Forever trying to step out of the shadow cast by his role as Frodo Baggins, Elijah Wood stars as Tom Selznick, a talented young piano player attempting to make his return to the auditorium having famously suffered from a case of stage fright five years before.
Sitting down at the piano to resume his career, he checks through his sheet music only to find that it’s been marked up with death threats to his wife (Kerry Bishé) and himself. ‘Play one wrong note and you die’, reads a heart-stopping message. He’s also given an earpiece, which rather sadistically connects him to his hunter, John Cusack.
The sense of fear in the lead character is palpable. Wood’s performance as a music maestro haunted by failure and slowly being crushed by the pressure of the unfolding horror, is nothing short of compelling.
As far as single location films go, director Eugenio Mira has produced a superbly executed thriller. This carefully constructed, real-time story unfolds at the piano playing hands of a lead actor still keen to make his name in a different genre of movies. Goodbye Frodo, Hello Frédéric Chopin.
From Kevin Macdonald, director of The Last King of Scotland, comes a teen movie set in rural England and framed against the backdrop of international conflict. Saoirse Ronan plays Daisy, a troubled young New Yorker sent to live with her cousins in England. It’s in the quiet countryside that she finds the calming influence of Eddie (George MacKay). But the peace of their summer haven, together with the innocence of their youth, is shattered as war sends the country into chaos. It’s a poignant tale of a struggle to survive and remain together in the face of encroaching chaos.
Based on one of our favourite childhood toys, this animated adventure sees Chris Pratt voice the character of Emmet, an ordinary little LEGO citizen quietly thrust into a plot to save the LEGO universe. In an amusing case of mistaken identity, Emmet sets out armed only with the power of his imagination to help save his plastic world from the evil plans of Lord Business. It’s amusing enough, especially for those of us familiar with the little plastic men from yesteryear.
Yes, it’s time for a remake. Despite the incredibly good reception of the original Robocop film back in 1987, the execs over at MGM and Columbia pictures have decided that it needs a reboot. This time it’s Joel Kinnaman who steps into the robo-suit for some metal-induced mayhem.
Kinnaman plays Alex Murphy, a corruption-fighting cop in Detroit who’s critically injured in a blast but offered the chance of continuing his crime-fighting ways by donning a futuristic technology developed by OmniCorp. But no matter how much the corporation tries to control their robotic justice of the peace, there’s still a man inside ready to act of his own free will.
Saving Mr Banks
Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell star in this film honouring Walt Disney’s efforts to bring the story of Mary Poppins to the big screen. Hanks plays Walt Disney himself, who’s on the quest to secure the film rights to the Mary Poppins novel written by P.L Travers (Thompson).
Even in the face of dwindling book sales and a charm offensive by Walt Disney in Los Angeles, Travers retains an iron grip over her character and remains steadfast in her conviction not to let her beloved creation be thrown to the Hollywood wolves. Beautifully acted and thoughtful, it’s a brilliant attempt at accurately portraying a clash of visions over the future of the 20th Century’s most famous nanny.
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