March 31, 2008

Mercury Rising, by Harold Becker

The United States government is about to launch its brand new super code. Impossible to break, or so they thought, until it was broken by a nine year old autistic boy. Now the bodies are piling up to keep it secret and the mercury is rising.
12 Monkeys, by Terry Gilliam

An unknown and lethal virus has wiped out five billion people in 1996. Only 1% of the population has survived by the year 2035, and is forced to live underground. A convict (James Cole) reluctantly volunteers to be sent back in time to 1996 to gather information about the origin of the epidemic (who he's told was spread by a mysterious "Army of the 12 Monkeys") and locate the virus before it mutates so that scientists can study it. Unfortunately Cole is mistakenly sent to 1990, six years earlier than expected, and is arrested and locked up in a mental institution, where he meets Dr. Kathryn Railly, a psychiatrist, and Jeffrey Goines, the insane son of a famous scientist and virus expert.
Shall We Dance (1937), by Mark Sandrich

Ballet star Pete "Petrov" Peters arranges to cross the Atlantic aboard the same ship as the dancer he's fallen for but barely knows, musical star Linda Keene. By the time the ocean liner reaches New York, a little white lie has churned through the rumour mill and turned into a hot gossip item: that the two celebrities are secretly married.
Body of Evidence, by Patricia Cornwell

A reclusive writer is dead. And her final manuscript has disappeared ... Someone is stalking Beryl Madison. Someone who spies on her and makes threatening, obscene phone-calls. Terrified, Beryl flees to Key West - but eventually she must return to her Richmond home. The very night she arrives, Beryl inexplicably invites her killer in ... Thus begins for Dr Kay Scarpetta the investigation of a crime that is as convoluted as it is bizarre. Why would Beryl open the door to someone who brutally slashed and then nearly decapitated her? Did she know her killer? Adding to the intrigue is Beryl's enigmatic relationship with a prize-winning author and the disappearance of her own manuscript. As Scarpetta retraces Beryl's footsteps, an investigation that begins in the laboratory with microscopes and lasers leads her deep into a nightmare that soon becomes her own.
Birdy, by Alan Parker

Two friends arrive back from Vietnam, scarred in different ways. One has physical injuries, the other has mental problems that make him yearn to be a bird, a subject he has always been fascinated with.
Road Games, by Richard Franklin

A suspenseful thriller about a truck driver's efforts to stop a demented murderer. Pat Quid has been hired to deliver pork to Perth, Australia. Keeping him company on the road is his pet dog, who Pat claims is a dingo. After hearing about a killing spree, whose culprit remains unknown, Pat starts to believe the fiend is actually the mysterious driver of a green van he passed along the way. When the police don't believe the story, Pat decides to nab the villain on his own. After the maniac kidnaps Pamela, the pretty hitchhiker Pat picked up, the truck driver becomes even more determined to stop the madman.

March 18, 2008

L’invité (The Dinner Guest), by Laurent Bouhnik

This finely paced comedy is sheer lighthearted lunacy, with three great star talents in top form; Thierry Lhermitte, Valérie Lemercier and the remarkable Daniel Auteuil.Unemployed for three years, Gerard has landed a job in Indonesia. To start off on the right foot with his "team leader", Gerard invites him to dinner but as his wife Colette has no culinary skills, this may or may not be the brightest idea he's ever had. Thankfully, neighbour Alexandre comes to the rescue and after a series of hilarious mishaps and misunderstandings; Gérard and Colette open their door and welcome their dinner guest...Let the mayhem begin!
No Country for Old Men, by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen

In rural Texas, welder and hunter Llewelyn Moss discovers the remains of several drug runners who have all killed each other in an exchange gone violently wrong. Rather than report the discovery to the police, Moss decides to simply take the two million dollars present for himself. This puts the psychopathic killer, Anton Chigurh, on his trail as he dispassionately murders nearly every rival, bystander and even employer in his pursuit of his quarry and the money. As Moss desperately attempts to keep one step ahead, the blood from this hunt begins to flow behind him with relentlessly growing intensity as Chigurh closes in. Meanwhile, the laconic Sherrif Ed Tom Bell blithely oversees the investigation even as he struggles to face the sheer enormity of the crimes he is attempting to thwart.
Desert Saints, by Richard Greeberg

