Denial. An interesting true story, well enough made. Timothy Spall was particularly good here as holocaust denier David Irving. The story is incredible really, that Deborah E. Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) had to prove the Holocaust happened in a British court. The film is competently made, and entertaining enough for but I doubt it is much of a re-watcher.
Gold. A very average Matthew McConaughey-lead true story. It kind of felt like a story we’d seen before and, more importantly, done better before: a strike it rich tale in which we see money causing a load of trouble for our protagonist. It was certainly not an awful film but, man, it dragged and never really offered anything of interest throughout.
Loving. A good film and another true story. It had a nice pace to it and was all the stronger for its two leads giving solid, understated performances. Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton play Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple who got married when it was still against the law in their state. It’s a simple story about race, love, and another time, made in a calm and considered way. Nothing groundbreaking film-wise but an important true story told in a rather pleasant fashion.
Toni Erdmann. I’ll be honest, this Cannes favourite was just as underwhelming as I guessed it might be prior to seeing it. But, despite this prediction and the film’s 2 hour 40 minute run time, I took the plunge. It is by no means bad, Sandra Huller was great and the party scene towards the end was pretty perfect, but it just plodded along awkwardly for much of it. I was mildly entertained, and to be fair, I did not feel as if I watched such a long film, but I am not really sure what the fuss is about.
The LEGO Batman Movie. A very well assembled film, that plays on the Batman legend with plenty of humour and inventiveness. Will Arnett is perfect for Batman and there are plenty more great voice talents on offer. It is barmy and silly and lots of fun. Although, if you are a conservative Christian, it is way too gay* for you. You have been warned.
The Founder. Michael Keaton gives a great performance here as the rather unlikable McDonalds ‘founder’ Ray Kroc. The story, yet another true one, is interesting and it is well told with some lovely production design to take us back to the fifties. It is certainly not The Social Network or There Will Be Blood, which it has drawn comparisons to, but it is an entertaining and solid feature.
Fences. Denzel Washington directs and stars in this film adapted from the Broadway play he and Viola Davis co-starred in. It is excellently acted with some great August Wilson written dialogue. It is all very powerful and intense. Washington’s character is likable yet frustrating, a reaction seen in all around him – his larger than life character (with its lovability, insecurities, resentment and all) infecting the others. It is dialogue heavy, it is obviously adapted from a play, and I have heard criticism about it not being inventive enough in its cinematography – a lot of time and money could have been saved by just filming the play, perhaps, but that point is irrelevant when it comes to how good a film this is. And it is. Good, I mean. Very.
Moonlight. An incredible piece of cinema. Understated, beautifully shot, excellently acted. All three actors who play Chiron (Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes) are phenomenal. The way in which the story unfolds is not conventional or predictable but it carries you along to its delicate pace.
Hidden Figures. Another true story. And another good’un. Not hugely inventive script-wise, it is a straight-forward adaption of a very interesting story of three women working at NASA on the space program and being really very good at it. Funny and well told, with some great performances.
FILM OF THE MONTH: Moonlight