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Cinema Paradiso by James Luxford

James Luxford

Our verdict on the best Hollywood has to offer, every month!

James LuxfordPLAYING FOR KEEPS (out Now)

Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel and Catherine Zeta Jones star in this featherweight rom-com about a former ‘soccer’ star (Butler) struggling to rebuild his life after a dramatic fall from grace. Can a new job coaching his son’s soccer team rebuild his shattered life, and bring him back to the arms of his estranged wife (Biel)? Absolutely dreadful Hollywood slush which feels plucked right from the studio cliché conveyor belt . The biggest puzzle this film offers is why so many big stars were attracted to it.

1 Star

Russell CroweLES MISERABLES (11th January)

Tom Hooper’s (“The King’s Speech”) big screen adaptation of the stage musical, starring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, a man living in hiding from ruthless lawman Inspector Joavert (Russell Crowe) with a young girl he swore to protect, set to the backdrop of the burgeoning French revolution. Lavish, moving and spectacular, this is the adaptation fans of the musical have been waiting to see. Jackman is superb (and my pick for a Best Actor Oscar) and although the non-stop singing may put some off, to those familiar with the stage production this is perfection.

5 Stars

James Luxford film reviewsDJANGO UNCHAINED (18th January)

The latest movie from Quentin Tarantino typically treads controversial territory. Set at the height of slavery in the US, Jamie Foxx plays the title role of Django, a slave freed by a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) in order to hunt down corrupt slave owners, including the sadistic Calvin J. Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Another work of cult genius from a modern filmmaking icon- if you don’t typically go for the blood-splattered, foul mouthed world of ‘QT’ then stay away, but for fans (like me!) this is exactly the movie the trailers promised. Wonderful stuff.

5 Stars.

James Luxford film reviewsTHE SESSIONS (18th January)

Independent movie actor John Hawkes (“Martha Marcy May Marlene”, TV’s “Deadwood”) gives an astonishing performance as Mark O’Brien, a man paralyzed by Polio from the neck down whose wish to lose his virginity is seemingly granted when he employs a ‘sex surrogate’ (Helen Hunt) to educate and engage in sex with him. Beneath the unusual premise is a rather touching story (based on real life) about love and everyone’s need to feel connected to the outside world. Perhaps not perfect but an uplifting and substantial drama nonetheless.

4 Stars.

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James Luxford
About James Luxford (39 Articles)
Film journalist - all views my own