A great Brit at last
O LUCKY MAN! Directed by Lindsay Anderson. Starring Malcolm McDowell, Ralph Richardson, Rachel Roberts, Arthur Lowe, Helen Mirren, Mona Washbourne, Graeme Crowden, Alan Price THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA Directed by Mike Newell.
15 cert Now available on DVD for the first time, this underrated, adventurous 1973 movie was the third of just five cinema features directed by Anderson, a singular talent and former film critic who worked more frequently in theatre and television. He died in 1994.
Former as a picaresque parable and a caustic polemic on English societal malaises, O Lucky Man! reunited Anderson with the screenwriter (David Sherwin) and many of the cast from If... (1968), principally the protagonist played by McDowell and again named Mick Travis. Mick is now a travelling coffee salesman who gets caught up in an eventful series of increasingly surreal experiences over the course of a sprawling three hours.
McDowell has never been more engaging, and Anderson imaginatively features Alan Price (formerly of Newcastle rock group The Animals) as an on-screen Greek chorus contributing an exuberant song score to comment on the consequences. DVD extras include commentary by McDowell, Price and Sherwin, and a feature-length documentary, O Lucky Malcolm, about the star.
PG cert Decent adaptation of the children’s novel dealing with the battle between a young family and various nefarious magical beasties. There is nothing much wrong with the effects, the dialogue or the performances – Bolger, in particular, is very spirited – but it does feel a bit rushed. The DVD is thinner on extras than is usually the case for such releases.
15 cert A grieving widow (Berry) and a volatile junkie (Del Toro) are drawn together in grief when her husband, his best friend, is killed. The film lacks the emotional charge of Bier’s best work in her native Denmark, but Del Toro immerses himself in his role with characteristic passion.
18 cert Tensions crackle when a writer (Kidman) goes home for the wedding of her estranged sister (Leigh) in this dark, mean-spirited comedy populated by such unsympathetic, self- absorbed characters that it’s hard to care what happens to them.
15 cert Newell’s largely useless adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ muchloved novel stars Bardem as a telegraph operator pining for decades over Mezzogiorno’s sleek beauty. The old-person make-up is hopeless, the female lead garbles her dialogue, and the story never gets above a crawl. Magic realism just doesn’t work in the cinema. PG cert This perfunctory quasi-sequel to 2006’s Step Up introduces us to a hip-hop orphan who spends her nights launching guerrilla dance extravaganzas on the subway. Evigan has just enough charm to keep viewers awake during the inane chatter between the fine dance sequences. A smash on release, the film is also issued with the first film in a well-appointed box set.
Directed by Mark Waters. Starring Freddie Highmore, Mary-Louise Parker, Nick Nolte, David Strathairn, Sarah Bolger
Directed by Susanne Bier. Starring Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro, David Duchovny
Directed by Noah Baumbach. Starring Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jack Black, John Turturro, Ciaran Hinds
Directed by Jon M Chu. Starring Briana Evigan, Robert Hoffman, Will Kemp, Cassie Ventura, Adam G. Sevani