The Bang Bang Club and more...
The Bang Bang Club
Taylor Kitsch, Ryan Phillippe, Frank Rautenbach, Neels Van Jaarsveld, Malin Åkerman
The Bang Bang Club is the collective name for Kevin Carter, Greg Marinovich, Ken Oosterbroek, and João Silva, four photographers who documented the atrocities that took place in the South African townships during Apartheid. It’s also the name of Silva and Marinovich’s memoir of their adventures during this period, which International Emmy award-winning director Steven Silver has adapted for the big screen. The film stars Ryan Phillipe as Marinovich, Taylor Kitsch as Carter, Frank Rautenbach as Oosterbroek and South African actor Neels van Jaarsveld as Silva. The film attracted wide interest when it made its debut at Cannes last year and has since received excellent reviews. The scene where Phillipe as Marinovich captures the shot that will one day earn him the Pulitzer Prize is one of his best. Sally Fink
Ryan Reynolds, Robert Paterson, Samantha Mathis
The premise sounds suspiciously simple, yet rife with cinematic pitfalls. Ryan Reynolds will spend 90 minutes real time in a single setting—in this case, a wooden box buried underground—trying to figure out how to escape, and more importantly, who put him in such a horrifying predicament. Turns out, he’s in a post-war Iraq, and is being held hostage by insurgents that mean a lot more than business. Thanks to his prodigious talents behind the camera (and Reynolds in front), director Rodrigo Cortés makes it all work effortless. This is more than just edge of your seat suspense. This is a work of invention and novelty that signals the arrival of a major moviemaking talent. Bill Gibron
Nev Schulman, Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost
You can cross-examine this picture until you’re blue in the face, but you’ll be missing the point. Reality or hoax—watching the perpetual grin on Yaniv Schulman’s face as his way cool brother gets up close and personal, documenting him as he falls in love with a fictionalised Facebook character, makes Catfish one of the most surreal viewing experiences of 2010. This was the real Facebook movie. Unlike, it’s thrilling glossy counterpart, this narrative, which oscillates between fiction and reality is made with the same DIY aesthetic of the original social networking platform, which gave life to it. Taking the viewer through all of the affecting motions that one encounters when experiencing a mediated virtual relationship—it exposes a reality about identity contortion that has never been seen before on film. Catfish is a story about processes of selection, aspiration, self-loathing, and how the web can be used as a tool for self-induced fantasy, mania and escapism. After the credits roll, you may feel a pang—a little sickly, guilty, disgusted, or quietly frustrated. Whatever the case, you will know that the Schulman brothers have got to you. A college thesis about the film (and its slick foil, The Social Network) can’t be too far off. Omar Kholeif
Det. Ralph Aquino, Frances Auriti, Tracy Begley, Steven Bogen, James Callaghan, Patricia Caridad
They had heard about it ever since they were kids. In the Hudson Valley and all around Staten Island, the name was legend—urban legend. So documentary filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio decided to learn how the myth about the monstrous bogeyman known as ‘Cropsey’ came about. What they uncover—and discover about their own locality—turns into one of the most terrifying true life experiences ever. Employing both interview material and handheld, first person POV footage, we follow along as these two amateur detectives uncover the real reason children are afraid of the dark… and why there is still as much to fear as we get closer to the truth. Bill Gibron
The Damned United
Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Colm Meaney, Timothy Spall
The Damned United is the fourth cinematic collaboration between actor Michael Sheen and screenwriter Peter Morgan. In each film, Sheen portrays a real life British figure who achieved popularity and notoriety in the respective industries of politics, broadcasting and sports. As Tony Blair (in both The Queen and The Deal), David Frost (Frost/Nixon) and now Brian Clough, Sheen plays variations on a theme: the idealistic young man who used charisma and supreme self-confidence to challenge the system with bullish pomposity. In spite of their similarities, each performance is remarkable and Sheen clearly goes to great lengths to emulate and understand these historical personalities. The Damned United is his most captivating performance yet. While his previous roles had him pitted against celebrated veteran performers Helen Mirren and Frank Langella, Sheen is placed front and center as Clough, the brash and opinionated football manager (soccer coach to the Americans) who infamously took charge of the Leeds United club for a tumultuous 44 days. Stephen Snart
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