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The Two Faces of January – Movie Review 08/10/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Academy of Science Fiction, Action/Thriller, Based on a novel, British, Drama, London Critics Circle Film Awards, Online Film & Television Assoc., Thriller.
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The Two Faces of January (British) 2014

Directed by Hossein Amini
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, and Oscar Isaac

AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS:
NOMINATED, Saturn Award-Best Independent Film, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
NOMINATED, Breakthrough British Filmmaker ALFS Award (Amini), London Critics Circle Film Awards
NOMINATED, OFTA Film Award, Best Feature Debut (Amini), Online Film & Television Association

In the early 1960s, Chester MacFarland (Viggo Mortensen) and his wife Colette (Kirsten Dunst) live an upscale lifestyle, supported by Chester’s skill as a swindler. As they are traveling across Europe, they meet up with Rydal (Isaac), a young guide who does some small scale cheating of his own. When Chester accidentally murders a private detective hired by some of his American victims, Rydal agrees to help the couple and the three get caught up in emotional turmoil.

A pretty good thriller, despite some plot holes that must be overlooked. The film is based on a novel by the prolific Patricia Highsmith, who also wrote The Talented Mr. Ripley and Strangers on a Train. Director Hossein Amini garnered a few nominations for his debut film.

96 min. Rated PG-13.

For more info:
The Two Faces of January

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How I Live Now-DVD Review 07/21/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Academy of Science Fiction, Based on a novel, British, British Independent Film Awards, Movies, Science Fiction.
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How I Live Now (British) 2013
Based on the novel by Meg Rosoff

Directed by Kevin Macdonald
Starring Saoirse Ronan and George MacKay

Nominated for a few awards:
NOMINATED, Saturn Award-Best International Film, United Kingdom; Best Performance by a Younger Actor
(Ronan), Academy of Science Fiction
NOMINATED, Best Actress (Ronan); Most Promising Newcomer (Harley Bird), British Independent Film Awards

A dystopian story, set in the near future. Daisy (Ronan) is a troubled American teenager sent to live with her three cousins in the English countryside, where the adult supposedly in charge (her aunt) is often absent because of work. As Daisy warms to her surroundings, she develops romantic feelings toward Eddie (MacKay), the eldest cousin. When they receive reports that the war breaking out in the world will soon reach their doorstep, the cousins must rely on themselves to survive.

Saoirse Ronan earlier appeared in Atonement, for which she received nominations for Best Supporting Actress from both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes, among others. She also appears in the 2011 film Hanna. How I Live Now is geared more to a teen audience; with that said, it’s okay for what it is.

101 min. Rated R.

For more info:
How I Live Now

The Adjustment Bureau-DVD Review *** 04/27/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Academy of Science Fiction, Action/Thriller, American, Based on a short story, Black Reel Awards, Bram Stoker Awards, Drama, George Nolfi, Movies, People's Choice Awards, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
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The Adjustment Bureau (American) 2011 ***
Based on the short story by Philip K. Dick

Directed and screenplay written by George Nolfi
Starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Michael Kelly, Anthony Mackie, and John Slattery

Among a few other nominations:
WINNER, Best Supporting Actress (Blunt); NOMINATED, Best Science Fiction Film, Saturn Awards, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
NOMINATED, Outstanding Supporting Actor (Mackie), Black Reel Awards
NOMINATED, Bram Stoker Award-Screenplay (Nolfi),Bram Stoker Awards
NOMINATED, Favorite Drama Movie, People’s Choice Awards
NOMINATED, Bradbury Award, (Nolfi-writer/director), Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

David Norris (Damon), a politician on the rise, accidentally finds out from the “Adjustment Bureau” that he is not meant to be with Elise (Blunt), a dancer he fell in love with after a few minutes of conversation.

A fast-paced and interesting movie that combines a believable romance with a quirky sci-fi/action story about the forces that shape our lives: human decision-making and chance versus the possibility of other powers-that-be. [Note: said “other powers-that-be” must wear hats of some sort or other!!! I’m just saying . . .]

As a side note, Matt Damon claims this is his first romantic lead role, and he proves himself up to the task; Emily Blunt, who had no formal dance training prior to getting herself prepped for this role, does too.

Highly recommended.

106 min. Rated PG-13.

For more info:
The Adjustment Bureau