Directed by Kelly Reichardt
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard
Kelly Reichardt has quietly made a name for herself in the American independent film scene with a series of carefully constructed, tense and slow-burning dramas, most famously the ‘anti-western’ Meek’s Cutoff. In Night Moves, Reichardt shifts her scope from the old West to contemporary political movements through three young radical activists and their mission to explode a hydroelectric dam.
Josh (Eisenberg) works in a co-operative farm, and meets with Dena (Fanning) in secret to plan their attack on the dam. They leave their town together and drive to the woods, where they meet Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard), who Josh has met on previous ‘missions’. They fill a boat with fertilizer and homemade explosives, they proceed with their plan- but when something goes wrong, the group begins to fall apart. (more…)
Directed by David Zellner
Starring Rinko Kikuchi
Indie director David Zellner teams up with Alexander Payne (Sideways, Nebraska) and Pacific Rim’s Rinko Kikuchi to tell the remarkable true story of a lonely Japanese woman who after seeing The Coen Brothers 1996 classic Fargo and believing it to be real, travels to the USA on a treasure hunt for the movies buried loot.
Kumiko lives a sad-sack life in a tiny, messy Tokyo apartment she shares with her pet rabbit ‘Bunzo’. She works a soulless, unfulfilling job as an “OL” (Office Lady) for a Japanese businessman, hounded by her mother and society’s expectations for her, she yearns for something deeper in her life. Kumiko’s wish comes true in a map which leads her to a cave by the beach where she finds an old VHS tape. She plays it to discover that the film is Fargo, and closely examines the scene in which Steve Buscemi buries a cash-stuffed briefcase in the snow alongside a fence in an open field. Suddenly obsessed, convinced that the money is still there for the taking, waiting beneath the Dakota snow for an enterprising treasure hunter to unearth the small fortune and wrest it into reality. What follows is a sort of road movie where Kumiko encounters the kind of quirky, salt of the earth characters you’d find in that famous Coen Brothers film. (more…)
Directed by Angelina Jolie
Starring Jack O’Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund
Based upon the Laura Hillebrand book of the same name and the true story of war hero Louis Zamperini’s plane crash and subsequent capture by the Japanese in the Second World War – it’s certainly a big task. Unfortunately for Ms Jolie, the enormity of the pressure has perhaps slightly hindered her overall direction. Sure, she has made a valiant effort here, but unfortunately, she isn’t quite able to succeed in pulling the subject matter off.
It’s not entirely her fault – the real weakness here lies in the limp script (somewhat surprising given the involvement of the Coen Brothers) and sheer ‘glossiness’ of it all.