The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)


In the press notes for Tony Scott’s garish remake of the 1974 heist classic The Taking of Pelham 123 – itself adapted from the novel by John Godey – screenwriter Brian Helgeland states that his version gets under the skin of its central characters far more than either the original film or novel. To suggest that your adaptation may be better that its source is a bold statement indeed, and it’s immediately clear that Helgeland is way overstating the achievement of the film in character development. For while Denzel Washington’s performance showcases his usual, dependable breadth of human emotion, Travolta’s characterisation is about as deep and meaningful as a box of bricks.

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Frozen River (2008)

Cool runnings…

As Courtney Hunt’s film opens on a lingering shot of the frozen Saint Lawrence river in the wilds of upstate New York, so a chill sets in that permeates the whole of this remarkable human thriller. And it’s not just the sub-zero weather than sends a shiver up the spine, but the length the movie’s protagonist Ray (Melissa Leo) has to go to in order to survive.

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Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (DVD)

The city that never sleeps…

High school student Nick (Michael Cera) is having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that he has been dumped by his girlfriend. In an effort to get him out of his funk, his friends drag him into New York City in search of a secret gig by their favourite band, Where’s Fluffy? A chance meeting with Norah (Kat Dennings) and her extremely drunk friend Caroline (Ari Graynor) leads to a night of kidnapping, musical mayhem and falling in love.

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