DVDs of the week

The Herald Magazine - - Arts CINEMA -

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

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