Lily James and Jessica Brown Findlay enjoy a Downton reunion in this intimate post-war showpiece.
Adapted from Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’ NY Times’ Best Seller, Mike Newell’s historical drama delves into a picture of Britain in the immediate aftermath of war. A nation trying to appreciate and savour the lives they've been blessed with, while old traumas still continue to
When Juliet Ashton (James) a free-spirited writer, receives a letter from a member of a secretive literary club formed in Nazi-occupied Guernsey, her curiosity is up… There she meets the delightfully eccentric members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, including the one who sent her the letter. The inevitable rugged, handsome, intriguing farmer: Dawsey. As the secrets from their wartime past unfold, Juliet's growing attachment to Dawsey, the book club and the island itself change her life forever.
A wonderful supporting cast including Katherine Parkinson, Michiel Huisman and the evergreen, delicious Penelope Wilton and Tom Courtenay. This is a picture focused on characters and their journey to re-connect. Utterly charming and full of heart. (research Chris Coetsee) And bound to charm the hearts of us all, throughout the summer. Come; especially for Devon, Dorset and Cornwall - not Guernsey.
John Krasinski silently jangles the nerves in this fraught supernatural thriller.
Set in a dystopian future, a race of mysterious creatures have taken over the planet and while seemingly impossible to defeat, they have one critical weakness – they’re blind with, presumably, no sense of smell? Make a sound however, and you’re hunted.
Caught up in a frantic struggle for survival are Lee (Krasinski) Evelyn (his missus - Emily Blunt) and their children. Heartbroken and empty following a tragic family loss, they have an obligation to each other to stay alive, but when Evelyn becomes pregnant, their ability to navigate their treacherous, noiseless land in silence is pushed to extreme limits.
It’s a fair argument to suggest that sound is a most important ingredient to begin unsettling audiences, when it comes to tense or horror-ish movies. A Quiet Place is such an intriguing production for just this reason. Remove your most prominent narrative device and it makes it even more prominent. The sounds of wind and water, how much people say with their eyes, the power of communication and the keenness of its loss. All the more engaging… and all the more terrifying. (Research Chris Coetsee) Don’t miss this fabulous, thrilling, heart-in-mouth tension. Suck your crisps.
Lara Croft has been raiding tombs in the digital landscape since 1996; the preposterously proportioned avatar even became a household name. Cinema hasn’t quite been so kind.
Angelina Jolie had a blast in the role, twice, but they were classic examples of computer game adaptations - a bit rubbish. Alicia Vikander aims to rectify that and step into the boots of the intrepid explorer with gusto.
The plot races along from London to Hong Kong, and thence to a barely reachable island in the Devil’s Sea. There lies the final resting place of Himiko, “the first queen of Japan,” who, if disturbed, will unleash immeasurable terrors upon the world.
Lara is treading in the footsteps of her father (Dominic West), who embarked on a similar search seven years ago and has not been seen since. He bequeathed a boxful of maps, puzzles, codes, and clues, more than enough to point Lara in the right direction.
So far, so Indiana Jones, but Vikander’s steely, no-nonsense performance drops the quips and settles for a serious character study; one with some interesting ‘daddy issues’ no less. But don’t let that get in your way. It’s big, dumb fun. (research Jack Whiting)
“TOMB RAIDER” WARNING RE: STROBE LIGHTS
All customers, especially those who are particularly sensitive to flickering strobe light sources, are advised that some scenes in this film: “TOMB RAIDER”, contain strobe light effects. Those who may be affected should take appropriate action.”
Maxine Peake rules the roost as an ambitious club performer in the dark days of British stand-up.
Working the Northern comedy circuit of the 1970s and 80s, Peake’s pithy central character remains unnamed, instead defined by the casual misogyny and common language of the era (‘Funny Cow’ and more). Segments of a life story are cut into scenes on stage where she recalls her troubled past. As flashbacks dip haphazardly into various periods, before settling onto her childhood, we take the place of the club audience whose laughter fades as the grim realities of growing up poor with a drunken mother and a violent father unfold.
