Want to share some goodies as I've been positively surprised by some movies of late.
To begin with there is Stone - starring Robert De Niro & Edward Norton.
This is one of those subtle yet high impact movies if you like stories with subjects of morality and human interactions. This would be a anti-action flick if you so will. But in that case the quality of acting makes or brakes the film and in this case...well De Niro and Norton delivered.
The characters in the movie are all far from good people which makes it interesting in the situation they find themselves in: De Niro is a case worker at a prison who is about to retire when he meets one of his last cases, Stone played by Norton. Stone is a prisoner trying to have his sentence shortened and De Niro must write a qualification/recommendation based on what he thinks during their sessions. It becomes a triangle when Stone has his pretty and freaky wife (Milla Jovovich) meet De Niro to persuade him in his favor.
The movie touches on religion and has an interesting way to bring up themes of our times in form of radio talk that you hear throughout the movie in various scenes.
This movie reminded me in some ways a lot of another movie I saw a while back:
Under Suspicion (Morgan Freeman & Gene Hackman) is another low-key movie that lives entirely on the interaction between two great actors. Again the theme was an interesting area of morality and how we perceive and judge people. I really enjoyed this movie and feel that it was a rare touch upon a subject that is rather sensitive. The entire movie plays in an interrogation room where police detective (Freeman) is pressing a suspect (Hackman) to a series of rape/murders. As a little sexy bonus we have Monica Bellucci as the suspect's wife. Yam.
And saving the best for last, here is my Ten Star out of Ten recommendation:
The Man from Nowhere. Yet again heavy hitting South Korean movie that left me with sweaty palms and a dropped jaw. The discovery of Korean cinema has been such a treasury chest to me and again I was not disappointed.
Bin Won plays a mysterious pawn show owner who goes on a mission to save a little girl that gets kidnapped by a cruel gang. The movie takes the time to set up the pieces, introduce the characters and we see how the mysterious loner with a sad past befriends this tragic girl who lives in his neighborhood. His past and motivations slowly unravel as we get spun into a gang rivalry that ends with the little girl kidnapped and the police arresting the mysterious man for her mother's murder. The story keeps taking you to darker places and has you at the edge of the seat for the entire second part of the movie. The action is both ruthless and impressive at the same time and you can't complain about the lack of blood spilled. However it is well used and propels the story instead of becoming all about the action.
I will go even so far as to say that I liked this movie more than Old-Boy and Chaser, both also fantastic South Korean movies. The actor Bin Won also played in the recent movie Mother, which is another a must-watch, yet The Man from Nowhere is definitely the winner and he does an excellent job in portraying the tough guy with a soft spot.