Tuesday, 4 August 2009

DVD reviews

Red Dust
cast Hilary Swank, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jamie Bartlett, Ian Roberts
director Tom Hooper
genre Drama
rating PG-15

A country scarred by a gruesome racist past forms the backdrop of this sensitive tale. In an effort to bring justice to the parents of Steve Sizela (Loyiso Gxwala), who went missing after he was arrested for political activism in 1986, New-York based attorney Sarah Barcant (Swank) returns to a sun-kissed South Africa desperately trying to find the truth. Her only hope is Alex Mpondo (Ejiofor), who is contesting the amnesty application of police officer Dirk Hendricks (Bartlett) who brutally tortured him for his political links. Now a member of the South African Parliament, Mpondo is determined to find his missing friend Sizela, and Barcant desperately tries to piece together the puzzle. But Mpondo’s weak memory proves an obstacle. Barcant battles a dark past of her own: she was punished for courting a coloured man. The gripping tale and strong characterisation make for an emotional ride.
Sneha May Francis

cast Julia Roberts, Clive Owen
director Tony Gilroy
genre Thriller/Drama
rating PG-12

They are quick, smart and extremely talented. Yet they’re unable to set aside their professional ambitions and have a normal romantic relationship. CIA officer Claire Stenwick (Roberts) and MI6 officer Ray Kowal (Clive Owen), give up their spy games for corporate glory, only because they figure that’s where the hard cash is.
Together they devise the perfect plan to make some hard cash and keep their romantic inclinations hidden. However, they have to fight their inner contradictions and their inability to trust one another before starting out on the big game.
It’s a race to secure the perfect product formula that’d bring unimaginable monetary gain to the industry that patents it. Corporate giants Howerd Tully (Tom Wilkinson) and Dick Garsil (Paul Giamatti) battle it out to win the secret formula for their own gain. They hire the agents to work towards unearthing the killer secret, only they don’t know that the agents are playing them. With tight editing, a gripping storyline, crisp dialogue and controlled performances, this DVD is a must-see!

cast Brenda Blethyn, Khan Chittenden, Emma Booth, Richard Wilson
director Cherie Nowlan
genre Drama
rating PG-15

Tim Dwight (Chittenden) doesn’t lead the life of a normal 21-year-old. He spends long hours taking care of his disabled brother Mark (Wilson) and drives his comedienne-mother Jean (British actress Blethyn) around in his rickety truck for her night performances. They’ve lead a very sheltered life, with their boisterous mum keeping both boys under her tight control.
But things change when he meets the lovely Jill (Booth). Tim begins to crave for everything that a boy his age does. But his mushy romance is jeopardised by his demanding mother, who is unwilling to give in to her son’s demands. Jean’s sharp tongue leads to numerous conflicts between Tim and Jill. Yet she refuses to tone it down.
Jean pins her hopes on the revival of her comic career and wants her son to keep her happy and leave the girl. It’s an emotional roller-coaster of a movie. Despite Jean’s eccentricities, you can’t help forming a bond with her. But it’s the role of Mark that acts as the glue for the diverse characters.

(Pubished in e+, Gulf News Aug. 6th 2009 issue)

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