Acknowledging the racism, sexism and homophobia that tainted the humour of the period, we’re given a real sense of what forged a ruthlessly tough woman willingly prepared to take on the ‘blokes’ at their own game and beat them with their own weapons.
“There is no moral, and in the words of Jerry Seinfeld, there is no hugging, no learning. There is just a hypnotically belligerent performance from Peake, whose anti-heroine explodes like a firework, burning herself to an ashy crisp.” (Guardian) (research Chris Coetsee). Sounds like a belt in the mouth from all sides. See what you think.
The fierce and fearless first instalment in Sergio Leone’s iconic Dollars Trilogy.
A grim Mexican border town, torn apart by greed, pride, and revenge. No law, no commerce, just two evenly matched gangs in an uneasy truce. In this town folks get rich or they get dead. Into its dusty streets rides the Man with No Name. As the two clans struggle for dominance, their new neighbour quietly plots to play them both and take off with a fistful of gold.
Where squinted eyes and curled snarls do all the talking, Eastwood becomes something of an embodiment of the unforgiving environment and the culture of death and chaos within it, just as Ennio Morricone’s score swirls on the soundtrack like a preview of the carnage to come, crafting a score that would typify the Spaghetti Western, and define what the West is "supposed to" sound like.
A Fistful Of Dollars may not have been the first Italian Western but it was the one that broke the all-American hero mould, revitalised the genre and ushered in a new type of cowboy. (research Chris Coetsee) Not to mention Clint, his cheroot and squint, heralding a new fearless resourceful strong silent cool dude. 50 years on and never melted…!
There’s no need to tell you the story, so this will do for first-timers…
Good girl Sandy and greaser Danny fell in love one summer. But when term begins, they discover they're at the same high school. Will they be able to rekindle that Summer Lovin’? Come and see, as if you don’t know. It’s May Bank holiday Monday 40 years after it first hit the screen in 1978. Come and lose yourself in schmaltz.
Disney’s bonkers new offering is like a surrealist painting reinterpreted by a child; it makes even less sense than the original, but the sheer ambition should be commended.
If you can say nothing else about Ava DuVernay's adaptation of this American curriculum staple by Madeleine L'Engle, it most definitely taps into a childlike sense of that what-if wonder.
Its central storyline concerns Meg Murray (Storm Reid) the young daughter of two NASA scientists, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Chris Pine, who travels to a mysterious planet in search of her missing father. She’s accompanied by her precocious six-year-old adoptive brother Charles Wallace, her friend/crush Calvin, and three cosmic entities known as Mrs Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs Which (an Oprah Winfrey). Ah, and – because searching for her missing father isn’t enough of a story – Meg must battle an all-consuming evil entity known as ‘The IT’ as well.
The Selma director deserves respect for tackling such a peculiar story; it may lose its way, but I suppose it’s better to shoot for the stars and stumble, than play it boringly safe. (Jack Whiting) Indeed. Worth seeing for the big screen spectacle alone.
Has it come to this? The desecration of a literary
classic? Or perhaps a much needed modern twist?
Beatrix Potter would surely be startled.
It’s actually… not terrible? If you can stomach James
Corden being, well, James Corden, and his version of
Peter having a supposed tearaway charm founded on
deception, theft, greed and a seemingly pathological
anti-human bloodlust. At the start of the film, Peter
tries to insert a carrot into the exposed gluteal
cleft of Mr McGregor (poor Sam Neill) while the
elderly gardener is tending to his vegetable patch.
A jape which ends with McGregor dying of a heart
attack. Domhnall Gleeson (giving it 110 percent) is
Farmer McGregor’s nephew and heir, who has been
working in Harrods but is continually passed over for
promotion. He hates the countryside but swoons at
the sight of Beatrix Potter or ‘Bea’ (Rose Byrne).
