Friday, April 13, 2018

Apr 9th  
We Have a Pope*   
(Habeus Papa)                   

(Ita/Fra 2011)                 

The newly elected pontiff has a nervous breakdown and the Vatican sends in a psychiatrist.
Muddled comedy with some nice moments of gentle Father Ted-style farce with the college of Cardinals in the first hour. but it lags when trying to be meaningful, and the ending could be lighter in tone too.

Written by: Nanni Moretti, Framcesco Piccolo, Federica Pontremoli.
Producers: Nanni Moretti, Domenico Procacci.
Director: Nanni Moretti.
Starring: Michel Piccoli, Nanni Moretti, Jerzy Stuhl, Renato Scarpa, Margherita Buy.
Photography: Alessandro Pesci.
Music: Franco Persanti.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Mar 30th (Good Friday)     
Mary Magdalene** (12A) 
(Empire Ipswich)

(GB/Australia 2018)

Independent minded Mary of Magdala defies her family's wishes after being introduced to a mysterious healer to whom she becomes one of his strongest followers.
Beautifully watered-down Holy Land drama, carefully scripted to depict a believable setting for its time, although ironically becoming rather sluggish during what should be the most dramatic moments from Biblical history.

Written by: Helen Edmundson, Philippa Goslett.
Producers: Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Liz Watts.
Director: Garth Davis.
Starring: Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tahar Rahim, Tcheky Karyo.
Photography: Greig Fraser.
Music: Hildor Guonadottir, Johann Johannsson.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Mar 19th
The Shape of Water* (15) 
(Vue Romford)   

(US 2017)                                   

A mute cleaner falls in love with a rare amphibian who is wanted by both the Americans and the Russians in the Space Race.
A touching fable lovingly set in 1950s Cold War America is slightly marred by naive and cliched scripting, as well as some unnecessary excesses of sex and violence. Not the best of Del Toro (his Spanish language fantasies are still superior), but sentimental enough with English speaking audiences to win him accolades.

Written by: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor.
Producers: Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale.
Director: Guillermo del Toro.
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, Doug Jones (as the amphibian).
Photography:Dan Laustsen.
Music: Alexandre Desplat.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Mar 17th
Early Man**  (PG)   
(Vue Scunthorpe) 

(GB 2017)                                         

Stone Age survivors of an asteroid challenge their superior Bronze Age colonists at their descendants' ancient beautiful game to win back their valley.
Deftly humorous animated spoof harking back to Chicken Run, although not quite of that vintage. The football jokes are a little too knowing and take precedence over the caveman setting, but animation-wise the boys are back to old form.

Written by: Mark Burton, James Higginson, Nick Park.
Producers: Peter Lord, David Sproxton, Nick Park, Carla Shelley.
Director: Nick Park.
Voices of: Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Timothy Spall, Maisie Williams, Miriam Margolyes, Rob Brydon, Johnny Vegas, and others.
Music: Harry Gregson Williams, Tom Howe.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Mar 14th   

(US 1927)                                                   

A volunteer ambulance driver vies for the affections of a pilot who is in love with his rival's beau.
Thrillingly staged WWI airborne drama, the usual love triangle stuff (or in this case a menage-a-quartre), with innovative photography that looks modern even today, including original use of giant screens for projection of the flying scenes. As a prestige production it cannot be faulted, and wond the first Academy Award for Best Picture.

Written by: Hope Loring, Louis D. Lighton.
Producer: B.P. Schulberg (and others).
Director: William Welman.
Starring: Clara Bow, Charles "Buddy" Rogers, Richard  Arlen, Jobyna Ralston, Gary Cooper, El Brendel, Julia Swayne Gordon, Henry B. Walthall, Hedda Hopper.
Photography: Harry Perry.

Musical Accompaniment: Gaylord Carter (on organ).

+ 2012 restoration including sound effects and tinted gunshots

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Mar 10th 
Wonder Wheel** (12A)   
(Phoenix East Finchley)         

(US 2017)                                   

In 1950s Coney Island, a Carousel worker's daughter unexpectedly arrives on the run from gangsters, to an equally dysfunctional set up with her unfaithful ex-actress stepmother and her pyromaniac son.
Average Allen melodrama, still more than palatable by modern standards with strong performances. Lacking some of Woody's trademark wit, with his usual amoral characters going through a typical soap opera-style scenario, set against the beautiful nostalgia for Coney Island.

Written and Directed by: Woody Allen.
Producers: Letty Aronson, Edward Walson, Erika Aronson.
Starring: Kate Winslet, James Belushi, Juno Temple, Justin Timberlake.
Photography: Vittorio Storaro.
Music: Various.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Mar 7th  
Sink the Bismarck!**        

(GB 1960)                                         

The Admiralty desperately hunts down the German battleship Bismarck before it breaks through into the North Atlantic.
Talky but mostly compelling war-room set drama with a conscientious looking star; less effective when taken outside at sea where some of the widescreen photography clashes with the grainy original battle footage. Its style presages the soon-to-come James Bond films, with lots of good British characters doing their bit.

Written by: Edmund H. North, from the book by C.S. Forrester.
Producer: John Brabourne.
Director: Lewis Gilbert.
Starring: Kenneth More, Dana Wynter, Karel Stepanek, Carl Mohner, Geoffrey Keen, Laurence Naismith, Jack Watling, Michael Hordern, Michael Goodliffe, Maurice Denham, John Stride, Edward R. Murrow.
Photography: Christopher Challis.
Music: Clifton Parker.