The Herald Magazine - - CINEMA -

Adapted from Peter Rock’s novel My Aban­don­ment by di­rec­tor De­bra Granik and screen­writ­ing part­ner Anne Rosellini, Leave No Trace is a re­strained yet pro­foundly mov­ing por­trait of the in­domitable spirit that binds back­woods com­mu­ni­ties in the face of poverty and bu­reau­cratic med­dling. The film is shot through the in­quis­i­tive eyes of a teenage girl (Thomasin Har­court McKen­zie), who has been home-schooled since birth by her fiercely pro­tec­tive fa­ther (Ben Fos­ter) and has never been al­lowed to so­cially in­te­grate with other chil­dren. This emo­tion­ally bruised fam­ily chooses to live be­neath the sway­ing canopy of a sprawl­ing for­est in Port­land, Ore­gon. Leave No Trace ex­plores bonds be­tween trou­bled par­ents and re­source­ful chil­dren liv­ing on the fringes of so­ci­ety, and the harsh sac­ri­fices that are some­times made in the name of love.


Cal­i­for­nian ac­tress Shai­lene Wood­ley an­chors an ex­tra­or­di­nary true story of sur­vival against the odds in the af­ter­math of a cat­e­gory four storm, which tore across the Pa­cific in the au­tumn of 1983. Bal­tasar Kor­makur’s pic­ture sails into sim­i­larly choppy waters as the 2013 one-han­der All is Lost, which pit­ted Robert Red­ford against the rag­ing el­e­ments of the In­dian Ocean in a stricken boat. The Ice­landic film­maker shows an equally sure foot­ing at sea, nim­bly chore­ograph­ing ac­tion se­quences that quicken the pulse. He re­serves the piv­otal set­piece for the sec­ond half, mar­shalling dig­i­tal ef­fects and di­rec­to­rial brio to pro­pel ill-fated love­birds into the eye of a storm and a towering wall of wa­ter that will surely smash their yacht to smithereens. We are left in no doubt about the dev­as­ta­tion wrought by Mother Na­ture on a cou­ple who never thought they would be stranded for 41 days and 1,500 miles from sal­va­tion.


Ex­pec­ta­tions were high fol­low­ing the pop­u­lar re­cep­tion of 2015’s Sicario film, so Ital­ian di­rec­tor Stefano Sol­lima ar­guably had big boots to fill when he took over from Denis Vil­leneuve for the se­quel. Josh Brolin re­turns as CIA agent Matt Graver along­side Beni­cio del Toro, who reprises his role as lawyer-turned-hit­man Ale­jan­dro, and the pair are a for­mi­da­ble on-screen force. Tasked by the Amer­i­can govern­ment to find out if Mex­i­can drug gangs are traf­fick­ing ter­ror­ists across the bor­der, they con­coct a plan to pro­voke car­tel blood­shed by kid­nap­ping Is­abela Reyes, the young daugh­ter of one of the big bosses. Trans­form­ers ac­tress Is­abela Moner, 16, is im­pres­sive as the gutsy, head­strong char­ac­ter and she more than holds her own against her sea­soned co-stars. There’s a com­plex­ity to writer Tay­lor Sheri­dan’s char­ac­ters that keeps you guess­ing and you’re never quite sure what their next move will be. As a viewer, though, you are left hop­ing Sheri­dan’s next move will be to write a third film.

TAG (15)

The Bi­ble sug­gests that when we cross the thresh­old to adult­hood, we should put away child­ish things. The quin­tet of fortysome­thing men, who re­unite ev­ery year in Jeff Tom­sic’s potty-mouthed buddy com­edy, blow a rasp­berry at the idea of re­spon­si­ble be­hav­iour. This merry band of suited pro­fes­sion­als, wastrels and dream­ers stave off the spec­tre of mid­dle age by de­vot­ing one month ev­ery year to the play­ground game of tag, trav­el­ling be­tween states and don­ning dis­guises if nec­es­sary to touch an un­sus­pect­ing vic­tim. The last per­son to be tagged as the bell tolls mid­night on May 31 is deemed the loser un­til the fol­low­ing year when the high jinks be­gin again.


In an early scene from Span­ish writer-di­rec­tor Is­abel Coixet’s adap­ta­tion of Pene­lope Fitzger­ald’s novel, one kindly res­i­dent of the Suf­folk coastal town of Hard­bor­ough com­plains that read­ing is a phys­i­cal or­deal for a work­ing man. “Books leave me ex­hausted,” de­spairs the sea­farer. “Real life’s enough for me.” Alas, the big screen ver­sion of The Book­shop also in­spires an un­shak­able weari­ness de­spite com­mit­ted per­for­mances from Emily Mor­timer and Bill Nighy as the only res­i­dents of the close-knit town will­ing to sur­ren­der them­selves to the in­tox­i­cat­ing power of the writ­ten word. Shot on lo­ca­tion in North­ern Ireland and Spain, Coixet’s well-crafted por­trait of nar­row-mind­ed­ness and petty ri­valry is crammed with a be­wil­der­ing ar­ray of ac­cents far from the mad­den­ing, parochial crowd that emerges vividly on the page.

