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Reviews

Wilkolak
(2018)

Opening in Gross-Rosen, a labour camp in south-west Poland
Opening in Gross-Rosen, a labour camp in south-west Poland, Adrian Panek's realist drama/allegorical fairytale sees eight children liberated by the Red Army in the final days of World War 2, only for the kids to face yet more terror when they're stashed in a crumbling mansion. Within the walls, things get a bit Lord Of The Flies as the kids jostle for position. Outside, in the forest, lurks the threat of a rapist Russian, hunkering Nazis, and a pack of feral dogs. The werewolf of the title is metaphorical, with the starving youths' bestial behaviour quickly established as they fight over a tin of dog food. Most of the pack are barely characterised as Panek's script focuses on one girl, Hanka (Sonia Mietielica), and two guys, Hanys (Nicolas Przygoda) and Wladek (Kamil Polnisiak). They form a love triangle, of sorts, but played dour and downbeat - so don't expect the Polish Twilight. Werewolf is, however, rather like an arthouse Cujo in its second half, only with several German shepherds throwing themselves at a building rather than one St. Bernard headbutting a Ford Pinto. It's tense in places, and certainly an interesting idea to transform the horrors of the Holocaust into literal monsters. But Werewolf, for much of its running time, lacks bite.

Neither Wolf Nor Dog
(2016)

Adapted from the award-winning novel of the same name
Adapted from the award-winning novel of the same name, Steven Lewis Simpson's sensitive drama takes a soulful road trip through Native American culture. When a US writer is asked to spend time with a tribe elder and write a book about his people, the pair end up taking a deep drive into Lakota country, as the older man imparts stories and wisdom. This independent production may be a little rough around the edges, but real-life Lakota chief and World War 2 veteran Dave Bald Eagle captivates as the 95-year-old Dan, switching seamlessly between child-like amusement, profound philosophy and poignant reflection.

The Big Meeting
(2019)

The makers of the Dennis Skinner documentary Nature Of The Beast pay
The makers of the Dennis Skinner documentary Nature Of The Beast pay tribute to another leftist landmark in this homage to the Durham Miners' Gala, an annual parade of banners and brass bands that has been a fixture of the Trade Unionist calendar for more than 100 years. Incorporating footage from 1963's Gala Day, the last film to chronicle this north-east tradition, Daniel Draper's feature vividly portraits both the pageantry and the politics. It would probably be more appealing to the unaffiliated, however, if there was at least one interviewee who didn't sing from the same socialist hymn sheet.

Killer Kate!
(2018)

A bloodthirsty but bland B-movie
A bloodthirsty but bland B-movie with nothing to recommend it apart from its brief run time, this vanity project is as woodenly acted as it is scripted. Several of director Elliot Feld's relatives are credited as producers, while his wife Alexandra plays the titular Kate, who joins estranged sister Angie (Danielle Burgess) on her bachelorette weekend in a housefor-hire in California solely to please their dying father. There's just one problem: the owner and his offspring are planning a mass slaughter (for reasons that make zero sense). Suspense-free - the title alone indicates where this is going - this is a chore to watch. Avoid.

Inna de Yard
(2019)

A summit meeting of rootsreggae veterans and younger stars yields warm
A summit meeting of rootsreggae veterans and younger stars yields warm, wise and welcoming results in this loving docu-tribute to the musical "soul of Jamaica". With the recording of an acoustic album as the backdrop, director Peter Webber's repetitive but rock-steady structure introduces a string of capital-C Characters to reflect on their histories in the slow-build towards a show. As Cedric Myton, Ken Boothe, Judy Mowatt and more speak of poverty and protest, loss and liberation, the rich braiding of lived-in experience infuses the concert climax with a sweet, pure and heady potency.

Rapid Response
(2019)

The story of how Dr. Stephen Olvey and colleagues revolutionised safety
The story of how Dr. Stephen Olvey and colleagues revolutionised safety practices in US motorsports is an interesting one, but this documentary never really gets out of second gear. For all the amusing/shocking anecdotes (one of the ambulances used at the Indy 500 until the mid '70s was a hearse on loan from a local funeral home - surely the last thing you'd want to see after a crash), the endless crash footage is wearing and the film fails to fully engage with some of the ideas it raises - most notably the impact Olvey's research had on the automotive industry in general.

