- Classification: M
- Directed by John Crowley
- Starring Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Jim Broadbent, Clarán Hinds, Riz Ahmed, Anne-Marie Duff & Julia Stiles
- Runtime: 96 minutes
WHEN the authorities in London have half a million CCTV cameras focussed on everyone in town, who can trust anyone, especially the authorities. But all the cameras in the world can never prevent a terrorist attack, even as they record it. Closed Circuit is suspense thriller, set in contemporary London.
Written by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises; Dirty Pretty Things) and directed by John Crowley (Boy A; Intermission), this is not your everyday thriller that focuses on the crime or those who are charged with committing it, but those who are appointed to defend the man charged with perpetrating the crime. Knowing that the plot comes with a twist that sets out not to uphold the law, but one which has a completely different agenda.
One morning a truck pulled into Borough market in London market. Before it blew up killing many and devastating the market, one of the traders knew it shouldn’t be there and shouted at the driver, but it was too late. The trader was killed along with all the others when the truck loaded with explosives blew up. In the manhunt that follows, only one member of the suspected terrorist cell survives: Farroukh Erdogan (Denis Moschitto), who is arrested and jailed. Preparations begin for what promises to be the trial of the century that will show that British justice is supremely fair and just, but there’s a complication.
The government’s prosecutor will use classified evidence to prosecute Erdogan, evidence so secret that neither he nor his lawyers can be allowed to see it. Hence the need for the Attorney General (Jim Broadbent) to appoint a Special Advocate, an additional government approved defense lawyer (Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall), one who has clearance to see classified evidence and who can argue for its full disclosure when the trial moves to closed session. The rules for the Special Advocate are clear: once the secret evidence is shared with her, she will not be allowed to communicate even with the defendant or with other members of the defense team.
Just as the case is on the eve of going to trial, Erdogan’s lawyer is found dead, and a new defense attorney Martin Rose (Eric Bana), hurriedly steps in to fill his place. Martin is a brilliant young lawyer, and a one time ex-lover of Claudia’s. The two lawyers agree to keep their former affair hidden, but as Martin begins to put the case for the defense together, the outlines of a sinister conspiracy emerge. Just after Martin is told details of the conspiracy by Joanna Reece (Julia Stiles) the American foreign correspondent for a US newspaper, she’s found dead, as things go from bad to worse, Martin and Claudia dangerously drawn close together again.
Closed Circuit is in cinemas December 5
Watch the trailer
- Kill Our Darlings [MA] (Three and a Half Stars – in cinemas December 5)
For Beat Generation aficionados, the 1944 murder of David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall) by Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) has always sparked a morbid fascination. Kammerer was an old friend of William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster), and Carr was a charismatic, gay transgressive figure who inspired many in this group of young literary iconoclasts. Amongst those who fell under Carr’s spell was Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), and it’s Ginsberg who becomes the hero and conscience of Kill Your Darlings, John Krokidas’s darkly alluring film about this formative event in the story of the Beats. After reluctantly leaving his mentally disturbed mother with his father, Allen Ginsberg arrives at Columbia University and soon witnesses Carr reciting Henry Miller while perched atop a classroom desk. From there the two plunge into New York’s wild jazz clubs and wilder parties at the apartment of the elder sophisticate Kammerer (Michael C. Hall). Historic meetings with Burroughs (Ben Foster) and Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) are realised with propulsive energy, while the relationship between Carr and Kammerer becomes increasingly precarious and uncertain. As a history of the famous five of the Beat Generation of Columbia University writers, this is historically interesting, but darkly so. There seems no doubt now that Daniel Radcliffe has escaped from his Harry Potter image to prove that he has a great future. All the performances are great in this, Ben Foster, is dryly subtle, and coldly sophisticated, Jack Huston is cheeky, and Michael C. Hall is perfectly cast as a man so engrossed with his muse, the readily available and provocative Dane DeHaan.
- One Chance [M] (Three Stars – in cinemas now)
Paul Potts (James Corden) is a shy, bullied schoolboy, who grows up to be a shy, nervous young man with fine opera tenor voice. Falling in love with Julie-Anne Cooper (Alexandra Roach), a young woman full of confidence, was a good a great move. After winning a trip to an opera school in Venice and being told by Luciano Pavarotti, that he lacks the confidence to be an opera singer, Paul returns home depressed, and takes up his job as a mobile phone salesman. Marrying Julie-Anne sees him selected to play a lead role in amateur operatic performance, but when he suffers an appendicectomy he thinks his lost his voice. Picked to go on Britain’s Got Talent, he works his way through to the final, and wins the contest. Directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada; Marley & Me; Hope Springs) and written by Justin Zackham (The Bucket List), this true story is both warm hearted, amusing and light enough for Television. Fine performances by Corden and Roach are supported by a strong supporting cast.
