The master of digitalized actors, Robert Zemeckis, directs this retelling of one of the Western world’s greatest poems, the Song of Beowulf. Like all good stories of long ago, Beowulf has heroes, monsters, a dragon and curses. If you want a full telling of the tale, visit McMaster University’s good site here. The story is a great romping ride of exhilarating excitement on its own. However, what makes this film over-the-top fun is Zemeckis use of performance capture technology where filmed sequences and digitalized animation are woven together to give the film a rich, if creepy, look. Add to this, seeing it in IMAX 3-D and OMG, hold on to your fur-lined caps. I thoroughly loved this film despite its liberties with the story and the bigger-than-Graceland acting by everyone involved: Ray Winstone, John Malkovich, Angelina Jolie and Anthony Hopkins, to name but a few. Special mention to Brendan Gleeson as Wiglaf however. Beowulf is two hours of mossy, thick and rich film adrenaline and should not be missed by anyone who likes a good quest/monster adventure. My rating 8 out of 10.
Written and directed by Henry Bean, The Believer spins a – frankly – utterly unbelievable story (purportedly inspired by a true story) of a young Jew, Danny Balint (played by the latest ‘it’ guy – Ryan Gosling) who’s turned his back on his jewish heritage and spun headlong into neo-Nazism. While Gosling is brilliant in this film, the supporting crew, and more so, the rather pieced together story riddled with long philosophic ramblings about race and religion, a foiled assassination attempt on a Jewish politician, a (sort of) love story, neo-Nazi training camps and a synagogue desecration just don’t add up. What’s worse, despite the fine, fine performance by Gosling, Bean ends the film with a redemptive afterthought … almost as if he got so far in, he suddenly realized, ‘oh my, how am I going to get out of this?’. All that said, however, the film is worth a viewing to watch Gosling’s excellent performance as an antihero you simultaneously hate to love, and love to hate. My rating 6 out of 10.