L'homme fidèle
(2018)

Louis Garrel's lightweight drama initially seems like a vanity project for its writer
Louis Garrel's lightweight drama initially seems like a vanity project for its writer, director and star. Nine years on from a brutal break-up, his endearingly ruffled Abel finds himself in a love triangle with the widowed Marianne (Garrel's real-life spouse Laetitia Casta) and LilyRose Depp's obsessive Eve. But skipping spryly between romantic comedy, reflective character piece and gentle farce, it surprises by putting its two women firmly in charge, leaving its assumed lead as little more than their bemused plaything. At just 75 minutes, it breezes by, though Casta's wily turn lingers beyond the credits.

A Bump Along the Way
(2019)

When flighty fortysomething Pamela (Bronagh Gallagher) falls pregnant
When flighty fortysomething Pamela (Bronagh Gallagher) falls pregnant after a drunken one-nighter, her already fractious relationship with teenage daughter Allegra (Lola Petticrew) comes under further strain. Might this finally be the wake-up call she needs? Will the frost between mother and daughter begin to thaw? The answers aren't hard to guess in a predictable comedydrama that's a little short on big laughs. Yet it's convincingly played by its two terrific leads, while the barbed arguments carry enough sting that its soft-centred conclusion, contrived as it is, feels well earned.

Honeyland
(2019)

Part character study
Part character study, part eco-parable, this superbly shot documentary from Macedonian filmmakers Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska has a remarkable protagonist in the middle-aged Hatidze Muratova. She is a wild beekeeper, living with her blind and bed-ridden mother in a Balkan mountain village. Hatidze's way of life is threatened by the arrival next door of a nomadic couple and their seven young children. Shot over a three-year period, Honeyland offers a powerful illustration of the necessity for humanity to co-exist in harmony with nature.

Memory: The Origins of Alien
(2019)

As far as #hottakes go, it's as highfalutin as they come
As far as #hottakes go, it's as highfalutin as they come. But Phillipe connects the dots in convincing fashion, drawing a line from the Furies of Greek mythology to the chestburster-influencing imagery of Francis Bacon, via the unspoken patriarchal guilt of the '70s. Rather than a straightforward making-of then, Memory is more concerned with the literature, art, ideas and dreams that fuelled Alien's filmmaking hydra: director Ridley Scott, xeno-designer H.R. Giger and screenwriter Dan O'Bannon, whom Philippe credits as the film's creative lynchpin. Multiple talking heads contribute, from commentators and critics to filmmakers and a handful of cast members. But while the absence of Giger and O'Bannon was unavoidable, the lack of new input from Scott and Sigourney Weaver leaves it feeling like a major piece of the puzzle is missing. Philippe's previous film, 78/52, was an impressively forensic dissection of Psycho's iconic shower scene. Here, a significant chunk of the punchy runtime is dedicated to the peerless chestburster sequence. But by slipping into more conventional behind-thescenes territory it temporarily forgets what makes Memory so, well, memorable.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
(2019)

The titular tough guys are brought together to track down a super-virus
The titular tough guys are brought together to track down a super-virus, aka 'Snowflake'. It's currently in the possession of Deckard's sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), an MI6 agent framed for the slaughter of her team by Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), a self-proclaimed "bad guy" with his eyes on the virus. Now the CIA and MI6 are calling in Hobbs and Shaw to find her. Forced to work together, the mud-slinging begins in earnest ("You sound like a giant tattooed baby," growls Shaw, in one of the better put-downs). It's funny, to a point, though the script's obsession with discussing genitalia size gets a little tiresome. "Over-compensating?" remarks Hobbs, as he sees Shaw's collection of cars. Talk about meta. In Lore, they have a worthy foe. He's part of ETEON, a hi-tech criminal empire run by a mysterious disembodied voice. He sports the latest in bulletproof material and has been enhanced with cyber-genetics. "We're being chased by the Terminator!" yells Hobbs. It's all a little sci-fi for F&F, though it's arguably no more ridiculous than launching parachutesporting cars from planes (see F&F7). With series regular Chris Morgan and Iron Man 3 scribe Drew Pearce on writing duties, the story soon goes global, after Hobbs and Shaw discover Hattie's ingested the virus. Only a Russian scientist (Eddie Marsan) seems to know how to extract it, though luckily there's a gizmo to do the extracting in ETEON's Dr. Evil-like lair. There are lots of references to saving the world - Hobbs estimates this is the fourth time he's heroically performed the task - but as ever with the F&F films, it all comes down to family. Shaw is dealing not only with his baby sis, but also his dear old mum (Helen Mirren) who's also in a spot of bother. A third-act sojourn to Samoa, meanwhile, sees Hobbs reunited with his homeland and the resentful brother Jonah (Cliff Curtis) he left behind. This being a F&F movie, you'd expect the action to be top-notch. David Leitch, the supreme stuntmanturned-action-director of John Wick, Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2, doesn't let us down. A car/motorbike chase through the streets of London - bread and butter in the F&F world - is exhilarating. Same goes for a sequence in which Hobbs abseils down the side of a tower block, while a Stathamcentric corridor fight is pure Oldboy. The addition of Elba and the kickass Kirby only adds to the fun, though the film does lose momentum in the final act, with Hobbs' familial squabbles throwing a spanner in the works. A few star cameos, presumably as a set-up for future episodes, also feel unnecessary. But then, in Fast & Furious, is there really such a thing as 'too much'?

