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In Cinemas Now
Pain & Glory. (15.)
Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Starring Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, Asier Etxeandia, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Nora Navas, Cecilia Roth, Raúl Arévalo. Spanish with subtitles. 113 mins
It's not much of a title, is it? It sounds like something you would call a sporting compilation – Pain and Glory: An Accrington Stanley Season Review 1997-98 – rather than a, presumably semi-autobiographical, study of a filmmaker in a creative crisis.
Directed by Alexandre Aja.
Starring Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark, Ross Anderson and Jose Palma. 87 mins.
A Hurricane. A father and daughter stuck in a house. With alligators. And there you have it.
Having made Piranha 3D, French director Aja is reckoned to be an expert at underwater menace. His film could probably have done a better job of delineating the confined space it is going to work in but overall it is pretty effective with some decent special effects and enough Major Jumps. It also has two strong lead performances from a pair of talented actors who probably thought they deserved better than having to spend as much time in freezing water as Kate and Leo did on Titanic but for considerably less of a career boost. There's no spark or imagination to it, but as a job of work, it is proficient.
Once Upon A Time In ... Hollywood. (18.)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino and Kurt Russell. 161 mins.
Even though some truly magnificent films use the Once Upon A Time ruse in their title I've never liked it. It always felt like an admission of failure, a way of getting around not coming up with a decent title of their own or a lazy way to try and associate an unremarkable but probably too long action film with the work of Sergio Leone. ….Hollywood - The 9th Film From Quentin Tarantino, isn't up there with America, Anatolia or West, but this comedy-drama about Hollywood prior to the Tate Lo Bianca murders is perhaps the first to really fit the title.
J.T. LeRoy. (15.)
Directed by Justin Kelly.
Starring Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Jim Sturgess, Diane Kruger, Kelvin Harrison Jr. and James Jagger. 106 mins.
The moment you meet Laura Albert (Dern) you can tell she is an arty phoney: over-enthusiastic, everything is genius and blows her mind. The twist is that she is actually a genuine fraud, and a highly gifted one: writing a best selling misery memoir about growing up as the abused son of a truck stop hooker in Tennessee under the name JT Leroy. The ruse has been so successful she persuades her sister in law Savanah (Stewart) to pose as the androgynous LeRoy in sunglasses and a blonde wig at public appearances.
Blinded By The Light. (12A.)
Directed by Gurinder Chadha.
Starring Viveik Kalra, Kulvinder Ghir, Aaron Phagura, Dean-Charles Chapman, Nell Williams and Hayley Atwell. 117 mins.
1987. Fatchas Britain. National Front filled Luton. A teenage Pakistani would-be writer finds inspiration in Bruce Springsteen's songs about cars and girls. How do these two seemingly incompatible elements come together? In the only way appropriate – a massive car crash, a wreck on the highway, a hideous and horrendous coming together of Absolute Beginners and East Is East.
Directed by Sophie Hyde.
Starring Holliday Grainger, Alia Shawkat, Fra Fee, Dermot Murphy, Amy Molloy and Pat Shortt. 109 mins.
We have all, I'm sure, experienced the much looked forward to big night out that fails to live up to expectations. You're all geared up for a roaring good time but the whole thing quickly becomes a bit of a drag. This is a film called Animals and it's about two girls around thirty in Dublin - Laura (Grainger) and Tyler (Shawkat) - who like drink, drugs and debauchery: I think my hope that it would be funny and wildly entertaining doesn't seem unreasonable.
The Dead Don't Die. (15.)
Directed by Jim Jarmusch.
Starring Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Chloë Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Selena Gomez and Tom Waits. 105 mins.
A Jim Jarmusch zombie movie starring Bill Murray - two masters of deadpan irony versus the dead - it's the perfect match. Jarmusch's whole career has been about trying to remove all the extraneous clutter out of American moviemaking. Having attached a lead weight to the Vampire fad in the Only Lovers Left Alive he, here he could strip down the culture's dominant horror fetish. Perhaps inevitably, the match is just too perfect.
Spider-man: Far From Home. (12A.)
Directed by Jon Watts.
Starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Marisa Tomei, Angourie Rice and Jon Favreau. 128 mins.
Too soon? In his second solo Spider-man outing, set in the aftermath of the Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker (Holland) and his classmates go off on a European Vacation that is constantly interrupted by attacks from beings from another dimension. Early on Parker complains that he had been hoping to spend the summer relaxing and trying to romance Mary Jane (Zendaya) rather than trying to save the world again, and you sympathise with his frustrations. After the events of Avengers: Endgame wrapped up a decade's worth of costumed cavorting, a bit of a break seemed in order. But no, two months later were not just back into costume heroics, but back into the whole bloody Marvel soap opera.
Hail Satan? (15.)
Directed by Penny Lane.
Featuring Lucien Greaves, Jex Blackmore, Chalice Blythe, Nicholas Crowe, Sal De Ciccio, Stu De Haan. 94 mins.
