25TH HOUR: Starring Edward Norton, Brian Cox, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Director: Spike Lee
Spike Lee returns to big screens everywhere with a clever film about moral rights and wrongs and the complex grey shadings in between.
It’s also the first main stream film which, with its theme of all things ending, looks at the shadow cast by the 9/11 aftermath.
Edward Norton gives a compelling turn as Monty Brogan, a convicted drug dealer contemplating his last 24 hours of freedom before starting a seven year sentence.
He’s scared of prison because he expects his good looks to get him raped. So he could kill himself, or go on the lam. But if he goes on the run, what sort of life is that? And what he really needs to do in his final day is say goodbye to his girlfriend, his dad and his friends.
Trying to tie up the loose ends of a soon-to-broken life is difficult. His girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson) is happy to live off Monty’s illegal wealth, but reluctant to realise she’s also morally to blame for his conviction.
And Monty has given his father money to pay off his bar’s debts. His father James (Brian Cox) disapproves of drugs, but forgives his son his lifestyle and instead blames himself.
There are key performances from Barry Pepper as Philip Seymour Hoffman, a Wall Street trader and English teacher, as Monty’s best friends, and Jones directs it all with visual flair and verve.
It’s a powerful film, with believable characters and fizzing, zinging dialogue, that’s well worth a look.
DREAMCATCHER: Starring Morgan Freeman, Damian Lewis, Jason Lee. Director: Lawrence Kasdan
It’s based on a Stephen King book of the same title, but with a new cinematic end, which might explain why the movie goes off the rails towards the end.
But it starts promisingly, with childhood friends developing a form of telepathy (however, as it’s a King novel, this is a curse as much as a gift).
But years later, on their annual hunting trip to the woods, the film morphs into an alien thriller, with the foursome stumbling over a planned invasion.
Soon there are ET killers bursting out of human bodies, but ignoring the Alien ‘stomach eruption’ route in favour of another orifice that will leave you sitting very uncomfortably. It all adds up to lots of suspense, plus humour and gross-out horror.