Yet another true story film being released during Oscar season, The Upside is a remake of a 2011 French film ‘The Intouchables’. Telling the story of a paralysed billionaire who has an unlikely friendship with his new carer, an ex-convict on parole, the film's cliché narrative lets down what could be a great film with fantastic performances.
Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly return to our screens after appearing together last month in Holmes and Watson. A million miles away from that rubbish pile, they this time appear as Hollywood’s great comedy double act. Telling the story of Laurel and Hardy’s final tour together, Stan & Ollie is a beautifully sentimental tale of friendship and love.
Adam McKay is quickly becoming the one of the most unique writer/directors currently working. After creating classic comedies like ‘Anchorman’, ‘Step Brothers’ and ‘The Other Guys’, he turned his attention to more serious topics with ‘The Big Short’, using his comedy background to make the 2008 Financial Crisis entertaining. This time, McKay turns his attention to the White House during the Bush/Cheney administration, and it’s no overstatement to say that he has created a satirical masterpiece.
Based on the real-life memoirs of David and Nic Sheff, ‘Beautiful Boy’ tells the tragic story of a father and his drug-addicted teenage son, and the strain this puts on their relationship. Supported by two stellar performances, the film is a weighty and emotional ride with a dark truth at its heart.
Yorgos Lanthimos is known for his surrealist sensibilities. Other hits like ‘The Lobster’ (2014) and ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ (2017) have shown his love for the bizarre and farcical. Here, he turns this twisted vision on the court of Queen Anne, and creates a hilarious political melodrama of power plays and jealousy.
Mary Poppins, made in 1964, is practically perfect in every way. It is the jewel in Disney’s live action crown, and is rightfully regarded as one of the best films ever made. Naturally, in today’s modern saturated movie market, a long overdue sequel was made. While Mary Poppins doesn’t begin to eclipse the original, it gives it a damn good try.
Green Book tells the true-life story of African-American pianist Don Shirley, and Tony Vallelonga, his bodyguard and driver during a two-month tour of the deep south. A story of acceptance, understanding and love, the film uses a hilarious comic tone to underplay the powerful statement against racism, and is a triumph in both respects.
It’s rare to see a film debut as this, but Boots Riley’s absurdist dark comedy is just that. Telling the story of a young African American telemarketer who speaks in a ‘white voice’ to sell to his clients, it’s themes, tone and ideas are utterly bizarre and pretty original. If Black Mirror was to make an fuelled movie, this would be it.
The Coen Brothers are back! The masters of dark comedy have returned to smaller screens this time with their Netflix distributed western anthology film ‘The Ballad of Buster Scroggs’. After a limited theatrical release, it’s the first of their films to be distributed on a streaming platform. Though it seems a shame that the majority of viewers (myself included) won’t get to see the beautiful frontier locations on the big screen, it actually makes a perfect film for Netflix and a wonderfully enjoyable piece of entertainment.
Robert Redford has had a hugely celebrated career. From ‘Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid’ to ‘Out of Africa’, ‘Ordinary People’ to ‘All the Presidents Men’, he has been a staple of American cinema for almost six decades. Now however, he hangs up the towel in his final film before his retirement, The Old Man & the Gun. Reminiscent of a classic crime comedy caper, the film is a beautifully warm and charming affair that is a fitting tribute to the legend’s illustrious career.