FILM OF THE WEEK
DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS
The EVIL DEAD director Sam Raimi brings his distinct dark vision to this Marvel comic sequel which follows the story of Dr Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) after he casts a forbidden spell that opens the secret doorway to the multiverse. It is a dark, mad world into the unknown where anything is possible – but first Dr Strange must confront a mysterious new enemy as well as alter egos of himself. This multiverse is miles away from the comfort zone of the ex-surgeon who has now become a master of the mystic arts but thankfully his old friend and mentor Wong (Benedict Wong) is there by his side ready for action. It is big and loud and looks splendid in IMAX.
Cumberbatch is as reliable as ever in a role he first portrayed six years ago and repeated in the last two AVENGERS films plus SPIDER MAN. Also from the AVENGERS is Wanda Maxinoff (Elizabeth Olsen) AKA Scarlet Witch, a key role in this dark adventure where good and evil come face to face multiple of times. The actors are strong and manage to win the battle against the special effects but overall, it is Raimi’s remarkable vision that will stay long in the memory.
See it on the biggest screen if possible!
THE VELVET QUEEN
This beautiful nature documentary by Vincent Munier and Marie Amiguet is a love letter to the magnificent Tibetan landscape. Celebrated wildlife photographer Vincent Munier along with adventurer extraordinaire Sylvain Tesson head towards the Tibetan highlands where they spend weeks observing and hoping to capture on their cameras the snow leopard, one of the rarest animals on earth…
The patience of these two genuine adventurers is hugely admirable while their childlike enthusiasm when they encounter a bear and her two cubs playing on the rocky mountain is simply adorable. Superbly filmed and beautifully edited into one of the most engaging nature documentaries I have seen in a long time!
This nail-biting documentary from Daniel Roher follows the story of Alexei Navalny, the fearless and unbending politician who stands up against Vladimir Putin despite threats and attempts on his life. While on a plane travelling from Siberia to Moscow Navalny is poisoned with the deadly Novichok, the nerve agent exclusively used by the Russian government but miraculously he recovers and soon after he returns to Russia accompanied by international journalists.
This brilliant documentary which builds up like a Hollywood thriller is undoubtedly one of the best of the year!
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2
The original made a couple of years ago was an enjoyable and unexpected success. Now, its sequel picks up where the other one ends. The wonderfully evil and utterly OTT Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey) manages to escape from Planet Mushroom and returns to Earth determined to capture Sonic at all costs. Meanwhile, the adorable hedgehog has a new friend called Tails and still living a comfortable life with Tom (James Marsden) and Maggie (Tika Sumpter) until Dr Robotnik enters the scene…
The first half is engaging and fun like the original but sadly this is far too long, and its repetitive action runs out of steam long before the end credits.
A strong film from Germany by Ina Weisse who coaches another winning performance from the remarkable Nina Hoss. She plays Anna Brosky, a music teacher, who takes under her wing young teenager Alexander Paraskevas (Ilya Monti) after he auditions at a prestigious Berlin music school. She goes against the other teachers’ advice and insists that she can train him…
A beautifully study of obsession between a teacher and a student superbly acted by Hoss, who won Best Actress at the San Sebastian Film Festival. The audition and teaching sequences bring to mind the recent Oscar winner CODA but here the story if told without tears or any sentimentality.
FEAST: A drama reconstruction from provocative Dutch director Tim Leyendekker, who brings to life the controversial sex party scandal where many gay men were purposely infected with HIV blood after they were drugged. It is a shocking true story and not an easy watch, but it worth seeing. A fine balance between police interviews and a demonstration from a scientist who explains the benefits when a virus enters the body. Weird! (MUBI)
TRAIN AGAIN: Austrian avant-garde filmmaker Peter Tscherkassly celebrates his love for trains and early cinema with this short experimental film. A superbly edited black and white extravaganza of moving trains and images accompanied by piercing, climactic sounds when the thrilling journey finally reaches its destination. A treat for experimental film lovers! (MUBI)
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