All the movies worth catching in the capital, from a boozy comedy set in Dublin to a romance about a photograph...
Out and about this week? Fancy a film but can’t make your mind up what to see? Look no further: we’ve assembled the best of what’s on in London and gathered them here to make choosing a great movie as easy as possible. Whether it’s a chilling drama set against a sun-soaked resort city in Turkey or a ridiculous blockbuster with little concern for the laws of physics, WeLoveCinema has you well and truly covered…
“Girls are tied to beds for two reasons,” deadpans Alia Shawkat’s boozy Tyler, stumbling upon her friend, Laura, played by Holliday Grainger. “Sex and exorcism. So which was it with you?” Animals, adapted from the novel of the same name, isn’t a horror film (exorcisms are out, then), but instead a tale of twenty-something debauchery set in Dublin. Directed by Sophie Hyde, this comedy/drama channels Withnail and I, only with a lot more MDMA. As a wild romp of funny lines and extreme situations, it makes the most of both Shawkat and Grainger’s talents in a story of two friends whose non-stop partying is interrupted when Laura meets a pianist, played by Fra Fee. Perfect for those living – or those who once lived – a life of pure hedonism.
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Swedish filmmaker Isabella Eklöf, who impressed as the co-writer on fantasy-drama Border earlier this year, makes her directional debut with Holiday, a quiet thriller that plays with audience expectations to deliver something both unique and troubling. Victoria Carmen Sonne is mesmerising as Sascha, a trophy girlfriend who travels to Bodrum in Turkey at the request of her drug dealer boyfriend, though their days of empty hedonism are complicated when she meets a charismatic Dutch sailor. One scene here, in particular, is so disturbing that it’s hard to watch without turning away. But it’s also an essential part of what is a bold and ultimately thought-provoking film – one that’s sure to incite countless interpretations.
This romantic drama, written and directed by Ritesh Batra of The Lunchbox fame, hones in on a lowly photographer named Rafi – played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui – who makes a measly living taking photographs of tourists in Mumbai. One day, he stumbles upon a beautiful student named Miloni, played by Sanya Malhotra, who gets her picture taken but disappears before Rafi can hand it to her. The plot – contrived and yet ripe with comic potential, as was also the case with The Lunchbox – kicks into gear when Rafi uses the photograph to appease his mother, who is nagging him to find a wife. When she announces she’s coming stay, though, Rafi has no choice but to track Miloni down. A warm and very likeable romance.
A Gentle Woman (Une Femme Douce)
Back in cinemas a whopping 50 years after its first release, Robert Bresson’s classic, A Gentle Woman, has lost none of its unique power. The story concerns a young woman named Elle, played by Dominique Sanda, who throws herself out of an apartment block window. Her husband (Guy Frangin), then sits and regales the story of their unhappy marriage to his maid. All these years later, A Gentle Woman still feels as devastating as ever in its portrait of a complicated union. As we revisit the couple in a series of flashbacks, we slowly learn what drove her to an untimely death. Sad and beautiful, first date material this certainly ain’t.
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This hard-hitting tale of alienation, set in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, hones in on Pedro (played by Shico Menega), a young gay man waiting for a plea hearing after a violent attack. Isolated and without a friend in the world, he decides to set up a webcam, smear himself with paint, and dance for paying customers (as you do). Written and directed by Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolin, Hard Paint is a deeply atmosphere work, at times frustrating, but infused with a real and underling melancholy that stays with you long after it’s over. The lead performance from Shico Menega is especially good, even if the characterisation is a little thin, as is the neon-infused cinematography that – ahem – paints the picture.
TV director William McGregor makes his feature film debut with Gwen, a dark folk story set in 18th century Wales, featuring a star-making performance from Eleanor Worthington Cox. Stunningly beautiful, though just about the darkest film since David Fincher gave us Se7en (honestly: it’s really hard to see), Gwen manages to be both a gripping tale of a girl’s struggle to survive a harsh world and an eerie mood piece. Channeling Wuthering Heights and Thomas Hardy, with a fantastic supporting turn from the always fantastic Maxine Peake, few films dare to be as grim as this one. Thankfully McGregor makes this candle-lit drama an intoxicating ride – even if you’re sure to breath a sigh of relief when the lights go up.
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Remembered for its epic corridor fight in which a man single-handily attempts to beat down an endless line of thugs using only a hammer, Oldboy is now rightfully considered a classic of world cinema. Helmed by South Korean master Park Chan-wook, this twisted tale of revenge follows a man who – after being imprisoned by a mysterious benefactor for fifteen years – sets out on a quest of vengeance. Oldboy is many things – among them a disturbing parable about how our mistakes come back to haunt us – and a film whose continued popularity presumably stems from how dense it feels, both visually and thematically. Forget Spike Lee’s misguided remake: catch the original – now restored in glorious 4K – whilst it’s back on the big screen.
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Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham were so good as a bickering, arse-kicking duo they went ahead and gave them their own spin-off. So here we are with the awkwardly-titled Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, a set-piece heavy spy thriller that’s about as subtle as an explosion at a firework factory, though well-aware of the fact. It’s also just about the best blockbuster of the summer (let’s face it: competition is thin). With Idris Elba on bad guy duties as a cyber-enhanced soldier trying to destroy the world with a lethal virus, and co-starring Vanessa Kirby as Shaw’s sister/MI6 agent gone rogue, this is about as unpretentious as action movies get… and about as dumb as a box of rocks. In a good way.
Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love
Nick Broomfield, who has had a successful career making documentaries about everyone from Sarah Palin to Whitney Houston, offers up an intimate portrait of singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen’s long-standing affair with Marianne Ihlen, a Norwegian he met on a Greek island in the ’60s who later became his “muse.” Interestingly, Ihlen – at around the same time – met Broomfield and became his friend (and later lover), which injects this look at Cohen and his mysterious relationship with Ihlen with a unique, insider’s perspective. The result is a tender documentary that’s immensely watchable and highly evocative of the swinging ’60s.
Varda By Agnès
When Agnès Varda died earlier this year, she left behind an immense and eclectic body of work. But of course she had one last surprise left for us in Varda by Agnès – not a perfume range, but an autobiographical documentary helmed by the great woman herself, a kind of introspective analysis of her approach to filmmaking. Complied mostly of footage of the French auteur speaking at various events and discussing her films – her best known, perhaps, is 1962 masterpiece Cleo From 5 to 7 – it is an intimate pleasure to be able to listen as she celebrates her career highs and laughs at her lows. If you haven’t seen Varda’s other films, this still works as a brilliant intro. You’ll want to get stuck into her oeuvre right away.
This post was categorised in Archive.