This makes Peter extremely jealous and sparks full-on
warfare, Peter Rabbit is deliberately abrasive and
uneven to the extreme. Its riotous approach won’t
appeal to anyone hoping to spend a few soothing
moments in the company of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and
Jemima Puddle-Duck, but its ballsy energy can be
rather enjoyable. An anti-Paddington, so to speak.
(research Jack Whiting) Come and see.
Steven Soderbergh continues his retirement from retirement with this tight little social thriller about a woman’s crumbling mental state.
Shot entirely on an iPhone - which offers the diverse director techniques and perspectives he wouldn’t have considered with conventional cameras, (“it’s the future” he says, apparently) Unsane stars Claire Foy as Sawyer Valentini, an efficient, tough-talking data analyst. She's just moved to Pennsylvania, where a stalker has made her life a living hell. She is a complete wreck, unable to form friendships or relationships. One day she ill-advisedly appears to confess to fleeting thoughts of suicide to her hospital-based psychotherapist. This therapist coolly asks her to sign a document, which she thinks is just committing her to more sessions. But suddenly big white-coated men lead her to a locked room. And in that secure facility, she becomes convinced that the attendant nurse is actually her stalker.
Claire Foy gives a dedicated performance and tackles the increasingly ludicrous plot with a straight face. The smartphone approach gives such an eerily claustrophobic viewpoint that you’ll find yourself losing your marbles too. (Jack Whiting) Bring a hand to hold - tight.
Always a welcome Summer return of this beautiful film on the big screen It keeps it alive for new generations to see for the first time on a big screen.
It perfectly captures the sunny English landscape at a time when children waved at steam trains. It is a tale of innocence, pride and good manners about hardship, adversity and the once easy friendship between children and grown-ups. It is a celebration of old-fashioned fortitude set in an environment of steam trains, endless summer days and buns for tea. It is unashamedly sentimental. Nobody can deny the love and charm of this timeless 1970 film version of Edith Nesbitt's classic children's novel. It is a chance to choke back a new tear and give new children the chance to be lost in the simple beauty of the original.
There are no explosions and nobody gets a thick ear. “Whether today’s kids get it is open to debate.” (Time Out) But as the father of girls, “Daddy … my daddy!” when the steam clears the platform, will remain forever heartbreaking and soaring at once. Bring your grandparents and, if you don’t fidget, there might be buns for tea when you get home… Don’t miss - ever.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has a screen presence to behold; if anyone can look like they know what’s going on when the audience doesn’t, it’s him.
The ex-wrestler plays David Okoye, a soldier turned primatologist (imagine a rock hard, version of David Attenborough, with pecs ready-greased) who prefers animals to people, and who can blame him, with so many evil humans at large? He is especially close to the albino ape, George, whom he rescued when the little chimp was only two years old. He has taught George sign language, which allows the ape to give him the finger, fist bump, and how to share a joke. Cute, yeah?
Energyne (who thinks up these evil corporation names?) is meddling with science beyond their control via a growth serum; naturally, things go awry, and before long there’s a 100ft wolf and an equally gargantuan reptile tearing their way through downtown Chicago. This serum also finds its way to George, where he too morphs into what is basically an albino King Kong and throws in with the other monsters while Johnson does his thing: pilots helicopters, punches people, and shoots really, really big guns. (research Jack Whiting) Wish Dwayne Rock was in On Chesil Beach…
Screen Veteran Sheila Hancock stars in this life affirming and inspiring story.
The death of Edie’s controlling husband brings a surge of regret for her wasted years. With her daughter pushing her into a nursing home, Edie chances on an old rucksack that sparks memories of her father, and the trip they never managed to take. Edie, who has become rather less than cheery, hops on the Caledonian Sleeper and heads to Scotland. A series of chance encounters pairs her with Jonny (Kevin Guthrie), a young and charming guide, who after a frustrating start, become a wonderful team.
Beyond the story of Edie is the awe inspiring location. Filmed in the surrounding areas of Mt Suilven, August Jakonsson’s brilliant cinematography produces stunning scenes and beautiful backdrops.
