FILM OF THE WEEK

THE BATMAN in IMAX


Matt Reeves’ striking vision creates a dark, dangerous Gotham City where daylight never dawns. Robert Pattinson effortlessly steps into the caped crusader’s leather shoes in this DC Comics reboot. He is a moody presence in a violent, corrupt city where it is difficult to know whom to trust apart from his loyal butler and legal guardian Alfred Pennyworth (played by the ubiquitous Andy Serkis). But when a brutal killer begins a series of sadistic executions Batman join forces with his old ally Lt. James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) and with the feisty Selina Kyle/aka Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz) in order to piece together all the riddles in their quest to solve the mystery behind the murders…
It is a nightmarish epic for our times, it is far too long, but still Reeves delivers the goods in grandiose style and keeping the fans of the genre begging for more. This Batman is a man of a few words and is left to the strong supporting cast to deliver the complex dialogue. Wright is as reliable as ever while Kravitz was born to play Catwoman – she previously lent her voice to this amazing character in THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE in 2017. There is also an amazing turn from an unrecognisable Colin Farrell as one of the iconic villains of the piece but it is Reeves’ remarkable vision that will stay long in the memory!

ALI & AVA

Clio Barnard sets the action of her latest film in Bradford, in West Yorkshire and as the title suggests she follows the story of Ali (Adeel Aktar) and Ava (Claire Rushbrook), two lonely souls and the total opposites who surprisingly find comfort and tenderness in each other’s company despite immense opposition from their families. Ava is a teacher and a grandmother while Ali is still trying to heal his wounds following a bitter divorce…
There is a winning chemistry between Aktar and Rushbrook – both deliver natural, engaging performances in this warm hearted love story under Barnard’s well observed direction.

THE DEVIL’S TRAP

A remarkable film from Frantisek Vlacil, the first in a trilogy of historical epics which also includes MARKETA LAZAROVA and THE VALLEY OF THE BEES. It is set in 16th century Bohemia and follows the story of a priest who travels to a remote destination in order to investigate a miller and his son accused by the Inquisition of working with the devil. Their sin was to question the local landowner’s decision to build on unstable land…
Vlacil is a master of light and shade and a true poet. His haunting film about superstition and fear is superbly photographed in sparkling black and white and is perfectly complemented by eerie, deeply atmospheric sounds accompanied by a choral score. (Blu-Ray disc from Second Run)

THE SANCTITY OF SPACE

Here is another brilliant mountain climbing documentary following the success of SOLO, THE ALPINIST and most recently TORN. Aerial mountain photographer Brad Washburn has been a true inspiration to many climbers since his ground-breaking images of the Alaskan mountain ranges from the twenties and beyond. Now three celebrated climbers embark on two expedition adventures heading towards Denali in Alaska and the Mooses Tooth, two dangerous peaks and destinations, which were first introduced by Washburn’s innovative photographs…
An ambitious, epic documentary which has taken years to complete. It is superbly photographed and is worth experiencing on the big screen.

THE CHAPERONE

Another period piece from Julian Fellows, the writer of DOWNTON ABBEY which takes place in the early 1920’s in Kansas. Norma (Elizabeth McGovern) is a married woman with two grown up sons, who jumps at the opportunity to accompany a young dancer called Louise Brooks (Haley Lu Richardson) to New York. Brooks seeks fame and she first she enrols at a dance Academy while Norma is desperate to find the whereabouts of her real parents…
A fascinating premise but personally I was eager to know more about Brooks’ breakthrough into German silent cinema. Still, a likeable film with engaging performances and strong production values.

WHEEL OF FORTUNE AND FANTASY

Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi follows his phenomenal success of his Oscar nominated DRIVE MY CAR with another admirable piece of filmmaking. This is an anthology film of three short stories about love and desire. In the first story Meiko is shocked when she realises that the man her best friend is dating is her ex-boyfriend. A failing student wants revenge and sets a honeytrap for his professor and in the last story Natsuko is excited after she bumps into one of her favourite classmates, who never turned up at their high school reunion the night before. All three stories are strong character studies told with clarity and with clever twists.

THE NIGHT DOCTOR: Elie Waieman sets his moody, dark feature in a seedy part of Paris and his story, which is inspired by true events, follows his eponymous hero (Vincent Macaigne) on night duty prescribing medicine to drug addicts and attending the needs of the elderly…A sharp, dangerous film with a remarkable lead performance- it reminded me of Pablo Trapero’s CARANCHO. (MUBI)

#LIKE: An engaging, angry thriller from writer/director Sarah Pirozek who follows the story of Rosie (Sarah Rich), a young woman still grieving for her younger sister’s death a year earlier. After she manages to track down the mysterious man (Marc Menchaca), who sexually cyber bullied her sister to commit suicide, Sarah decides matters into her own hands…It is a fascinating premise with watchable performances similar to EXTREMITIES.

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