Despite the film not being able to transition quite so smoothly between its two binding themes, there is a lot of entertainment on show, and that is mostly thanks to the truly excellent cast of performers in central and supporting roles. Keira Knightley seems to excel in any role that puts her in a time period other than our own, and as Sally she effortlessly exudes that sort of 1970s early intellectual feminist attitude, an attitude that is wonderfully contrasted by the more militant activism and charisma of her friend Jo played by Jessie Buckley. Together those two actresses are the key figureheads for the Women’s Lib element of the film, and they are great.
It feels against the message of the film to say, but I need to stress just how irresistibly resplendent Gugu Mbatha-Raw is as Miss Grenada Jennifer Hosten. The grace, serenity and knowing intelligence that both the character and actress possess is a captivating joy to watch, and Mbatha-Raw along with Loreece Harrison as Pearl Jansen (the first black Miss South Africa) provide a necessary and thought provoking contrast for the audience, helping us to see how the pageant, as strikingly ‘cattle market’ as it might be, was one of the very few avenues for a minority to be given a platform.
Overall, Misbehaviour falls in very neatly with dozens of other British comedy dramas of its like, not quite the top tier, but still far from being anything close to bad. Given the subject matter and themes involved, it perhaps doesn’t have quite as much bite as I would have personally wanted, but a handful of really great performances along with that quintessentially ‘comfortable’ British quality make it a solid enough watch.
As for the immediate future of this blog, I’ll try to catch new releases on home cinema as and when I can, but the main thing is that we all stay safe and be sensible. Hunker down, build up that Netflix queue, and enjoy doing your part to prevent this shitty virus from spreading to those more vulnerable than ourselves. See you soon!
It’s not every day, or even every year, that a romantic comedy touches a nerve of reality — and is drop-dead funny, and becomes an acclaimed awards-bait hit. So when a director makes the rare romantic comedy that accomplishes all those things, unwittingly or not he has set the bar high for his next effort. “The Lovebirds” is the first movie directed by Michael Showalter since “The Big Sick,” the 2017 indie knockout about love, cultural identity, and a girlfriend in a coma, and since this one also costars the deadpan live wire Kumail Nanjiani (though he didn’t cowrite it, as he did “The Big Sick”), it’s hard not to go in with your expectations in overdrive.
The opening scenes totally deliver. We see the moony morning after the night that Jibran (Nanjiani) and Leilani (Issa Rae) first slept together — they met at an event while flirting at the crudité table — and the actors generate the kind of connective heat that’s either there or it’s not.
For some reason, the hype and love for the original Incredibles film was something that kind of passed me by. Don’t get me wrong, I laughed along in the cinema with the rest of you those fourteen years ago, and I can’t profess to being ‘too cool’ for kid’s movies as a 15 year old in 2004 (I’m still not that cool), but the Incredibles was just a film that rarely entered my thinking process when it came to pondering a top five Pixar list. That doesn’t mean, though, that I wasn’t excited about the prospect of re-entering the universe. In fact, with a PR promise of the main focus being on Elastigirl this time around, I went in with the rare feeling that this could be a sequel I like better than the original.
I wasn’t wrong. Although released fourteen years later, Incredibles 2 takes off literally seconds after the end of the 2004 original. Everyone’s favourite super powered family are forced to fight off the bizarre mole like villain Underminer, but in doing so they attract far too much public attention to themselves are forced to go in to hiding of their own volition after the government shuts down the Superhero Relocation Program. This time around, and in a very timely narrative choice, it is Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) who is contacted by a man named Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), a millionaire businessman who is committed to reversing the law that criminalises superhero through public acts of heroism and good PR.
In an attempt to avoid the messy, costly style of heroic destruction that often follows Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Elastigirl is chosen as the new figurehead of this operation, and whilst she becomes embroiled in a fight against a mysterious cyber villain known as the Screensaver, dad has to stay at home with the kids and face his own battles in the form of Violet’s (Sarah Vowell) new crush, Dash’s (Huck Milner) penchant for trouble and baby Jack Jack’s many, MANY emerging powers. With a little babysitting help, of course, from our favourite super-suit designer, Edna Mode (Brad Bird).
As with “A Christmas Carol” and the Grinch, every generation gets its own version of “The Nutcracker,” it seems.
The latest incarnation of the E.T.A. Hoffmann story is Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” a hokey oddity that glissades along with a few charms and a pleasant score by James Newton Howard heavily incorporating themes from Tchaikovsky’s ballet (though there’s little dancing).
Children who are 10 and under may be enchanted by the abundantly whimsical holiday-themed visuals; accompanying adults might chuckle at the movie’s leaden attempt at a girl-empowering message. Anyone squeamish about rodents — even ones that have been rendered sort of cute by CGI — might consider steering clear.
On Christmas Eve in Victorian-era London, Clara (Mackenzie Foy), a budding inventor, receives a special, egg-shaped box left for her by her recently deceased mother. With it is a note that reads in part: “Everything you need is inside.” But lo! The key to unlock the egg is nowhere to be found, and thus her journey to discover what lies inside it (and, of course, herself) unfolds.
There’s no eye of newt or toe of frog in “Roald Dahl’s The Witches,” Robert Zemeckis’s take on the 1983 book — just a mischief of mice, a cantankerous cat and an occasional s-s-snake. There are people, too; some buzz around in the background while others push the story forward. Chief among these are an unnamed orphan, call him the Boy (Jahzir Bruno, sweetly sensitive), and his loving grandmother (Octavia Spencer), who form a wee bulwark against witches who appear fair but are most foul.
Narrated by a distracting Chris Rock, the story primarily takes place in flashback, in 1967, starting with an accident that kills the Boy’s parents. He moves into the Alabama home of his Grandma, whose warm embrace eases his pain. Zemeckis, working from a script written with Kenya Barris and Guillermo del Toro, handles this setup effortlessly, with his two cozily inviting leads, low-key visual panache and customary restive camerawork. Within minutes, Zemeckis has created a vibrantly inhabited world, even if the golden oldies on the soundtrack are overly familiar, as is his habit, and Grandma’s caky cornbread looks more Northern than Southern.
The witches sidle in, disguised and cunning. One materializes in a once-upon-a-time tale; another pops up in the present. Amid intimations of doom, Grandma and the Boy decamp to a resort hotel, a nonsensical turn that’s effectively a narrative contrivance. There, they soon find themselves facing down a coven of witches stirring up trouble. United by their hatred of children, the twisted sisters are led by the Grand High Witch (an amusing Anne Hathaway), who arrives with a black cat, a trunk stuffed with cash and a vile plan. Speaking in a vaguely Eastern European accent with Nordic notes, she has a cavernous mouth and jagged teeth right out of del Toro’s imaginarium.