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: 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 ★★★★★
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.