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The Equalizer 2 (15.)
Directed by Antione Fuqua.
Starring Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo and Orson Bean. 121 mins.
In matters of translating 80s TV favourite The Equalizer to the screen let your first thought always be What Would Edward Woodward do? I feel sure he would approve of Denzel taking on his role. He might though have thought they were pushing their luck making a second. And I'm sure that he would've opposed the idea of starting it on a Turkish Railway 400 km from Istanbul; especially a fake CGI Turkish Railway 400 km from Istanbul.
The Eyes of Orson Welles (15.)
Directed by Mark Cousins.
Featuring Mark Cousins, Beatrice Welles. 112 mins.
Some thirty years after we bid him rest in peace, Orson Welles finds himself wrenched from the ground to and be addressed on first name terms by Whisperin' Mark Cousins. "Dear Orson Welles," it begins, but after that, it's all very matey. It starts off with a catch up of what has been going on without him – 9/11, the internet, mobile phones, Obama, Trump - over shots of the New York skyline, before getting onto its main business which is explaining his life to him.
The Darkest Minds (12A.)
Directed by Jennifer Yul Nelson.
Starring Amandla Stenberg, Harris Dickinson, Skylan Brooks, Miya Cech, Mandy Moore, Gwendoline Christie and Bradley Whitford. 104 mins
Fiction writing is an increasingly tough game to squeeze a penny from. For adults, it's all thrillers and crime dramas and even then you have to stand in line behind every politician who ever got a brief wisp of power. The other potentially lucrative alternative is doing it for the kids, the young adults, the YaYas. J.K Rowling didn't just get children reading, she got them reading any old rubbish. But you're going to need a cast iron pseudonym for this racket because you check your dignity in at reception when you enter this racket.
Ant-Man and The Wasp (12A.)
Directed by Peyton Reed.
Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Hannah John-Kamen, Walton Goggins, Michael Douglas. 118 mins.
While Disney's Star Wars movies have come unstuck after just four instalments, the Mighty Marvel Movieverse is now up to twenty films and bulldozering on with no signs of flagging. Ant-man 2 is their third movie in half a year and coming after their biggest ever movie, both in terms of on-screen scope and off screen grosses, risked seeming a little inconsequential and skippable but it zips along and is light and fun just like the first one. After the heavy metal of Infinity War, this little step back is just what is needed.
Generation Wealth (18.)
Directed by Laura Greenfield.
Featuring Lauren Greenfield, Florian Homm, Chris Hedges, Limo Bob, Jackie Siegel, Kevin Blatt, Tiffany Masters and Eden Wood. 106 mins.
This is a Me Me Me film about the Me Me Me culture of greed. In it, we learn that rampant capitalism has destroyed civilisation, replaced solid human values with empty materialism and made people commodities. But mostly we learn how photographer/ filmmaker Lauren Greenfield has taken some snaps and made some movies about it. This film rounds up her back catalogue and revisits her previous subjects. It assails you with observations of the bleeding obvious while believing itself to be some kind of great cumulative journey. At one point we look around a half-finished mansion, scuppered by the crash of 2008 and Greenfield opines "I was beginning to see this as a symbol of collective greed.
Mission Impossible Fallout (15.)
Directed By Christopher McQuarrie.
Starring Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, Wes Bentley. 147 mins.
Mission Imp 6 is very silly, but grudgingly so. It knows it's at a party and it's trying to join in but it can't really bring itself to let its hair down. Cruise is saving the world jumping, shooting, diving and driving around Paris, St Paul's Cathedral and over the Blackfriar's bridge from the evil schemes of an international anarchist collective; a quaintly 19th century choice of baddie, mixing in a touch of Joseph Conrad to what is basically a Roger Moore era Bond film.
First Reformed (15.)
Directed by Paul Schrader.
Starring Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Philip Ettinger, Cedric Kyles, Michael Gaston, Victoria Hill. 113 mins.
Paul Schrader is the earnest little boy who ran away from a strict Calvinist upbringing to become a Hollywood degenerate. On and off screen he has devoted himself to sex and drugs and violence, but he has never been able to shake the twisting vines of spiritual austerity. Here he addresses it with this winter's tale of Rev Toller (Hawke), a pastor in an old, sparsely attended church who finds his faith, or his ways of expressing his faith, shaken by an encounter with a radical environmentalist parishioner.