Edie is a film, and a character, with an infectious spirit of adventure. While it is nothing new, it triumphs as a great feel-good film. Edie will leave you smiling, and perhaps booking your next walking holiday. (research Beth Wallman) The hills are alive and crawling. A lovely film, only here once so not to be missed.
Pivotal to the seismic changes that ripped through the cultural establishment 60 years ago, together with music and fashion, British Theatre experienced an explosion of creativity and talent, the impact of which is still tangible today. To colour-in these creative and social shifts, enter four gorgeous young actresses: Joan Plowright, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Eileen Atkins. Now all Dames of the Realm. The film invites you to share their memories of being bright young things, even brighter now.
Last summer, Joan invited Judi, Maggie and Eileen to her home. Here the BBC would spend two days filming at the house she had shared with her late husband, Laurence Olivier, from 1961. They reminisce freely about their past and about what it is like to grow old whilst still enjoying some success in their mad unpredictable profession. Intercut with archive, famed director Roger Michell captures it all, these uninhibited seen-it-all women, behind their awards. The familiarity of their surroundings and ease with each other, brings out their mischief. They are natural comedians. Their company and their joy is infectious.
The most beautiful thing about the film… is them.
(Here at the Rex only once, before broadcast on the BBC early in June.)
The astonishing events of June 1976 are robustly recreated in Brazilian filmmaker José Padilha’s punchy dramatic thriller.
Based on the true story of the Israeli commando raid at Entebbe Airport in Uganda, we begin with the boarding of France Flight 139 from Tel Aviv to Paris by Palestinian activists and German revolutionaries Brigitte Kuhlmann and Wilfred Bose (Pike and Bruhl).
Successfully hijacking the flight and eager to revive a tired resistance, they take more than 300 passengers hostage, demanding a ransom of $5 million for the plane and the release of 53 jailed, pro-Palestinian militants. Forced into response, the Isreali-Palestinian authorities work quickly to plan and execute one of the most daring and astonishing rescue operations in history.
Swinging from the claustrophobic confines of the imprisoned passengers to similarly tense governmental conference rooms, infighting spirals in chaotic directions on both sides of the confrontation and Padilha orchestrates the crisis like a piece of journalism, as if the events are occurring in real time.
The director’s breakthrough films from Brazil were searing takedowns of violence for political gain, and when its moment of truth arrives, Entebbe’s action unfolds with urgency. (research Chris Coetsee) Why a re-make now in 2018…?
Can there be too much of a good thing? This cinematic equivalent of Live Aid represents a colossal coming together of pretty much every superhero you can think of.
This is the big one. I say that about every Avengers team-up, but it’s especially true this time round as the first half of a two part culmination of ten years and an untold number of characters and storylines finds our beloved heroes uniting to stand against Thanos.
The ultimate goal of this hulking purple space tyrant (superbly animated over Josh Brolin) is to reduce all life in the universe by half, thus resolving what he believes to be a serious overpopulation and resource dwindling problem. He arrives on Earth where Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain America, Spider-Man, and the other thirty odd heroes are ready and waiting. Even the Guardians of the Galaxy jump into the fray. But none are a match for Thanos’s might; seeing your favourite characters get their butts kicked after usually having them win is disheartening (no, fantastic Jack!). This is Thanos’s movie; he’s the protagonist in his own story, and he most definitely leaves his mark. (Jack Whiting) alongside a weird goatee sculptured from skin and bone.
Here to brighten up November, this fabulous heartwarming gallic spark. A huge hit in France, now around the world, and at the Rex where it has run and run.
