Summer is here (even if the weather disagrees) and that means great movies are heading your way. We almost (almost!) had a clean sweep of 4 stars gems this month! Let’s see what’s showing at your local cinema…
FILM OF THE MONTH: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 – 4 stars (out now) – Credit: Disney/Marvel
Writer/Director James Gunn has delivered yet another resounding hit that resonates with its audience on every level. The writing is sharp and emotionally charged, the set-pieces are truly memorable and the music is sublime. After Rocket steals something valuable from The Sovereign, an enlightened but arrogant race of beings, The Guardians of the Galaxy – Star-Lord aka Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (the voice of Bradley Cooper)and Baby Groot (the voice of Vin Diesel) are chased down by old nemesis Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his crew. But soon an ethereal figure named Ego (Kurt Russell) appears and has some startling revelations to tell Peter.
UNLOCKED – 2 stars (out 5th May) – Credit: Lionsgate
This British action-thriller had bags of potential and still manages to botch the job. Alice Racine (Noomi Rapace) is thrown back into active duty when a terror plot threatens to cripple London. With her employers (including screen heavyweights Michael Douglas and John Malkovich) in tow, Alice hunts down the truth. Along the way, a thief (Orlando Bloom), who by chance just happens to be an ex-Marine, decides to join her for the ride. Ridiculous circumstance coupled with a poorly conceived script doesn’t do this film any favours. It looks ok though, and there are a handful of decent action set-pieces along the way. But ultimately, if you don’t see this twist coming, you don’t deserve to watch any films, ever.
BERLIN SYNDROME – 4 stars (out 9th Jun) – Credit: Curzon Artificial Eye
Teresa Palmer delivers a powerful lead performance in director Cate Shortland’s creepy and unsettling thriller, based on Melanie Joosten’s novel. Australian Clare (Palmer) has left her troubles behind to seek clarity and take stock of her life by travelling to Berlin alone. She takes in the sights until she falls for local teacher Andi (Max Riemelt) after a chance encounter. A passionate night follows, and Clare wakes up the next morning to find that she’s locked in Andi’s apartment. Has he just forgotten to leave her the key before he left for work or is something more sinister happening? Shot exceptionally well and gorgeous to look at, the drama builds up an incredible amount of tension, even though the finale loses momentum.
COLOSSAL – 4 stars (out 19th May) – Credit: Entertainment Film Distributors
Every once in awhile, a Sci-Fi movie comes along and completely reaffirms your faith in not only the genre, but cinema in general. Colossal is that film – a delightfully off-beat spectacle that defies logic and delivers a dark and delightful tale laced with genuine comedy and emotion. Anne Hathaway plays Gloria, an alcoholic who moves back home to her parents empty house as she struggles to sort her life out. She reconnects with old classmate Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) and takes up a job in his bar. But soon, in Seoul; South Korea, sightings of a mysterious and giant monster leaves the world in fear. What makes matters worse is Gloria feels that she is connected to this phenomenon. It’s the best work Anne Hathaway has done in years, Jason Sudeikis is excellent and Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell and Tim Blake Nelson lend great support. Writer/Director Nacho Vigalondo has produced a film that will linger long in the soul, plays with convention and has in abundance that rare commodity – genuine originality.
MISS SLOANE – 4 stars (out 12th May) – Credit: eOne
Jessica Chastain delivers yet another sensational leading turn in this taut, engrossing thriller from writer Jonathan Perera and director John Madden. Chastain plays Washington DC lobbyist Elizabeth Sloane, a career-driven and respected professional who gets the job done by any means necessary. Taking up a new position in a rival firm, Elizabeth is pitted against her old employers in a head-on political collision with the stakes rising fast. Clever, astutely observed and immensely absorbing, Miss Sloane is one of the best dramas of the year with Chastain on award-winning form, coupled with great support from Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Stuhlbarg, John Lithgow, Alison Pill and Sam Waterston.
MINDHORN – 4 stars (out 5th May) – Credit: Studiocanal
Mighty Boosh graduates Julian Barratt and Simon Farnaby co-wrote this fantastic throwback to classic British TV. Barratt plays Richard Thorncroft, a has-been actor who shot to fame in the 80s TV series Mindhorn, where he played a detective with a mechanical eye that could ‘literally see the truth’. Jump to present day, and Thorncroft’s career has faltered, with his Mindhorn-fame days a distant memory. That is until a crazed killer with a delusional obsession with all things Mindhorn baffles police by saying he will only negotiate with Mindhorn himself. So Thorncroft dusts off the eye-patch and leather jacket to reprise his most famous role – and in the process, maybe relaunch his career. Full of side-splitting gags, this is one of the funniest films you’ll see all year with Essie Davis, Andrea Riseborough, Steve Coogan and even Kenneth Branagh along for the ride.
THE PROMISE – 4 stars (out now) – Credit: eOne
Oscar Isaac, Christian Bale and Charlotte Le Bon star in this deeply affecting drama that delivers a touching and emotionally-charged story of love and survival. Set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, Press Association reporter Chris Myers (Bale) and his girlfriend Ana Khesarian (Le Bon) cross paths with a young man studying medicine named Mikael Boghosian (Isaac). Soon Ana and Mikael fall for one another, just as war breaks out. A heartbreaking, must-see film that shines a telling light onto the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide, with outstanding performances from everyone.