Reviews of Closed Circuit,The Grandmaster, One Direction: This is Us

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It seems to be an authorized portrait, although directed by Morgan Spurlock who in other films like Super Size Me has shown a maverick streak. He’s represented by the same management as Cowell, which might explain why he’s done this. He’s given us a pleasant visit with the boys that at times feels stage-managed. When Zayn, the one who recently got engaged, buys his mum a house, the camera is there when she first walks in and there are cameras at both ends when he phones to ask how she likes it. On the other hand, there are a couple of conversations among the boys about their surprise fame that seem genuine. The concert scenes capture the bouncy energy of their shows but I did have the feeling at the end that I’d just heard the same song over and over. I’d rank this film far above the Jonas Brothers’, below Justin Bieber’s and a bit behind Katy Perry’s.   (International Village and many suburban theatres) 2 ½ out of 5

GETAWAY: Ethan Hawke is here for the thinking crowd and Selena Gomez for her young fans. But the real star is a car, a Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake, the most powerful Mustang ever produced. It gets a real workout in no fewer than eight car chases.  They’re a mindless and exciting wonder screaming through the streets of Sofia, Bulgaria, crashing, smashing and flipping police cars everywhere (the country can’t have many left), narrowly missing the cross traffic at every intersection and , not surprisingly, by chase 5 or 6, getting awfully repetitive.


Less clear is what exactly it is doing in Bulgaria. (Tax incentives maybe?) Hawke is an ex-race car driver who moved his family there for the quiet. His wife is kidnapped, her abductor (always on the telephone only) tells him to steal the car and perform a number of tasks, most leading to those chases, and Selena shows up as the owner who wants her car back. Naturally she has to come along for the entire ride because Ethan can’t stop. She turns out to be adept at hacking into computers en route from an i-pad and despite her baby face shows a tough assertive side. None of it makes too much sense.  John Voight does a good Eastern European accent as the voice on the phone. (International Village and many suburban theatres) 2 out of 5    

SHARKNADO: If you didn’t see this on the Discovery channel or at the Rio Theatre’s sold out show a couple of weeks ago, you have another chance. But you’d better be the kind of movie fan who can enjoy bad movies because this is a prime example. It became a twitter-fueled sensation back in July when the SyFy network in the states showed it (three times eventually). Cory Monteith’s last two tweets were about it. A sequel is already in the works.


Climate change is now the culprit in movies like this, just as the atom bomb used to be. In this one, tornadoes are stirred up; they suck sharks out of the ocean and drop them on Los Angeles. We watch one group of people try to escape and eventually turn to fight them off. Ian Ziering (90210), Tara Reid (American Pie) and John Heard are the most recognizable of the actors. The director wisely played it for cheese factor laughs. It’s goofy and silly and an entertaining piece of camp. (Screens Fri and Sat; check the website: 2 out of 5  

LATIN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL: This event is now in its 11th year, a testament to both the local interest in films from the region and the good work of the organizers. This year they’ve got some 40 films (short and full-length) including one of the big winners from Cannes last year, the dreamy hallucination Post Tenebras Lux (the title means “After Darkness, Light”). It got some boos there and then won the best director prize for Carlos Reygadas, known as Mexico cinema’s enfant terrible.

Other notable titles include Viva Cuba, named best children’s film at Cannes and Eufrosina’s Revolution, a nominee for best documentary in Mexico’s top movie awards. It’s about an indigenous woman in politics. The films of Columbia are highlighted this year, including the opener La Playa D.C., in which three teenage brothers flee the civil war that killed their father and land in the mean streets of Bogotá.

The festival runs until Sept 8 and you can get more information from the website or the preview on this site. Click on CULTURE up above and scroll down.

NOTE: All images are movie stills provided by the producers. They are the exclusive property of their copyright owners.

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