The film chronicles the unlikely burgeoning friendship between Philippe (Cluzet), a wealthy and cultured quadriplegic, and Driss (Omar Sy) a young banlieue (slum) dwelling French West African hired to be his live-in carer. It is routine “odd-couple shtick” but it works gloriously, simultaneously wry and tender hearted. Perhaps inevitably, Philippe and Driss quickly disregard the cosmic differences between them to reveal more about themselves in the process. Philippe's reluctant romantic involvement with his pen-friend; Driss with his flirtatious, mischievous ways and his deep rooted family troubles. “A charming, uplifting French drama, an irreverent, humorous take on disability, closely drawn from real-life.” (Guardian) “Untouchable’s moral is conservative optimism: give a man responsibility and he will act responsibly? Not a film to change the world, but might charm it.” (Telegraph). From its opening ambiguity, it draws you in, teasing an uncertain tension, before you fall in love with both of them. Only the French seem to understand how to tell fundamental human tales which touch us all across barriers and language. Don’t miss.
Hugh Jackman steps into the spotlight as 1800s impresario P.T. Barnum in this all-singing-all-dancing rags to riches extravaganza.
2012’s Les Mis was supposed to be the movie that showcased Jackman’s triple-treat talents as a singer, dancer and dramatic actor. Yet somehow it didn’t, his performance fell short. Here debut director Michael Gracey deservedly hands him another chance and this time around he smashes it out of the park.
Born the son of a poor cobbler, Phineas Taylor Barnum longs to rise above his lot in life and dazzle the world. Having conned his way into enough money to start a ‘museum’, he assembles the brilliant and the bizarre of marginalised society, creating a showcase of oddities which draws in the masses - a freak show, which would become the essence of the fairground, circus and showbiz.
But despite his flourishing success, he yearns for something greater, so to garner the attention, and loosen the purse strings, of the upper classes, Barnum risks it all on his chase for recognition.
Questions may be raised over certain exaggerations of his life, but showbiz is showbiz and historical haziness aside, this is nothing short of spectacle and splendour. (research Chris Coetsee)
Big screen Showbiz indeed. Come.
Jean-Luc Godard purists may turn their noses up at this pop-art quasi-romcom glimpse of the brief marriage between him and actress Anne Wiazemsky, but they’d be missing out.
We open in 1967, at the height of Godard’s fame. Having become the poster boy for the nouvelle vague, Godard (Louis Garrel) is finishing work on La Chinoise, a polemical piece starring his muse, Wiazemsky (Stacy Martin).
But as the battle cries of the ’68 protests erupt, Godard turns his back on the cinema that made him famous. Disowning his back catalogue, he sets up the Dziga Vertov group with mouthy theorist Jean-Pierre Gorin (Félix Kysyl) conspiring to make films with “no script, no actors” – and no audience! (enter: Joaquin Phoenix)
Michel Hazanavicius is no stranger to pastiche; he gave us one of the best anniversary previews with The Artist (2011) here he achieves the same attention to detail for its time period and acknowledgement of Godard’s contradictions with timely winks to the audience. Godard may be seen today as a cinematic deity, but the main triumph of Redoubtable is that it humanises the ego-eccentric auteur. (research Jack Whiting) Worth it for its undoubtable 1960’s French lesson, perhaps? Come and see.
Sir John Hurt’s final film role sees the actor confront the dying of the light in director Eric Styles’ poignant drama.
Hurt plays Ralph Maitland, a celebrated screenwriter in his seventies living out his days in sun-dappled Portugal with his long-suffering, eternally patient wife Anna (Sofia Helin). After a routine health check reveals bad news, he vows to get his affairs in order, with no intention of going “gentle into that good night.”
His last will and testament made and his mind set on a course of action, he invites his son to visit for a final attempt at reconciliation yet when Michael (Max Brown) arrives with girlfriend Cassie (Erin Richards) in tow, the warning that his imperious father, generous with his money but never his affection, threatens to ring true once again.
Surrounded by a beautifully complex array of characters, Hurt cuts a stark figure. There is no vanity in this performance, instead a reflection on his own frailty and yet, mellowed by age and circumstance, defiantly Hurt is as talented, vibrant and lovable in his last moments as he ever was in any filmå. (Research Chris Coetsee) A glimpse of this knighted actor’s poignant endgame.
The Amy Schumer brand of studio comedy rests on the notion that she is Everywoman, which means that when she approaches the front desk of a spin class studio in the opening moments, we know where it is going.
