Since I don’t get to the cinema to see new releases that often anymore, this is my new weekly feature reviewing the latest releases on Sky Cinema Premiere (and in turn, Now TV). I will write a short review and rating for each of the films that I have watched and then give you the details for the ones that I didn’t get a chance to see.
This week’s feature sees the release of Against The Wild, Her Magical Christmas, 120 BPM, A Very Sordid Wedding, Lady Bird, The Greatest Showman, and Wonder Wheel.
26th November – Against The Wild (An Elephant’s Journey)
Synopsis: Orphan Phoenix – who lost his parents in an accident – is now living on a South Africa reserve with his Aunt Sarah and Uncle Jack. However, when he gets lost on the first day of a safari, he finds himself teaming up with Indlovu the elephant. He also learns that they are now both the target of poachers who will stop at nothing.
Director: Richard Boddington
Cast: Sam Ashe Arnold, Elizabeth Hurley, Tertius Meintjes, Hlomla Dandala, and Louis Minaar
27th November – Her Magical Christmas (Magical Christmas Ornaments)
Synopsis: Lovelorn Marie (played by 90210‘s Jessica Lowndes) is a huge Christmas fan, but she has lost faith in the holiday after a bad break-up. However, her spirit gets a boost when she meets her handsome neighbour, Nate. But to make things worse, her boss assigns her to edit the book of the man who caused her heartache. Feeling lost both at work and in love, Marie looks for a Christmas miracle.
Director: Don McBrearty
Cast: Jessica Lowndes, Brendan Penny, Farah Merani, Stephen Huszar, Judah Katz, and Tim Matheson
28th November – 120 BPM (120 battements par minute)
Synopsis: In 1990s Paris, the direct action group Act Up embark on a more radical protest against the ineffectual response of Francois Mitterand’s government to the darkening Aids crisis. Also in their sights are the French drug companies who refused to speed up potential breakthrough treatments. In French with English subs.
Director: Robin Campillo
Cast: Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Arnaud Valois, Adèle Haenel, Antoine Reinartz, Félix Maritaud, and Ariel Borenstein
29th November – A Very Sordid Wedding
Synopsis: Larger-than-life sisters Latrell, LaVonda and Aunt Sissy set their sights on the religious zealotry and anti-gay feeling in their Texas town. To confound the bigots, they decide to protest against an “Anti-Equality Rally” which aims to forbid any same-sex weddings in their county.
Director: Del Shores
Cast: Leslie Jordan, Whoopi Goldberg, Caroline Rhea, Bonnie Bedelia, Dale Dickey, and Aleks Paunovic
30th November – Lady Bird
Synopsis: Lady Bird is a Sacramento teen who is desperate to move on from her strict Catholic high school and start a new and far more exciting life elsewhere. Obstacles include an increasingly lax attitude to schoolwork and her family’s lack of funds, with worried mum Marion working double shifts just to keep the bills paid and her dad Larry out of work. But such real-world problems aren’t really on Lady Bird’s radar, especially when there are boys to chase after.
Director: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, and Beanie Feldstein
Review: I love Saoirse Ronan and she’s so relatable in this teenage drama. I remember feeling a lot of what she is feeling here. You feel so grown up at the time, but then you look back at this and realise that you were far from it. It’s such a brilliant age to explore the headspace of a female, on the cusp of so much, eager to move far away and prove yourself to others. The relationship with her mum (played brilliantly by Laurie Metcalf) is perfect, as well. Everything is explored so well.
What a great first-time feature-length directorial effort this is from Greta Gerwig. I usually find it difficult to relate to some of the work she writes, but Lady Bird is very engaging. The supporting roles from Lucas Hedges and Timothée Chalamet are excellent, as well, two other rising young talents who are doing some phenomenal work lately.
1st December – The Greatest Showman
Synopsis: Roll up, roll up! A portrayal of 19th century New York circus entrepreneur P.T. Barnum, the film celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.
Director: Michael Gracey
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, and Rebecca Ferguson
Review: The Greatest Showman took the world by storm at the end of 2017. Whilst it didn’t get off to a great start, word of mouth meant that everybody was wanting to go and see this musical on the big screen by early 2018, many of those seeing it more than once and even participating in the Sing-A-Long special screenings. Soon enough, The Greatest Showman became a must-see phenomenon, making its way to become the fifth-highest grossing live-action musical of all time.
Since going to see this film at the cinema, I have been listening to the soundtrack on repeat. I just love everything about it – the songs, the choreography, the heart-warming story. Mostly, I love the whole sentiment of it – “You don’t need everyone to love you, just a few good people.” It has some really lovely messages throughout it and I came away from watching it filled with such happiness, so much so that the soundtrack CD is the first piece of music that I have bought in nearly 10 years.
2nd December – Wonder Wheel
Synopsis: Ginny, a 1950s Coney Island waitress, is trapped in a grim marriage to the boorish Humpty. It’s a life of despair, until she meets lifeguard Mickey Rubin who is also studying to be a playwright. To him, having a summer fling with Ginny is material for his art, but she thinks it means more until a turn of events spells heartache for everyone.
Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Kate Winslet, Justin Timberlake, Juno Temple, Jim Belushi, Jack Gore, and Tony Sirico
Review: I think that when a film starts with Justin Timberlake addressing the audience, you know it’s going to be pretty poor. I love Juno Temple but she is absolutely wasted in this, as is Kate Winslet, although her performance is probably the only good thing about this film.