The plot: We don’t know if it really played out like this, but we love the idea that one day on the set of Black Swan, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis chatted about their respective next projects. “Oh yeah, it’s a comedy about two friends who enter a sex pact, but then feelings intrude. It’s called Friends With Benefits…” “What?!”
Mila plays a head-hunter named Jamie, who tempts LA-based web designer Dylan (Timberlake) to New York to be art director of GQ magazine. Sassy banter turns to hanging out turns to… friends with benefits. Then Dylan invites Jamie out to LA for Thanksgiving where wires are well and truly crossed.
What’s right with it? Justin Timberlake has his first lead in a major motion picture. He always had the charisma. He just wanted to be sure he had the skills to back it up. He’s pretty fearless here, in
a raunchy role that displays plenty of skin and reveals that his own rear end is by no means off limits during sex – who knew? The screenplay is crammed full with smart, funny banter, making us wish we were actually hanging with these people and living
What’s wrong with it? Not that much, except the obvious point that the film’s freshness was pinched by No Strings Attached.
Verdict: Hollywood is learning that audiences
want comedies that are daring and risqué, and
for much of its running time, Friends With Benefits happily embraces that trend. With actors this appealing at the heart of it, there are no complaints from us. 4/5
The plot: An adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel, with Wasikowska as Jane, the feisty orphan who finds work as a governess in the spooky home of the mysterious Mr Rochester.
What’s right with it? Wasikowska’s Jane is the perfect mix of stoic, vulnerable, brave and passionate. And Fassbender is broodingly sexy as Rochester. The chemistry between them is palpable. More than just a bodice-ripper, there are also genuine frights that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
What’s wrong with it? Inevitably, with a long book squeezed into a two-hour film, some of it feels rushed. We don’t see enough of the audacious Jane who Rochester falls for.
Verdict: A gorgeously gothic love story with a brilliantly talented cast, confirming director Fukunaga as one
to watch. 4/5
The plot: In crime capital Bogata, Colombia, young Cataleya witnesses an evil gang boss slay her parents. Now an adult (Saldana) living in the US with her hitman uncle, she has followed in his footsteps, but her real mission is revenge.
What’s right with it? Writer-producer Luc Besson (Taken) knows how to assemble an entertaining genre flick, and it’s good to see Avatar’s Saldana in a kickass lead role.
What’s wrong with it? We suspect some of the technology used owes more to Besson’s vivid imagination than current science. Hunky love interest Vartan gets short shrift from the screenplay.
Verdict: Director Megaton’s last effort was the Besson production Transporter 3. Colombiana is a step in the right direction. 3/4