Schumer plays Renee, a woman stuck in an unglamorous job, forever being made to feel lesser by bar staff, shop workers and men who reject her online. After being inspired by the movie Big, she makes a wish to be beautiful and the following day, after an accident in a cycling class, she wakes up to a different reflection. The setup allows Schumer to do her thing, but it’s Michelle Williams as Renee’s new boss is the real comedic highlight. Her character a piece of Kleenex personified; somewhere between Gwyneth Paltrow and that crying ghost in the Harry Potter films that lives in the bathroom. It’s fabulous to see Williams, so often typecast as the tragic woman, really do a character; it’s even more fun to see her kill it. Come for Schumer, stay for Williams. (Jack Whiting) For Michelle W being funny, I just might have to, but probably wont.
Caution: only those with nerves of steel and an iron stomach may enter here. This gruesome yet utterly thrilling feminist parable shocks and delights in equal measure.
Lara Croft had a pretty rough time in last month’s Tomb Raider, but it is nothing compared to the horrors awaiting our iron-willed hero, Jen (Mathilda Lutz).
She is the mistress to Richard (Kevin Janssens) a wealthy, confident married man with a swanky pad in the middle of the desert, to which Jen accompanies him for a weekend of sex, boozing, and hunting. Jen’s combination of sex appeal and confidence proves too much for Richard’s hunting buddies, so while Richard is away, the two men take it upon themselves to claim what they have decided is rightfully theirs. Uh oh…
What happens next is not fit for these pages, but the results sees Jen left for dead in the barren wilderness. She clings to life; making her way back bruised, bloodied, but with survival and vengeance in her heart. Thanks to Colarie Fargeat’s, gutsy directorial debut, the ‘male gaze’ is not so much inverted as it is turned inside out and battered with a blunt instrument. (research Jack Whiting) Be scared but not frightened to come and cheer her.
The arduous, seven-year long wait for the sequel to Gnomeo & Juliet - the cutsey animated film that was basically an Elton John musical in disguise - is finally upon us.
Ignoring Shakespeare's tragic ending, the star-crossed garden gnomes from the first film (voices of James McAvoy and Emily Blunt) are alive and well and find themselves in London when their owners rather fancifully move from Stratford-upon-Avon (how on earth can they afford it?). There they team up with top ornamental detective Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp, whose name was left out of the marketing for obvious reasons??) to investigate the kidnapping of gnomes across the city.
Thinking that it’s his adversary Moriarty (now imagined as a puffy yellow pie mascot with a sharp-toothed grin and lame meta villain jokes) the overly proud Holmes and his dutiful Watson, (Chiwetel Ejiofor) venture around the capital with Gnomeo and Juliet, but with only 24 hours to find the gnomes before they are smashed. Elton John fans will get a kick out of the soundtrack; for the rest of us, it’s more of the same garden variety. (Jack Whiting)
A wayward teen hits the road in a last-gasp search for hope in Andrew Haigh’s finely crafted odyssey.
Charley Thompson (Charlie Plummer - no relation) is a miserable 15year old who was long ago abandoned by his mother and sentenced to a lonely life with his impoverished, promiscuous father. One summer day, Charley runs into Del, a haggard, but seemingly kind, washed-up old horse trainer/trader (Steve Buscemi). Charley decides to accept Del’s offer of low-paid work tending horses. One is a rapidly deteriorating old race horse named Lean on Pete. When he learns that Pete’s own fate hangs in the balance, Charley takes the horse and goes on the run, hoping to find his Aunt, seeking out the one speck of family light from a childhood of darkness.
Delicately shot, acted and scripted, Lean On Pete is filmmaking at its subtlest. Strains of James Edward Barker's stunning score interlude the quiet moments, but the real drama is left to the characters, a talent that Haigh masterfully demonstrated in his last film, the brilliant 45 Years. Lean on Pete is a wonderfully played, moving piece of cinema. (research Chris Coetsee) If you see only one film in June, this is it.
