THE SHINY SHRIMPS

This delightful French movie is based on THE SHINY SHRIMPS, an amateur Parisian gay water polo team in which co-director Cedric Le Gallo was a valuable member for 8 years. He, along with fellow director Maxine Govare, tell the team’s inspiring story as they prepare to enter the Gay Games in Croatia. In the early part of the film they wisely concentrate on building up their characters especially after World Champion swimmer Matthias Le Goff (Nicolas Gob) makes a homophobic comment on TV. His punishment is to train the outrageous team and like a fish out of water amongst these bigger than life personalities he reluctantly begins this almost impossible task…

It is a joyous film very much in the spirit of films like PRISCILLA, THE QUEEN OF THE DESERT, the Australian extravaganza also turned into a West End musical. The story also brings to mind last year’s British comedy SWIMMING WITH MEN but the comparison ends there.

This may sound too camp and predictable but the witty script keeps the surprises rolling especially towards the end. Even though some of the characters are verging on the stereotypical the directors manage to make them believable and truly sympathetic but most importantly one roots for them to succeed. It deserves to be a mega hit like LA CAGE AUX FOLLES and a Hollywood remake!

 

IT CHAPTER TWO

The sequel to Stephen King’s horror picks up the original eighties story 27 years later. Evil returns to Derry and it is now up to Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) to bring back his old friends – the Losers Club. Andy Muschietti also returns as director and opens his spectacular film with a brutal homophobic attack before the group of friends are recruited in order to confront their fears as well as face one more time Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard), the devilish clown…

The action is cleverly edited with key flashback sequences with the young gang while the casting of the older actors is spot on. Jessica Chastain is the grown up Beverly still scarred from memories about her father’s endless abuse while James McAvoy’s stuttering Bill is still haunted by his brother’s Georgie’s disappearance.

There is plenty to enjoy in this superior chiller despite its overlong running time and feeling of déjà vu. It boasts superb production values and an ace cast that delivers!

 

THE MUSTANG

Robert Redford, the director and star of THE HORSE WISPERER always had an affinity for horses. He now acts as executive producer on this terrific film based on a rehabilitation therapy programme where training wild mustangs is used in prisons for hardened inmates.

Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts), a convict in a remote Nevada prison is asked to participate in this programme run by Myles (Bruce Dern), an experienced trainer…

It is a truly inspirational and unpredictable film directed with sensitivity and grace by Laura de Clermont Tonnerre, who elicits exceptional performances from her actors especially from Schoenaerts. Ruben Impens’ cinematography captures the free spirit of the wild animals magnificently – in great contrast of the inmates’ isolation.

Touching and compelling and worth seeking out!

 

ROJO

Benjamin Naishtat sets the action of his intriguing film in Argentina in the late seventies just before the military coup. The action is seen through the eyes of Claudio (Dario Grandinetti), a successful middle class lawyer, who one night in a restaurant is verbally attacked by a mysterious stranger. A few months later this seemingly casual incident will have a major effect on his life…

It is a terrific, intense film that relies heavily on atmosphere and the stillness of the performances. Grandinetti is amazing as the confident and well controlled lawyer who begins to lose his cool when a celebrated Chilean private detective arrives on the scene to investigate a case from the past. Everything appears to be normal but underneath the increasing tension is burning up like dynamite.

 

THE RUN

This fascinating documentary by Anupam Sharma follows Australian adventurer and politician Pat Farmer on his celebrated Spirit of India run. He begins his journey from southern India and two months later he reaches his destination on the northern border. It is a Herculean task for Farmer and his crew determined to finish this incredible goal despite a plethora of problems along the way.

Farmer is an eloquent, ordinary man of the people who feels bitter that his own country ignores his achievement but it is the genuine warmth of the locals that will stay long in the memory – who at every stop welcome the Australian team with parades, festivals and parties often interrupting the flow of the run.

 

RAPID RESPONSE

This daring and urgent documentary follows a team of doctors whose expertise has helped save many lives on the motor racing track. In the fifties and sixties there was no such thing as track safety until people like Stephen Olvey, a medical student and racing fan volunteered to join the medical team at the Indianapolis 500. Health and safety has certainly improved throughout the years but still racing is one of the most dangerous sports in the world. Sadly last weekend 22-year-old French Formula 2 racer Antoine Hubert died at the Belgian Grand Prix which makes this bleak documentary even more topical and relevant today.

Explosion after explosion and yet another driver is rushed into hospital but like the most addictive drug there is not a single driver, despite a broken body – who doesn’t long to get back to the race track as soon as possible.

 

Leave a Reply