The collaboration of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg has been a fruitful one over the years, producing such cinematic gems as Saving Private Ryan and Catch Me If You Can.
In this tension-filled drama based on true events – their fourth film together – the pair prove once again that they bring out the best in each other.
Hanks plays successful New York insurance lawyer James B Donovan, who is recruited by the CIA at the height of the Cold War to defend accused Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (excellently played by Mark Rylance). So far, so straightforward, but the stakes are raised when a US pilot is shot down in his spy plane by the Russians and suddenly Donovan is thrust into a tense game of cat and mouse to negotiate a prisoner exchange.
Hanks is in reliably fine form as an upstanding family man who sticks by his catchphrase: “Every person matters”. Donovan is determined to see justice and, more importantly, truth prevail.
Scenes in war-torn Berlin are suitably grey and bleak, the visuals contrasting with the bright tones used when the storyline switches to the US, while Spielberg masterfully balances the story, resisting the urge to portray the two sides as hammed up enemies.
The story moves along at a comfortable pace, helped by the input of award-winning screenwriters Joel and Ethan Coen, who built on a script by up-and-coming British playwright Matt Charman.
Don’t expect thrilling twists and turns or dramatic denouements. Bridge of Spies is a powerful piece of filmmaking that tells a story, simply and beautifully, without any fuss.
This is a film that many might think shouldn’t have been made. Indeed, the common view is that the Rocky franchise should have stopped at Rocky IV. However, the series does get a bit of a shot in the arm in this latest pugilistic offering, which sees Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) agreeing to mentor Adonis Johnson, the son of his former rival in the ring, Apollo Creed. Adonis (Michael B Jordan putting in a terrific turn as the son trying to live up to the family legacy), who never met his famous father, gets a go at the world heavyweight title, but does he have the true heart of a fighter to take his chance? We all know the answer, but this is a decent addition to the Rocky films.
An adventurous young koala embarks on a journey across the wild and dangerous Australian outback in the hope of finding his missing father in this charming CGI version of a children’s book series by Dorothy Wall from 1993. While it suffers from limitations of a relatively low budget, it’s great cartoon fun with an Aussie accent and you can’t help but root for the cute battling marsupial. Voiced by Ryan Kwanten (Blinky) and the talented Toni Collette (who gives life to two emus) among others, it’s a lovely way to spend two hours with the kids or on your own for the young at heart.
The much-awaited sequel of the 2007 hit Filipino movie One More Chance sees John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo reprise their roles of Popoy and Basha. The original film set the standard for a generation of love stories and this sequel will answer the ultimate question for fans: Did Popoy and Basha live happily ever after?
Like Hanks and Spielberg, Bollywood megastar Salman Khan has forged a lucrative partnership with director Sooraj Barjatya. Their fourth collaboration has reaped box office gold again, grossing a whopping two billion rupees in India in two weeks, the third of Salman Khan’s films in a row to do so. That it did so despite less than enthusiastic reviews by critics highlights how Khan’s pulling power remains as strong as ever. Here he takes on a dual role as the stern Prince Vijay who survives an assassination attempt four days before his coronation and is replaced by a good-hearted lookalike commoner, Prem, who sets out to win the heart of the princess (Sonam Kapoor)