Locke

2014review_rob

2014 has been a brilliant year for movies. We can talk all day long about the disappointments and straight-up garbage shoveled our way, but that’s a waste of time and effort when so much greatness is available too. So lets talk about the great ones. One quick note: There are always acclaimed films that slip by and go unseen before the year-end deadline, and this year is no different. So for what it’s worth, at the time of this writing I have yet to see Citizenfour, Foxcatcher, Inherent Vice and Selma.

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A24 Films

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Locke Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) has just made a decision that will affect the rest of his life. The fact that he made it moments after hopping into his car after work means he long drive ahead of him will be spent dealing with the fallout, both expected and unexpected, and the entirety of it occurs without leaving the car. He takes calls from home and work, talks to himself as he works through his problems and mile by mile grows closer to his final destination. So simple yet so mesmerizing. Tom Hardy in a car for eighty minutes probably shouldn’t be this engaging, but his performance as an ordinary guy facing the life-altering fallout from one bad decision is powerful affecting. He feels real — his dilemmas, frustrations, actions — and we can’t help but relate to the grounded drama and emotion. Suspense builds through conversations and Hardy’s acting, all without leaving the car. And not for nothing, but this is one incredibly (and unexpectedly) gorgeous film too. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of, commentary]

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Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson in THE ROVER

Lionsgate was a pioneering label for brooding dramas, compelling imports and insightful nonfiction until it partnered with Tyler Perry, Jigsaw, and a certain YA book series. Miramax was the flagship of envelope-pushing American indies until the Weinsteins became better known for re-cutting films than for supporting filmmakers. Focus Features was the home of young early-aughts visionaries like Sofia Coppola, Michel Gondry and Joe Wright until CEO James Schamus was ousted to “broaden its portfolio.” As indie distributors and studio subsidiaries refocus their efforts towards studio-sized earnings, their previously coherent brand identities as vessels of imaginative filmmaking quickly fade out. Since the indie boom of the ‘90s gave way to the ‘00’s bottom lines, it’s been increasingly difficult and frustrating to rely on name distributors to continually devote their efforts toward risky films. All of which makes it all the more incredible that A24 has made itself into a distributor dedicated to anything but convention – and, at that, has assembled a slate of films defined by a certain amount of risk and subversion. With its 2013 slate – which included Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, Coppola’s The Bling Ring, Sally Potter’s Ginger and Rosa and James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now – A24’s first year was (intentionally or not) focused on films that produced a dark, incisive and more complex vision of youth than can be found elsewhere. But A24’s 2014 films have provided something even more needed in the current cinematic landscape: central performances that openly defy cinematic convention and expectation.

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Locke Movie

Over a year ago we saw Steven Knight makes his directorial debut with Redemption. The acclaimed screenwriter behind Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things exhibited a clean eye for striking images and keen acting, with Jason Statham giving the most dramatically compelling performance of his career. It was a conventional yarn, despite being about a nun and a haunted gangster falling in love, but it was finely told, if a bit safe. Knight’s second effort behind the camera, Locke, doesn’t play it safe at all, yielding a powerful 85-minute result. We’ve seen plenty of single location films, but setting a movie almost entirely in a car with a character consistently talking on the phone is ambition itself. Knight’s script matches that audacity. Locke is a thriller, except the suspense comes from interpersonal drama, not gun fights and explosions. Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is a hardworking and honest family man. It’s a big night for him: his family is excited to watch a major football match together and the next day he’s meant to oversee the biggest concrete pour in European history. The problem is he won’t be present for either the football match or the pour. Months earlier he cheated on his wife (voiced by Ruth Wilson) with Bethan (voiced by Olivia Colman), who’s about to give birth to his child. She’s having a premature delivery, and Locke wants to be there for the child, so he’s driving to meet her at the hospital. Within his car, he’ll have to tell his wife about the affair, his bosses about leaving town, and make sure everything goes according at work […]

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A24

We’re not even halfway into 2014 and already this is proving to be a terrific year for movies. In March alone we had a slew of quality films: Enemy, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Raid 2, and Bad Words. This month is even better. What’s nice about this March and April is that they’ve given us some quality blockbusters that we’d expect from the summer without having to wait for the heat. While Noah had its flaws — a lot of them, to be exact — it was a grand and ambitious drama with the scope of a summer movie. A more consistent summer film is opening this week, and if you pay any attention to the world, you know which. A hint: it’s the one about a super soldier who was frozen for over 60 years and is now fighting a man with a metal arm that’ll make a gazillion dollars. The movie, not the guy with the metal arm. Not sure what his day rate is. The Marvel juggernaut isn’t the only movie you need to see this month, though. There are two movies in particular that will surely stand the test of time: Under the Skin and Only Lovers Left Alive. Those are experiences, not just movies. Before the busy summer movie season begins, make sure to make the time for them, in addition to these other eight Must See Movies:

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Locke Movie - Tom Hardy

Start up the trailer for Locke, and the first thing you’ll see, right smack in the middle of the screen, is the BMW logo. Then, you’ll see Tom Hardy, seated in a BMW. Streetlights reflect off the vehicle’s glossy exterior. A faint orange glow dances across Hardy’s face from over the steering wheel. It can’t be long before Hardy starts extolling the virtues of the luxurious, all-new 428i Series. But Locke is a movie, not a BMW ad. It’s just a movie that happens to take place entirely within one car and entirely within real time. Hardy stars as a fellow named Ivan Locke, who’s driving to London and has a few phone calls to make during the long trek. And that’s the movie — Locke will dial up various people, confront various problems, and (from the looks of the trailer, anyway) have his mental state rapidly deteriorate. The “one character, one setting” movie has been done before, with All is Lost, 127 Hours, Buried, and so forth. But with all those films, it’s a dude who’s physically isolated from the rest of the world and is trying his hardest to not die horribly. With Locke, Hardy’s still safe within the bonds of civilization, and from the looks of this first footage there doesn’t seem to be much life-or-death struggle.

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lost-littleprince

Kate (Evangeline Lilly) discovers that someone knows the truth behind Aaron’s (William Blanchette) parental lineage.

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published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+


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