Director: Roger Goldby.
Starring: Joan Collins, Pauline Collins. UK 2016. 104 mins.
In this bittersweet comedy, faded Hollywood glamour puss Helen (Joan Collins, gamely acting the part) hooks up with Priscilla (Pauline Collins), whose boorish husband (Ronald Pickup) still blames her for the death their young son decades earlier. Happenstance then thrusts the two pals on a journey to France for the funeral of Helen’s favourite director. A series of mishaps culminates in a rich artist (Franco Nero) falling for Priscilla, despite Helen’s best efforts to intervene – plus a big reveal involving the director’s widow (Joely Richardson). Veteran TV writer-director Roger Goldby (Hustle) maintains a heady pace and a light touch, allowing the two Collinses to strut their very considerable stuff in what might be called a silver-haired Thelma & Louise.
Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker. Voices: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House. USA 2016. 113 mins.
On the mythical and mystical island of Motuni in the South Pacific lives the titular Moana (delightful newcomer Cravalho), daughter of the tribal chief and last in a long line of navigators. Her family have long since abandoned their fabled oceanic adventuring, but with encouragement from her grandma (House), the teenage Moana sets off to sea in search of a mysterious island, accompanied by a spiky demigod (Johnson) and a pet rooster. In their first digital animation – which involved much specially written software – and with a starry voice cast including actors with Pacific island roots, legendary Disney directors Clements and Musker (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid) have created a visually stunning work, adding music and humour to the tale of an unlikely but endearing friendship.
Director: Asghar Farhadi.
Starring: Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti. Iran/France. 2016. 123 mins. Farsi with English subtitles.
Critically acclaimed Iranian director Asghar Farhadi came to international prominence with a trio of elegant dramas: About Elly (2009), A Separation
(2011) and The Past (2013). Empathetic and even-handed, Farhadi places life in modern Iran under the microscope, with socially divisive issues surrounding class and gender especially prominent in his narratives. In his quietly powerful new feature, Farhadi turns his attentions to an acting couple forced to relocate to a new apartment. Wrapped up in a production of Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman, Emad (Hosseini) and Rana (Alidoosti) accept the offer of an empty apartment from a fellow thespian when theirs falls into disrepair. Morality, a desire for justice and social pressure come to the fore when Emad and Rana make a troubling discovery about the previous occupants and are forced to deal with the aftermath of a violent attack. The Salesman won Best Screenplay, and Best Actor for Shahab Hosseini, at this year’s Cannes.
Director: James Gray
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller. USA 2016. 141 mins.
Lost City Of Z centres on the story of real-life explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett (Hunnam), who in the 1920s journeyed into the Amazon jungle searching for a lost civilisation. Having left behind his sparky, intellectual and protesting wife (Miller), and accompanied by his aide-de-camp Henry Costin (Pattinson), he faces all manner of human and natural obstacles on his quest to find the mythical city.