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Source Code

Colter Stevens (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) is jolted awake, he’s on a commuter train heading into Chicago. Opposite him, a beautiful girl (by Michelle Monaghan) chats to him with familiarity, but he has no idea who she is. The train conductor comes past to check his ticket, passengers go about their business … but what’s going on? Who’s this girl opposite? Why does she think she knows me? Why does she call me a different name? Confused, he gets up and heads to the bathroom – he glances in the mirror and sees a stranger – what the …? Suddenly, an explosion blinds him and he is violently shaken into oblivion. He regains consciousness in the dark, there’s a voice somewhere (by Vera Farmiga) but he remembers nothing but the weird train dream. Slowly the pieces come back together and he starts to figure it out – he’s a helicopter pilot in Iraq, last thing he remembers is when he was on a mission yesterday … so something must’ve gone wrong … but where am I now, and who are these people?

This is an intriguing movie – it’s never clear what will happen next, which makes it great. I’m not going to describe the plot too much as it’s much more enjoyable when you learn what’s going on at the same time as Colter does. The consistency is the military lab where Colter comes to, he learns he’s part of a secret military experiment called “Source Code”. His only link with the real world is Goodwin, by Vera Farmiga, who is calming and great in this role. Of course, Jake Gyllenhaal is excellent – as if without even trying. Michelle Monaghan is beautiful and entertaining as Christina and the whole thing is very well done. It’s not too long, which makes it better and Duncan Jones introduces some interesting concepts with this. He’s done a great job (he’s rock star David Bowie’s son) and this is another good effort after his first movie, Moon, also very good and just that bit different.  I enjoyed this a lot.

Made in 2011. Directed by Duncan Jones

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Posted by on February 23, 2014 in Movies


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In 1995, Princess Diana (played by Naomi Watts) is the most famous woman in the world. Once married to the heir of the British throne, Prince Charles, she is the mother of Prince William and Prince Harry. She and Charles are now divorced and she is trying to continue her life, mostly apart from the British Royal Family and her sons. In apparent disregard for this situation, the world continues to be totally entranced and fascinated with her every move. She carries on with her caring ways and her humanitarian work. One day in London, while visiting a friend in a major hospital, she meets Pakistan-born heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (by Naveen Andrews). She is instantly attracted to him and a love affair develops between them. Hasnat is equally attracted to her, but things get difficult when he, a very private man, realises the full impact of the public life Diana leads. Their romance plays out over what becomes the final two years of Diana’s life …

This movie is based on a book by journalist Kate Snell “Diana: Her Last Love” which depicts Diana as a deeply sad and lonely woman, who lives for her sons and yearns for happiness in deep, meaningful, love. Unfortunately. I avoided this movie for some time because most of the media seriously derided Naomi Watts’ performance here – but I wouldn’t do that. I guess it probably hasn’t stretched her acting skills terribly much, but as an interesting biopic and a romance, it’s quite enjoyable. It’s a bit irritating that given her notoriety at the time (and perhaps since), lots of assumptions are made by the director about what’s known about Diana, her life, her issues and the incident that caused her death – and I think as a result there may not be enough information for some viewers to get a full appreciation of the story (perhaps this is how the book is written also). Additionally, of course, as a viewer I did wonder how much of the story is based on fact and how much is fabricated for effect, but given that we will never know and it’s not important anyway, as a movie I enjoyed it.

Made in 2013. Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel.

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Posted by on February 2, 2014 in Movies


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