There was bound to be melancholy at times, bittersweet here and there and uplifting at others, seeing and listening to Ian McKellen talking about his life and watching him. So many parts, so often. “From the age of 15 to 25 I was obsessed with how unattractive I was, at a time that should have been my glory years.” Then later, he would observe how little he cared about how he looked outside of work. His hair and his clothes, even his face, or especially his face were “For a part, but not for me”. So too, at 78 and about to play King Lear one last time, he sees nothing morbid about death. “It’s fascinating! But old age comes as a shock.” His openness is heart lifting, even when accompanied by that melancholy. Whether you come for Gandalf or the knight of the stage, old or young come for him as he is, whoever he is. It was hard enough to get him to agree to the film, so don’t miss this one chance to listen to Ian McKellen… in his own words.
Charlize Theron re-teams with Academy Award-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman in this raw, confronting dark comedy.
Days away from the birth of her third child, Marlo hangs by a thread. While her eldest Sarah is as precocious and as inquisitive as they come, 6-year old Jonah frequently disrupts his classes, causing increasing concern amongst his schoolteachers and while husband Drew means well, his job frequently sends him out of town on business. As happy as he is to play the doting father when he is home, all other facets of parenthood seem to fail him.
At the end of her tether, Marlo finally accepts an offer to fund a "night nanny" from her well-off brother. Twenty something Tully (Mackenzie Davis) quickly settles in and becomes not just a mother's helper but a much-needed friend and confidante who serves to remind Marlo why she took on this burden in the first place.
An intense and brooding exploration of motherhood buoyed by a magnificent central performance, Tully is an ode to parenting and a cutting reminder that it isn’t all gooey smiles and sunshine. (Research Chris Coetsee) Eschewing glamour along with her porcelain beauty, Ms Theron hits the screen hard once more.
Days before his country’s 2011 revolution, an Egyptian police officer attempts to unravel a shocking murder mystery in Tarik Saleh’s potently bleak neo-noir.
The coolest of cool, Fares Fares plays Noredin, a detective who has risen through the ranks through nepotism and takes a very casual view of the law. He’ll demand a bribe or steal cash from a dead body without a second thought or nervous glance. That’s just the way things work. Don’t ask or do things right, just take the money and make no waves.
But when a famous singer is murdered in a Cairo hotel room, he has a powerful attack of conscience and endeavours to pursue justice. With just one witness and a constant battle with his superiors to uphold the case, Noredin finds himself out on his own and making waves in a dangerous city.
A thrilling and effective story that is refreshingly light on melodrama, the Nile Hilton Incident subtly and smartly shifts the focus away from the bad guys themselves to why so little is done to prosecute them. In true noir fashion, the corrupt sleep soundly while the rest don’t. (research Chris Coetsee) A real murky street thriller. Don’t miss.
Ryan Reynolds is very proud of Deadpool, and for good reason; its punky approach made it the underdog of 2016. No superhero was safe from Reynolds’ scathing remarks.
Ready for a second shot of that bawdy humour? There’s a bit of a Terminator vibe running through the sequel’s story: Cable (Josh Brolin, impressively playing two Marvel super villains in the same month) is a grumpy mercenary sent back through time to assassinate a mutant child (yes, this is the X-Men universe, remember). That child is none other than the legend that is Ricky Baker (if you haven’t seen Hunt for the Wilderpeople, put this down and watch it immediately). Deadpool assembles a team - by putting an ad in the paper - to take down Cable and rescue the kid. Dubbed ‘X-Force’, the group includes Domino, Bedlam, Shatterstar and… Peter - an ordinary bloke who turned-up, and got in.
As you can tell the fourth-wall breaking, devil may care attitude is what makes Deadpool such an unhinged delight. The funniest scenes are saved for the credits so don’t leave in a hurry (a pox on’t). (research Jack Whiting).
What does it look like when stiff upper lips kiss? On Chesil Beach, an adaptation of Ian McEwan's 2007 novella goes a long way to paint a picture.
