What's on at Arts Picturehouse Cambridge - Big Scream
Directors: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk.
Featuring: Al Gore, Barack Obama, Donald Trump. USA 2017. 98 mins.
Ten years after his original Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore remains deeply committed to publicising the oncoming perils of climate change and, as this movie demonstrates, doing something practical about it. Taking over from original director Davis Guggenheim, directors Bonnie Cohen and Jon Shenk follow Gore as he travels the globe tutoring eco-activists as well as demonstrating to his global warming-denying critics that his original, dour predictions are already proving correct – Miami Beach’s regular floods, Hurricane Sandy putting Manhattan’s Ground Zero underwater, anybody? Footage of Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s efforts conversely to address and refute the fact of climate change are equally chilling, which is ironic considering that the fifteen hottest years on record have occurred since 2001. Sobering and heartening in equal measure.
Director: Jérôme Salle.
Starring: Lambert Wilson, Pierre Niney, Audrey Tautou. France 2016. 123 mins. French with English subtitles.
Explorer Jacques Cousteau’s career is re-played in Jérôme Salle’s impressively mounted biopic. Lambert Wilson (Of Gods And Men) is the charismatic and opinionated French naval captain who made oceanography and environmentalism household words with his 1960s and ’70s TV series. But for all Cousteau’s vision, entrepreneurial skill and bravery, relationships with his wife (Tautou) and sons Philippe (Niney, Frantz) and the less-favoured Jean-Michel (Benjamin Lavernhe) were anything but easy. After Philippe was killed in a plane crash Cousteau was for a time a broken man and he never he fully recovered his indomitable spirit. Spanning some 30 years, Salle’s film skilfully intersperses accounts of the Cousteau family dynamics with underwater sequences which are as impressive as any accomplished by the man himself. A film as delightful to behold as it is thoughtful.
Director: Kathryn Bigelow.
Starring: John Boyega, Algee Smith, Anthony Mackie. USA 2017. 143 mins.
Never afraid to tackle tendentious subjects, director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker) now set their sharp sights on the events of 1967 Detroit, which sparked the worst race riots in American history. The action is centred on the Algiers Motel on a sweltering hot July night, where a random shot from a starting pistol brought in the National Guard and a large number of police sharpshooters. Three black men were left dead and several more brutally beaten; a black security guard, Melvin Dismukes (John Boyega, Star Wars’ Finn), tried desperately to mediate between his white superiors and an enraged African-American community. Freighted with characteristic dramatic intensity and shot with a gritty realism, Bigelow’s latest is a timely reminder of the deep and potentially lethal divisions in American society.
Trying to reverse a family curse, brothers Jimmy (Channing Tatum) and Clyde Logan (Adam Driver) set out to execute an elaborate robbery during the legendary Coca-Cola 600 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Director: Francis Lee.
Starring: Josh O’Connor, Alec Secareanu, Gemma Jones, Ian Hart. UK 2017. 105 mins.
Johnny Saxby (O’Connor) works long hours on his family’s remote farm in the north of England. He numbs the daily frustration of his lonely existence with nightly binge drinking at the local pub and casual sex. But when a handsome Romanian migrant worker (Secareanu) arrives to take up temporary work on the family farm, Johnny suddenly finds himself dealing with emotions he has never felt before. As they begin working closely together during lambing season, an intense relationship forms – one that could change Johnny’s life forever. Captivating and broodingly beautiful, God’s Own Country is the award-winning debut feature from writer-director Francis Lee. Set in the heart of rural Yorkshire, this is a bracingly openhearted romantic story marked by stunning lead performances.
Director: Juan Carlos Medina. Starring: Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke, Sam Reid. UK 2016. 109 mins.
Set in London’s East End in the late 1800s, The Limehouse Golem follows John Kildare (Nighy), an erudite detective whose career is going nowhere. To make matters worse, he’s assigned a case he can’t crack: a series of murders so brutal the locals believe it could only be the work of a mythical creature. But when rising music hall star Lizzie Cree (Cooke) is accused of murdering her husband, Kildare suspects clearing her name will bring him closer to the truth. Told in flashbacks chronicling Lizzie’s picaresque rise through the seamier habitats of showbiz, this Victorian murder-mystery keeps us guessing throughout. Look out for some wonderful cameos from the likes of Eddie Marsan (Their Finest), Douglas Booth (The Riot Club) and fêted Spanish actress Maria Valverde.
Director: Stephen Frears.
Starring: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Eddie Izzard. UK/USA 2017. 112 mins.
The year is 1887, and the British Empire is celebrating Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. A young Indian clerk, Abdul Karim (Fazal), travels to England to present the monarch with a ceremonial coin. “Whatever you do, you must not look at Her Majesty,” he is told. But he does. And he smiles. And so begins one of the unlikeliest friendships in history. As the Queen (Dench) questions the constrictions of her long-held position, she forms a strong bond with her newest servant. Their devoted alliance provokes outrage and conspiracy within the Royal Household, but it also rejuvenates the cosseted ruler, who begins to see a changing world through new eyes. A lavish, heartfelt period drama with wit and charm, Victoria And Abdul allows us to peek beyond the portraits and imagine the hardships – and joys – of being the figurehead of the last true empire.