FILM OF THE WEEK

JOYLAND

This marks the remarkable feature film debut of writer/director Saim Sadiq, a worthy winner of Un Certain Regard Jury Prize as well as the Queer Palme Award at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. It was also one of the strongest films at last October’s London Film Festival where it nominated and received an Honourable Mention for The Sutherland Award in the first feature competition.
Sadiq sets the action of his film in Lahore, in modern day Pakistan, and follows the story of a patriarchal family eagerly waiting the arrival of a new baby from their elder son’s wife. They all live together including the unmarried younger son who has been unemployed for a long time. But when Haider (Ali Junejo) finally finds a job at an erotic dance theatre, he tells no one especially after he falls for Mumtaz (Rasti Farooq), the show’s attractive and deeply ambitious trans leading lady…
This is a daring and provocative film unlike any other coming from Pakistan and it is still banned in the province of Punjab. Sadiq directs with assurance and style a film about deeply conservative family traditions and also a story about love between two people in the most unexpected circumstances. The production benefits tremendously from Junejo’s quiet and sensitive presence – a lonely man whose silence speaks volumes just through his sad, soulful eyes about his inner turmoil. It is a powerful film from a fresh new talent worth celebrating!

WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

Indian director Shekkar Kapur reached international acclaim with ELIZABETH – the film that cemented Cate Blanchett’s career into one of the most compelling actors of her generations. He now directs a likable film scripted by Jemima Khan, who tells the story of Zoe (Lily James) a London based documentary filmmaker. Her next-door neighbour and best friend Kaz (Shazad Latif), is a British Pakistani, who finally gives in to his parents’ demands and agrees to an arranged marriage. Zoe packs her bags and camera equipment and heads for Pakistan along with her mother Cath (Emma Thompson), ready to capture the event for her latest documentary…
It is a fun premise but also very predictable as can be expected from this kind of rom com. James and Latif work well together despite a long boring section right in the middle. Thompson gets the opportunity, like she did in LAST CHRISTMAS, to make a total fool of herself as the eccentric mother. Still, it is worth having a look if you like colourful romantic comedies!

CREATURE

This gem of a movie comes from Asif Kapadia, the celebrated director of DENNA, AMY, and DIEGO MARADONA. As soon as Kapadia attended a rehearsal of the English National Ballet’s stage production choreographed by Akram Khan, he immediately decided that this would make a great film. It was all happening during the pandemic and Kapadia wanted to give this spellbind production a further life. Creature (Jeffrey Cirio) is taken to a former Arctic research station for an experimental programme which is overlooked by a Doctor and an Army Captain…
The story is inspired by Georg Buchner’s play “Woyzeck” and Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and the haunting music is by Vincent Lamagna. A mesmerising cinematic experience that will stay long in the memory!

SHARPER

A stylish, sharp mystery thriller with more twists and turns than a corkscrew. The intriguing screenplay is written by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka featuring a group of well-defined characters in New York, whose lives in a LA RONDE kind of fashion are interconnected. It is the sort of film that the less one knows about the plot the better. Julianne Moore leads an impressive cast as Madeleine, an elite socialite living in luxury at her Fifth Avenue penthouse with her latest husband Richard Hobbes (John Lithgow)…
This elegant film is assuredly directed by British tv director Benjamin Caron and it should be on your watchlist. (Apple TV)

ATOMIC HOPE

A well-balanced documentary by Frankie Fenton, who follows a group of “pro nuclear” activists determined to prove that nuclear power is beneficial for the environment. The film wisely opens with the catastrophic nuclear disasters of Chernobyl and Fukushima before this group of scientists begin to offer their pro-nuclear case. It is inevitably a controversial subject and Fenton examines thoroughly both points of view without taking any sides.
See it and make up your own mind before you join the discussion!

SHOTGUN WEDDING

Jennifer Lopez loves a good wedding – she was THE WEDDING PLANNER back in 2001 and was singing MARRY ME a couple of years ago. Now she heads to an exotic island in the Philippines for the wedding of the year. Just before the ceremony she and her husband to be get cold feet and things get even worse when a group of modern day pirates arrive on the island and take the entire party of family and friends hostage…
It is a mad, loud, crazy adventure, but not as tight and funny as last year’s THE LOST CITY. Lopez shares an endearing chemistry with Josh Duhamel, but it is notorious scene stealer Jennifer Coolidge as the eccentric mother-in law that walks the movie! (Amazon Prime)

SIDNEY

A brilliant documentary on the life and career of the great late Sidney Poitier, who was born in Bahamas two months prematurely. Sidney survived the difficult birth and as a young man travelled to Miami to live with his brother before he found fame on stage and screen. Sidney was the first black man to win a Best Actor Oscar for LILIES IN THE FIELD back in 1963 and continued his phenomenal success with films like IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT and GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER.
A fine tribute produced by Oprah Winfrey who along with many others including Barbra Streisand, Halle Berry, Denzel Washington, sings her praises to this honourable man. (Apple TV)

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