July 3, 2013

Filthy Movie Review Round-up - Oscar's Ladies: 'Stoker' and 'The Call'

Stoker (2013)

Review by Jude Felton

The first of an Best Actress-featuring double-bill sees Nicole Kidman starring in Chan-wook Park's first foray into US cinema. The Korean director, who brought us the phenomenal Vengeance trilogy, has taken a far more delicate, yet still incredibly impactful, approach to his latest movie, and it's a bloody good one.

After India's father passes away, her Uncle Charlie comes to live with her and her mother (Nicole Kidman). Now, he's a strange fella, although not overtly to begin with, but then India (Mia Wasikowska) isn't your usual teenager either. So, as the film progresses more of the backstory is revealed, whilst also driving forward the main plot. It's all incredibly riveting viewing, and Park has delivered an incredibly beautiful film; one that is eerily haunting and punctuated with scenes of stunning violence. Although not especially graphic, the scenes do hit with a sharp and resonating impact, and will linger in your head.

The performances here are universally impressive, especially Wasikowska and Matthew Goode (as Charlie), although Kidman also puts in a delightfully reserved, although also slightly unhinged performance.

Stoker certainly won't be for everyone, and I fear many will pass on it, but I thought it to be an incredibly enjoyable movie, one that impressed me far more than I thought it would. Watching it on Blu-ray was a wonderful experience too, with the HD picture and sound doing the gorgeous cinematography and sound absolute justice.

Highly recommended viewing, and fantastic first English-language movie from Park. Top marks.

Stoker is available on Blu-ray and DVD from 20th Century Fox

The Call (2013)

Review by Jude Felton

The Call is a surprising movie, on quite a few levels. First off, it's from WWE Studios, who seem to be churning out the films right now, secondly it is directed by Brad (Session 9) Anderson, and lastly it stars another Best Actress winner in Halle Berry. This could have been a mess, but rest assured it is not.

Halle Berry, in a relatively subdued role, plays Jordan Turner, a 911 operator who takes a call from a young girl who has been kidnapped. The girl is in the trunk of the kidnappers car, and it's a race against time for Jordan to find the girl, before the worst happens.

What Anderson has achieved here is actually a very exciting, not to mention tense, thriller in which you will find yourself chewing your fingers to the bone. The show is stolen, once again, by Michael Eklund, who puts in another manic performance, and even though I thought the plot to be a little far-fetched and daft, it was all executed incredibly well. That is until the last 15 minutes or so, in which it got downright stupid, and whilst that didn't spoil the film for me, it did take the edge off what up until then had been a very well crafted thriller.

Overall, The Call had good performances, kept moving along at a good clip and maintained the high level of tension. It seems that WWE Studios output is improving and, with the caliber of director and actors on display here, can only bode well for the future. The Call is an entertaining flick, if you can just suspend your disbelief a little. Good times.

The Call is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Sony.

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