The Souvenir
(2019)

When we first meet Julie
When we first meet Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne, daughter of Tilda Swinton, who plays her mum in the film), she's living in Knightsbridge in the early 1980s - a 24-year-old film student putting together a debut feature set in the shipyards of Sunderland. A well-meaning pursuit, but does her eagerness to pop her own bubble of privilege give her the right to appropriate such a story? It's a question that she's at least aware of. Julie's professors, all men, frown at her every suggestion - among many other things, The Souvenir touches, with surgical precision, upon the silencing of women in the arts - and she likewise receives pointed feedback from Anthony (Tom Burke), with whom she falls in love after meeting at a party. Anthony works for the Foreign Office. Older than Julie, he seems impossibly sophisticated and exotically world-weary. He also, thrillingly, sees Julie, though he's frequently condescending and at times utterly contemptuous. The above synopsis doesn't begin to express the complexity of the character portrayals and the relationship dynamic, with Byrne and Burke peeling back layers to startle at every turn. These surprises are not movie surprises - a Keyser Söze reveal, say - but organic, and all the more mesmerising for it. Masks slip, moods shift, and secrets and lies bubble to the surface as life pushes and pulls. Nearly all of the action is set indoors (most of it in Julie's apartment, which is closely modelled on Hogg's own at the time), and the toxicity spreads to every corner, making it hard to breathe. Not at the expense of nuance, though, with love and sympathy never lost in the mix. Like Hogg's three previous films (Unrelated, Archipelago, Exhibition), the souvenir wrestles with questions of class and Englishness, while the politics of the time informs the frame. At one point Julie's flat shakes to the sound of an unseen blast - the IRA bombing of Harrods in 1983. It is not by chance, however, that one discussion between Julie and Anthony brings up the movies of Powell and Pressburger. Like those classics, The Souvenir swerves on-thenose message-making and defies easy categorisation. It's a strikingly personal drama that captures a time and a nation. Watch it and you'll be gagging for the sequel that Hogg is currently making.

Kings
(2017)

Deniz Gamze Ergüven's follow-up to 2015's acclaimed Mustang
Deniz Gamze Ergüven's follow-up to 2015's acclaimed Mustang is an exceedingly odd combo of handwringing docudrama and out-ofnowhere comedy. Set against the backdrop of the 1992 LA riots, it stars Halle Berry as a foster mum of eight who, when not having erotic dream sequences, keeps her young brood together amid the chaos. Said chaos extends to her next-door neighbour (Daniel Craig), a shotgun-wielding loon who also serves as her extremely unlikely love interest. Nick Cave provides the tinkly piano soundtrack, which is probably the least weird thing about it. If you like a good head-scratcher, this'll do the trick.

The Last Tree
(2019)

Writer/director Shola Amoo offers a highly stylised but heartfelt account of Femi
Writer/director Shola Amoo offers a highly stylised but heartfelt account of Femi (Sam Adewunmi), a young black British male who's struggling to make sense of his identity in the early noughties. We first meet our protagonist in an idyllic rural Lincolnshire, where he lives with his white foster mum - until his Nigerian birth mother (Gbemisola Ikumelo) takes him to a new home on a tough south London estate. Its strength is less in its plotting than in the expressionistic use of images and sounds to convey Femi's first-hand experiences, right through to the unexpected coda in Lagos.

