(M) As someone who finds it hard to follow the timeline of chronology-warping franchises, the Rocky films are a relief. Creed, the seventh and one of the best, follows on from the sixth, Rocky Balboa of 2006. Michael B. Jordan stars as Adonis Creed, son of Rocky’s great rival turned friend Apollo Creed. We first meet Adonis as a troubled boy, but that changes when Adonis persuades Rocky to train him. There are a few clunky moments but by and large Creed avoids cliche and, like Rocky 40 years ago, resists the temptation to fix its fights for feelgood reasons.
The Program (M) Adapted from the book by Sunday Times sportswriter David Walsh (played here by Chris O’Dowd), veteran Stephen Frears’s portrait of Lance Armstrong tells us little we didn’t already know about the rise and fall of one of the sporting world’s greatest cheats but does so with impressive skill. The racing scenes are superbly shot and edited and the strangely tragic story of hubris and disgrace is compelling thanks to Ben Foster’s superb portrayal of Armstrong.
The Look of Silence (M) Joshua Oppenheimer’s followup to his 2012 documentary The Act of Killing follows Adi, a 44-year-old optician, as he returns to the village where he was born and where his older brother was murdered in 1965 during the anti-communist purge in Indonesia. This compelling investigation into past crimes is getting a very limited release but is worth seeking out.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (M) The good news is that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is far superior to its predecessor. It has a tight plot centred on a plan to assassinate the president, some heartracing action scenes, strong performances from a cast we have come to know well, and because it’s the final film in the franchise, risks are taken with the central characters. Some interesting ideas are explored, including the ethics of war. This is a fitting ending to an aboveaverage series.
Dropped The Goods Theatre Company and Red Line Productions present Melbourne-based playwright Katy Warner’s absurdist dark comedy, billed as “Godot with gals and grenade”. Two female soldiers sift through debris in a room strewn with white paper snow. Something terrible has happened, and memories of what the pair has done begin to come back in snippets. Starring Olivia Rose and Deborah Sintras, directed by Anthony Skuse. humanity. Rush’s king is pompous and self-important in the opening scene. During the scenes that follow, he has frightening outbursts of anger and viciousness, as he delivers curses with a nastiness that is shocking. We see him struggling to control his rages as the awful realisation of what he has done starts to dawn on him. It is not the storm that makes him mad but his growing self-knowledge. Finally, in his three great scenes after the storm we see him as a true man, grown up at last, just