By: Vincent Camilleri
NO SAFETY IN SPY GAMES
Denzel Washington Tobin Frost
Ryan Reynolds Matt Weston
Vera Farmiga Catherine Linklater
Brendan Gleeson David Barlow
Directed by Daniel Espinosa
Running time: 115 minutes
Safe houses are secret buildings used by international government intelligence agencies, particularly the CIA, to place captured suspected or actual terrorists in the dubious rendition operation to bring them to justice or for debriefing. Daniel Espinoza’s film shows that in its safe houses, the CIA treats its rogue agents just like terrorists and that their safety is not guaranteed.
Denzel Washington plays Tobin Frost, a bent CIA agent possession of a micro chip containing priceless intelligence who surfaces in Cape Town. An attempt by Frost to sell this information to the MI-6 agent is busted by a gang of sharp shooters but Frost survives and walks casually in the US Consulate to give himself up declaring his identity “I am Tobin Frost”. The name sets the Agency’s wires buzzing.
Tobin Frost had been working in hiding and untraceable for 10 years. He was wanted for selling sensitive intelligence to enemies of the USA and putting the lives of other CIA agents in danger. At Langley, CIA’s headquarters in Virginia, agents Catherine Linklater (Vera Fermiga) and David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson) snap into action to mobilise Frost’s immediate ‘rendition’ to the US. A special team escorts him from the consulate to a Cape Town CIA safe house ran Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) a young CIA operative who is bored to death doing nothing but hoping for a better posting in Paris. Weston’s boredom is broken by the arrival of his new guest.
He is shocked by the way Frost is treated by his escort team and asks “Is it legal?” when he witnesses Frost submitted to the same torture practiced before on Al Qaeda suspects. But someone else is after Frost. The safe house is attacked in fierce gun battle and it is Weston who sees Frost out of the place unharmed.
Safe House has all the right ingredients required for a good escapist action movie: spectacular car chases, armed and unarmed combat scenes and a story with the right dose of treachery, surprise twists and turns. For his Hollywood debut, 35 year old Swedish director Daniel Espinosa borrowed heavily from set pieces seen in hit movies of the same genre but he delivers 115 minutes filled with adrenaline pumping action filmed against a dramatically photographed Cape Town background. Mr. Espinosa owes a lot to Denzel Washington who, although not working with one of the best scripts he accepted so far, adds enormous value with his charismatic screen presence that puts any film that he appears in a big step ahead of others. Ryan Reynolds gives a good account of himself as the reluctant hero who rises up to the occasion and delivers when duty calls.
Watch trailer: http://www.imdb.com/rg/s/4/title/tt1599348/#lb-vi3006438937
THE AMAZING SINGING GIANT
“A Monster in Paris” (In 3 D)
Vanessa Paradis as Lucille
and Sean Lennon as The Monster
Directed by Bibo Bergeron
Running time: 90 minutes
A wacky inventor, his camera crazy best friend and a madcap monkey make a BIG mistake when let loose in the Professor’s laboratory! With lotions and potions spilling everywhere, the troublesome trio accidentally creates Franc, a musical talent of monstrous proportions.
With the help of the beautiful but feisty singer Lucille, the team is on a mission to protect their new friend from the ghastly wannabe Mayor, Commissioner Maynott, who has a plan to increase his popularity by capturing Franc and revealing him to be a scary monster to the people of Paris.
Directed by Bibo Bergeron (Shark Tale) with a voice cast including Vanessa Paradis as Lucille and Sean Lennon, son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, A MONSTER IN PARIS is fun for all the family.
(Production notes Entone Productions)
SAVE THE WHALES
Drew Barrymore Rachel Kramer
John Krasinski Adam Carlson
Ahmoagak Sweeney Nathan
Directed by Ken Kwapis
Running time: 107 minutes
Inspired by the incredible true story that touched the world, the rescue adventure Big Miracle tells the amazing tale of an animal-loving volunteer and a small-town news reporter who are joined by a native Alaskan boy to rally an entire community—and eventually rival world superpowers—to save a family of majestic gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle.
Barrow newsman Adam Carlson (John Krasinski) can’t wait to escape the northern tip of Alaska for a bigger market. But just when the story of his career breaks, the world comes chasing it too. With an oil tycoon, heads of state and hungry journalists descending upon the frigid outpost to get their moment in the midnight sun, the one person who occupies Adam the most is Rachel Kramer (Nathan Barrymore). Not only is she an outspoken environmentalist, she also happens to be his ex-girlfriend.
With time running out, Rachel, Adam and Nathan (Sweeney), an 11-year-old native Alaskan boy who learns to connect with his people and his culture, must rally an unlikely coalition of locals, oil companies and Russian and American military to set aside their differences and unite for a purpose they all believe in: freeing the whales in record time. As the Alaskans frantically try to dig miles of holes on one side of the ice and a Soviet icebreaker pushes inland on the other, they must perform the virtually impossible to bridge a four-mile gap. And if they miraculously succeed, the trapped whales will be freed to the safety of open sea to begin their 5,000-mile annual migration.
(Production notes – Universal Pictures)
Watch trailer: http://www.imdb.com/rg/s/4/title/tt1430615/#lb-vi3334184729
A GRIM ADAPTATION
Kaya Scodelario Catherine Earnshaw
James Howson Heathcliff
Directed by Andrea Arnold
Running time 129 minutes
Wuthering Heights is Academy Award winning writer-director Andrea Arnold's third feature following the BAFTA award winning, Fish Tank and Cannes Jury Prize winning Red Road.
Based on the novel by Emily Brontë and adapted for the screen by Andrea Arnold and Olivia Hetreed, Wuthering Heights stars newcomer James Howson as Heathcliff and Kaya Scodelario (Skins) as Cathy alongside Steve Evets (Joseph), Oliver Milburn (Mr Linton), and Nicola Burley (Isabella Linton) and introducing Shannon Beer and Solomon Glave playing the young Cathy and Heathcliff.
Arnold is joined by several long-time creative collaborators: Director of Photography, Robbie Ryan (BSC); Editor, Nicolas Chaudeurge; and Production Designer, Helen Scott.
A Yorkshire hill farmer on a visit to Liverpool finds a homeless boy on the streets. He takes him home to live as part of his family on the isolated Yorkshire moors where the boy forges an obsessive relationship with the farmer's daughter.
Watch trailer: http://www.imdb.com/rg/s/4/title/tt1181614/#lb-vi3175717913
(Production notes - Artificial Eye)
Top Ten Films in Malta
29 February - 4 March 2012
1. THE VOW
2. JACK AND JILL
3. JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
4. GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE
5. THE IRON LADY
6. ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED
8. JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN
9. STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE
10. EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE
With acknowledgements to KRS Film Distributors Ltd