Directed by Kevin MacDonald.
Starring Whitney Houston, Cissy Houston, Bobby Brown, Mary Jones and Gary Houston. 117 mins
The arc of Whitney Houston's life and career is almost the perfect rock'n'roll story. It's got everything except the rock'n'roll: sex, drugs, (both copious), innocence corrupted, talent squandered, greed, excess, partying, hangers-on, early death and, for a touch of novelty, religious strife. It's almost too perfect, and you wonder what the film maker's can bring to it, especially as the same story was gone over last year in Nick Broomfield's Whitney: Can I Be Me.
Leave No Trace. (PG.)
Directed by Debra Granik.
Starring Ben Foster, Thomasin McKenzie, Jeff Kober, Dale Dickey and Dana Millican. 109 mins.
The varied and majestic wonders of the American landscape is always assumed to have underpinned the great 20th century American success story, both through the resources it provided and the confidence it engendered in the American character. If they could tame that hostile expanse, then there were no limits to what could be achieved. The British countryside is full of wonders but it isn't hostile; those green fields are just asking to be farmed. Maybe in the 21st century, the landscape will underpin their decline, through their inability to let go of and move on from the frontier spirit that tamed it, and the sense of guilt at what they did to achieve this and what they have done with the place since. Now, that vast unpopulated terrain provides ample hiding space for the angry and broken to get away in isolated communities.
Ocean's 8. (12A.)
Directed by Gary Ross.
Starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna and Helena Bonham Carter. 110 mins. Released on Monday 18th
Crime doesn't pay, so they say. But George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh's 2001 decision, much derided at the time, to get a gang together to remake the 50's Rat Pack heist movie really came up trumps. And we've been paying for it ever since.
Christopher Robin. (PG.)
Directed by Marc Forster.
Starring Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, Mark Gatiss and the voice of Jim Cummings. 107 mins
Last year it was Goodbye Christopher Robin, the story of how the real CR grew up to become ambivalent about the world his father created around him. This year we are saying Hello Again Christopher Robin, with this fantasy about a grown-up CR has entirely shaken off his childhood chums. The film opens with a lovely sequence, partly animated in the style of the books, of CR going from childhood to manhood, slowly putting away his childish things as he becomes a man, goes off to war and returns to find love and start a family. It has real substance and leaves you prepared for heartbreak. What follows though is another walkthrough of the most irksome of modern cliché narrative; the workaholic who needs to reconnect with his family. If that breaks your heart, then it wasn't much of a heart to begin with and you shouldn't mourn the damage.
The Heiresses (12A.)
Directed by Marcelo Martinessi.
Starring Ana Brun, Margarita Irun, Ana Ivanova, Nilda Gonzalez, María Martins, Alicia Guerra. In Spanish with subtitles. 98 mins
Paraguayan writer/ director Martinessi is someone who can find a shadow on the brightest of days. His vision is gloomy and enclosed. Telling the story of two high born ladies, Chela (Brun) and Chiquita (Irun), who have fallen on hard times and are having to sell all their possessions, he makes sure we never have a full view of what is going on. In the opening shot, Chela is peeking out through a cupboard door, eavesdropping on a woman who is looking over her cutlery. Using tight angles and tight focus there isn't a shot in the film where you aren't trying to see a little bit more.
Under The Tree (15.)
Directed by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
Starring Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Þorsteinn Bachmann, Selma Björnsdóttir, Lára Jóhanna Jónsdóttir. In Icelandic with subtitles. 89 mins.
At the junction where all the Hollywood film crews turn right in search of otherworldy glaciers, black sand and waterfalls, this heads straight on for the drab avenues of suburban Reykjavik for a tale of neighbours warring over a leafy tree that is casting shade over the next door patio.
Sicilian Ghost Story (15.)
Directed by Fabio Grassadonia,Antonio Piazza.
