Our resident film expert gives his opinion on the best and worst offerings showing in cinemas
A MONTH OF SUNDAYS (PG) Australia, 110 minutes
A quiet, tender-hearted and gently eccentric affair takes its own sweet time finding a way into your good graces. But once there, it won’t be budged. It all comes down to your personal take on Frank (Anthony LaPaglia), an ornery yet sensitive chap who really shouldn’t be working in real estate. After a recent divorce and his mother’s death, feeling so much truth with no one to say it to is driving Frank to frustration. Just in the nick of time, an elderly woman named Sarah (Julia Blake) appears, ready to listen, and careful not to judge. A magnificent performance from Blake snaps the film and its leading man into proper focus just when both seem primed to drift off on a foggy-minded flight of fancy. Plenty of emotional points are racked up, along with some sincerely unforced laughs. A brave change of style for one of this country’s best filmmakers, writerdirector Matt Saville ( Noise, Felony). Co-stars John Clarke ( pictured, above, with LaPaglia).
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (M) US, 148 minutes
It was only a month ago that DC Comics’ Batman V Superman slugfest left the planet feeling it had been forced to chug a concrete smoothie. Now it is Marvel Entertainment’s turn to blend up a multi-hero grudge match, and man, does it go down so much better.
CACW can be as deep or as meaningless as you want. There is such a precise balance struck here between brainy myth-making and brawny earth-shaking that resistance is useless. The movie wastes no time in stirring up a six-a-side scuffle between opposing Avengers-aligned squads coached by Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr). The divide has more to do with a difference of opinion on global defence policy than anything as simple as pure spite. Everywhere you look, there’s a brand-name superhero (including a newer, younger Spider-Man and the return of Ant-Man) kicking butt, cracking wise and yes, saving the world. Co-stars Scarlett Johansson.
MIA MADRE (M) Italy, 106 minutes
For much of the past two decades, Nanni Moretti ( We Have a Pope, The Caiman) has been the only Italian filmmaker able to connect with Australian audiences on a regular basis. His core following will be more than satisfied with Moretti’s latest work. Margherita (Margherita Buy) is a control-freak director completing a difficult new movie project when she gets word her mother is slowly dying. While brother Giovanni ( played by Moretti himself, pictured, above, with Buy) selflessly “opts in” to the painful process of farewelling an ageing parent, Margherita’s self-obsessed tendencies distract her from facing the inevitable. Further blocking a much-needed reality check is the niggling presence of Barry (John Turturro), a mercurial American actor whose talent isn’t matching his reputation. His comic interjections are a welcome relief but the film’s elegantly low-key human insights are what will leave the most lasting impression.