July 20, 2007
V 35 Issue 29

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Two films you should not miss this year
Two films you should not miss this year
by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

Directed by: Danny Boyle
Starring: Rose Byrne, Cliff Curtis, Chris Evans, Troy Garrity, Cillian Murphy, Hiroyuki Sanada, Benedict Wong and Michelle Yeoh
Opens July 20th

Introducing The Dwights
Directed by Cherie Nowlan
Starring Brenda Blethyn, Khan Chittendon, Emma Booth Richard Wilson, Frankie J. Holden
Now playing

I've been watching the 'DirectTV' ads featuring my fave scene from 'Aliens', with Sigourney Weaver confronting the alien queen, and it reminded me that Hollyweird hasn't done a good sci-fi flick since then. But, that opinion has changed lately, since I attended the screening of Sunshine. The new (and very thoughtful) sci-fi film, starring Cillian Murphy (28 Days), Rose Byrne (28 Weeks Later), and Michelle Yeoh has been worth the wait.

The film has the look and feel of the early sci-fi classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the 'blue light' scenic foreshadowing that set me up for anything bad that was going to happen in films, after seeing Alien the first time. And the story, of an eight person crew of men and women on their way to complete the mission their former crewmates couldn't complete is fraught with suspense and a kind of delicate beauty I've only seen in Alien and 2001.

I also liked that the characters are both as meaty and interesting as the cast of Alien, in a doomed sort of way, and that the shots of the sun, as they get closer to fulfilling the mission of reigniting the dying star for earth's survival, are dazzling.

But what is most to like about this provocative, thriller of a sci-fi instant classic is the way everything works. When bad things do happen to this at first upbeat crew, the storyline, not an overabundance of gore, carry the viewer along. So, we, the viewers feel sympathy for these crewmembers as they suddenly realize their predicament of not being able to return to earth, even as they know they have to complete their mission so earth and its people will survive.

You will see great performances from Murphy, Chris Evans (The Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer), and Hiroyuki Sanada, as well as Yeoh. However, the best part of this film is the female computer, which is very similar to 'Hal' in 2001, in that same detached, yet caring way. Certain to be a classic for anyone who loves sci-fi that makes you think, and stays in your memory because of its excellence, Sunshine had me on the edge of my seat and, as a sci-fi writer myself, I loved the believability of the story and the frail humanity of each of the eight characters. Go see it and be amazed that even as bad as movies have gotten of late, Hollywood can every once in a while strike gold with something this good.

Then, if you want laughter, sexiness and a film that is so deliciously good you'll want to see it over and over and over again, then, what you want to see is Introducing The Dwights, starring the inimitable Brenda Blethyn (Amazing Grace). And if the world is fair, this one might finally do what Amazing Grace couldn't, get Blethyn that so deserved Oscar next year.

The story follows Blethyn, who is feeling like she's over the hill, both as an entertainer, and a woman, but is still in there fighting, doing stand up comedy at a local pub every night.

She does get other opportunities, via her Gay manager, but it seems the world has changed without her keeping up, and nowhere is that more obvious than with her son, Tim (Khan Chittendon). Young Tim has fallen for one of the roommates who he helps move one day, as part of his job as a mover, a job that keeps the family afloat while his mom (Blethyn) continues to try and pursue a career in 'showbiz'. This is not a fact mom is willing to face, so the two butt heads, until eventually change happens to all of them, and lessons are learned in the most unexpected ways.

A charming and witty film that is alternately funny, sexy and moving in refreshing ways, Introducing The Dwights is the film to see this summer. A welcome change from all of the sequels and blockbusters, this is a film that'll take you back to your 'first time', or just tickle the socks off you, if you let it. And newcomers Emma Booth and Khan Chittendon aren't bad to look at either. Definitely the best film I've seen all year.


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