The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton are a small-town couple who have been unable to conceive a child. Their prayers are answered one day in the form of Timothy, a ten year-old boy who magically sprouts up in their back yard. Innocent to the point of naiveté, Timothy slowly begins to affect the people of the town, touching their hearts one-by-one. It’s an old-fashioned kind of movie, like something Frank Capra might have made: earnest and unashamedly sentimental. From the poster and the premise, it doesn’t seem like a must-see film but if given a chance, there’s a good chance you’ll be won over by its odd charm.
A Late Quartet
A famous string quartet in New York City receive terrible news on the eve of their 25th Anniversary when cellist Christopher Walken reveals that he’s in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. This announcement sets off a chain, revealing tensions with the group that have lain dormant for years. Second violin Philip Seymour Hoffman has the idea to alternate places with the much younger first violin (Mark Ivanir), which is not met with enthusiasm by his wife, the viola player (Catherine Keener). On top of that, something unsettling is going on in their household that they are both them are unaware of…
Much like with the film’s quartet, it is a real joy to see four great actors working at the height of their abilities. Even Walken, who is mostly known for his peculiar mannerism and affectations, is capable of producing some incredibly subtle work in this fine company. You won’t need to know the first thing about classical music to get an awful lot out of this excellent film.
Welcome to the Punch (New to Rent)
Retired criminal Mark Strong returns to London to uncover the truth about his son’s murder only to come against James McAvoy, a police detective who he injured in their last encounter years before. Directed by up-and-coming filmmaker Eran Creevy amidst the gleaming skyscrapers of London’s financial centres, this glossy thriller plays like a British version of Heat, dispensing with the usual grime of East End crime flicks. Strong continues to prove he’s an invaluable screen presence with one of his most charismatic performances to date.
Side Effects (New to Rent)
Having announced his retirement recently, Steven Soderbergh rounds off his final year as a features director with this deceptively entertaining thriller. Rooney Mara plays a young woman whose anxiety goes through the roof when her husband (Channing Tatum) is paroled after serving time for insider trading. With the help of psychiatrist Jude Law, she’s prescribed an experimental new drug that causes her to sleepwalk…. murderously! An absolute corker of a film, it’s our Pick of the Week!
Paperboy (New to Rent)
Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey are idealistic reporters who are investigating the case of John Cusack, a convicted murderer sitting on death row. Helping (or perhaps hindering) them in their quest is Nicole Kidman, a sexy white-trash vamp who believes she is in love with Killer Cusack, despite never having met him. This films is definitely weird, totally over-the-top, and features insane Nicolas Cage-level performances from Kidman and Cusack. Check this out: you’re either going to love this film or leave it feeling icky and confused.
Small Apartments (New to Rent)
Matt Lucas makes his debut as an American leading man in this strange, quirky comedy from music video guru Jonas Åkerlund (Spun). Lucas plays Franklin, an eccentric living in a building full of other eccentrics. Things can only get stranger when Franklin accidentally kills his landlord, setting off a series of weird events. We don’t want to go into too much detail about the plot, but you can be certain that any film with Dolph Lundgren as ‘Dr. Sage Mennox’ must be totally mental. A pitch-black independent comedy, it boasts a supporting cast that includes James Caan, Billy Crystal, Johnny Knoxville and Juno Temple.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (New to Rent)
Funnyman Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi play a pair of ostentatious Las Vegas magicians (in the vein of Siegfried and Roy) who find themselves being pushed out of the limelight when an ‘extreme’ Criss Angel/David Blaine-style illusionist (Jim Carrey) rocks up on the scene. No one plays a super-confident buffoon quite like Carell does and in this film he’s surrounded by a top-drawer supporting cast that includes the late James Gandolfini as a tough-but-fair entertainment promoter.
National Lampoon’s Another Dirty Movie
A pair of college film students decide to make a film packed full of dirty jokes, but they’re really only doing it to impress a girl! Billed a comedy, this straight-to-video affair co-stars Jonathan Silverman as their ‘wacky’ uncle. Back in the 80s, Silverman was the star of Weekend at Bernie’s, where he spent 90 minutes desperately propping up a corpse… so he must’ve felt some major déjà vu making this movie. Observe:
Made on a shoe-string budget under Dogme-style restrictions with dialogue improvised by the actors, this comic drama revolves around a struggling stand-up. Now into his 30s and working days in call centres, he struggles with his feeling for his flatmate, an attractive aspiring musician. With obvious influences from film-makers like Mike Leigh and John Cassavetes, director Tom Shkolnik shapes a collection of well-observed vignettes and encounters.
In medieval Norway, a family travelling in search of a better life gets ambushed by a pack of killers on a mountain pass. Of the family, only a nineteen year-old girl survives. Held hostage, her captors plan for her a fate worse than death. She manages to flee but from that point, the hunt is on. The Norwegian landscape makes an incredibly cinematic backdrop for what is effectively a chase thriller set in the 14th Century! Playing the ruthless leader of the killer posse is actress Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, who is set to star in next year’s Hercules movie with Dwayne Johnson. See her here first: