FILM OF THE WEEK
Nicolas Cage delivers his best and most controlled performance in Kristoffer Borgli’s highly original and unpredictable comedy since ADAPTATION. He plays Paul Matthews, a mediocre, joyless family man, whose dull existence is without any excitement or purpose, until one day he finds out that strangers suddenly start seeing him in their dreams. He becomes an overnight sensation but his paper thin celebrity status soon begins to crumble…
It is a fun premise similar in spirit to films like GROUNDHOG DAY and Charlie Kauffman’s ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND and despite the fact that it is often repetitive, it manages to keep its momentum until the final credits.
Fans of the notoriously manic, loud and histrionic Cage will be very disappointed – he is reserved here, is not wearing any of his usual wigs and manages to convey confusion, elation as well as controlled frustration in a very persuasive manner. But above all, he manages to gain the audience’s sympathy from the very first scenes.
Norwegian writer/director Borgli received international acclaim last year with his award winning dark comedy SICK OF MYSELF and now he effectively brings dark Nordic sense of humour to this very American setting. It is a biting satire on instant success and the hostility that comes with it – which is spreading like a house on fire – and is more relevant today than ever before!
Annette Bening delivers another spellbinding performance in Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s brilliant biographical sports drama on the life of swimmer Diana Nyad, which was recently premiered at the London Film Festival. It is based on Nyad’s autobiography “Find a Way” and focuses on her Herculean efforts to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. But it is not only the danger of sharks that are swimming beneath her feet, there are also giant jelly fish as well as rough currents which she has to endlessly endure in order to achieve her goal. Thankfully Nyad’s ex-lover and loyal coach Bonnie Stoll (Jodie Foster) is by her side every step of the way and is ready to jump into the water and bring the daring athlete back to reality, if necessary. Both protagonists are at the peak of their powers and give phenomenal performances.
This is the ideal project for award winning documentary filmmakers Vasarhelyi and Chin, who make their narrative feature directorial debut here. They are well known for FREE SOLO and THE RESCUE and use their documentary experience to great effect and compliment perfectly some of the thrilling action sequences with some terrific archive material. (Netflix)
FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S
This supernatural horror is based on the video game series which follows the story of Mike (Josh Hutcherson), a troubled security guard. After he gets fired from yet another job, Mike refuses to take a night job because he must look after his younger sister Abby (Piper Rubio) but desperate needs call for desperate measures and reluctantly accepts night duty at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, an abandoned family entertainment centre. On his first night shift he soon finds out that he is not alone- four animatronic mascots come alive in the middle of the night…
Director Emma Tammi wisely takes her time in introducing her characters and methodically sets up the situation with the aid of some intriguing flashback sequences when Mike was a boy. The climactic sequences are not as suspenseful or scary but overall, this is a decent adaptation of a video series that will satisfy the fans of the game.
Writer/director Colin Krawchuk first introduced his eponymous hero in a trilogy of shorts before this creepy horror, which also takes place during Halloween. Soon after the death of their father, two estranged sisters find themselves followed by an evil entity known as The Jester. At first they think his presence is a Halloween prank, but once the killings begin it is evident that the two sisters must now join forces and find a way to exorcise the past demons…
Krawchuk and his co-writer and leading man Michael Sheffiled clearly know their stuff. It is atmospherically photographed with decent performances but the over busy, manipulative soundtrack eventually gets in the way and threatens to spoil the suspense.
Maggie Betts’ intelligent court-room drama – inspired by true events – follows the story of Willie Gary (Jamie Foxx), a flamboyant lawyer who comes to the rescue of Jeremiah O-Keefe (Tommy Lee Jones), when his funeral home family business is threatened by a big corporation…
The sharp screenplay is written by Betts along with Doug Wright and Jonathan Harr and the actors relish their witty dialogue bouncing off each other magnificently.
This is one of Foxx’s best performance since DJANGO UNCHAINED and RAY. It is much more than an ordinary court-room drama – as the story develops it also uncovers deep rooted racism and immense injustice by those in power. Catch it if you can! (Amazon Prime)
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