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: David Lowery.
Starring: Casey Affleck. Rooney Mara. USA 2017. 92 mins.
The latest film from acclaimed director David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pete’s Dragon) is a singular exploration of legacy, loss, and the essential human longing for meaning and connection. A white-sheeted ghost (Affleck) returns to his suburban home to console his bereft wife (Mara), only to find that in his spectral state he has become unstuck in time, forced to watch passively as the life he knew and the woman he loves slowly slip away. Increasingly unmoored, the ghost embarks on a cosmic journey through memory and history, confronting life’s ineffable questions and the enormity of existence. An audacious, unforgettable meditation on the passage of time, A Ghost Story emerges ecstatic and surreal – a wholly unique experience that lingers long after the credits roll.
Contains infrequent strong language, images of dead bodies.
Director: David Leitch.
Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella. USA 2017. 115 mins.
Charlize Theron kicks serious ass wearing suspenders and stilettos in this slick, action-packed espionage thriller. She plays Lorraine Broughton, a top MI6 operative dispatched to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and retrieve a top-secret dossier. Here she meets station chief David Percival (McAvoy) and they form an uneasy partnership. “God, I think I love you,” Percival tells her admiringly. Who wouldn’t? Theron is cooler than ice as she stalks Berlin’s chilly streets and steamy nightclubs, pausing only to kiss a girl or knock back a vodka on the rocks. Adapted from Antony Johnston’s graphic novel The Coldest City, the movie is directed by David Leitch (John Wick and the upcoming Deadpool 2), who also happens to be Brad Pitt’s former stunt double. It’s fair to say action fans won’t leave disappointed.
Director: Mark Gill. Starring: Jack Lowden, Jessica Brown Findlay. UK 2017. 94 mins.
Self-absorbed miserablist or uncompromising observer of shifting cultural values? Both may be said of Steven Morrissey, singer-songwriter and former frontman of seminal ’80s band The Smiths. This striking docu-drama contextualises his career by chronicling his troubled adolescence in 1970s Manchester – a time when he was still finding his musical mojo. Jack Lowden (Dunkirk) stars as the young Morrissey, a restless teenager struggling to escape his working-class roots, taking a string of dead-end jobs as his parents’ marriage disintegrates. Yet after meeting art student Linder (Brown Findlay), his courage and sense of purpose grow, marking the start of his journey to become the artist that he knows, deep down, he is destined to be. An evocative and often amusing portrait, England Is Mine is as compelling and at times heart-rending as Morrissey’s own back catalogue.
Director: Michael Showalter.
Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Anupam Kher. USA 2017. 119 mins.
Based on the true story of the film’s writers (and real-life couple), Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, this modern culture clash shows how Pakistan-born Kumail and his American girlfriend, Emily, have to overcome the expectations of his family and their 1,400-year-old traditions. As his parents relentlessly set him up with potential brides for an arranged marriage, Kumail navigates treacherous waters in the worlds of both dating and stand-up comedy.
Produced by Judd Apatow, The Big Sick features a sterling collection of comedy talent in front of and behind the camera, with Michael Showalter directing the hilariously insightful film that shrewdly puts the spotlight on its writer/star Kumail Nanjiani (HBO’s Silicon Valley). A revered comedian, Nanjiani shines in the lead role, bringing his singular voice to center stage. Mining his personal stories for comedy gold, he shares his experiences that are uniquely Pakistani but will resonate for everyone who has ever fallen in love.
“The Big Sick is scoring points on familiar rom-com territory, so when it suddenly morphs into a completely different film — a bracingly sophisticated one — you’ll want to cry with happiness.” - Time Out ★★★★★