As we move into the business end of the film calendar, the calibre lifts considerably. With The BFI London Film Festival just on the horizon, there are lots of gems to look forward to so here’s what’s on offer this month.
FILM OF THE MONTH: SUPERSONIC – 5 stars (out now)
The Oasis phenomenon has warranted a documentary for years, and with this year marking the 20th anniversary of their legendary Knebworth gigs, Supersonic provides a glorious ode to the band that defined a generation. The film charts the formation of the band in 1991 and takes us on an unforgettable journey laced with humour, genius and proper anarchy. Rousing, raucous and full of swagger, Noel and Liam Gallagher are on stunning form here, delivering stories that are brilliant, fascinating and full of laughs. Heartfelt and sincere throughout, the film delivers a succession of glorious goosebump moments that allows the music to talk. The rare footage is superb too. Supersonic is simply sensational and easily one of the best music documentaries ever made.
WAR ON EVERYONE – 5 stars (out Oct 7th)
It’s so rare to get a decent cop duo these days, but in Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña we finally have a successor to Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s Bad Boys. Writer/Director John Michael McDonagh, who delivered the stellar Brendan Gleeson movies Calvary and The Guard turns his hand to 70s-inspired cop thrillers with more than a decent sprinkling of rude, offensive and damn funny comedy. Terry Monroe (Skarsgård) and his partner Bob Bolaño (Peña) are two corrupt cops in modern day New Mexico who set out to blackmail, rob and extort every criminal that crosses their path. But when a particularly nasty British crime boss named Lord James Mangan (Theo James) enters the picture, the stakes raise considerably. This won’t be to everyone’s taste so if you’re easily offended this clearly isn’t for you. For everyone else, War on Everyone is simply magnificent and one of the films of the year.
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN – 3 stars (out now) Credit: 20th Century Fox
Tim Burton is the perfect director to bring Ransom Riggs beloved book to life in this gloriously gothic family film. Be warned though, it’s quite scary so younger viewers may get too frightened. Jacob (the always excellent Asa Butterfield) is really close to his grandfather Abe (Terence Stamp) and his fantastical stories. But after a family tragedy, Jacob goes on a quest to discover the truth, which leads him to Miss Peregrine (the alluring Eva Green) and her home for ‘peculiar’ children. As he gets to know the residents and their special powers, a sinister force headed by Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) is coming for Jacob and the children.
KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE – 2 stars (out now)
It’s been 27 years since the original Kickboxer movie propelled its young star Jean-Claude Van Damme into the limelight. Now he returns for this reboot of the franchise, although this time playing the role of a martial arts mentor named Durand. After witnessing his brother getting killed in an illegal fight, Kurt Sloane (Alain Moussi) must train harder than ever to defeat the man-monster known as Tong Po (Dave Bautista). Van Damme clearly has fun hamming it up, Bautista barely has 5 lines but looks the part and Moussi is an action star ripped straight out of the 90s… as is the direction and script. Clichéd but entertaining, just take it on face value and you’ll enjoy the ride a lot more.
URBAN HYMN – 4 stars (out now)
Director Michael Caton-Jones delivers a sobering film based on a script by Nick Moorcroft, featuring stunning performances throughout. Jamie Harrison (Letitia Wright) is a young girl who has been in state care for quite some time. Her best friend Leanne (a sensational Isabella Laughland) always has her back but frequently pulls her down the wrong path. When a new care-worker starts named Kate (Harry Potter’s Shirley Henderson), Jamie starts to see prospects in her life. But past loyalties and new hopes clash as Jamie struggles to define her future. It’s so refreshing to see a trio of actresses lead such a compelling film, with all three handing in absorbing performances of the highest order. Strong-willed and full of raw emotion, this is an unmissable drama.
DEEPWATER HORIZON – 4 stars (out now)
Peter Berg, who most recently directed the outstanding Lone Survivor, once again takes his hand to a real life story. On April 20th 2010 the world’s largest man-made disaster happened on the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico. The film is based on The New York Times article by David Barstow, David Rohde, and Stephanie Saul which examined the causes to this catastrophic oil-spill and explosion which resulted in the deaths of many workers. Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell and Gina Rodriguez star in this affecting drama, with screen legend John Malkovich particularly convincing as a BP executive whose actions helped cultivate the disaster.
TRAIN TO BUSAN – 4 stars (out Oct 28th)
After delighting audiences at Frightfest, this South Korean gem of a horror is released just in time for Halloween. A distracted father (Yoo Gong) who works far too much reluctantly agrees to take his young daughter (Soo-an Kim) to see her mother on her birthday. Just as the train bound for Busan leaves Seoul, a viral outbreak sweeps the city, with one infected passenger managing to make it onboard. Soon a zombie outbreak sweeps through the carriages as the uninfected frantically try to survive. Utterly terrifying, with a huge emotional payoff to boot.