Films on TV: This Means War,
The Tempest, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close | Sky Movies Premiere

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This Means War
(26% on Rotten Tomatoes)

Nothing banishes those winter blues more effectively than a bit of shameless fun. This Means War is precisely that, starring Chris Pine and our own Tom Hardy as CIA agents and best buddies who discover they're dating the same girl — product testing executive Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon). The alluring Scott, who feels guilty about her two-timing, has no idea these two alpha-males are aware of it — or that they're trying to sabotage each other's dates at every opportunity. Cue a hundred minutes of laughs and thrills, featuring a talented cast that's also easy on the eye. The most enjoyable thing about this action romantic comedy, though, is that it doesn't take itself at all seriously.

The Tempest
(29% on Rotten Tomatoes)

Acclaimed Broadway director Julie Taymor takes a huge gamble in this ambitious adaptation of one of Shakespeare's lesser-known plays, changing the gender of its principal character, Prospero, from male to female. It pays off, thanks to the magnificent Helen Mirren. Britain's golden lady continues to light up the silver screen here, setting the bar for her supporting cast, which includes Felicity Jones, Djimon Hounsou and Russell Brand. The Bard's tale of magic and the human soul centres on Taymor's feminised Prospero, Duchess of Milan, who, after being exiled to a remote island by her brother Antonio, acquires control of her little colony and sets about taking revenge on her betrayers — played here by Chris Cooper, Alfred Molina and Alan Cumming.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
(47% on Rotten Tomatoes)

There's bad news — as this film focuses on a boy whose dad died in the September 11 terrorist attacks, your seasonal depression isn't going anywhere. But there's also good news — it's an impeccably acted, emotionally powerful, life-affirming drama you'll be pleased you've taken the time to cry through.

Adapted from the award-winning novel of the same name by Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close goes like this: one year after his father's death, a young Oskar Schell discovers a mysterious key and embarks upon an adventure around New York City in search of the matching lock. Along his achingly sombre journey, Oskar learns a lot about himself and his family, meeting kindly figures who guide him on his way. Yes, it may sound Extremely Cheesy & Incredibly Manipulative on paper, but, despite its tragic premise, it never seems overwrought.

The film features assured performances from Hollywood A-listers Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, but it's the little guy who shines. Thomas Horn is hugely impressive in the lead role — extraordinary, considering he was only thirteen years old at the time of filming, and had no prior acting experience aside from as the old Grasshopper in a school production of James and the Giant Peach. Make no mistake, this is worth the tears.


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