Wow! Another lengthy absence as I'm getting less and less time for blogging nowadays. Hopefully this will be a quick review. The focus of today's Xpress Reviews is the ultra-talented Irish actress, Saoirse Ronan. Ideally, I would have included a third film from her released this year, Byzantium , but just couldn't squeeze-in the time to watch it. I am glad though that I got to spend time to see these following two enjoyable flicks instead....
# Violet & Daisy 
"Everything's a test when you're a career woman"
Directed By: Geoffrey Fletcher
Written By: Geoffrey Fletcher
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Alexis Bledel, James Gandolfini, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Danny Trejo, John Ventimiglia
The Story: Violet (played by Alexis Bledel) and Daisy (played by Saoise Ronan) are two teenage assassins. What they initially thought would be another routine job - killing a man named Michael (played by James Gandolfini), turns out to be quite the opposite and full of surprises.
The Verdict: One thing is obvious to anyone watching this movie.... director Geoffrey Fletcher is trying to emulate Quentin Tarantino's storytelling style. Although imitators are rarely as good as the original (as is the case here), the overall feel of a Quentin movie is all there. The storytelling, violence, humor, conversations, and music are obviously Tarantino-inspired. The three of the main lead characters shine and bought to life vividly by Ronan, Bledel, and Gandolfini. At this time of writing, the movie holds a low Rotten Tomatoes score of 22% (although not enough reviews yet to reach a consensus). This surprises me as while the movie is not perfect, I can confidently say that I enjoyed it. It seems that this is my choice of underrated movie of the year then!
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
# How I Live Now 
"All these rules... you think you've got to obey them."
Directed By: Kevin Macdonald
Written By: Jeremy Brock, Tony Grisoni, Penelope Skinner, Meg Rosoff
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, George Mackay, Harley Bird, Tom Holland, Danny McEvoy
The Story: Elizabeth, whom later is known as Daisy (played by Saoirse Ronan), is a neurotic American teenage sent by her father to spend the holidays in the countryside of England with her aunt and cousins. Her holiday is disrupted when London is attacked by a nuclear bomb which turns the entire country into a chaotic military state.
The Verdict: A lovely film that get's better the longer it goes. The second half has some very disturbing and tensed scenes without having the need to revert to (much) violence. Also, as was the case with Violet & Daisy , all the lead actors here play their role pretty well. A recommended watch.
Rating: 7 out of 10