There’s a familiar feeling to the characters in this domestic drama that takes place at a British guest house, where the troubled marriage between a fledgling author (Sebastian Koch) and his wife (Julia Ormond) is further threatened with the arrival of a free-spirited housekeeper (Jessica Brown Findlay), an aspiring writer with a mysterious family background who strikes up a friendship with their reserved teenage daughter (Felicity Jones). Newcomer Brown Findlay brings some laughs and energy to an otherwise predictable tale of family strife that is modestly compelling but ultimately forgettable. Koch and Ormond offer solid performances even if their chemistry is only lukewarm. (Not rated, 90 minutes).
The characters might be suffering from claustrophobia, but the audience is most likely to suffer from boredom during this post-apocalyptic thriller about nine strangers trapped in the basement of their New York apartment building during a nuclear attack. As tensions flare and provisions run low, fear and desperation increase as they wonder if a rescue will ever come. As the film moves into darker territory, the characters simply aren’t compelling or believable enough to generate much suspense, despite all the visual flair from French director Xavier Gens (Hitman). The cast includes Milo Ventimiglia, Michael Eklund, Michael Biehn, Lauren German and Rosanna Arquette. (Not rated, 110 minutes).
This hearfelt but formulaic low-budget drama from director Michael Corrente (American Buffalo) also marks the feature screenwriting debut of actor Peter Facinelli, who stars as a slick New York pickpocket dealing with a host of personal problems, including a police investigation, the surprise engagement of his mother (Marianne Leone), and the discovery that a one-night stand with a bartender (Jaimie Alexander) led to her pregnancy. But he finds it difficult to reform his lifestyle and settle down to new responsibilities. Facinelli brings charisma to his lead role, but the script is an unconvincing series of contrivances. The cast includes Vincent Gallo, Michael Madsen and Joe Pantoliano. (Rated PG-13, 89 minutes).