IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
The work of the late, great James Baldwin is often associated with the stage even though some of his work has already been adapted for the cinema.
Director Barry Jenkins, following his phenomenal success and Oscar glory with MOONLIGHT delivers another spellbinding piece of filmmaking based on Baldwin’s novel, the first English-language feature film.
The action takes place in the early 70’s in Harlem and follows the story of Tish Rivers (KiKi Layne), a 19-year-old African-American woman, very much in love with her childhood friend Alonzo “Fonny” Hunt (Stephen James). Their love is pure and unconditional until Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit…
This passionate love story is told from Tish’s point of view and narrates about the long struggle that she and her family has to endure in order to prove her fiancé’s innocence.
Layne and James share an adorable chemistry and convey beautifully their unbreakable bond. Regina King is outstanding as Tish’s mother Sharon determined to do anything in her power for her daughter’s happiness.
This tender love story is beautifully directed and gracefully acted, while Nicholas Britell’s evocative score is the perfect accompaniment to Jenkins’ poetic vision. There is no doubt that Barry Jenkins is one of the most exciting and sensitive directors to have emerged in recent years! Unmissable!
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL in 3D IMAX
This is a labour of love for James Cameron who first decided to bring this manga adaptation to the screen over 20 years ago but a little film called AVATAR came along in the middle which put things temporarily on hold. In the meantime he invited Robert Rodriguez to take over the direction for this futuristic epic while Cameron serves as one of the producers as well as one of the screenwriters.
The time is the 26th century and the action begins in the scrapyard of Iron City where the body of the abandoned cyborg Alita (Rosa Salazar) is found by Dr Ido (Christoph Waltz), who takes her to his clinic and brings her back to life. Meanwhile a serial killer is luring in the dark streets of the city brutally murdering young women for their body parts…
This visually striking film, based on Yukito Kishiro’s graphic novel series “Gunnm”, is a feast for the senses especially if experienced on the giant IMAX screen and in 3D.
The script is witty and the acting strong especially by Waltz as the compassionate cyber-doctor while Salazar lends her body and voice to the CGI experts to transform her eponymous heroine into a striking battle warrior.
A harrowing true story about conversion therapy written and directed by Joel Edgerton who also plays the head therapist of this dreadful establishment.
Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges) is a sensitive 19-year-old boy living in a small, rural American town with his parents Marshall, a Baptist pastor (Russell Crowe) and his equally religious wife Nancy (Nicole Kidman). But when Jared goes to college a nasty student phones his parents to say that their son is gay…
Last year’s THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST tackled similar themes but with a lighter kind of tone whereas here Edgerton creates a truly frighteningly claustrophobic environment.
Lucas Hedges delivers a terrific and very touching performance as the vulnerable protagonist and cements his reputation as one of the most versatile young actors working in cinema today. He gets solid support from a stellar cast especially from the ubiquitous Nicole Kidman as his loving mother.
ALL IS TRUE
I think it is fair to say that Kenneth Branagh following his ridiculous performance as Poirot in MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS has officially entered his grotesque period. His Shakespeare in Ben Elton’ first original drama, about the last days of the great playwright’s life bears an uncanny resemblance to Ben Kingsley as Fagin.
Elton also wrote the sit com “Upstart Crow” with David Mitchell as Shakespeare in which Branagh made a brief guest appearance as a ghost. And here to make matters worse he cast his old friend Judi Dench as his wife Anne Hathaway – well, there is a line in the script saying Anne is older than Shakespeare but here she looks more like his elderly mother rather than his wife. Having said that the film bears strong production values and careful designs which evoke the period most effectively!
SONG TO SONG
The latest from the great visionary director Terence Malick is a lyrical piece of filmmaking about an aspiring song writing couple BV (Ryan Gosling) and Faye (Rooney Mara) whose relationship develops into a love triangle when a powerful music producer (Michael Fassbender) enters the scene…
It is an attractive film with many disjointed scenes imaginatively put together by the maverick director.
JOURNEY TO THE SHORE
Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s touching film tells the story of Mizuki whose husband drowned at sea three years earlier. But one day when she returns home from work she finds him there waiting for her …
An atmospheric, philosophical film about life and death with excellent performances.
BEFORE THE FLOOD
Celebrated actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio travels across the glove from the Arctic and Greenland to Indonesia and China before he visits the Pope in order to make a plea at the UN about global warming.
It is an important film eloquently and passionately told by DiCaprio.
It is an essential film but it is probably preaching to the converted. The film should be screened at every school in the country especially in America but most importantly to the Senate where cynical congressman are still more preoccupied with their vast earnings from various industries rather than preventing the increasing climate changes and save the planet!