- Night Train to Lisbon [M] (Three Stars – in cinemas December 5)
Professor Raimund Gregorius (Jeremy Irons) an Englishman, teaches languages at a Swiss university. More devoted to literature than love or living, he saves a Portuguese woman from suicide while crossing a river bridge on his way to work. Wanting to find what induced her to throw herself off the bridge, she runs away leaving her coat behind. In her coat pocket Raimund finds a book written by a man who fought against the Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. In the book he finds a train ticket to Lisbon, getting a colleague to look after his students, he takes the night train to Lisbon. In Lisbon he seeks out the book’s author’s family, friends and those he fought Salazar with. While Raimund unearths the story of what happened during fight against Salazar’s repressive regime to those involved, is of historical interest to some, this is a film which will find it hard to find an audience. As a mystery it’s interesting but really not that exciting.
- Enders Game [MA] (Three and a Half Stars – in cinemas December 5)
Set in the near future, a hostile alien race (the Formics) have attacked Earth. If not for the legendary heroics of International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley), all would have been lost. In preparation for the next attack, Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) and the International Military are training only the best young children to find the future Mazer. Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a shy, but strategically brilliant boy is pulled out of his school to join the elite.
Arriving at Battle School, Ender quickly and easily masters increasingly difficult war games, distinguishing himself and winning respect amongst his peers. Ender is soon ordained by Graff as the military’s next great hope, resulting in his promotion to Command School. Once there, he’s trained by Mazer Rackham, himself, to lead his fellow soldiers into an epic battle that will determine the future of Earth and save the human race. Based on the best-selling, award winning novel by Orson Scott Card the film is technically brilliant, and smartly allows teenagers to utilise their technological abilities to be useful and rewarding, it’s just a pity that Mr Card has become such a figure of controversy and hatred that is preventing so many Americans from going to see this movie. Hopefully, Australian teenagers get involved with Mr Card’s negativity.
- Cloudy With a Chance of Meatball 2 [G] (in cinemas December 5)
This sequel of the original box office hit, is smarter and funnier than the original. Inventor Flint Lockwood’s genius is finally recognized as he’s invited by his idol Chester V to join The Live Corp Company, where the best and brightest inventors create technologies for the betterment of mankind. Chester’s right hand girl, and one of his greatest inventions, is Barb (a highly evolved orang-utan with a human brain, who is also devious, manipulative and likes to wear lipstick). It’s always been Flint’s dream to be recognized as a great inventor, but everything changes when he discovers that his most infamous machine (which turns water into food) is still operating and is now creating food animal hybrids (foodimals) With the fate of humanity in his hands, Chester sends Flint and his friends on a dangerously delicious mission, battling hungry tacodiles, shrimpanzees, apple pie-thons, double bacon cheespiders and other food creatures to save the world again! I loved the marshmallows, they are really cute. Say no more, the kids will love it.
- The Spectacular Now [M] (Three Stars – in cinemas December 5)
Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), a high school senior, an effortless charmer, and a self-proclaimed life of the party, is never without his hip flask of liquor. When he unexpectedly falls in love with nice girl Aimee Fineky (Shailene Woodley) from school, it looks like some of her common sense might rub off on him. But no, while Aimee dreams of the future, Sutter lives only for today, but somehow it seems to be working. When Sutter tries to find his father, who left home when Sutter was four-years-old, he finds him, but not the sort of father he wanted him to be. Let down when Aimee goes off to college, Sutter said he would see her off at the bus station, but no he’s behaving more like his father. Honest to a fault Sutter looses his job, so when Aimee comes home for the vacation, will she find a different Sutter? Directed by James Ponsoldt and written by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber (500 Days of Summer), based on a book by Tim Tharp. While there are some fine performances, and a strong message, this coming of age story never seems to ring true.
Lotterywest (PIAF) Film Festival
Twenty Feet from Stardom [M]
- Directed by Morgan Neville
- Starring Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Bette Midler, Ray Charles & Mick Jagger
- Runtime 91 minutes
- Four and a Half Stars
MANY know their voices, but not their names. In the compellingly interesting Twenty Feet from Stardom, award winning documentary filmmaker Morgan Neville, shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends since the late 1930s. Not only interesting, this great piece of history takes us into the murky world of the music industry. Its treatment of these highly talented singers, the industry’s need for cheap labour, and the irregular nature of their employment.
Both triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent being able to harmonize with others. These gifted artists span a range of styles, genres and eras of popular music, but each has a uniquely fascinating and personal story to share, of a life spent in the shadows of the super stars. Together with archival concert footage and soundtracks, the documentary includes intimate interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting, just to name a few. While these world famous figures take a backseat to the diverse array of backup singers, many African-Americans who came from Southern states gospel choirs, and whose lives and stories take centre stage in this documentary. Special focus is given to special stand outs who endeavoured to make a living in the art burdened with a low profile and more personal career frustrations, especially those who faced the very different challenge of singing in the spotlight themselves.
Twenty Feet from Stardom screens at the Somerville, December 5-15, and at Joondalup Pines, December 17-22.
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