OCEAN’S 8 (12A)

Crime pays hand­somely in a con­vo­luted and ef­fer­ves­cent ca­per, which con­tin­ues the mis­ad­ven­tures of the larce­nous Ocean fam­ily from Steven Soder­bergh’s tril­ogy. Di­rec­tor Gary Ross’s stylish pic­ture fea­tures an all-fe­male lead cast spear­headed by Os­car win­ners Sandra Bul­lock and Cate Blanchett. They plot an am­bi­tious jewel rob­bery in plain sight which sub­tly ac­knowl­edges seis­mic shifts in gen­der pol­i­tics by re­fus­ing to hire a male ac­com­plice and strain the bonds of sis­terly sol­i­dar­ity. The loosely coiled plot re­quires sim­i­lar sus­pen­sions of dis­be­lief to pre­vi­ous chap­ters but there’s a loopy logic to each nar­ra­tive twist and our en­joy­ment stems from watch­ing the pieces of an elab­o­rate puz­zle fall into place.


Mod­ern hor­ror films sel­dom pri­ori­tise nerve-shred­ding sus­pense – the kind of creep­ing dread that sends beads of sweat trick­ling down your spine and haunts your wak­ing dreams. Writer-di­rec­tor Ari Aster’s twisted fam­ily por­trait comes close to re­peat­ing the feat, only to de­scend into mad­ness with a loopy fi­nal act that will sharply di­vide and per­plex au­di­ences who have been bit­ing their nails down to the cu­ti­cle for the pre­vi­ous 90 min­utes. Hered­i­tary per­forms a cin­e­matic strip­tease, hold­ing our gaze (even when we want to look away) by peel­ing away the lay­ers of dark­ness and de­ceit that con­demn one grief-stricken fam­ily led by minia­tur­ist artist An­nie Gra­ham (Toni Col­lette) to a grim fate.


Tak­ing its ti­tle from a short story for chil­dren by Os­car Wilde, The Happy Prince is an ele­giac ac­count of the fi­nal years of the Irish play­wright and poet fol­low­ing his in­car­cer­a­tion for gross in­de­cency. The film is a pas­sion project for di­rec­tor, writer and lead ac­tor Ru­pert Everett. His deep emo­tional con­nec­tion to his sub­ject is ev­i­dent in a com­pelling, nu­anced per­for­mance which doesn’t shy away from the self-de­struc­tive im­pulses that led Wilde to his grave dur­ing a tu­mul­tuous ex­ile in France at the turn of the 20th cen­tury. His fall from grace is ag­o­nis­ingly slow and painful, and the script takes its time to ex­plore the var­i­ous per­sonal re­la­tion­ships that sus­tained Wilde in his twi­light years and also tore him apart.


If there is a germ of truth in the prom­ise of good things com­ing to those who wait then Su­per Troop­ers 2, the be­lated se­quel to Jay Chan­drasekhar’s goofy 2001 com­edy, should de­liver 95 min­utes of hi­lar­ity.

The film’s pro­duc­tion bud­get – more than US$4.6 mil­lion – was raised through a crowd-fund­ing web­site by de­voted fans, who were desperate to see more high jinks chan­nelling the an­ar­chic spirit of the Po­lice Academy se­ries. They should de­mand their money back be­cause Su­per Troop­ers 2 is a mis­er­able ex­cuse for en­ter­tain­ment, which re­peat­edly pokes fun at the cul­tural di­vide be­tween Amer­ica and Canada with­out any ob­vi­ous pur­pose or punch­lines to hit a tar­get.


Now five films in, the old for­mula of di­nosaurs, das­tardly hunters and the hu­man he­roes who save the day should be run­ning out of puff. But Chris Pratt and Bryce Dal­las Howard com­ing on board in 2015 gave it fresh legs and with di­rec­tor JA Bay­ona they man­age to squeeze a few more thrills out of it here. This time, the di­nos are in peril from a vol­cano. For­mer park man­ager Claire (Dal­las Howard) is of­fered a sanc­tu­ary for them, and with her old flame Owen (Pratt) in tow, all that re­mains is get­ting the beasts from A to B.


Born and raised in Lon­don to a Scot­tish fa­ther, Lee Alexan­der McQueen was a tor­tured ge­nius of work­ing-class ori­gins who chal­lenged the fash­ion es­tab­lish­ment with his cat­walk shows in­flu­enced by death, de­prav­ity and vi­o­lence. Ian Bon­hote and Peter Et­tedgui’s lav­ishly de­signed doc­u­men­tary charts the rise of the openly gay trail­blazer from his awk­ward teenage years through an en­dur­ing friend­ship with men­tor Is­abella Blow (she per­suaded him to trade un­der his mid­dle name) and a con­tro­ver­sial ap­point­ment as lead de­signer of Parisian fash­ion house Givenchy. Ar­chive footage and rec­ol­lec­tions from men­tors – McQueen lis­tened ob­ses­sively to Sinead O’Con­nor, con­fides Red Or Dead’s John McKit­t­er­ick – are in­ter­min­gled with the de­signer’s per­sonal tes­ti­mony about his craft and a pen­chant for shock­ing his au­di­ence.


So­phie Brooks’ slight but ap­peal­ing com­edy drama is set in the kind of New York where no one seems to have a well paid job yet they live in lovely apart­ments while fig­ur­ing out what to do with their lives. Zosia Mamet plays Diana, a bud­ding writer who moves back to the US af­ter a stint in Lon­don, only to find the flat she has found is up­stairs from her ex-boyfriend. Mamet is very watch­able, but men­tion of the Lady Bird writer-di­rec­tor is a re­minder of how dif­fi­cult it can be to do this sort of light-as-a-feather, com­edy drama well.

Beni­cio del Toro as Ale­jan­dro Gil­lick and Josh Brolin as Matt Graver in Sicario 2: Soldado

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.