Starring Julia Jedlikowska, Gaetano Fernandez, Corinne Musallari, Andrea Falzone, Federico Finocchiaro. Italian with subtitles. 114 mins.
The title seems pretty straightforward so when the film begins with a little girl (Jedlikowska) following her school crush Guiseppe (Fernandez) into the woods on the way home you are waiting to see what kind of supernatural forces will menace them. In fact, their problems will be all too real: the threat is more Sicilian than ghostly and it will make Guiseppe disappear. The film is going to take you to places that you haven't been before but will take its own sweet time doing so.
The Beaches of Agnes (18.)
Directed by Agnes Varda. 2008.
Starring Agnes Varda, Andre Lubrano, Blaise Fournier, Andree Vilar. Re-released as part of Gleaning Truths travelling retrospective. 110 mins.
One day I'm gonna write, the story of my life, as Jim Reeves once sang. Or, if you are octogenarian French filmmaker Varda: shoot a loose, free-form mosaic docu-biopic self-portrait that takes in archive footage, interviews and surreal recreations shot on the sand on the beach.
Cleo From 5 to 7 (PG.)
Directed by Agnes Varda.
Starring Corinne Marchand, Antoine Boursellier, Michel Legrand, Dominique Davray, Dorothee Blanck. 1962. Black and White. French with subtitles. 90 mins.
It starts with the lead character, Cleo (Marchand), receiving a death sentence. A tarot card reading is full of death and intimations of illness. When she has gone the Reader says she could see the cancer. For the next 90 minutes – it’s really Cleo from 5 to 6.30 – she wanders around that vibrant, black and white Paris that exists only in films of the Nouvelle Vague, killing time as she waits for an appointment with the doctor to get the results of her tests. It’s like a non violent episode of 24.
Directed by James Ivory.
Starring James Wilby, Hugh Grant, Rupert Graves, Denholm Elliott, Simon Callow, Billie Whitelaw, Ben Kingsley, Barry Foster, and Phoebe Nicholls. 140 mins.
Watching his rather splendid turn as Jeremy Thorpe on the telly recently, my wife was shocked at the idea of Hugh Grant playing a gay man. I had to explain to her that being posh and pretty and, most of all British, his youthful days - like any other performer so afflicted - would inevitably involve playing Oxbridge educated homosexuals, probably in one of Merchant/ Ivory's sluggish tales of tortured fops. So convincing was the typecasting that it wasn't until the Divine Brown arrest that people grudging conceded that might actually be heterosexual.
A Prayer Before Dawn. (18.)
Directed by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire.
Starring Joe Cole, Pornchanok Mabklang, Vithaya Pansringarm, Panya Yimmumphai and Sura Sirmalai. 114 mins. Partially subtitled.
Greetings, grapple fans. Like The Wrestling every Saturday at four on ITV this tale of a heroin-addicted English boxer in a Bangkok prison is made up of strange rituals, hideous deprivation and unseemly physical contact. It's just like wrestling, except really violent.
The Incredibles 2 (PG.)
Directed by Brad Bird.
Starring Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Sophia Bush, Catherine Keener and Bob Odenkirk. 125 mins
The numerically titled sequel is an old-fashioned notion, traditionally held to indicate a lack of imagination on the part of the filmmakers. Still, at least you know where you are with a number, and these days – with all the Beyonds and Begins and Returns – it may even suggests a certain honesty. The Incredibles was the sixth Pixar film and the superhero family are among their most beloved characters: below Woody and Buzz certainly, but maybe neck and neck with Nemo. This follow up film allows fans to experience again all the pleasure they got from the first one, but without feeling exploited or used. It's the same again, but with feeling and heart; a film to give the number 2 a good name.
Paths Of Blood. (18)
Directed by Jonathan Hacker.
Narration by Samuel West. Featuring Tom Hollander. 91 mins.
I can't decide if this selection of home movies covering the campaign against Al Queda cells operating in Saudi Arabia is the jihadist equivalent of Motorway Cops, or You've Been Framed. The film mixes footage made by Saudi security forces with extracts of videos the terror cells shot of themselves before and during their attacks. Littered with corpse and body parts, the film delivers on the blood, but we might haggle over the path through it.
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