The Liability sees cameraman Craig Viveiros take the director's chair for the first time and he certainly wears his influences on his sleeve. Unsurprisingly, it's a joy to watch. A thriller starring Tim Roth as the cool killer, Peter Mullan as the potty mouthed psychopath, with rising star Jack O'Connell providing the youthful charisma, all the key elements are there for a magnificent crime picture. As enjoyable as it is aesthetically, with slick cinematography, a striking use of colour and some cracking slow-mo sequences aided by an interesting soundtrack, it seems the direction lets it down in the final third. The plot lulls, failing to follow through an opening which promised so much.
LA, 1949, and ruthless crime boss Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) is feeding business rivals to the coyotes on the Hollywood hills. With all kinds of corrupt officials in his pockets, the City of Angels has become his private fiefdom. However, Chief Parker (Nick Nolte) has other ideas, and he tasks Sergeant O'Mara (Josh Brolin) with forming an off-the-books outfit to wreck Cohen's empire.
Chris Pine, fresh from helming the Enterprise, has reportedly signed on for a cameo role in Stretch, reuniting him with director Joe Carnahan.
One of the most pleasing and reassuring pieces of recent film news has been Warner Brothers' commitment to financing and distributing Paul Thomas Anderson's next project. The multiple Oscar nominee struggled for some time to gain backing for his enigmatic 2012 drama The Master, finally receiving funds from Californian heiress Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures. Now that one of the best contemporary US directors is seemingly back in the good books of the money men, however, focus has shifted to the what, the when and the whom.
Ben Affleck (of Pearl Harbor and Paycheck fame) is to return to the setting used in his first two directed features - Boston, Massachusetts - in his second adaptation of a Dennis Lehane novel (the first being Gone, Baby, Gone) Live by Night, of which he will also write, produce, and star in.
According to the Hollywood Reporter Joe Carnahan (Narc, Smoking Aces) is in negotiations to direct Sugar Bandits, a film based on Chuck Hogan's novel, Devils in Exile.
After the inevitable success of his original Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Niels Arden Oplev directs his first feature film post Lisbeth Salander. This production has elements of the dark and moody Millennium film but has been unfortunately knitted with the ludicrous action sequences typical of Hollywood. When the head of a criminal gang, Alphonse (Terence Howard), starts receiving mysterious packages containing photos of him and his associates with their eyes crossed out, he orders someone to investigate. Unfortunately that person soon ends up dead. The antagonist is actually Victor (Colin Farrell), a member of Alphonse’s organisation who has a long held vendetta against his boss. As Victor’s months of preparation come to a head, the mistrustful loner makes an unlikely ally in a neighbour of his, Beatrice (Noomi Rapace), a victim of a car crash seeking vengeance of her own.
This is definitely one of the movies to look out for this year!
Only God Forgives is the second collaboration between Ryan Gosling and director Nicolas Winding Refn, following Drive. Much like their 2011 classic, Only God Forgives is a neon-lit crime thriller with a penchant for ultra violence. Obviously, it looks brilliant.
Say what you will about Jose Padilha's upcoming Robocop reboot, but the Brazilian's filmic CV includes an action-packed pair of crime thrillers which were both critically lauded and box office smashes in his native country. Elite Squad won the Golden Bear at Berlin in 2008, and its sequel Elite Squad: The Enemy Within shattered records in Brazil, installing Padilha as a surefire candidate to make the jump to Hollywood.