Film Friday… week 97

Anna Karenina

Russian aristocrat, Anna (Keira Knightley) becomes bored with her pious husband (Jude Law – finally coming to terms with his male pattern baldness), launching into a passionate love affair with young Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). As more and more of their social circle, including Anna’s husband become aware of the affair, Anna’s life and mental state start to disintegrate in front of her. The theatrical staging in this period piece is kind of cool and quirky and it definitely heightens the already intense emotions being portrayed and there’s no doubt that this is frock porn at it’s absolute best… BUT… this film feels like it goes on forever. By the time it came to its inevitable miserable conclusion, I was cheering on the train (will make sense if you’ve seen it). It doesn’t help that Anna is a highly unsympathetic character and the supposedly electric chemistry between the two leads is really more of a soggy trifle than a lava cake. Nowhere near worth the time investment. 2/5

Hold me closer, Tony Danzaaaaaaaaaaaa!

The Imposter

In 1994, thirteen year old Nicholas Barclay goes missing from his home in San Antonio, Texas. Three years later his family get a call to say Nicholas has been found in Spain. It soon starts to become apparent that the person who has returned cannot possibly be who he says he is. To give anything else away would ruin your viewing of this compelling documentary but let’s just say that bizarreness of this true story is so great that if someone tried to sell it as a plotline no one would buy it. It is an absolute embodiment of the phrase the truth is stranger than fiction. Must-see! 4/5

Frederic liked to ensure that he always sat in front of a mural akin to his mood

Tree of Life

If you like films that have things like a storyline and a clear beginning, middle and end, Tree of Life is definitely not for you. Look away now. On the anniversary of his brother’s death, Jack (Sean Penn/Hunter McCracken) recounts his childhood in Waco, Texas through a stream of consciousness of his memories. Caught between his stern, emotionally stunted father (Brad Pitt) and his gentle, kind mother (Jessica Chastain), Jack struggles with the loss of his innocence, developing his own morality and searching for meaning. Including an entire sequence on the big bang, this film is visually beautiful and a lot of the acting is exceptional but with so little dialogue, I’ll admit that I sometimes struggled to maintain focus. If you’re interested in film as an art form, this is an essential technical watch but don’t be surprised if you’re left unsure if you’ve just seen a masterpiece or a pile of wanky, self-indulgent posturing.  3/5

“Pas de beret, pas de beret! JAZZ HANDS!”

Women in Trouble

In what appears to be a prequel to Elektra Luxx, Women in Trouble follows a day in the interconnected lives of various women as they struggle with various issues. There’s the porn star who’s just found out she’s pregnant (Carla Gugino), A therapist whose husband is cheating on her (Sarah Clarke) with a patient (Caitlin Keates) and a businesswoman with a terrible secret (Connie Britton), just to give you a taster. There’s something a bit Kevin Smith/Tarantino in the way the film meanders into random storytelling and dialogue but with the happenings becoming more and more preposterous and nothing really getting resolved at the end, it can become hard to stick with it. Personally I quite enjoyed how off the wall, as well as balls to the wall it was. 3/5

Wait, who’s flying the plane?

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