DVDs of the week
BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE (15)***
Dir: Drew Goddard
With: Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Jeff Bridges Runtime: 141 minutes
WELCOME to the El Royale, a motel with hot and cold running mystery where no one and nothing is quite as they seem. An all-star cast including Jon Hamm, Jeff Bridges and Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades) light up this clever caper written and directed by Drew Goddard (The Martian, The Cabin in the Woods). It’s overstuffed, as if Goddard is trying to cram in every idea he ever had in film school, but for long stretches it’s a blast.
1945 (12A) ****
Dir: Ferenc Torok
With: Peter Rudolf, Bence Tasnadi, Tamas Szabo Kimmel Runtime: 91 minutes
FERENC Torok’s haunting drama takes place over the course of one day in August 1945. Two men get off the train in a Hungarian village and make their way through the streets. Speculation mounts among the locals, followed by alarm. There are secrets in this land, and they will stay hidden no longer. Handsomely shot in black and white and just 91 minutes, Torok’s picture does not linger long, yet it manages to say so much that matters.
her not to worry at yet another setback.
The screenplay by Josh Singer (Spotlight, The Post, West Wing) takes the audience through the major steps before Apollo 11’s historic flight. Depending on how much appetite you have for the subject, this will either be a fascinating and essential part of the story or an infuriatingly drawn-out sideshow to the main event.
More engaging than the test flights and the Houston scenes (if you’ve seen one shot of men in short-sleeve shirts you’ve seen them all) are the glimpses of Armstrong as husband and father. How do you explain to children where daddy is going, far less that he may not come back?
There was far more to Armstrong’s life than making history. While Chazelle’s efforts to get this across can be a touch overdone at times, one can always rely on Gosling to show restraint and his delicate, nuanced portrayal of Armstrong saves the day. Ditto Foy as one of the women who sacrificed so much to keep the space programme going. The tribute paid to them is long overdue.
As he moves smoothly between the epic and the intimate, Chazelle shows a flair and confidence well beyond his years. This is a story that demands a big picture view of life, and Chazelle delivers.
Lukas Haas as Michael Collins, Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and Corey Stoll as Buzz Aldrin in First Man No one and nothing is quite as they seem at the El Royale motel