A Million Little Pieces
(2018)

Whatever the truth of Frey's recollections
Whatever the truth of Frey's recollections, there can be no doubting the power of what the Taylor-Johnsons put on screen. This is a full-blooded portrayal, beginning with Frey at rock bottom as he collapses after a crackfuelled party session. Bundled on a plane by a doctor - destination: a Minnesota rehab facility - he wakes up mid-air, immediately stealing a whisky miniature from the hostess trolley, downing it furiously. Taken to the clinic by his concerned brother (Charlie Hunnam), Frey has no wish to recover and hates the facility's 12-step programme, showing contempt for others there, including the seen-itall counsellor (Juliette Lewis). His antiauthoritarian streak leads him to another troubled soul, former teen prostitute Lilly (Odessa Young), though their secret assignations inevitably lead to more pain. More volatile than other recent addiction tales (Beautiful Boy, Ben Is Back), this film has a raw energy to it, putting Taylor-Johnson (the director) squarely back on more interesting terrain than her 2015 bonk-buster Fifty Shades Of Grey. Featuring fine work from Billy Bob Thornton as a flamboyant addict prone to dispensing pearls of wisdom, and an electric ATJ at his most grizzled, this is the sort of film where you just can't say no.

Good Boys
(2019)

It's a simple enough conceit that yields rib-tickling rewards in a comedy in
It's a simple enough conceit that yields rib-tickling rewards in a comedy in which Jonah Hill and Michael Cera's eagerness to get laid is supplanted by an altogether more innocent desire to get to first base. This being a Seth Rogen production, though, getting there is anything but innocent. Indeed, it's a journey steeped in so much filth, profanity and raunch that none of its three leads are permitted to watch the picture legally - a double standard that Universal has been making great hay of in its pre-release advertising. Yet there is a guilelessness at work in Good Boys that offsets all its sex toys, dirty talk and recreational drug use. Tween buddies Max (Jacob Tremblay), Thor (Brady Noon) and Lucas (Keith L. Williams) - 12-year-old school chums who endearingly call themselves "The Bean Bag Boys" - may be obsessed with boobs, masturbation and, in Max's case, locking lips with the cutest girl in class. But they are just as consumed by D&D gaming, drama club and being accepted by the cool kids - even if it means being dared to take a swig from a beer bottle and earning the damning sobriquet "Sippy Cup" if one gags or refuses. Our heroes, in short, are nerdy naïfs who are prone to tears, respectful of rules and generally rather clueless So when an urgent need to replace one dad's downed drone has them stealing MDMA from the babes next door, dicing with frat boys or risking their necks crossing a six-lane highway, the results are inevitably chaotic - a cavalcade of wacky incident that ought to generate hilarity by the bucketload. Sadly though, Good Boys really only has one joke: the inappropriate juxtaposition of children with the kinds of things (bad language, giant dildos, anal beads) they're meant to be kept away from. There's plenty of raucous, knockabout fun to be had seeing Tremblay wield a paint gun, Williams dislocate an arm and Noon stuff a beer down his pants. But it all comes down to the same, recycled, R-rated punchline: one that becomes not only less funny but also more predictable the further the film goes on. That's not the fault of its central trio, who have a natural rapport and a fresh-faced charm that are impossible to resist. It's more a failing of a production whose adolescent sense of humour smacks of arrested development and which doesn't really earn the right to take a half-hearted pitch at pathos in its lachrymose closing stages. When it's good, though - during a fast-paced chase scene, for example, in which one of the girls they've stolen drugs from goes all Terminator on the little guys' asses - Good Boys is very good indeed. And there are some nice turns from the grown-ups in the cast as well. Get Out's Lil Rel Howery and comedian Retta make an impression as Lucas' parents, and there's the spectacular sight of Stephen Merchant going full weirdo as a geek with a goatee.

Crawl
(2019)

The set-up is brutally simple
The set-up is brutally simple. We first meet Haley (Kaya Scodelario), a wannabe University of Florida swimmer, at a race. She's got the kind of thousand-yard stare that shows she means business, and the daddy issues to match. After losing the race, which is excitingly staged in a way that bodes well for the rest of the film, she remembers her father Dave (Barry Pepper) coaching her as a young girl. "You're the apex predator all day," he tells her in flashback - although anyone who's seen any of the recent Predator movies might question if that's a compliment or not. There's another positive omen here. In the locker room, while changing, Haley talks on the phone to her older sister Beth (Morfydd Clark). The camera stays on her face. With a Category 5 hurricane heading their way, neither sister can contact their wayward father Dave, so Haley decides to drive over to get him - no matter that the police are rather inconveniently closing the roads. As a radio newscaster warns locals not to shoot guns during a hurricane, wind and rain batter the car. Dave's not at his flat, so she heads to their old family home, the fear being that he's gone there to kill himself.