It is the story of Florence (Saoirse Ronan) and Edward (Billy Howle), young university graduates getting married in 1962. She is a talented and ambitious classical musician from a well-to-do family and he is a clever young man from humbler origins. Both have first-class degrees and, in consequence, no small opinion of themselves. They go as virgins to the marriage bed in a way that was quite normal then and all but unimaginable now. The setting is a horribly conventional seaside hotel on Chesil Beach in Dorset, whose wild and windblown expanse is in grim contrast to their own corseted timidity and ignorance.
On Chesil Beach seems destined to go down as the most uncomfortable movie about not making love of the last decade. That it’s their honeymoon, the start of their lives together, is the big joke at the centre of a deeply unfunny plot. It’s dreary and overcast, but the two leads are convincing. (research Jack Whiting) Another inevitable filming of McEwan’s unwatchable canon: alongside Atonement and Enduring Love. You decide.
A stunning central performance from actor Laetitia Dosch spearheads Léonor Serraille's unforgettable debut feature.
Dosch plays Paula, a shambolic mess who manages to instantly alienate everyone around her. When we first meet her, she erupts into raging life, shouting the house down and as she hammers on the door of ex-boyfriend Joachim. He’s damned if he’s going to let her into the apartment and back into his life, and she’s damned if she’s going to take no for an answer, from him or from the world. Storming off into the night in search of somewhere to stay, Paula tries desperately to piece her life back together.
Shot and edited to give cohesion to the physical and verbal ramblings of its central character, Jeune Femme is a triumphant joy. Bulging with dark laughs and at times quivering with loneliness and fear, Serraille’s first foray into feature film was crafted by an almost entirely female crew and in a year that Cannes purportedly aims to focus on women directors, Serraille is surely one that will be making waves on the festival circuit and beyond in the future. (research Chris Coetsee) Come and see, you might be glad by the end…
Star Wars oversaturation continues with this spin-off charting the exploits of the galaxy’s most lovable smuggler in his younger years.
Harrison Ford IS Han Solo, so his replacement has the unenviable task of filling his space shoes, which Alden Ehrenreich does more than admirably. Set a handful of years before the 1977 space opera (when Luke was too young for his own skyhopper) we find our fresh faced scoundrel making a dishonest living in a far galaxy at the height of Empire occupation.
Things get interesting when he agrees to take on a job for Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and joins a rogues gallery of crooks on a mission that will lead him to eventually cross paths with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Lando (Donald Glover with extra swagger) and, fresh off production line, the Millennium Falcon! So really, it’s a series of moments to introduce audiences to the elements that make up the Han we know and love. The film plays out like a combination of Western and Heist in space, with a fantastic (fantastical) train robbery as its centrepiece.
Not a light-sabre in sight. (research Jack Whiting) but many a quick-draw wisecrack. One Star Wars-y spin, not to miss.
Ghibli lives! Sort of. The spirit of the Japanese animation house is in every frame of its successor - Studio Ponoc - and their delightfully enchanting debut.
An adaptation of The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart, Mary (voiced by Ruby Barnhill) is a bored, lonely, curious child, (and therefore the perfect candidate for a fantastical adventure) who is exiled to the care of her great-aunt while her parents attend to some unspecified business. Mary soon discovers a broomstick in the woods, along with a rare flower that transforms her into a powerful witch. The soul of Ghibli isn’t the only thing echoed; Harry Potter fans will be glad to hear that the broomstick whisks Mary up and away to a Hogwarts-like school for witches in the clouds. But Endor College conceals a dark secret, a kind of enchanted vivisection laboratory where animals are magically tampered with.
Director Yonebayashi deftly combines Ghibli hits Kiki’s Delivery Service with Howl’s Moving Castle, and while not hitting the lofty heights of those Miyazaki classics, there is still an abundance of charm and warmth that bleeds from every hand-drawn line and brush stroke. (Jack Whiting) Stunning. Don’t miss.