy about a group of talentless high school students who for various reasons, including macho and romantic rivalry, decide to form a band with the unpromising name of the film’s title. Their lack of musicianship and even good sense sees the group causing turmoil in various settings, including an amusing scene of the band playing a children’s party. Naturally, things come to a head in a battle of the bands in which personal rivalries are laid bare amid guitar solos and frantic drumming.
A trio of vintage Hitchcock films comes to the big screen courtesy of distributor iFilm. A good chance to revisit these classics. More information can be found at www.facebook.com/ifilmclassics.