An ex-private investigator is hired to look into a suspicious death in the town of Wander : First film I’ve seen by Canadian filmmaker April Mullen and hopefully not the last : WANDER is one of them small town, nothing is quite what it seems type of movie that I found engrossing from the start, those early scenes of conspiracy theorists Arthur played by Aaron Eckhart and his faithful sidekick Jimmy played by old timer Tommy Lee Jones sat in the desert recording their latest deep web podcast that goes out live under the stars had me hook, line and sinker : with his bushy beard, big wide eyes and a limp Aaron Eckhart gives Wander it’s beacon, a lighthouse of a performance that shines throughout, he shows us the pain and trauma of his character who was once a family man, had everything going for him until a car accident kills his young daughter and leaves his wife in a comatose state : Arthur now lives in a camper van in the desert, in the middle of nowhere and spends his days looking after his dog Charlie, pod-casting with Jimmy and visiting his wife in a nursing facility…. one day he receives a visit by a women who wants to aquire his services as a Private Investigator, hiring him to look into her daughter’s suspicious death and so starts the domino effect, paranoia blurred with reality…. Arthur is down the rabbitt hole and he’s scrambling to get out : Wander is one of the better movies to come out of this crazy year, a small time GEM that’s well directed by April Mullen, well acted by it’s superb cast and has some beautiful New Mexico photography, it’s 90mins of character driven intrigue that delves into mental illness, the feeling of loss whilst touching on government cover-up, conspiracy and murder : ENJOYED very much ★★★★
The Homesman (2014) – Movie Review ★★★★½
“I Wish You Would Say One Kind Word To Me”
Director: Tommy Lee Jones – Cast: Hilary Swank, Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, Hailee Steinfeld, John Lithgow, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, William Fichtner and James Spader – Synopsis: Three women who have been driven mad by pioneer life are to be transported across the country by Mary Bee Cuddy (Swank), who in turn employs low-life drifter George Briggs (Lee Jones) to assist her – Overall: Hilary Swank gives a towering performance as Mary Bee Cuddy a no-nonsense, independent farmer from Nebraska, Swank manages to humanize her character, capturing her weaknesses, her overwhelming loneliness but also her ability to stand up as equal to the male characters in the movie, it’s Swank who ignites The Homesman it’s a truly remarkable and haunting display that burrows deep beneath your skin – it’s a level of performance I feel that only a handful of today’s actresses could actually pull off – along with starring as the quirky drifter George Briggs Tommy Lee Jones orchestrates masterfully behind the camera delivering us a Grimm, Unusual yet Enthralling Western, it’s a film stacked with brutal realism, a dark subject matter & without being over exploitive it succeeds in shocking & surprising allowing its powerful message to be told with an intelligent hand – The movies stunning cinematography is captured by Rodrigo Prieto (Brokeback Mountain) who brings the vast emptiness of the West alive and adds to the pictures devastating and overall bleak narrative, this combined with Marco Beltrami’s wonderful & at times heart wrenching score, loads of wonderful cameo’s the best being James Spader’s arrogant Irish Hotel Owner unwisely pissing off Briggs being one of the best and possibly one of the craziest (didn’t see that coming) moments in cinematic history makes Tommy Lee Jones The Homesman a must watch and one of the best western’s for many a year !!
THE FAMILY – (2013) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Cast – Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron, Domenick Lombardozzi and John D’Leo – The Family is the latest movie from Fifth Element & Leon director Luc Besson and is based on the novel Malavita : aka: Badfellas written by Tonino Benacquista – the film follows a Mafia family under the witness protection program who are relocated to Normandy, where they’re given a new identity and attempt to blend in to their new surroundings – but it’s not too long before chaos ensues after the crime kingpin tracking down The Family discover their new home VERDICT after discovering the wonderful Luc Besson in 88s The Big Blue and then in the mid 90s his epic Leon and The Fifth Element it’s been a pretty mediocre last ten years or so for this talented french director – but I’m happy to report that The Family is a return to form, the movie has a quick witted script and has some fun performances especially by Dianna Agron who gives her finest acting display to date playing the sexy, no nonsense daughter to Bob De Niro’s mob boss Giovanni Manzoni – Michelle Pfeiffer is also well worth the admission playing the bored housewife who like the rest of the family enjoys causing mayhem, her scene in the supermarket is fabulous with her facial expressions nailing the moment – another of my favorite scenes is when the mobsters come off the train in sleepy Normandy accompanied by the Gorillaz track Clint Eastwood it’s such a terrific moment with John D’Leo‘s character Warren watching on in awe and disbelief – overall The Family is a dark humored mobster flick that contains barrels of violence and some stylishly shot action scenes, the best of which are during the movies final quarter – The Family may not hit the standards of his early movies but Luc Besson has reminded us once more of his film-making qualities….