NEVER LOOK AWAY
This compelling film comes from a true master and demands attention from its very first sequence. German Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck made his remarkable directorial debut over a decade ago with THE LIVES OF OTHERS, one of the most celebrated and multi-award winning foreign films of recent years. His latest Oscar nominated feature is inspired by real events and tells the story of Kurt (Tom Schilling), an art student who falls for Ellie (Paula Beer), the daughter of professor Seeband (Sebastian Koch).
Seeband is a famous doctor whose expertise in his profession enables him to avoid persecution for his terrible crimes he commits during the Nazis. He is now determined to destroy his daughter’s relationship with this “commoner” at all costs…
It is a mesmerising film superbly directed by Donnersmark, who elicits tremendous performances from his cast. The luminous cinematography of Caleb Deschanel captures magnificently the period throughout the years and is perfectly complimented by Max Richter’s memorable score.
It is a long film (over three hours) but its running time wheezes by so quickly that by the end I was ready to watch it all over again. An epic masterpiece about art, war crimes and much more. Unmissable!
The most eagerly awaited film of the summer is finally here! Ari Aster follows his amazing debut HEREDITARY with another superior horror, very much worth the hype.
Dani (Florence Pugh) has reached rock bottom following a family tragedy and believes the only way out is to join her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) and his unwilling friends on a trip to a midsummer festival in a remote Swedish village. But their dream destination soon turns into a living nightmare…
Aster wisely take his time in developing his characters before their lives are turned upside down by their seemingly peaceful hosts, who like in THE WICKER MAN begin to behave in the most extraordinary and unexpected manner. Perhaps Aster should have called this “The Wicker Man’s Daughter” – terrific horror, superbly made with perfectly framed compositions, eerie, atmospheric and deeply disturbing.
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME
The latest adventure of Peter Parker AKA Spider-Man begins where the recent AVENGERS-ENDGAME ends. The results of the devastating climax are still raw and the young superhero decides to escape away from it all by joining his school friends on a European trip. But their journey is suddenly interrupted in Venice when a creature comes out of the water and creates havoc everywhere – so unsurprisingly in no time at all Spider-Man is back on business…
Tom Holland fits the role and his costume like a glove and finds the perfect ally in Quentin Beck AKA Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), who comes to the rescue of Parker’s group. Director Jon Watts delivers the goods with plenty of exciting set pieces including the destruction of many European cities – Venice, Prague and London of course!
A treat not only for marvel fan!
Yann Gonzalez follows YOU AND THE NIGHT with another provocative erotic thriller in the style of Italian giallo, with particular references to Dario Argento’s THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE. The action takes place in Paris in 1979 – the films of gay porn producer Anne (Vanessa Paradis) are thriving until a masked man begins to brutally murder her leading men…
It is a challenging but hugely entertaining film with a luminous performance from Paradis. Worth coming out for but certainly not for those easily offended!
VITA & VIRGINIA
Chanya Button’s attractive but uneven film opened the recent Flare BFI Festival. It is based on a true story and is adapted by Eileen Atkins’ stage play which focuses on the passionate relationship between literary genius Virginia Woolf (Elizabeth Debicki) and popular author Vita Sackville-West (Gemma Arterton).
It is a fascinating story with elegant production values but Button’s stuffy direction threatens to sink the project. Arterton is often very good under strong direction but here she appears to be very stagey and technical, so it is left to the luminous Debicki to inject some much needed intensity and reality. A mixed bag!
THE QUEEN’S CORGI
A likable animation feature with a fun premise – a puppy called Rex (Jack Whitehall) is adored by the Queen (Julie Walters), who declares her new Corgi as her Top Dog in the palace. Rex takes his life in luxury for granted until he accidentally ends up in a London Dog’s Home…
The beginning is especially good but when President Trump arrives at the palace with his flirtatious wife and even more flirtatious dog things begin to lose momentum as the action begins to turn into an almost uncontrollable farce.
The voice ensemble is fine with a memorable contribution from Ray Winstone as a tough fighting dog called Tyson, but overall the predictable script lacks wit and sophistication.
Also out this week:
ARTICLE 15: This epic Bollywood movie from Anubbay Sinha is based on Article 15 of the Indian Constitution which prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. The story inspired by true vents follows a police officer as he begins to investigate the rape of two young girls found dead, while he tries to trace the whereabouts of another girl gone missing. It is an ambitious project superbly photographed and complimented by a continuous thunderous score. A satisfying experience!
DON’T LOOK NOW: Nicolas Roeg’ classic film was first released in 1973 as part of a double bill with THE WICKER MAN. This terrific new pristine 4Krestoration is back in cinemas and is definitely an experience not to be missed. The brilliant screenplay based on Daphne du Maurier’s short story follows John (Donald Sutherland) and Laura Baxter (Julie Christie) to Venice after the tragic death of their daughter. But Laura’s immense grief begins to lighten after a chance encounter with two elderly sisters, one of them a blind psychic…Every frame is a work of art – superbly directed and sharply edited by Graeme Clifford. An unmissable masterpiece!