Movie Review: Elle is a cat-and-mouse revenge game
French film Elle has been called a "rape revenge comedy".
Odd but not inaccurate.
At the very start of the movie, Michele (Huppert) is brutally raped at home in the afternoon.
Before you have time to digest the horror of what is happening, Michele is alone, bleeding, and picking herself up off her kitchen floor.
She calmly takes a bath. She orders sushi on the phone, asking: "What is a holiday roll?"
It is a silly question, designed to make you laugh.
There are moments like this throughout the film.
Michele goes about her life - nagging her mother for keeping a toy boy, pleading with her loser son to dump his abusive girlfriend, keeping up with her regular midday trysts with a friend's husband.
But she experiences flashbacks to the rape, and her attacker starts sending her stalker-ish text messages.
Who is he? Michele plays a game of cat and mouse with several men in her life whom she suspects, trying to tease out her attacker.
Dutch auteur Verhoeven, who directed RoboCop and Total Recall, has a knack for mixing the uncomfortable with the entertaining.
There is a deft balancing of moods here, and Huppert is chillingly superb.
Her Michele refuses sympathy from friends and family - and the audience.
You will flinch, you will laugh, you will be mightily disturbed, but not in the way you would expect from a "rape movie".
STARRING: Isabelle Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Anne Consigny, Charles Berling
DIRECTOR: Paul Verhoeven
THE SKINNY: The owner of a successful video-game company is raped in her own home. The attacker sends her cryptic messages, and she embarks on a quest to find him.
Elle is showing exclusively at The Projector.
RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER (NC16)
The Resident Evil movies work for me for one reason: Milla Jovovich.
This is her sixth outing as zombie killer Alice yet she looks the same as she did in the first Resident Evil flick back in 2002.
Over the years, she has turned Alice into an empathetic anti-hero and you cannot help but feel for her, one who has gone through so much and has been left for dead so many times.
For those who did not follow the series, you can easily pick up the plot in the prologue.
But plots are not crucial in the Resident Evil movies.
It is all about how Jovovich kicks butt, how her kill count gets higher, how the undead creatures get wackier, and how the villains get crazier.
"I have been doing this my whole life," says Alice to a ragtag group of survivors of the zombie apocalypse.
That statement mirrors Jovovich's career. She has made the billion-dollar franchise her own.
The franchise is meant to be fun B-horror/action, and it has certainly achieved that.
- JOANNE SOH
A KIND OF MURDER (PG13)
Patrick Wilson plays architect and amateur crime writer Walter Stackhouse, who lives with his unstable wife, Clara (Jessica Biel).
His desire to be rid of Clara escalates when he meets the sexy and bohemian Ellie (Haley Bennett).
Walter also develops an interest in the murder of a woman who, he suspects, has been killed by her husband. Things get complicated when Clara goes missing.
Set in the 1960s, this drama is lovely to look at. The production design is sophisticated, and the cast cannot be more gorgeous.
But the plot is convoluted, and the characters are bland.
Such a waste of talent.
- JOANNE SOH
Still in cinemas
Live By Night (M18)
Ben Affleck writes, directs and acts in this gangster flick set in the 20s Prohibition era. A pity he did not brush up on his acting skills. Nor did he allow his talented co-stars Zoe Saldana, Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson and Chris Cooper to shine.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 32%
Kung Fu Yoga (PG13)
Jackie Chan plays a famous archaeology professor. He and his team go on a grand quest to locate an ancient Indian relic. Along the way, they are ambushed by a team of mercenaries and left for dead.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 56%
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage (PG13)
Extreme sports fanatic Xander Cage is again asked to go undercover to recover a sinister and seemingly unstoppable weapon known as Pandora's Box. Stars Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Nina Dobrev and Tony Jaa.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 44%
M Night Shyamalan makes a comeback with this thriller that sees James McAvoy playing a man with multiple personalities who abducts three teenage girls. The movie has been sitting at the top of US box office for two weeks in a row.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 73%
Hacksaw Ridge (M18)
Mel Gibson earned six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Actor for Andrew Garfield in this World War II drama about a US army medic, who not only stayed alive on the front lines of WWII without a weapon but also saved 75 lives in one of the bloodiest battles in US history.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%
Amy Adams may be snubbed by the Academy but this sci-fi is worthy of your attention. It is intelligent, and Adams is excellent in it.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%
La La Land (PG13)
This musical made history by receiving a record-tying 14 Oscar nominations. Catch Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling making magic before the film ends its run.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93%
Patriots Day (M18)
Mark Wahlberg lends his star power to this biopic about the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79%
This South Korean thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat. Stars Lee Byung Hun, Gang Dong Won and Kim Woo Bin.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 71%
The Light Between Oceans (PG)
Real-life couple Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander play a couple whose marital bliss is dampened by childlessness. But things change when they find a baby by chance.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 59%