James Gray, the filmmaker of such urban crime thrillers as LITTLE ODESSA and THE YARDS, switches genre for this intelligent futuristic sci-fi adventure that can also be described as APOCALYPSE NOW in space! Major Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is a highly regarded astronaut in charge of a team building the world’s largest antenna designed to locate alien life. But following a series of power surges on earth McBride is assigned on a classified mission to travel to Neptune via the Moon and Mars in order to discover the truth behind these strange phenomena…

Like Martin Sheen, the protagonist in Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam nightmare, Pitt’s McBride is also a moody, fragile man on the verge of a breakdown but also blinkered in his determination to achieve his goal despite his personal connections to this impossible mission.

There is a lot of narration here as well by McBride as he struggles to piece together the puzzle. It has been a good year for Pitt, who follows his excellent performance in Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD with another mesmerising appearance. His striking presence is used well here and carries this atmospheric and beautifully designed film almost single handily.

Tommy Lee Jones is also effective in a series of flashback sequences as Roy’s father now missing in space for over 20 years, while Ruth Negga, the Ethiopian actress raised in Ireland, is now making it big in Hollywood following her Oscar nomination in LOVING and plays a key character that helps McBride in his quest. Liv Tyler is wasted as Eve McBride – her part is minimal and it probably ended on the cutting floor.

Worth experiencing on the biggest screen possible!



It is good to see a strong female cast in a crime thriller directed with energy and style by acclaimed writer turned director Andrea Berloff. The time is 1978 and the place New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. Three housewives struggle to make ends meet when their mobster husbands are sent to prison. They have no alternative but to take matters as well as the Irish mafia into their own hands.

The beginning is strong, like a 70’s version of WIDOWS, taking its time to introduce its characters – Kathy Brennan (Melissa McCarthy) is a sweet loving wife with kids but lost without her husband until she discovers her inner strength, while Ruby (Tiffany Haddish) is delighted that her bully husband is locked away and so is Claire (Elizabeth Moss) glad to see the back of her abusive spouse.

The script is based on a comic book series which probably explains the frequent splashes of extreme violence. It is a strong premise but curiously it is difficult to care much about the plight of these women in this rather unpleasant film which finally leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.



Lulu Wang’s charming, semi-autobiographical film recently won the Audience Award at the London Sundance Film Festival. Awkwafina (CRAZY RICH ASIANS, OCEAN’S EIGHT) plays Wang’s alter ego – Billi is a Chinese born American who adores her grandmother and spends most of her time making long distance calls to China. But when Billi’s beloved Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen) is diagnosed with terminal cancer, the whole family decides to go back to Changchun and spend some precious time with her as well as give her good quality of life during her remaining few weeks. They agree not to say anything to her about her condition and their excuse for the trip is to attend a cousin’s wedding…

It is a genuine crowd pleaser – a touching and often very funny story told from the heart. The joy of Wang’s writing is that she brings fully fleshed characters to the screen that almost everyone from any ethnic backgrounds can identify with, a bit like Nia Vardalos did in MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING. A warm film full of dignity and humanity that will touch your heart!



Fans of the popular television series will enjoy this big budget adaptation which looks good on the big screen and boasts impressive production values. The time is 1927 and the Crawley family along with their servants are busy preparing for a royal visit. The Edwardian English country house is literally turned upside down…

The highly watchable cast deliver engaging performances but the real joy is Maggie Smith’s Violet Crawley who relishes Julian Fellowes’ smart dialogue and exchanges with much gusto and mischievousness a plethora of acid verbal witticisms along with Penelope Wilton’s equally brusque Baroness Isobel Grey.

Michael Engler directs with energy and class despite the fact that the thin plot feels like an overextended episode and it is left to Mark Day’s sharp editing to keep the whole project together. When every couple of scenes reach a kind of false crescendo you can’t help but think of a commercial break.



Marc Collin’s hypnotic film takes place almost entirely in one location apart from a couple of scenes towards the end. The time is 1978 and the place Paris – Ana (Alma Jodorowsky) is busy in a friend’s home studio struggling to find ideas and to compose electronic music instead of jingles for commercials that drive her mad. She plays and listens to music; a few men pop in and give advice about synthesisers and new electronic equipment until a young female singer (Clara Luciani) enters the scene…

The directorial debut of Nouvelle Vague band member Marc Collin is clearly a labour of love and befits tremendously from Jodorowsky’s committed and luminous performance. A unique film and a fine tribute to female musicians!


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