The unconventional love story of an aspiring actress (Lily Collins), her determined driver (Alden Ehrenreich), and the eccentric billionaire (Warren Beatty) who they work for. It"s Hollywood, 1958. Small town beauty queen and devout Baptist Marla Mabrey (Collins), under contract to the infamous Howard Hughes (Beatty), arrives in Los Angeles. At the airport, she meets her personal driver Frank Forbes (Ehrenreich), only two weeks on the job and also from a religiously conservative background. Their instant attraction not only puts their religious convictions to the test, but also defies Hughes" #1 rule: no employee is allowed to have an intimate relationship with a contract actress. But Hughes" absurd behavior intersects with Marla and Frank in very separate and unexpected ways, and as they are drawn deeper into his bizarre world, their values are challenged and their lives are changed.
Director: Lone Scherfig.
Starring: Gemma Arterton, Sam Clafin, Bill Nighy. UK 2017. 117 mins.
In 1940, a married woman (Gemma Arterton) and a screenwriter (Sam Claflin) develop a growing attraction while working together on a propaganda film about the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk, France. A beautifully crafted costume drama with terrific performances, Lone Scherfig's new film is a quietly subversive, funny and finally moving account of a little known story from one of the darkest, most uncertain periods of British history.
Director: Chan-wook Park.
Starring: Min-hee Kim, Tae-ri Kim, Jung-woo Ha. South Korea 2016. 145 mins. Korean with English subtitles.
After shooting his first English-language feature in 2013, the Nicole Kidman-starring Stoker, acclaimed South Korean director Chan-wook Park reverts to his native language for the erotically charged psychological thriller The Handmaiden. Those familiar with the popular director’s films will be glad to know that Park’s penchant for studied framing, black humour and dark subject matter is present and correct. Inspired by, rather than adapted from, Sarah Waters’s 2002 novel Fingersmith,
The Handmaiden switches the Victorian England setting for that of Korea under Japanese colonial rule in the 1930s. Featuring stunning period production design by Seong-hie Ryu, The Handmaiden is a deliciously twisty tale of revenge, centring on an heiress, her con man uncle and the lady-in-waiting for whom she begins to fall. A real feast for the senses, and as stylishly executed as one would expect from Park, this thriller will leave audiences swooning at the power of both the imagery and the storytelling.
Director: Bill Condon
Starring: Emma Watson, Luke Evans, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellen. USA 2017. 129 mins.
Back in 1991, the Walt Disney Company released Beauty And The Beast, an exquisitely drawn feature animation that became a gargantuan hit, delighting both audiences and critics and spinning off a blockbuster Broadway musical. So who better to breathe new life into the beloved French fairy tale – with its very modern message of not judging people by their appearance – in a live-action telling than the studio that made it a movie classic in the first place? Veteran director Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Parts 1 & 2, Dreamgirls, Mr Holmes) has refashioned the characters for a contemporary audience but stayed true to the animation’s music, with several new songs and an amended score by the original composer, Alan Menken. Get ready to be wowed all over again.