Midnight In Paris
Following his holidays to, um, we mean, his films set in England (Match Point) and Spain (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Woody Allen books a ticket to France for what turns out to be a breezy, funny, hugely charming romantic fantasy. Pulling a bang-on impression of old man Woody himself, Owen Wilson plays an American in Paris who finds he can travel back 100 years every midnight. While his fiancée Rachel McAdams ignores him in the present, he skips the light fantastic with Hemingway, Picasso and Dalí (Adrien Brody) – and gets it on with Marion Cotillard. Skimpy, silly and impossible not to love. Woody WTF.
Last seen rucking with zombie Nazis in Zak Synder’s Sucker Punch, porcelain angel Emily Browning plunges boldly into Oz arthouse as a high-class hooker who takes a mysterious job that involves her being drugged and used by wealthy men as an overnight bedfellow. Shot in eerie, long takes and stripped of music, this anti-erotic fairytale mystery is weirdly haunting – but only before it becomes clear that it’s about absolutely nothing. Big shame for Browning, who bares all for a brave, enigmatic performance that’s full of faith in debut director Julia Leigh. But outside capturing her star’s Botticelli-esque beauty, the former novelist can’t deliver. Fading in and out of a story that just isn’t there, Leigh ends up with a self-conscious, anaesthetised collection of empty scenes and busted ideas.
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Hitting us with vivid, confusing images from the start, Scottish director Lynne Ramsey – acclaimed for Ratcatcher, sacked from The Lovely Bones – returns to work with a powerful adap of Lionel Shriver’s controversial novel about a fictional high-school massacre. It jigsaws together the past and present of American mother (Tilda Swinton, powerfully wracked with guilt, conflict and pain), who finds she’s given birth to a boy who makes Damien from The Omen look like a Disney cherub. From screaming baby to teen sociopath, Kevin (Ezra Miller, unnerving) looks set on a path for a terrible destiny. As terrible, beautiful and inevitable as a slow-motion car-crash, We Need To Talk About Kevin makes up for what it lacks in subtlety and surprise with the emotional wallop of its performances and the artfulness of its direction. Guaranteed to make you think twice about ever having kids.
Henry Hopper is an orphan who spends his days gatecrashing funerals and talking an imaginary kamizake bomber from WWII. Mia Wasikowska is the best-looking terminal cancer patient you’ve ever seen. Indie godhead Gus Vant Sant’s latest doomed teen love story is small, sweet, self-conscious and full of little pleasures. Not least, your first sight of Hopper – a remarkable reincarnation of his late father Dennis and a mighty intriguing screen presence. More to come from this boy, for sure…