The Darkest Hour (12 – Dir: Chris Gorak – Stars: Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella)
The Darkest Hour is one of those well set up indie sci-fi movies which has to be inventive when it comes to depicting the alien invader because the CGI budget falls well short of Independence Day.
So in this case we get a swirling orange light with an occasional glimpse, when it gets really angry, of a malevolent dark face within.
It’s not the film’s only failing.
The characters are too shallow and clichéd and it’s tough to drum up much sympathy for their plight as a result.
And that plight is predictable.
Two Americans are on a business trip to Russia when the lights descend, reducing the film’s most impressive feature, the Moscow landscape, to rubble.
The Headhunters (15 – Dir: Morten Tyldum- Stars: Aksel Hennie, Synnove Macody Lund, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau)
If you liked The Killing and Wallander and the rest of the wave of crime thrillers from across the North Sea you’ll love The Headhunters.
It’s quirkier and less sensibly plotted than some, but the story is well acted, beautifully set and the three of four holes in the plot are simply ignored in a headlong dramatic rush done with panache.
Full on is the phrase, with a couple of horror scenes which are too yucky to watch.
Roger Brown is a head-hunter with a side-line in fine art theft. Scenting a killing when he spots a masterpiece, he’s already de-activating the house alarm before he realises he’s being set up ... with frantic and deadly consequences.
Mother and Child (15 – Dir: Rodrigo Garcia – Stars: Noami Watts, Annette Benning, Kerry Washington)
A powerful and moving drama centred on three women: Karen, an embittered 50-year-old health care professional; her daughter Elizabeth, a successful lawyer; and an African American woman looking to start a family.
The connection between the three is adoption. A string of events leads to a twist which concludes this powerful and well acted exploration of a mother’s capacity for love.
Tense, heart-warming and compelling throughout.