Running time: 115 minutes
John Hillcoat is a director actors are crying out to work with and the man behind The Road, The Proposition and period gangster tale Lawless, and Triple 9 is another action packed, depressing and violent offering that won’t disappoint his fans.
First off, Kate Winslet makes a truly wonderful villain as Irina Vlasov. The Oscar-winner plays a Russian-Israeli gangster who is holding Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) hostage so that Terrell (Chiwetel Ejiofor) can pull off a series of dangerous heists. Irina’s husband is off in prison and the crafty Russian moll has no qualms about taking the reins. Make no bones about it, Winslet is utterly convincing as a cold-hearted ice-queen in what she has admitted is one of her most challenging roles to date.
Enter the ever welcome dirty cops and ex-military in the form of Gabe (Aaron Paul) and Marcus (Anthony Mackie) and the straight members of the force including Chris (Casey Affleck) and Sergeant Jeffrey Allen (Woody Harrelson) and you have got a pretty great recipe for a crime thriller.
So, does it deliver?
Carried largely on the shoulders of the A-List talent cast in it, Triple 9 is extremely watchable and predictably with John Hillcoat, it’s moody. Winslet’s Irina holds the entire production together, and you await her return to scenes throughout. Littered with twists and turns, it will keep you sitting up in your seat, if not quite on the edge of it.
Worth the watch for Winslet’s performance alone.
Triple 9 is in cinemas on Friday 19 February
How To Be Single
Running time: 110 minutes
Let’s face it, if you are newly single lady then Rebel Wilson might be just the ticket to keep you from tucking into a bowl of KFC and gorging out on your Sex In The City boxset. Luckily for Alice (Dakota Johnson) Rebel’s Robin in How To Be Single isn’t too far removed from her real life hilarious self and you get the feeling she didn’t have to push hard to play this role.
Rebel lives by her name, feasting on a series of one night stands and booze and seems not at all bothered by it. Alice, on the other hand, is madly in love with her college boyfriend but decides perhaps she needs to give single life a shot before settling down.
So far, so full of potential. Throw in Alice’s cold sister Meg (Leslie Mann) who needs nothing and nobody and then Lucy, the token nutty friend who is convinced she can find a right man with the help of a computer. Hasn’t she heard of Tinder?
The immediately off-putting thing about How To Be Single is the fact that each and every one of the characters is defined by there relationships, or lack thereof. It’s the kind of offering that makes you appreciated the ridicule a film like The Lobster expresses towards coupledom and ever-lasting happiness and how essential it seemingly is to find your other half.
How To Be Single is exactly what you would expect – a romantic comedy, sprinkled with some heart break and a few laughs. Johnson is convincing as Alice, the girl trying out single life, it’s just a pity she uses it as an experiment more than an actual sustainable way of life.
The Christian Ditter-directed film might teach you something about How To Be Single, but it still dwells on finding your soulmate, which is just that little bit too predictable.
The Finest Hours (12A)
Running time: 117 minutes
Chris Pine trades in the Starship Enterprise to captain a tiny rescue boat in The Finest Hours.
The Craig Gillespie-directed film tracks a trio of Coast Guards as they set out to rescue the crew of an oil tanker torn in two by storms off the coast of New England.
The events that unfolded are still considered the greatest ever small-boat rescue in the sea service’s history, and this film immortalises it in rose-tinted nostalgic fashion.
It won’t take a dive into the history books to figure out how things end up, but that doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable in an old-fashioned kind of way. Almost like a lost movie from the 50s that’s spruced up with CGI to create mammoth 70-foot waves and giant vessels slowly sinking into the deep.
There’s no big Perfect Storm-style trauma to deal with here (this is a Disney film after all), but this is an enjoyable celebration of plucky heroism that’s buoyed by good performances and features a few gripping scenes of waves crashing into Pine and crew’s rickety wooden boat.
Pine dials down his Captain Kirk charisma a notch here to play it “aw shucks” as Bernie Webber, the naïve skipper sent on an apparent death mission. British actress Holliday Grainger makes the most of a supporting role as Bernie’s fiancée Miriam, taking to task Eric Bana’s warrant officer for his treatment of Pine and crew.
The stand-out, though, is Casey Affleck, who’s surprisingly good as a grizzled engine room chief valiantly trying to keep his tanker afloat. The Finest Hours won’t be winning an Oscars, but it’ll please those after a warm and undemanding time-passer.