8:00 PM, 2nd September, 2008
From the director of the dark and confronting Vera Drake comes a massive contrast in this light and uplifting comedy about a 30-year-old from London named Polly (Hawkins). This film follows Polly over a few weeks, looking at her various activities and life developments, making it a snapshot of a person's life rather than a narrative story as such.
Polly is always cheerful and optimistic about everything and tries to rub her enthusiasm onto everyone she meets. She is a teacher in North London and lives with her best friend, fellow teacher Zoe (Zegerman). She also attends Tango class with her other colleague Heather (le Le Touzel). Initially she uses her bike for transport however when that gets stolen she decides to learn to drive. This leads to lessons with the stern driving instructor Scott (Marsan) and a massive personality clash.
The film displays many contrasts between brightness and darkness as Poppy goes around in her cheerful way interacting with the somewhat dull and grumpy people around her. Along with the comic scenes there are also a fair few dark moments in the film giving it a deeper edge. Overall this is a film that is both light-hearted and thought provoking.
10:41 PM, 2nd September, 2008
If I had my way, I'd screen a Christopher Nolan movie at least once every semester. He is a modern master of the medium. He's already created two instant classics (Memento and The Dark Knight), as well as rebooting a franchise killed over a decade ago by self-indulgence and creating the best superhero movie ever IMHO.
As we are screening his latest, the mysterious Inception, this semester, we thought we'd revisit one of his great films, Insomnia. This gripping psychological thriller has Will Dormer (Pacino) travelling to Alaska, where the sun shines every minute of the day (hence the title), to head a murder case. One of the local police, Ellie (Swank), is a fan of Dormer, and is only too willing to help out wherever needed. However another crime case rears its ugly head, and when local author Walter Finch (Williams) becomes a suspect, things start to take an eerie turn...
The highlight of this movie is by far Williams ((ndash)) this is him in edgy mode (à la One Hour Photo), when he's at his greatest. All the performances are great though, and even though I haven't seen the original Norwegian version, I understand this is regarded as the better film. If you've only come across Nolan recently through the Batman franchise, I encourage you to get along here tonight and check out how expansive he is in his directing talent. You won't be sorry.