ANNA KARENINA
2012, Focus Features, 130 min, UK, Dir: Joe Wright

The latest collaboration between director Joe Wright and actress Keira Knightley is this adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s acclaimed novel about love and infidelity in 19th-century Russia. Knightley shines in the title role as the wife of a government official (Jude Law) who is drawn to the aristocratic Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). But as Anna and her paramour pursue an illicit affair, their love may be unable to surmount the treacherous terrain of high society. Tom Stoppard’s nuanced screenplay and Wright’s visionary staging (featuring truly spectacular costume and production design) breathe new life into this classic. With Kelly Macdonald and Emily Watson.


PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE
2002, Sony Repertory, 95 min, USA, Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson

Adam Sandler gives one of the strongest, most nuanced performances of his career in his Golden Globe-nominated portrayal of Barry, the lonely, rage-filled owner of a novelty plunger company courted by shy, fellow troubled soul Lena (Emily Watson). Both beautifully romantic and tensely thrilling, PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE is a surreal fever dream following Barry and Lena’s whirlwind love story as they battle a wide array of threats to their relationship, ranging from a violent phone-sex hotline “supervisor” (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to their own temperaments. Anderson won the Best Director award at Cannes in 2002 for his highly inventive, aesthetically gorgeous portrait of innocent love contrasted against a world of corruption.


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