THE ONES WE MISSED - 15 FILMS OF 2009 WE WANT TO SEE
Gabriel Chong | 10 December 2009
It’s a known fact among movie buffs in Singapore that we aren’t always graced with the movies we want to see in cinemas, or at the speed we would like to see them released. So as 2009 comes to an end, the folks here at MX have decided to compile a list of 15 films of the year that we would most like to see on the big screen in Singapore. Even if it means we have to wait a few more months for it- we say better late than never!
The Short: Jane Campion’s latest drama is based on the three-year romance between 19th century Romantic poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) that was cut short by Keats’ untimely death at the age of 25.
Why We Want To See It: Critics have hailed this as Jane Campion’s most affecting film since her Academy-Award winning The Piano. Also winning accolades for their beautiful performances in the film are Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw, both of whom are sure to receive notices come awards season next year. Indeed, “Bright Star” has been praised as the definitive film about Romantic poets, and we can’t wait to see this cinematic equivalent of Romantic beauty.
FIVE MINUTES OF HEAVEN
The Short: German director Oliver Hirschbiegel (of “Downfall”) returns with yet another political drama, this time centering on former Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) member Alistair Little (Liam Neeson). “Five Minutes of Heaven” poses a “what-if” scenario of Little meeting the brother of Joe Griffin 25 years after Little brutally killed Griffin back when he was just 17.
Why We Want To See It: The Irish conflict has always made good fodder for political drama, most recently the subject of “Fifty Dead Men Walking”. What has truly gotten critics talking is the tour-de-force performances of Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt that is said to make this 'one of the most rousing and provocative thrillers of the year'.
IN THE LOOP
The Short: : If you were wondering how World War III could start, perhaps “In the Loop” might give you a few ideas. This fictional (yes, I repeat, fictional) Brit comedy tells of one bumbling English government minister (Tom Hollander) who shoots his mouth off about a U.S.-led war in the Middle East, leading to frayed nerves and damage control on both sides of the Atlantic.
Why We Want To See It: Trust the Brits to come up with this bitingly funny political satire that plays on our fears of our modern era, positing an at-once laughable but equally plausible scenario of how the wrong person with the wrong words could very well spark off a political maelstrom with grave consequences. This relentlessly funny comedy has got 95% of critics of Rotten Tomatoes certifying it 'Fresh'.
THE LIMITS OF CONTROL
The Short: The story of a mysterious loner (Isaach De Bankole) and his encounters with a few oddly disguised accomplices as he ambles through the streets of Spain trying to complete a criminal mission.
Why We Want To See It: Director Jim Jarmusch has assembled a dream cast sure to please indie fans- including Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Gael Garcia Bernal- for his minimialist existential film project bound to have its fair share of people who love it or hate it. But “The Limits of Control” is also notable for cinematographer Christopher Doyle’s lensing that has made the movie apparently an ethereally beautiful film to behold.
The Short: Set in the late 1980s, this historical drama chronicles the covert discussions that led to the end of the Apartheid regime in South Africa and the release of its most famous political prisoner, Nelson Mandela.
Why We Want To See It: Lest you think that “Endgame” is going to be stodgy and inaccessible, know that “Vantage Point” director Pete Travis is behind this, leading a high-powered cast including William Hurt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jonny Lee Miller and Mark Strong. One of our reviewers who has seen this movie describes this as a taut and tense crackler of a thriller- let’s hope it gets a more distinguished treatment here than going straight to DVD.
What’s it about: “Precious” is the story of Claireece “Precious” Jones (played by newcomer Gabourey Sidibe), an overweight illiterate teen in late 1980s Harlem who tries to escape the doldrums of her life- a life that has her twice pregnant after being raped by her father and constantly abused by her foul-mouthed mother.
We Say: There’s a reason why this drama has won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival- it is simply one of the most powerful and compelling human dramas you’ll ever see this year. His second outing as director, Lee Daniels doesn’t flinch from portraying the gritty harsh life that many in Harlem still live through till today. A definite contender come awards season and a must-see for the year.
THE INVENTION OF LYING
What’s it about: Imagine a world where everyone was honest, where basically no one lied- could there ever be such a place? Not really- as one struggling writer soon stumbles upon the marvels of being the only liar in a place where everyone believed everyone else.
We Say: Face it- didn’t you go ‘wow’ when you first heard of the concept of this movie? More than anyone, we’re confident that “The Office’s” Ricky Gervais (who acts, writes and directs this movie) will have the comedic chops to realise this into an intelligent yet broadly funny satire. Of course, that’s not to mention the ensemble cast he’s assembled- Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Jeffrey Tambor, Rob Lowe and Tina Fey, guaranteed to make this a rollicking good time.
"The Ones We Missed" continues...