Top of the order this week (that’s a baseball reference) is this stunning sports drama that like all great sports films transcends a need for a love of the game it relates to. It’s about passion, determination and, of course, money.
Written by Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian – heavyweights if the screenwriting world has such a thing – who were drafted in by star/producer Brad Pitt when the project was floundering, it tells the true story of the Oakland As baseball team manager who found an innovative way of building a winning team on a budget.
Directed with great heart and style by Bennett Miller (Capote), it’s full of fantastic performances by Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman (naturally), Jonah Hill and Robin Wright Penn and is centred round an intelligent, emotional screenplay.
One of the best Hollywood films of the year and we have Brad Pitt’s stubbornness and vision to thank for it.
My Week With Marilyn
From one great film based on a true story to a not so great one. This is the tale of a young man who becomes confidante and friend to the perennially troubled Marilyn Monroe while she is in London filming The Prince & The Showgirl with Laurence Olivier.
The problem with the film is that it comes off as part TV movie and part Chanel advert.
It’s devoid of grace or nuance save for the performance of Michele Williams, who is stunning as Monroe. Her vulnerability and Kenneth Branagh’s bravura Olivier save this trite schlock from the scrapheap.
The third major Hollywood comedy of the year that is refreshing and genuinely funny, 50/50 follows in the footsteps of Bridesmaids and Horrible Bosses as being a genuinely funny and rewarding film.
Joseph Gordon Levitt plays a young man diagnosed with a cancerous tumour and given a 50 per cent chance of survival.
His friend, played by Seth Rogen, is on hand to guide him through the mire and so are an array of characters played by a brilliant supporting cast.
Based on a true story for the third time this week, it is more Moneyball than Marilyn as it treats its subject and audience with respect and care and balances the laughs with a just right amount of Hollywood illness film melodrama.
Again it shows what a good script and great actors can achieve.
Oh dear. How do some films just get it so so wrong? Great cast – Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts. Great director – Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In The Name Of The Father, In America).
But this? Oh dear, this is just utterly, utterly awful.
It’s the archetypal haunted house film. Family moves in and learns of former tragedy.
Cue creepiness, or in the case of this, cliches. What a startlingly surprising disaster.