If this decade has taught us anything it's that if you're going to be ironic, be big. Sick of big business controlling your life? Vote for big businessmen to reform inequality! Want to protest against the hardcore Christian Right, the erosion of the separation of church and state and the creeping introduction of "Christian Sharia Law?" Form a non-violent, liberal, do-gooder Satanic Temple to demand equal rights of religious expression!
Good Boys. (15.)
Directed by Gene Stupnitsky.
Starring Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon, Keith L. Williams, Molly Gordon, Midori Francis and Will Forte. 90 mins.
Back in the day, when Spielberg was mapping out the landscape of American suburbia, the sixth graders in Good Boys would have had to deal with alien invaders or time travel or bullies or poltergeists or being Goonies. Now, they are pre-teens in a teen comedy; they have to deal with alcohol, drugs, kissing, pornography, sex toys, frat house initiations and the horrors of peer pressure. Instead of E.T. they are in Porky's.
Apocalypse Now: Final Cut (15.)
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. 1979
Starring Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne and Dennis Hopper. 184 mins. In cinemas, one day only, Tuesday 13th. Includes a 48 minute recorded Q&A between Coppola and Steven Soderbergh
Dump the kids, chuck the phone, ditch the date; if you have any interest in the movies this Tuesday, for one day only, the Final (till the next one) Cut of Apocalypse Now is showing on a selection of the capital's biggest screens, including the BFI Imax. So what if you've seen it before – see it again. Nothing released this year is going to have even half the impact this 40-year piece has.
Directed by Ritesh Batra.
Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sanya Malhotra, Farrukh Jaffar, Sachin Khedekar, Denzil Smith and Brinda Trivedi. Subtitled. 109 mins.
Photograph is a romcom about a Mumbai couple who seem unsure if they want to be in a romcom. The set up is all kinds of Richard Curtis. He's poor/ she's middle class and studying to be an accountant. They meet when he takes her photograph at a monument and she becomes enamoured of the version of her she sees in it. To convince his domineering granny (Jaffar) who wants to marry him off they pose as a pretend couple. Everybody in the audience knows where we are going with this, but the couple on the screen refuse to move, stuck in a protracted wallflower standoff. Seriously, they make Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson look like Last Tango In Paris.
Directed by William McGregor.
Starring Eleanor Worthington-Cox, Maxine Peake, Richard Harrington, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Mark Lewis Jones and Jodie Innes. 82 mins.
This site rarely has a good word for period tales of British misery but this slice of struggle and gloom in 19th century Welsh hills is absolutely terrific, perhaps because it's often presented to us in the form of a horror movie. Seen through the eyes of the eldest daughter Gwen (Worthington-Cox) it follows the desperate attempts of her mother (Peake) to hold the family and their small farm together while her husband is away at war. The task is complicated by her mystery illness and an outside party (obvious to us but not to the title character) who is trying to oust them from their property.
Varda by Agnes (12A)
Directed By Agnes Varda. 115 mins
In this age of Marvels, I've grown accustomed to sitting impatiently waiting for "something after the end credits." For the final film by Agnes Varda, you sit impatiently through the opening credits waiting for a film. They are an interminable set of thanks and acknowledgements, and when the film does finally start it's just an illustrated lecture. Filmed before a variety of different audiences, the ninety-year-old Varda gives a rambling and discursive overview of a career making films feature and short, documentaries, taking photographs and creating art installations.
Our Time. (15.)
Directed by Carlos Reygadas.
Starring Carlos Reygadas, Natalia López, Phil Burgers, Maria Hagerman, Yago Martínez, Eleazar Reygadas. Spanish with subtitles. 177 mins
Right from the start of his career, recognition of Mexican Reygadas as one of the world's best filmmakers has been hampered by a suspicion that possibly he's a bit of a creepy little perv. Reygardas was inspired to give up studying law and make movies by the work of Tarkovsky and he dotes on Tarr, Bergman, Bresson, etc and he has mastered the arthouse playbook of employing long takes, a slow pace and non-actors. But his taste for transgressive sex scenes and animal cruelty make viewers uneasy about what is really being communicated in his oblique narratives.
Directed by Danny Boyle.
Starring Himesh Patel, Lily James, Joel Fry, Kate McKinnon, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal and Ed Sheeran. 116 mins.
The latest romantic comedy from a script by Richard FourWeddingsNottingHillLoveActually Curtis is predominantly deficient in the areas of the rom and the com but does have a cracking Twilight Zone premise: a failing musician who wakes up in a world where everybody has forgotten The Beatles and he's the only one who remembers their songs and the majority of their lyrics. (The premise may be that of Jack Barth, who has a story credit.) This is the equivalent of owning Sid James's Budgie in Carry On At Your Convenience that predicts the racing results. Jack Malik (Patel) though, being the lead in a Curtis romcom, just ums and ahs, ohs and ers about it rather than using it to get rich and laid, as he would if he wasn't in a Richard Curtis film.