One of the decade’s most anticipated films, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s seminal 1982 neo-noir, Blade Runner, is finally upon us. Scott himself returns as producer, freeing up the director’s chair for the supremely talented Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario), while Harrison Ford reprises his role as Rick Deckard. In 2049, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Gosling), uncovers a terrible secret that could throw what’s left of an already broken society into terminal chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find former replicant hunter Deckard, who has been missing for 30 years. In true Blade Runner style, K wants to ask him some questions – the answers to which may have a lot to do with a chilling creator of ‘disposable workforces’, Niander Wallace (Leto).
The fate of astronauts marooned in space might seem a familiar plotline, but as conceived by director Cuarón (CHILDREN OF MEN), it becomes a visual magnum opus as well as drama of the highest order. Clooney is wisecracking space veteran Kowalski, Bullock the rookie scientist Stone, and in a staggering 13-minute opening take we see her drifting helplessly from a wrecked space shuttle. Clooney is no stranger to the isolation of space – he starred in Soderbergh’s SOLARIS remake – but in GRAVITY his emotional reach extends even further as their battle for survival intensifies, and in her range of reactions to their worsening predicament, Bullock’s performance matches his. Above all, though, it’s the technical achievements of Cuarón and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki that will leave you reeling with amazement.
Contains sustained moderate threat, disturbing images and strong language.
Teenager Rick (Dennison), an overweight hip-hop fan, finds himself living in the latest of several foster homes, where the kindly Bella (Wiata) and gruff backwoodsman Hector (Neill) do their best to accommodate (i.e. put up with) him. Then Bella abruptly disappears, and social services threaten to move Rick on. Having none of it, Rick runs away into the bush, followed by the somewhat reluctant Hector. Their ensuing adventures as they outwit an increasingly intense search for them prove both ingenious and hilarious.
Kiwi writer-director Taika Waititi has strong form in offbeat comedy following 2014’s vampire mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows, and Dennison and Neill are excellent conduits for his quietly absurdist humour. The result is one of the unlikeliest buddy movies since Planes, Trains And Automobiles.
Contains moderate bad language, innuendo and infrequent bloody moments.