The Twilight Saga — Breaking Dawn Part 2
The final chapter of Stephenie Meyer’s vampire romance. If you don’t know the story up to this point, it is probably way too late to start now, but suffice to say that adolescent love has progressed to the joys and pains of parenthood. It does not help that hordes of vampires see the child, born of a vampire and a human, as a threat to their whole world order. Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), now a freshly fledged vampire and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) are under threat from the Volturi, and join with the Cullen family and a motley crew of allies to protect the child. Family values for blood suckers? You either care passionately, or you will be driven to the verge of insanity by the mix of high romance and cheap sentiment.
Cold War (寒戰)
The biggest Hong Kong crime drama since the massive success of the Infernal Affairs trilogy that brings together three of the territory’s top leading men in a thriller that has the police fighting corrupt elements within its own ranks. Aaron Kwok (郭富城), Tony Leung Ka Fai (梁家輝) and Andy Lau (劉德華) star in a multimillion dollar production that has huge set piece action sequences, gorgeous cars, lovely suits, tense standoffs and nobody you can trust. Tough cops face off against each other; the pacing is taut, and the action spectacular, and a must see for the hordes of fans who have discovered the unique qualities of the Asian police drama.
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (艾未未: 草泥馬)
A documentary film by Alison Klayman about the Chinese dissident and artist Ai Weiwei (艾未未), a man who has successfully become the Aleksander Solzhenitsyn of the digital age. Ai is such a powerful and accessible communicator that it is sometimes doubtful whether it is Klayman or Ai who is directing the film, but ultimately this does not greatly matter as the story it tells is utterly compelling. Ai is a man who, with digital camera and a Twitter account, is able to tweak the whiskers of the mighty Chinese bureaucracy. The risks he takes are obvious, for the authorities are sensitive even to the slightest suggestion of non-conformity, and Klayman’s film is a valuable introduction into this new kind of political dissent.
Diana Vreeland — The Eye Has to Travel
In the manner of The September Issue, Diana Vreeland — The Eye Has to Travel looks at the life and influence of a pre-eminent magazine editor. The earlier film took Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, and looked behind the scenes at the multimillion dollar world of fashion, and was a real-life take on The Devil Wears Prada. The Eye Has to Travel takes a more hagiographic look at its subject, who undoubtedly was a woman of huge talents and a creative force behind Harpers Bazaar. There are plenty of talking heads, and the mood is overly celebratory, but the film does provide some insight into the heyday of the magazine and the culture of the 50s and 60s which it chronicles.
This new take on the classic Russian novel is lush and stagy, and Keira Knightley proves that she is a skilled and subtle performer able to embody a new, and in this case, less than sympathetic portrayal of an established literary character. The script by playwright Tom Stoppard gives the performers plenty to work with, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Count Vronsky and Jude Law as Karenin provide a splendid contrast. Critical reception has been mixed, but the boldness of director Joe Wright (Atonement) is undisputed. This is tragic love draped in velvet and covered in roses.