Cast: Justin Long, Cobie Smulders and Ryan Hensen Genre: Comedy Rating: 6/10
A movie with a heart: Literally, Right Before Aaron is one man’s sorry adventures in dealing with his ex-girlfriend’s prospective wedding – true, that sounds utterly obnoxious but what’s a man suffering from heartbreak to do. In the film, Aaron is Allison’s groom and Allison has invited her ex-boyfriend, Adam, who she dated right before Aaron, to her wedding. After that, Adam spends most of his time trying to work through his memories of the romantic past he had with Allison but it doesn’t ease Adam’s pain: no tennis-playing with Aaron, even though Adam is rubbish at the game and no drunk-dancing on the big day helps him in any way whatsoever. Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out where Adam is going with all of this because he definitely steers clear of breaking Aaron and Allison up – this makes the film an annoying one-person monologue, which just drags on for what seems like indefinitely, and makes you really root for the wedding to take off and for Adam to grow up just a little bit.
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Miranda Richardson and Clancy Brown Genre: Biography Rating: 8/10
Jake Gyllenhaal delivers perhaps his most serious performance as an actor, till date with Stronger – a biopic based on an amputated survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing episode. In the film, Gyllenhaal plays Jeff Bauman, a deli worker who becomes a hero overnight – he naturally fits into the role of an awkward young celebrity and also realistically highlights the personal pain associated with being a survivor of an episode like this. The film itself does a brilliant job of adding a refreshingly human spin to the ‘Boston Marathon bombing’ story. But this emotional story isn’t a soppy tearjearker: it has humour and it showcases the sordidly-tormenting realities of a Bostonian as if there’s always a way to roll with every curveball that life throws at you – it really inspires a great deal that way.
Gordon Brown is known as a politician, who dislikes appearing publicly these days, and it’s probably a very good idea: Brown is not eloquent in communicating – this has always made him a British figure, who’s hard to connect with as a human being, but Brown insists that permitting his work as a politician to speak is all that’s necessary to make a difference on a global scale. That kind of character-blend instantly makes a failed politician, as the elections of 2010 proved, and yet Brown still maintains that during this age of social media networks, that’s what’s right. In many ways, Brown still comes across as the same person he was when he was the Prime Minister, which is something else that’s good because the expectation from his autobiography was that he provides an in-depth look into his world (of work): Brown doesn’t lack in many more drawbacks, as is often the general notion – as the country’s longest-serving Chancellor, Brown was (gratefully) trying his very best to control Tony Blair, the Prime Minister at the time, and he was also (memorably) a dependable British leader, when the banking crash happened on such a mammoth scale; for those things alone, if nothing else, Brown’s reflections of a lifetime in politics is a curious piece of work – one that is genuinely interested in the goodwill of the British people and national values.
Cast: Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke and Henry Goodman Director: Juan Carlos Medina Rating: 6/10
The British film centers on a murder, where the suspect is the person’s wife: Elizabeth Cree but meanwhile, Scotland Yard Inspector John Kildare is on the trails of a ‘Limehouse Golem’, which has a reputation of swiftly remaining uncaught and during it, it soon emerges that Elizabeth’s husband is one of the suspects in the Limehouse Golem murders. In the midst of a sea of eyesores, an underlining suspense running through the script to find out the identity of the Limehouse Golem, as well as discover what really happens of Elizabeth in the end, very much recycles the movie around from a piece of trash to something worthwhile; also noteworthy is the elaborately-detailed backdrop, which gets the tone of the film right – it’s not gay Victorian London anymore, because the atmosphere has suddenly gone from happy to (pressingly) gloomy and dark.
Cast: Bill Skarsgard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer and Chosen Jacobs Director: Andy Muschietti Rating: 8/10
It is a horror film about a terrifying clown, who lives off children and surfaces in an otherwise normal small town, every twenty-seven years (for it). Pennywise the Dancing Clown has special abilities which help him in his pursuits, here – he can morph into a child’s biggest fear. It is the late eighties and there’s a group of young societal misfits called ‘The Losers Club’ – a fat new kid, who likes to read and research a lot, a foul-taking best friend of the brother of a Pennywise victim (George), a homeschooled orphan, and a sickly boy, are amongst the children on the run from Pennywise’s terrors. All this unravels after Pennywise drags George to a sewer, on a very rainy day – George is never seen in town after that incident. I liked that the movie wraps up with the children promising to hunt down Pennywise for good in the end (if he was to return) and there are no ramblings, which fall off the main plot of the film – the scary relationship that Pennywise shares with young children; given that the scary clown appears a little over every two decades or so, it was very interesting to have a new story bring to surface, what that scary experience of being hunted by a clown feels like for some (new) children. It is a must-watch for lovers of classic horror because it’s a new kind of scary experience – a clown (these days) instead of just entertaining in a silly avatar, also hunts terrifyingly mercilessly.
A documentary exploring the life and times of the legendary accessories designer Manolo Blahnik, dotted with quotes from the people who knew him best? It sounds like a novel idea (on paper). And that is just what I liked about this movie – that it focuses on being an informative documentary on the Spanish fashion designer, and nothing else. The storytelling centers on getting the opportunity to learn more about who exactly is, Manolo. Some interesting tidbits about Manolo included in the fold: his first shop was in London (during the ’60s), Manolo’s very personally involved with the renowned creativity displayed in his brand’s handcrafted shoes, which are manufactured in his factories in Italy, and a remarkable story – Manolo’s journey to the top, impressively began with the crafting of shoes from chocolate wrappers in Canary Islands, for lizards. The film manages to caricature Manolo as a humane person, someone who’s quite uncommon, and it really helps to connect with him for that, which makes learning about the fashion designer, all the more interesting and worthwhile.
Cast: Sveva Alviti, Alessandro Borghi and Niels Schneider Director: Lisa Azuelos Rating: 3/5
Dalida can only be two things: portraiture and a tragedy. The French biographical film is about a talented musician, Dalida (Sveva Alviti), with a troubled romantic life – three of her romantic liaisons had committed suicide. Dalida always thought it was important how people view her – she started her career after getting discovered by a Parisian radio programmer, who she had such a romantic equation with that he eventually left his wife for her. Dalida indulges in many romances but perhaps the one that meant the most to her was this one which began in Paris. Dalida eventually commits suicide in 1987 – the film is an insightful and pretty comprehensive take on the life of this Italian music artist, who was born in Egypt. Although, the film focuses on Dalida’s romances more than her musical journey, it still utilizes the film frames in a thoroughly entertaining manner.