What's on at Arts Picturehouse Cambridge - Big Scream
Director: Paul McGuigan.
Starring: Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Julie Walters. UK 2017. 106 mins.
Based on actor Peter Turner’s poignant memoir, Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool follows the intense romance kindled by Hollywood legend Gloria Grahame and the much younger Turner in the late 1970s. Looking for stage work in Britain to revive her career, Grahame (Bening) meets Turner (Bell) in a London boarding house, sparking a vibrant, whirlwind affair. A few years later, after their courtship has ended, Grahame collapses in a Lancaster hotel. Her health failing, she reaches out to her former flame. When she moves to Liverpool to stay with Turner and his family, the pair’s memories of what they once had come flooding back. Bell and Bening excel as the star-crossed lovers, vividly capturing their physical and emotional connection. For Bening in particular, this might just be the performance that makes it her year at the Oscars.
Director: Sean Baker.
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto. USA 2017. 111 mins.
Movies starring children can veer between mawkish and improbable, but so far Sean Baker has focussed on making youthful friendship a central theme in his highly engaging, no-budget work (the much acclaimed Tangerine was shot on iPhones). This time, however, he has attracted substantial funding for his latest, The Florida Project, which will go down as one of the truly great movies about childhood. It stars two gifted if not precocious amateur six-year-olds, Brooklynn Prince and Valeria Cotto, who play best friends living below the poverty line, the former with her feckless mum (Bria Vinaite, also a gifted first-timer) in a tacky tourist motel managed by a caring but sharp-witted (and never better) Willem Dafoe. The girls’ infectious lust for life is free of moral and economic consequences, although these become apparent as the heady action careens joyously along. Simply wonderful.
The legendary 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs is at the heart of this playful and funny film from the directors of Little Miss Sunshine. In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women’s movement, the game between women’s world champion Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-men’s-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the Battle Of The Sexes and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world. As the rivalry between King and Riggs intensified, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. The fiercely private King was not only championing equality, but also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality. While Riggs, one of the first self-made media-age celebrities, wrestled with his gambling demons, at the expense of his family. Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court and sparked discussions that continue to reverberate today.
Director: Rian Johnson. Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac. USA 2017. TBC mins.
How do you follow The Force Awakens – a film that raked in two billion dollars at the box office and made the world fall in love with Star Wars all over again? That’s the mammoth task in the charge of The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson (Looper), who has lined up an epic adventure that challenges heroes old and new and delves deep into the mythology of the Force. Plot details are scarce, but the late Carrie Fisher plays a major role, and Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro join the cast. The film’s beating heart, however, is the relationship between Rey and Luke. Rey finally comes face to face with the Jedi master on the island of Ahch-To, but he’s not the man she was expecting to find.