The nature of temptation. Banks is a hit man, the best, usually working for Latin American drug cartels. He picks up solitary women, uses them briefly for a job, then kills them. He's in the Southwest, headed toward Mexico, when he picks up Bennie, a woman leaving an abusive marriage, going to Paradise, Arizona. The film follows three tracks: Banks's slow recruitment of Bennie, the set-up for the hit at a swank resort in Mexico, and the FBI's close pursuit of Banks, whom they want alive in hopes he'll rat out his bosses. Bennie may not be who she seems, and there may be a chink in Banks's tough-guy armor. Guns, money, and a chance at Paradise...
Chain Reaction, by Andrew Davis

Eddie Kasalivich, an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, works as a technician for a scientific team that discovers an alternative, low-cost, pollution-free fuel source. When one of the chief scientists is murdered and the invention stolen, Eddie and physicist Lily Sinclair are framed for it and have to flee for their lives, with the FBI, CIA and other involved parties in close pursuit. Paul Shannon, Eddies mentor, is the director of a scientific company which - unknown to Eddie - has commercial interests in the invention. Eddie and Lily set out to find the stolen invention and hopefully clear themselves of the false charges.
Ice Bound, by Roger Spottiswoode

ICE BOUND: A WOMAN'S SURVIVAL AT THE SOUTH POLE tells the harrowing true story of Dr. Jerri Nielsen, the cancer-stricken physician stranded at a South Pole research station who, under dangerous circumstances and with the help of co-workers, treated her own illness. This movie is based on the book Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole, by Dr. Jerri Nielsen with Maryanne Vollers.

March 03, 2008

Whatever Love Means, by David Baddiel

Vic is a nearly-famous rock guitarist thinking about shacking up in south London with his foul-mouthed thirty-something girlfriend Tess; Vic's best friend Joe is a geeky, AIDS-researching biochemist who shares a son and a flash yuppie pad with the beautiful and slightly Irish Emma. On the day of Princess Diana's death Vic falls into bed with Em; a few months later Joe sort of does the same with Tess. If that were all there was to this book, it would hardly be worth bothering with: just another Hampstead (or rather, Herne Hill) adultery novel. What raises it up a considerable notch, quite apart from Baddiel's obvious gift for very good jokes, is his less expected gift for deadpan but dryly insightful prose, and his even more unexpected talent for fleshing out character. Every player in this touching, tragic tale: female as well as male, minor as much as major, villainous alongside virtuous, is eminently believable, and harrowingly feasible. Not quite so convincing is the Princess-Diana-death subplot that forms a background to the early chapters. Like the hysteria over the Queen of Hearts itself, the whole thing rather peters out, and provides little more than an excuse for the book's well-chosen title (it's a famous Prince Chuck quote apropos his then fiancé Diana). Taken as a whole, small misgiving aside, this is a fine and impressive novel: funny, sad, warm, dark, tender, wise and bleakly memorable.
White Noise, by Geoffrey Sax

When the unexpected happens, architect Jonathan Rivers has become a grieving widower, wallowing in deep confusion over the death of his wife. But a paranormal expert approaches Jonathan with the unlikely: the ability to hear his wife from beyond the grave. Through a form of unusual communication known as EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon), Jonathan will finally be able to see his wife. But in doing so, Jonathan has drawn himself into a much more complex situation when his curiosity becomes an obsession. Only that obsession will have him confront those not of this world, and some of them don't approve of Jonathan's interference with their destructive nature.
Derailed, by Mikael Hafstrom

Charles is worn down by his home life where he and his wife struggle to cope with the demands their daughter's illness, and his job. When he meets Lucinda on the train to work in Chicago, there is an immediate spark between them. Soon they are doing lunch; dinner and drinks follow. This leads to an adulterous rendezvous in an hotel. But no sooner have they torn each others' clothes off than their room is invaded by a thief who beats Charles and rapes Lucinda. Because of the illicit nature of their relationship, Charles is reluctant to go to the Police and soon finds himself powerless to resist the every demand of the thief.