Gundala
(2019)

Negeri ini Butuh Patriot
Negeri ini Butuh Patriot. Narasi yang mengiringi kemunculan Gundala tersebut rupanya menjadi pintu masuk menuju sebuah dunia yang lebih besar. Setelah Indonesia selama ini hanya duduk sebagai penikmat film-film pahlawan garapan Hollywood, kini penonton patut mengantisipasi kehadiran Jagat Sinema Bumilangit. Sejumlah jagoan yang diadaptasi dari kreator komik lokal siap dihidupkan kembali dalam format layar lebar. Tak tanggung, nama-nama aktor dan aktris besar digadang sebagai pemeran utama dalam film-film Jagat Sinema Bumilangit. Film Gundala garapan sutradara Joko Anwar menjadi media perkenalan cinematic universe ini. Menggandeng Abimana Aryasatya untuk berperan sebagai Sancaka, beberapa "calon jagoan" diselipkan pada kisah pria yang berprofesi sebagai security ini. Sebut saja kehadiran Tara Basro, yang rupanya akan menjadi Merpati, dan Pevita Pearce sebagai Sri Asih. Sri Asih diproyeksikan akan menjadi film kedua untuk melanjutkan kisah ini. Cerita pahlawan wanita ini diadaptasi dari karya R.A. Kosasih, Sang Bapak Komik Indonesia. Sri Asih merupakan karya perdananya, dan diterbitkan pada tahun 1954. Sang Pahlawan digambarkan memiliki kekuatan setara dengan 250 pria dewasa, dengan kemampuan bela diri yang mumpuni dan kemampuan terbang. Penampilannya "Indonesia banget" dengan selendang serta mahkota yang tersemat di kepala. Selanjutnya, Jagat Sinema Bumilangit rencananya akan merilis Godam & Tira, Si Buta Dari Gua Hantu, Patriot Taruna, Gundala Putra Petir, Mandala Golok Setan dan Patriot. Hingga saat ini, masih belum diketahui perkiraan tanggal rilisnya film para jagoan ini. Chicco Jericho dan Chelsea Islan akan memerankan karakter Godam dan Tira, serta Mandala akan dimainkan oleh Joe Taslim. Sebagai pembuka Jagat Sinema, performa film Gundala tidak bisa dipandang sebelah mata. Gundala diumumkan menjadi salah satu film yang tayang dalam program Midnight Madness di Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 2019, salah satu festival film paling bergengsi di dunia. Pada jenis film genre nondrama, program Midnight Madness sendiri menjadi kategori unggulan di TIFF. Hanya 10 film yang terpilih tiap tahun dari seluruh dunia. Tentunya ini adalah sebuah pencapaian luar biasa untuk film karya anak bangsa. Tembusnya film Gundala sampai satu juta penonton merupakan sebuah kabar baik. Penonton Indonesia mungkin rindu dengan tontonan pahlawan dengan sentuhan khas nusantara. Kisah para pahlawan pun akan menjadi lebih dekat karena berada dalam setting yang sama dengan penonton. Jagat Sinema Bumilangit patut berbangga karena berhasil memanen antusiasme yang begitu besar. Mari menanti kemunculan para jagoan selanjutnya!

The Report
(2019)

It took Senate staffer Daniel Jones seven years to compile the 6,700-page report
It took Senate staffer Daniel Jones seven years to compile the 6,700-page report that brought this and other failings to light - a laborious process unpicked by writer/director Scott Z. Burns (whose script credits include The Bourne Ultimatum and No Time To Die) in a talky yet engrossing drama intentionally reminiscent of All The President's Men. Tasked by Senator Dianne Feinstein (a coolly commanding Annette Bening) with leaving no stone unturned, Jones - infused here with simmering indignation by a driven Adam Driver - systematically details the brutalities inflicted on all of the Agency's 119 detainees. Having assembled his torture dossier, though, Jones faces another uphill struggle to get it published. As Matthew Rhys' reporter ruefully observes, "they sent you off to build a boat they had no intention of sailing." As vessels go, The Report is one so overloaded with names, dates, flashbacks and acronyms it's a wonder it stays afloat. That it does should be attributed not just to the dogged conviction Driver exudes as its righteous hero but also to the film's unshakeable belief that the ugly truth will ultimately out. Burns' film is not an easy watch, not least when it depicts what took place in Langley's infamous "black sites". Like the harrowing data that inspired it, though, it defies redaction.

