This is an involving tale about a group of motorists who become trapped in a New York tunnel under the Hudson River following a freak accident. Director Rob Cohen’s classy contribution to the 1990s disaster movie resurgence is less reliant on slick visual effects than most, and Sylvester Stallone displays more vulnerability than expected as the determined leader of an escape party. Yet Cohen’s orchestration of the requisite action scenes (including the early, eye-popping tunnel destruction) is impressive. Although by no means a genre classic, this provides enough solid entertainment to offset its overfamiliar storyline.
The Wrestler director Darren Aronofsky’s dark, hypnotic study of obsession is set in the punishing world of ballet, where serious hard graft doesn’t always guarantee results and stardom is perhaps at its most fleeting. Natalie Portman plays Nina, an aspiring lead with a New York dance company, who’s determined to win the coveted role of the Swan Queen in an upcoming production of Swan Lake. However, the ballet’s director (Vincent Cassel) is sceptical. Though Nina is perfect for the virginal Swan Queen, the shy, repressed dancer struggles to impress him as the Black Swan, her sexually magnetic alter ego.
The arrival of the talented and rebellious Lily (Mila Kunis) raises the stakes, and as Nina wrestles with her demons, the film hurtles towards an exhilarating and disturbing climax that will please fans of Roman Polanski’s early work. Logic and originality are sometimes lacking, but Aronofsky’s bravura direction and Portman’s sincere, mesmerising performance paper over those particular cracks.
This is an honest exploration of male friendship based on lead actor Jon Favreau’s autobiographical script about his first years in Hollywood. He, and three fellow out-of-work actors, bar hop around LA’s hip watering holes, bitch nonstop, continually try to pick up women and wait endlessly by the phone for that all important call. A highly original and entertaining delight using hilariously side-splitting situations to illuminate male neuroses in an uncompromising way. Complete with discussions on the various merits of Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, with affectionate direction by Doug Liman to match those two masters, this independent labour of love carries the solid ring of truth and features superb performances by Vince Vaughn and Favreau himself.
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