Posts Tagged ‘Jim Sturgess’

‘One Day’ feels oh-so-much longer

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess in "One Day" The relationship between Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) changes over time in “One Day.”

Maybe it was all more resonant, more poignant on the page: the many highs and lows and major life shifts that occur during the decades-spanning friendship/romance between Emma and Dexter in “One Day.”

But here they feel so cursory and rushed, it’s as if we’re watching a filmed version of the CliffsNotes of David Nicholls’ best-seller. Nicholls himself adapted his novel into the screenplay, and the amount of material he tries to cram in suggests he didn’t know how or when to let go of his baby.

It’s a handsome misfire, though, with its tasteful production design and impeccable costumes — all very British. And it’s all the more curious coming from Danish director Lone Scherfig, whose last film was the excellent “An Education” (2009), which was nominated for three Academy Awards including best picture. That film had a piercing insight about it, a startling honesty beneath its glamorous exterior. Nothing of the sort is to be found here.

The central conceit is this: Em (Anne Hathaway) and Dex (Jim Sturgess) meet after a long night of post-college graduation partying on July 15, 1988. She’s self-consciously middle-class, he’s breezily posh. They jump into bed but decide to remain just friends — but we all know where that’s headed.

“One Day” keeps coming back to that one day, year after year, and checks in with them as they date other people, forge careers, share awkward dinners and basically wait around until the eventual July 15 when they’ll be together. (Read more…)

‘Way Back’ is not-so great escape drama

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011
Ed Harris in "The Way Back" Ed Harris, left, leads a cast of refugees escaping from a Siberian gulag in 1940 in Peter Weir’s “The Way Back.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to think that if you’ve seen one torturously dangerous escape-from-a-Siberian-gulag movie, you’ve kinda seen them all.

“The Way Back” comes from internationally celebrated Australian filmmaker Peter Weir, who directed such notable movies as “Witness,” “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” “The Last Wave,” “The Truman Show” and “The Dead Poets Society.”

Here, Weir directs a meticulously detailed epic escape adventure stuffed with everything but the one element his movie really needs: characters we can empathize with.

The normally charismatic Ed Harris and normally edgy Colin Farrell breathe a little life into their one-dimensional characters, but they’re stuck leading a nondescript group of escapees so generic and banal that it’s tough to worry about them being shot by Russians or dying of hunger in the wilderness or being fried alive in the desert.

“The Way Back” is “inspired by” a book by Slavomir Rawicz, “The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom,” plus other alleged true stories researched by Weir and co-writer Keith Clarke.

Shot in Bulgaria, Morocco and India, Weir’s drama takes place in 1940 during Stalin’s Reign of Terror in Poland.

A young woman, clearly against her will, accuses her husband Janusz (Jim Sturgess), a Polish army officer, of spying and crimes against the state. (Read more…)

‘Legend of the Guardians’ is one strange bird

Friday, September 24th, 2010
Jim Sturgess from "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" Soren (voiced by Jim Sturgess) leads the owl brigade to the rescue in “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.”

“Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” is one strange bird.

It’s an animated fantasy obviously intended for children, yet it depicts genocidal violence perpetrated by gladiator-like birds of prey locked in death matches high over fiery scenes of destruction representing hell on earth.

Director Zack Snyder doesn’t do his feature any favors, either. He nearly kills this magnificently animated movie by shooting it with bullet-time photography.

You remember bullet-time?

That showstopping device used in “The Matrix” where Carrie-Anne Moss leaps into the air, then freezes mid-kick while the camera swings around to her opposite side before she completes planting her boot into a guy’s face?

Bullet-time riddles “Legend of the Guardians” with owls flying past the camera lens, then freezing. In. Place.

Then zip!

They suddenly shoot out of the frame as if their booster rockets kicked in.

Snyder uses this cool device so often that it loses its cool. Then it just becomes distracting. And annoying.

It’s almost as if Snyder thinks kiddies can’t pay attention to the silver screen for very long, so he crams his movie full of slow-motion, speeded-up motion and bullet-time shots to arrest their attention.

That’s on top of the already arresting 3-D format that didn’t really need any help in holding viewers’ interest. (Read more…)

Powerful acting, stark images propel ‘Fifty Dead Men Walking’

Friday, August 21st, 2009
Jim Sturgess and Ben Kingsley in "Fifty Dead Men Walking" Martin McGartland (Jim Sturgess) gets recruited by Fergus (Ben Kingsley) to spy on the IRA in “Fifty Dead Men Walking.”

Kari Skogland’s fact-based thriller “Fifty Dead Men Walking” is a gritty, character-driven throwback to Sidney Lumet’s 1973 fact-based undercover cop drama “Serpico,” this time without the cop.

The unlikely undercover agent here is a street hustler in 1988 Belfast, Ireland, the center of violent political clashes between the Irish Republican Army and the British soldiers occupying the city.

Like “Serpico,” “Fifty Dead Men Walking” begins with the shooting of the main character, here, Martin McGartland, taking six bullets from a would-be assassin.

Appealing English actor Jim Sturgess plays Martin as a conflicted soul constantly drawn into suspenseful circumstances.

The IRA could discover his treachery at any moment! (Read more…)