Vinessa Shaw

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Side Effects Review


Excellent

Thrillers don't get much more enjoyable than this one, which shifts cleverly from an issue-based drama to an intriguing mystery and finally into riotously camp mayhem. Over his career, Soderbergh has proven himself adept at all three approaches, and the way he and writer Burns morph from one to the other is so mercilessly entertaining that we can't help but smile. And the cast is having a great time playing along with them.

It starts as an expose of psychotropic drugs, as Emily (Mara) struggles with depression after her husband Martin (Tatum) is released following a four-year prison term for insider trading. Emily's therapist Dr Banks (Law) prescribes a series of anti-anxiety pills to help her, adjusting the medication until the side effects even out. But something still isn't right, and a fatal incident leads to a criminal trial. Meanwhile, Banks begins his own investigation into the case, consulting Emily's previous therapist (Zeta-Jones). But the fallout from all of this is threatening both his career and his marriage to Dierdre (Shaw).

Soderbergh gives the film a seductive tone that's irresistible, with his own gleaming cinematography and witty editing, plus a teasing Thomas Newman score. This allows the actors to create layered characters who can constantly surprise us along the way. Law holds our sympathies as a desperate man trying against all odds to get his life back, while Zeta-Jones is icy and dismissive until her character takes a lively turn about halfway in. But it's Mara who's the real revelation in a tricky role. As Emily's world seems to shift and collapse around her, she reveals an astonishing array of emotions and intentions.

Continue reading: Side Effects Review

Side Effects Trailer


Emily Hawkins once thought that her relationship with her husband couldn't be more perfect, however she is forced to come to terms with his absence when he is sent to prison and therefore struggles to cope with her mixed feelings and subsequent anxiety on his return. In a bid to progress to feelings of normality again, Emily consults a psychiatrist who prescribes her a drug to help her cope again. It seems to work well and gradually begins to help rebuild Emily and her husband's relationship. However, things take a tragic turn when a woman is mysteriously murdered and Emily and her psychiatrist seem to be the two people who are facing blame. Not only that, but when evidence arises suggesting the pair had a relationship other than a professional one, Emily stops knowing who she can trust anymore. 

This complex psychological thriller is set to 'wow' cinematic audiences with its thrilling plot, all star cast and direction from the Oscar winning Steven Soderbergh ('Ocean's Eleven', 'Contagion', 'Magic Mike'). With a screenplay written by the BAFTA nominated Scott Z. Burns ('The Bourne Ultimatum', 'Contagion'), it's nothing short of expertly put together and definitely in line for several film award nominations on its release on March 15th 2013.

Director: Steven Soderbergh

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Big Miracle Review


Very Good
A grounding in the real-life story makes this film much less sentimental than it looks. Strong characters, some surprisingly dark touches and a genuinely thrilling series of events helps to engage us right to the end.

In 1988 Barrow, at the top of Alaska, aspiring reporter Adam (Krasinski) stumbles across three whales trapped beneath the icecap. Unable to reach the open sea, there's just a tiny hole in the ice that lets them breathe. Adam's report goes viral, grabbing the attention of America's press as well as his Greenpeace-activist ex Rachel (Barrymore). And the rescue effort will require an L.A. journalist (Bell), military pilot (Mulroney), Inuit boy (Sweeney), whale expert (Nelson), oil baron (Danson), White House rep (Shaw), two chuckleheads from Minnesota (LeGros and Riggle) and the Russian Navy.

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Big Miracle Trailer


News reporter Adam Carlson is based in a remote part of Alaska, in a town called Point Barrow. As a consequence, there usually is little to talk about in the way of local news. After one news report, which saw him explaining how food can take up to four plane journeys to arrive in town, his boss rings to comment about how 'thin' his stories are. That is, until Adam sees something extraordinary out to sea. It transpires that there are three California gray whales stuck under the ice near Point Barrow. Adam captures the incident on his camera and rings his boss to tell him of his findings.

