Sunday, 23 October 2011

Cinema Succulents

Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive is a stunning, dreamlike thriller about a movie stuntman with a nice sideline as a getaway driver. His modest, quiet life is overturned once he befriends his attractive neighbour & young son but after her husband is released from prison things get complicated and startlingly violent. Beautifully shot, with excellent performances and some brilliant retro styling this is probably my favourite film of the year so far. Refn's meditative Valhalla Rising showed the director could generate plenty of atmosphere on a tiny budget but this feature is a much more complete effort and should deservedly catapult him into the big league.

Given most prequels are usually a pile of crap I was pleasantly surprised by the competence of Rise of the Planet of Apes. James Franco stars as a scientist tampering with simian intelligence in an effort to cure Alzheimers but after his project is shut down he continues his research at home with an infant chimp and his Pa, John Lithgow as test subject. With plenty of nods to the Heston original this romps along as the chimp's intelligence grows and along with some chums from local sanctuary he incites sedition and it all barrels along to a climatic battle for freedom. Sure it's fairly ridiculous but with jaw dropping SFX and some tight pacing I was gripped - let's hope The Thing prequel is as faithful to the original material.

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