The Aeronauts
(2019)

Redmayne again plays a real-life scientist: meteorologist James Glaisher
Redmayne again plays a real-life scientist: meteorologist James Glaisher, intent on proving it's possible to predict the weather if one can get high enough to take readings of the atmosphere. Which is where Jones' fictional aeronaut Amelia Wren and her hot-air balloon comes in. At first, she refuses to help The Aeronauts follows every rule of screenwriting as rigorously as Glaisher checks his instruments and logs the results - but it's not long before the mismatched pair (he's a sombre fusspot, she's a dazzling showwoman) soar up, up and away to meet-cute at 20,000ft. The Aeronauts begins with Glaisher (who in real life conducted the flight with colleague Henry Coxwell) and Wren clambering into the basket to rise above a cheering, waving crowd. We're treated to some stunning aerial views of the River Thames snaking through smoke-stacked London before the first of several flashbacks fills in the backstory. It's standard stuff (pompous peers, personal trauma) and you can almost hear the fingers of screenwriter Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials) tapping the keyboard as he metes out each revelation for maximum impact. But when the action cuts back to the balloon rising higher and higher, the excitement likewise ratchets: lightning forks through black, roiling clouds that finally drop away to reveal a blue and breathless sky; a swarm of yellow butterflies engulf our gawping heroes at 17,000 feet; the equipment cakes dangerously with ice; far below, the clouds stretch out like snowscapes as far as the eye can see; and the glimmering stars descend until they can almost be touched. It all makes for a journey that's close to being as visually dazzling as the one taken by Brad Pitt in Ad Astra, meaning each of those earthbound flashbacks act as sandbags you'll wish you could cast over the side. The kind of film that critics like to describe as 'handsomely mounted', The Aeronauts also sees Harper (Wild Rose, Peaky Blinders) offer up several action sequences that fall somewhere between surprisingly robust and faintly ludicrous. Similarly, the film lands between two stools, gliding into awards-baiting territory one minute and accelerating to become Fast & Furious: The Victorian Years the next. It makes for a somewhat bumpy ride, but one worth taking.

Ford v Ferrari
(2019)

If you're unfamiliar with the titular race, you won't slip behind
If you're unfamiliar with the titular race, you won't slip behind. Le Mans '66 requires no prior interest in the sport in the same way that you don't need to be a boxing fanatic to enjoy Rocky. At heart, it's a character piece; a platonic romance between two men best able to express themselves behind the wheel. Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon, affable as ever) is a former racerturned-car designer. In the '60s he's hired by Ford to head up the ailing motor company's morale-boosting effort to win the famous 24 Hours Of Le Mans endurance race. And, more specifically, to beat the reigning Ferrari team while doing so. Shelby brings in his buddy Ken Miles (Christian Bale) not only to help design the vehicle that Ford is betting the farm on, but also to drive it. The aptly named Miles is purely driven by his passion for the automotive arts and an unquenchable need for speed. Wayward Brummie accent aside, it's a lovely, warm performance from Bale. There's the trademark intensity - heightened by his geometrically sharp cheekbones - but here it's in service to a common goal, and a love of the sport. Miles doesn't suffer fools, but there's a sweetness to his family-man side and the sheer thrill he gets from racing, hooting things like "Giddy-up!" as he pushes the rev counter to its limit. If Miles is the heart of the team, Shelby's the head, bringing his own racing expertise to bear while also managing the expectations of the suits upstairs, including the irascible Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) and smarmy marketing type Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas). (There's a barely hidden filmmaking analogy here, as the creative visionaries struggle to keep their ideas on track while placating the needs of the executives.) Throw in Jon Bernthal as another, more amenable, exec and the cast starts to feel a little bloated, especially given that the two-hours-30 runtime is generous for a film on a largely predictable track. Bernthal's good, but did we really need another middle-man in the mix, given that Shelby already occupies that negotiator role? Le Mans '66 truly roars into life during the racing scenes, particularly the final act show-stopper. The visceral, pulsequickening laps instantly join the canon of great race sequences, and they're a testament to the skill of director James Mangold and his team, equalling the set-pieces in any more obviously 'bankable' blockbusters. But Mangold's film isn't quite as compelling when not behind the wheel of a record-breaking sports car. For one thing, the US title Ford V Ferrari is somewhat misleading - yes, Ford are looking to unseat the Italian giants, but the latter are so little seen that there's never a palpable sense of a head-to-head rivalry. In their minimal screentime, the Italians come across as scowling stereotypes. And on the subject of stereotypes, Outlander's Caitriona Balfe is lumbered with a limited supportive-wife role as Mollie Miles. It's clear she knows her way around an engine, but she's rarely required to do more that squint with concern at a radio while her husband races. The family scenes don't quite get under the skin of Miles' compulsions in the way that First Man explored the more selfish aspects of Neil Armstrong's pursuits. It's on the physical side that Le Mans '66 really delivers - not only in the aforementioned races, but in the lo-fi mechanics, and the pit stops that canon of great race sequences, and they're a testament to the skill of director James Mangold and his team, equalling the set-pieces in any more obviously 'bankable' blockbusters. But Mangold's film isn't quite as compelling when not behind the wheel of a record-breaking sports car. For one thing, the US title Ford V Ferrari is somewhat misleading - yes, Ford are looking to unseat the Italian giants, but the latter are so little seen take an eternity in comparison to modern-day refuelling methods. The film is a visual treat, an expertly crafted piece of sun-burnished Americana, with no shortage of big-screen thrills. Mangold's career to date has seen a mix of straightforward blockbusters (Knight And Day, The Wolverine) and character pieces (Girl, Interrupted, Cop Land, Walk The Line) but, for all its strengths, Le Mans '66 doesn't straddle that divide as effectively as Mangold's last film, Logan, did.

