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Movies Friday 27th March

Friday, 27 March 2009

Michael Doherty will be telling us if The Damned United is really a winner and if the box office smash hit Knowing is really a hit or miss.


Director: Alex Proyas
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne, Chandler Canterbury, Lara Robinson.
Running Time: 130 mins
Classification: 15A
Courtesy: E1 Entertainment

Michael's verdict: Interesting but ultimately unrewarding sci-fi thriller from the director who brought us Dark City and The Crow. Nic Cage toplines as the physics professor who uncovers a numerical; sequence in a 50-year-old time capsule that could have catastrophic repercussions for the planet. Though the effects are impressive, the success of Knowing rises and falls with Nic Cage and here he delivers another of his patented man-under-pressure performances.

The Damned United

Director: Tom Hooper
Starring: Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Spall, Colm Meaney
Running Time: 97 mins
Classification: 15A
Courtesy: Sony Pictures

Michael's verdict: Michael Sheen delivers yet another of his spot-on portrayals of real-life characters. In this case, it's larger-than-life footy boss, Brian Clough, who famously lasted a mere 44 days as manager of Leeds United in 1974. Based on David Peace's terrific book, this isn't just a movie about football; it's about the relationship between three men (Clough, Peter Taylor, Don Revie) united (and possibly damned) by their devotion to the Beautiful Game.

*DVD of the Week*
Body of Lies

Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe
Running Time: 127 mins
Rating: ***
Classification: 15A
Courtesy: Warner Bros.

Plot: Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a covert CIA operative working in Jordan searching for terrorists who have been bombing civilian targets. Ferris uncovers information on the Islamist mastermind Al-Saleem (Alon Aboutboul). He devises a plan to infiltrate Al-Saleem's terrorist network with the help of his boss back in Langley, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe).

Michael's Verdict: Though billed as the fourth collaboration between Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott, this intelligent thriller is actually all about Leonardo DiCaprio. Crowe piled on three stone to play the CIA operative at base pulling the strings of a covert operation in the Middle East, but it's Leo who gets his hands dirty as the guy on the ground who has to distinguish between friend and foe and keep track of the bad guys. As a director, Scott has always been well able to handle action sequences (particularly those involving helicopters) and once again he doesn't disappoint. It's the dramatic element of the film that lets things down. The movie zips along at a cracking pace for about half an hour opening hour before losing its way in half-baked sub-plots.