Y’S FILM CHOICE: CLOSED CIRCUIT
Two highly watchable actors, Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall, take the leads as lawyers with a romantic past in this intriguing political thriller. Bana is a London barrister and Hall a special advocate who together defend a terror suspect in a high-profile bombing case. They keep their private history under wraps, as their defendant (Denis Moschitto) turns out to have been a double agent for MI5, with an establishment agenda to cover up the failure to prevent the attack. The ethical conflicts at the heart of the film are dealt with intelligently, making for a meaty slice of conspiracy drama.
What happens to 007 actors when they retire? If their name is Sean Connery, they come back as Uncle Billi, defender of the Scottish highlands, in this oddball children’s computer animation. He’s a skateboarding vet who comes to the rescue of fugitive beaver Bessie Boo, under threat from the dastardly plans of a corrupt policeman and a villainous laird (that’s Scottish for ‘lord’). Sadly, the CGI looks like a cheap, early 90s version of Pixar and a few Bond in-jokes can’t really salvage it.
Kikoriki: Team Invincible
A feature-length animation based on a popular Russian children’s cartoon series. The distinctly round and cute characters who dwell on an island happen to watch TV for the first time and discover there is a wide world out there. They set off on an adventure to the big bad city where their new lives begin. It’s attractively animated, smart and funny, with American voiceovers.
A Russian secret agent (Jean Dujardin) is stationed in glitzy Monaco where he is keeping tabs on a suspicious Russian businessman played by Tim Roth. In turn he’s being watched by Alice (Cecile de France), a high flying investment banker who’s also been recruited to spy on Roth.
So begins a complex and convoluted tale of espionage and love among the spies as Dujardin and Alice hit it off spectacularly between the sheets. Dujardin made his name in two spoof French spy films as OSS117 and 2011’s Oscar-laden The Artist. However, his switch to playing it straight in Mobius isn’t quite as engaging. The onscreen chemistry between Dujardin and de France works up to a point, but the story is burdened with baffling plot twists.
A rather pointless British remake of the debut 1996 movie of Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn, about a disastrous week in the life of a London drug dealer. After losing a large amount of cocaine, Richard Coyle has two days to find the money demanded by psychotic drug kingpin Milo, played with outstanding menace by Zlatko Buric, who was cast in the same role in the original. The best thing here is the very 90s soundtrack by dance music icons Orbital.
A Man of Tai Chi
Keanu Reeves directs and stars in this action drama about a pure hearted Tai Chi artist (Tiger Hu Chen) who is drawn into fighting for big money in an underground club owned by a Hong Kong businessman (Reeves, playing against type as the bad guy). This is a surprisingly philosophical effort that eschews bone-crunching thrills for a morality play in which Chen battles against the temptations of money and power to keep to the pure principles embedded in Tai Chi.