High Noon
(1952)

Written by Carl Foreman as an allegory of Hollywood's spinelessness during the communist witch hunts
Written by Carl Foreman as an allegory of Hollywood's spinelessness during the communist witch hunts (which would see Foreman blacklisted), it has clear ambitions to make more than a cowboy pic. Unlike its macho peers, it's as much love story as action movie, thanks to its iconic theme song and breakout performance by Grace Kelly. And its ticking-clock urgency remains the model for every movie aiming to tell its story in real time. Sure, it's contrived - do we really believe Gary Cooper's Will Kane gets married, quits and faces his deadliest enemy within a matter of hours? Would the townspeople turn away from Kane in the way they do? That said, the vision of cowardice and apathy feels scarily relevant - and, between the meticulous editing and Cooper's stoic heroism, it still delivers in terms of thrills. Extensive extras deliver the insight that such a classic deserves: several documentaries, two commentaries, even the short story the film was based on. Best start on them now; the clock is ticking.

Oh... Rosalinda!!
(1955)

This 'lost' Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger movie updates Strauss' operetta Die Fledermaus to post-war Vienna
This 'lost' Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger movie updates Strauss' operetta Die Fledermaus to post-war Vienna, with the city under occupation by the four Allied powers. A romantic romp starring Anton Walbrook, Michael Redgrave and Ludmilla Tchérina as the titular object of desire, its primary pleasure is Hein Heckroth's gaudy décor, and it's not hard to see why it was a critical and commercial flop. If you want to see P&P meld opera and cinema to dazzling effect, try their previous film The Tales Of Hoffmann.

Coming Home
(1978)

Jon Voight and Jane Fonda each bagged Oscars (as did the script) playing
Jon Voight and Jane Fonda each bagged Oscars (as did the script) playing, respectively, a paraplegic Vietnam veteran and the volunteer nurse who falls for him while hubbie Bruce Dern is still off fighting. A sensation on release, director Hal Ashby's anti-war drama has been slightly blunted by familiarity thanks to its many imitators. It remains, however, an impassioned and impressive work: a low-key, liberal mirror to The Deer Hunter's fireworks. Ashby (The Last Detail, Harold And Maude), the unsung hero of 1970s Hollywood, adroitly folds the politics into Voight and Fonda's affecting romance.

Shock Corridor
(1963)

Reporter turned filmmaker Samuel Fuller was the master of the hard-hitting
Reporter turned filmmaker Samuel Fuller was the master of the hard-hitting, hard-boiled melodrama, and these two exploitationers (the first about a journalist losing his sanity while investigating a murder, the second about a former prostitute uncovering a dark secret) rank among his best. These Criterion Collection Blu-rays present both beautifully, but extras feel thin next to those that Indicator assembled for its 2018 Fuller boxset.

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