FILM OF THE WEEK

TWO TICKETS TO GREECE (LES CYCLADES)

This deliciously funny and utterly charming film is written and directed by Marc Fitoussi- better known for writing, and directing six episodes of the mega hit French television series CALL MY AGENT. He is now reunited with one of its stars, the notorious scene stealer Laure Calamy, who played the long-suffering Noemie Lecrec in the series. She has since starred in such enjoyable films as HIGH LIFE and MY DONKEY, MY LOVER & I and she now leads an eclectic cast playing the free spirited Magalie, who, as fate would have it, is reconnected with her childhood best friend Blandine (Olivia Cote) in the most unexpected circumstances.
Blandine is now on her own following her recent bitter divorce and she hesitantly agrees to travel to Greece with Magalie. They want to visit Amorgos, the beautiful island in the Cyclades, where Luc Besson filmed the stunningly beautiful THE BIG BLUE, which was their favourite film when they were teenagers. They arrive in Greece but unsurprisingly, things fail to go according to plan. Calamy and Cote work brilliantly together as the totally opposite kind of women and who now after all these years of teenage friendship have nothing in common anymore, which makes their trip even more frustrating especially for Blandine. Their Odyssean journey is suddenly interrupted by the deux ex machina kind of appearance of Kristin Scott Thomas, who plays Bijou, their eccentric, old English friend, who now lives in Mykonos with her Greek boyfriend and is eager to help the two travellers get back on the right track of the journey.
The acting is of highest order and is superbly photographed in stunning Greek locations. The feel-good movie of the year is finally here – it will put a big smile on your face!

IF

This enjoyable American live action/animated fantasy, written and directed by John Krasinski, is not to be confused with Lindsay Anderson’s 1968 classic anarchic comedy starring Malcolm McDowell. The title here refers to Imaginary Friends, which a girl called Bea (Cailey Fleming) begins to see after experiencing loss and sadness and in her young life. Bea befriends these adorable creatures which no one else is able to see apart from her neighbour Cal (Ryan Reynolds)…
Krasinski, the writer/director and leading actor of the remarkable A QUITE PLACE films, changes gear for this cute children’s film and coaches a remarkable performance from the excellent Fleming. She works brilliantly with Reynolds as well as with Krasinski as her father and Fiona Shaw as her grandmother, but it is the fantastic voice work of Steve Carell as Blue, the giant purple furry creature and Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Blossom, the hyperactive humanoid butterfly, that steal the show. Little known actors such as George Clooney, Bratt Pitt, Bradley Cooper and Awkwafina also lend their voices for cameo roles.
The early scene where Fiona Shaw is watching James Stewart and his imaginary rabbit friend HARVEY on television, sets up the tone most effectively of what’s to come. The film is dedicated to the late Louis Gossett Jr, the Oscar winning actor from AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, who provides here the voice of Lewis, the elderly cuddly bear. Good family entertainment!

KINDGOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Just when you thought they have done the franchise to death, director Wes Ball brings it back to life with a new storyline and fresh characters. The reign of Caesar is now over and generations later a new tyrannical ape leader creates a powerful new kingdom, where humans are living in the shadows. Young ape Noa (Owen Teague) is on a journey of discovery and along the way he befriends Mae (Freya Allen) a young woman who has her own agenda…
The story that started life back in 1968 almost comes full circle here – Mae’s presence brings to mind Linda Harrison’s Nova from the first two in the series and there is a sense of anticipation that Charlton Heston may suddenly appear in the action sequences.
It is an overly ambitious epic, overlong and occasionally too slow for its own good but with some remarkable set pieces. See it on the largest screen possible if you must!

HOARD

This marks the remarkable feature film debut of writer/director Luna Carmoon, who begins her uncompromising film in London of 1984. Seven-year-old Maria (Lily- Beau Leach) lives with her mother Cynthia (Hayley Squires), a woman obsessed with rubbish bins, who fills their small flat with junk. Ten years later, Maria (now played by Saura Lightfoot Leon) lives with her kind foster mother Michelle (Samantha Spiro) and has almost forgotten what it was like being with her eccentric mother, until Michael (Joseph Quinn) enters the scene…
It is a highly original piece of filmmaking by a promising young talent whose distinct vision and assured direction elicits terrific performances from an eclectic cast.
Rising star Leach is exceptionally good as the troubled leading lady haunted by memories from her past, especially after she meets the equally unpredictable Michael, sharply played by Quinn. Worth discovering!

FRIDA

This striking documentary celebrates the life and career of the remarkable Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. First time director Carla Gutierrez tells Frida’s story through her own words from diaries, letters, essays and interviews and highlights her colourful artwork with great use of animation. The free-spirited Frida was a force of nature unlike any other and whose career thrived despite her serious accident that almost killed her.
Gutierrez essential film also focuses on her volatile relationship with fellow artist Diego Rivera. A fine tribute to an iconic legend! (Prime Video)

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