Kai Lennox

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Night Moves Review


Very Good

This may be a slow-burning thriller about eco-terrorists, but it's also directed by Kelly Reichardt (Meek's Cutoff), a filmmaker who maintains an oddly aloof perspective while moving at her own steady pace. While this original approach offers fresh insight into the subject matter, it also creates a distance with the audience. But the subtle tone and complex morality add a strong resonance to the subject matter.

It's set in the rural American Northwest, where organic farmer Josh (Jesse Eisenberg) is collaborating with zen-retreat worker Dena (Dakota Fanning) and ex-military loose cannon Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard) to plan a bombing that will make people stop and think about what humanity is doing to the planet. Their target is a dam in Oregon that provides hydroelectric power, and their rationale is that no one needs to run their iPods 24 hours a day. After painstakingly setting up their subtle but devastating attack, they neglect to consider one possible outcome. And what follows forces them to re-examine their actions and motivations. It also causes a rift in their camaraderie that makes the outside threat feel even greater.

Despite the intense plot, this is definitely not an action movie, as Reichardt traces these three people's careful plan in sharp detail while quietly exploring the big issues that compel them to act. Oddly, these activist-terrorists seem oblivious that their violent plan is unlikely to make any difference in the grand scheme of things, and that very few people will ever understand their point. But they're such true believers that they simply can't see outside their circle. The acting is subdued and bracingly honest, creating complicated characters who say more without dialogue than with it. Sarsgaard has the most intriguing role, since Harmon has an undercurrent of menace that the others can't help but notice. And Reichardt lets the actors carry the scenes, using their expressive faces to fill in the details of the plot.

Continue reading: Night Moves Review

Night Moves Trailer


Josh (Jesse Eisenberg), a radical environmentalist teams up with high school drop-out, Dena (Dakota Fanning), and ex-marine Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard) in an attempt to send a message to the industrialised world they stand against: the bombing of a hydro-electric dam. The suspenseful political thriller delves into the world of extremists, desperate to protest in favour of their beliefs - even if it pushes them into illegal activity, doing so.  

Night Moves comes to us courtesy of indie film director Kelly Reichardt, and having made the rounds of various, prestigious film festivals, it is due for a UK release this month. It has already been chosen for the official selection for the London, Venice and Toronto International Film Festival, and has enjoyed favourable reviews from critics and the public worldwide. 

It has, however, been criticised for having major similarities in both in both character and plot with Edward Abbey's novel, The Monkey Wrench Gang. In 2012, a lawsuit was filed against the film, as it clashed with the novel of which a film adaptation was in pre-production.   

Beginners Trailer


Oliver remembers the time, in 2003, when his father Hal, came out to him at the age of 75, soon after the death of Oliver's mother Georgia. Hal was wearing a robe and not a purple sweater, as Oliver had previously thought. This came as a shock to him, having thought that his dad was perfectly happy with his mother. But Hal always knew he was gay; though he had thought that by marrying Georgia he would turn straight. Although Oliver maintains that he is fine with his father coming out, Hal's much younger, handsome boyfriend, Andy, doesn't seem so sure.

Continue: Beginners Trailer

Beginners Review


Very Good
With a slow, wistful pace, Thumbsucker writer-director Mills tells a moving story about connections across generations. It's warm and perhaps a little too heartfelt, but it's grounded in the three central performances.

Oliver (McGregor) is struggling to cope with the death of his father Hal (Plummer), only a few years after his mother Georgia (Keller) died. As his memories swirl, he meets the lively Anna (Laurent) at a party, and they embark on a tentative relationship. But he's consumed by thoughts about his father, who came out as gay after his mother's death and then had a complex relationship with Andy (Visnjic). He also remembers time with his mother when he was a boy (Boos), wondering how his personal history is affecting his life now.

Continue reading: Beginners Review

Rush Hour Review


Very Good
I'll be the first to admit that I didn't used to like Jackie Chan or Chris Tucker. I have never seen either of them in a movie I liked -- until now. Rush Hour, the 1998 action comedy directed by Brett Ratner, successfully blends two immensely different personalities. The film also works because it contains the perfect amount of action and comedy. By themselves, Chan and Tucker do not provide anything inspiring or refreshing, but when they are combined, they form a surprisingly entertaining comedic duo.

Chan and Tucker are truly opposites. Jackie is known for his modest demeanor and amazing physical abilities, but not for his amazing grasp of the English language. Chris is boastful and outspoken, a shameless motormouth that just will not shut up. The pairing of these two actors works well. Chan provides us with the action and Tucker provides us with the witty comic relief.

Continue reading: Rush Hour Review

The Gatekeeper Review


Weak
This film, which seems to have started out as a condemnation of border patrol practices along the California-Mexico line, gets sidetracked and becomes a rather muddled message about how illegals may wind up as slave labor. Or, first time writer-producer-director John Carlos Frey knew exactly where he wanted to take his band of unfortunate immigrants but not how to structure a story or inspire a performance. Either way, it's a movie with an aimless quality.

Of Mexican and American parentage, writer-director-actor Frey creates a central character with an identity crisis. Border Patrol agent Adam Fields (Frey), an earnest guardian against illegal aliens (the gatekeeper of the title), is determined to find a more effective way to deal with the problem. The important association in the life of this dour activist is not his fiancée or her family but rather macho buddy Jack Green (J. Patrick McCormack), a talk show host who leads an anti-immigration militia. Green's mantra is a dire warning about the new Mexican invasion which, once completed, will force Americans "to eat beans and tortillas" for the rest of your lives.

Continue reading: The Gatekeeper Review

40 Days & 40 Nights Review


Good

One of the more gratifying feelings a movie critic can have is the feeling of going into a picture expecting tiresome clichés of an overplayed genre, only to discover delightfully surprising freshness and soul where all the hackneyed conventions usually are.

"40 Days and 40 Nights" is such a movie. Misleadingly marketed as just another misogynistic romp through the young male libido, this often ribald comedy about a frustrated 20-something giving up sex for Lent is what the puerile, simplistic "American Pie," "Tomcats" and "Saving Silverman" might have been, had they been made by people with imagination and wit.

Directed by Michael Lehmann -- the man behind the twisted teen angst and irony of the subversive '80s cult hit "Heathers" -- "40 Days" finds many new and inventive ways to make sexual frustration funny.

Continue reading: 40 Days & 40 Nights Review

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Kai Lennox Movies

Night Moves Movie Review

Night Moves Movie Review

This may be a slow-burning thriller about eco-terrorists, but it's also directed by Kelly Reichardt...

Night Moves Trailer

Night Moves Trailer

Josh (Jesse Eisenberg), a radical environmentalist teams up with high school drop-out, Dena (Dakota Fanning),...

Beginners Trailer

Beginners Trailer

Oliver remembers the time, in 2003, when his father Hal, came out to him at...

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Beginners Movie Review

Beginners Movie Review

With a slow, wistful pace, Thumbsucker writer-director Mills tells a moving story about connections across...

The Gatekeeper Movie Review

The Gatekeeper Movie Review

This film, which seems to have started out as a condemnation of border patrol practices...

40 Days & 40 Nights Movie Review

40 Days & 40 Nights Movie Review

One of the more gratifying feelings a movie critic can have is the feeling of...

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