Adam's report on the whales makes it onto the news, where he tells stunned viewers that the ice the whales are trapped under extends five miles to the ocean. No one is more stunned than Rachel Kramer, a Greenpeace activist and Adam's ex-girlfriend. She rings him up to announce that she will help him rescue the whales. Soon enough, Adam not only has the support of his ex but of the entire town as well, all doing what they can to make a path to the ocean through the ice. Adam and Rachel soon find themselves united under a common goal and they slowly start to fall back in love again.

Starring: John Krasinski, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Bell, Dermot Mulroney, Vinessa Shaw, Ted Danson, Stephen Root, Tim Blake Nelson, James LeGros, Rob Riggle, Andrew Daly, Bruce Altman, Gregory Jbara, Michael Gaston, Mark Ivanir and Jonathan Slavin

Two Lovers Review


Excellent
Joaquin Phoenix has a reputation for diving heartily into roles, and his starring turn in James Gray's Two Lovers is no exception. In the film's first scene, Phoenix's dive is literal: A Brooklyn kid plunging into the bay in an arresting setup that rings of despair and confusion. It's an appropriate introduction to Phoenix's delicate character development, a performance that buoys an impressive romantic drama.

And that's a genre we don't see too often anymore: romantic drama. Today's cinematic romances are usually steeped in light comedy (even decent ones like Definitely, Maybe) or predictable form posing as drama. But Two Lovers is hardcore drama, with desire at its center. Or more accurately, two desires.

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40 Days & 40 Nights Review


Good

One of the more gratifying feelings a movie critic can have is the feeling of going into a picture expecting tiresome clichés of an overplayed genre, only to discover delightfully surprising freshness and soul where all the hackneyed conventions usually are.

"40 Days and 40 Nights" is such a movie. Misleadingly marketed as just another misogynistic romp through the young male libido, this often ribald comedy about a frustrated 20-something giving up sex for Lent is what the puerile, simplistic "American Pie," "Tomcats" and "Saving Silverman" might have been, had they been made by people with imagination and wit.

Directed by Michael Lehmann -- the man behind the twisted teen angst and irony of the subversive '80s cult hit "Heathers" -- "40 Days" finds many new and inventive ways to make sexual frustration funny.

Continue reading: 40 Days & 40 Nights Review

Eyes Wide Shut Review


Good

Despite all the tongue-wagging about philandering shrinksand other rumor mill jazz, "Eyes Wide Shut" turns out to notbe entirely about sex after all.

Instead its something even more shocking by Hollywood standards-- a complex and intimate study of a couple surviving a very big bump intheir marriage.

There is sex. Plenty of it. But more frequently there'salmost sex and fantasy sex when a small marital spat between a rich,handsome couple of nine years escalates into a confession that begets adownward spiral jealousy, obsession and, most of all, temptation.

Continue reading: Eyes Wide Shut Review

Vinessa Shaw

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Vinessa Shaw Movies

Side Effects Movie Review

Side Effects Movie Review

Thrillers don't get much more enjoyable than this one, which shifts cleverly from an issue-based...

Side Effects Trailer

Side Effects Trailer

Emily Hawkins once thought that her relationship with her husband couldn't be more perfect, however...

Big Miracle Movie Review

Big Miracle Movie Review

A grounding in the real-life story makes this film much less sentimental than it looks....

Big Miracle Trailer

Big Miracle Trailer

News reporter Adam Carlson is based in a remote part of Alaska, in a town...

Two Lovers Movie Review

Two Lovers Movie Review

Joaquin Phoenix has a reputation for diving heartily into roles, and his starring turn in...

40 Days & 40 Nights Movie Review

40 Days & 40 Nights Movie Review

One of the more gratifying feelings a movie critic can have is the feeling of...

Eyes Wide Shut Movie Review

Eyes Wide Shut Movie Review

Despite all the tongue-wagging about philandering shrinksand other rumor mill jazz, "Eyes Wide Shut" turns...

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