Sebastian Lelio’s remake of his own GLORIA made in 2013 is one of the best acted and sensitive films I have seen for a long time. The action transfers from Chile’s Santiago to Los Angeles with Julianne Moore stepping into Paulina Garcia’s shoes as the eponymous heroine. Gloria is a free spirited woman with two grown up children, and still in good terms with her ex-husband. She works hard during the day in the office and finds pleasure during the night on the dance floor in various clubs around Los Angeles. One night she meets Arnold (John Turturro), a recently divorced man with whom she begins a new romance…
Julianne Moore is terrific as the fiercely independent woman still searching for love and affection and shares a wonderful relationship with Turturro as her new lover. All the characters are carefully drawn and very believable. There is a brilliant scene at Gloria’s son Peter’s (Michael Cera) birthday dinner party where the whole family is present including Arnold. It is masterly directed where glances speak volumes rather than words.
A warm hearted, touching and uplifting film – the perfect antidote to all those mindless summer blockbusters. A rare phenomenon – a remake as good if not better than the original!
X-MEN DARK PHOENIX
A genuinely exciting instalment which gives an otherwise long and tired franchise a new lease of life thanks to Simon Kinberg’s impressive directorial debut. Kinberg has been a long collaborator to the series as a writer and producer and now he proves he is also an imaginative and assured filmmaker.
The story of Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), who from a young age develops her powers as a mutant under the guidance of Charles Xavier (James McEvoy) before she becomes Dark Phoenix, the most powerful mutant of all during a dangerous mission in space…
The film works a treat thanks to strong acting particularly from Turner’s terrific turn as the title’s heroine. Jessica Chastain also makes a fine contribution as a mysterious woman lusting after Dark Phoenix’s super powers.
A tight, intelligent blockbuster complimented perfectly by Hans Zimmer’s tremendous score.
This enjoyable comedy arrives direct for its London Sundance Film Festival premiere which was selected as its opening film. Nisha Ganatra directs a strong ensemble cast led by the inimitable Emma Thompson strongly supported by Mindy Kaling, who also wrote the screenplay.
Thompson plays legendary late night talk show host Katherine Newbury, forced to hire a female writer in her team after her ratings begins to fall drastically. Molly (Mindy Kaling) is like a fish out of water when she first enters the all-male writer’s room but she soon begins to find her own voice and mark her territory…
It is good to see a comedy about female friendship and solidarity written and directed by women. Thompson sparkles as the unsympathetic protagonist and shares a lovely chemistry with rising star Kaling, seen recently in OCEAN’S EIGHT.
Sacha Polak’s powerful film benefits tremendously from Vicky Knight’s intense performance. She plays Jade, a young mother from London, who struggles to heal her body and mind following an acid attack from her ex-boyfriend. Her facial scars are still very visible despite a series of operations which make her little girl feel very uneasy and scared. But it is the deeper inner scars that Jade needs to come to terms with…
Knight, herself badly burned as a child, delivers a truthful and most courageous performance of a woman forced to re-examine her life and start new beginnings.
Octavia Spencer is re-united with Tate Taylor, her director of THE HELP in which she received an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress. Here she plays Sue Ann, a lonely woman who befriends a group of teenagers after they ask her to buy booze for them from the store. They can’t believe their luck when she invites them to party at her house but it is not too long before things turn sour and creepy…
Octavia Spencer is superb and delivers the goods aplenty in a rare leading role. She is well supported by a strong cast that includes Juliette Lewis and Luke Evans as parents of two of the teenagers. Enjoyable and watchable thanks to Spencer’s committed performance.
Frederic Tcheng’s fascinating documentary, recently screened at the BFI Flare London Film Festival, follows the meteoric rise of ground-breaking designer Halston. In the seventies his name becomes synonymous to great fashion after dressing such luminaries as Liza Minelli, Elizabeth Taylor and Marisa Berenson. But after the rise comes the fall…
The two hour version I saw in the Festival is now wisely trimmed by 15 minutes for this cinema release.
Also out this week:
Television director Jonathan Jones makes an impressive feature film debut with this likeable coming of age story set in the Welsh countryside in the 70’s. Four boys enjoy the freedom the countryside provides for them until tragic events change everything…It is a sensitive film beautifully acted especially by the children.
John Butler’s sensitive comedy screened at both London and Flare Film Festivals is now playing at cinemas only in Ireland. He tells the story of TV weatherman (Matt Bomer), who one day he unexpectedly breaks down live on air. He takes time off work and soon develops an unpredictable friendship with a middle aged Latino man he hires as his labourer…It is a lovely, unpretentious film that manages to be equally funny and moving.