Christmas, New Year’s Eve and 2019 beckons… this is a two-month bumper edition with three movie previews from the last month of 2018, and three film write ups from the first month of 2019. There’s a lot to get through, so I am going to do it in 100 words or less! Let’s get to it…
Sorry to Bother You
Lakeith Stanfield, of Get Out fame, stars in Boots Riley’s debut feature that’s set in an alternate present-day version of Oakland, USA. Telemarketer Cassius Green (Stanfield) discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a universe of greed. What ensues is a gripping, boisterous picture that will leave you tired out in your cinema seat. Tessa Thompson is on hand to offer solace every now and then… she’s as good as a sip of water on a hot Summer’s day. You’ll want to see this, peeps.
In UK cinemas: 7th December 2018
The Old Man and the Gun
This festival favourite is based on the true story of Forrest Tucker and his audacious escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 which led to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public. David Lowery directs and writes this picture off the back of Pete’s Dragon and A Ghost Story which were both also praised. The Old Man and the Gun is no different with a slick and entertaining flow and solid performances from Robert Redford and Casey Affleck. An end of year pleaser.
In UK cinemas: 7th December 2018
Mary Poppins Returns
Not only does Mary Poppins return, so does the magic! Rebooting such a classic is always prickly, but they’ve kept the whimsical charm, the animated sequences and yes, even Dick Van Dyke. Rob Marshall is the man in the director’s chair this time with a story set decades after Mary’s original visit. The magical nanny returns to help the Banks’ siblings and Michael’s children through a difficult time in their lives. Emily Blunt steps up in the big role and sings her heart out. In the same year she starred in A Quiet Place, this couldn’t be any different.
In UK cinemas: 21st December 2018
I mentioned this movie a few months back from Venice, and I have to bring it up again. Yorgos Lanthimos’ screwball comedy, The Favourite, is an 18th century tale of a frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) who occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead. When a new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. The trifecta of female performances needs to be highlighted, and arguably all deserve award season recognition. This is simply a two-hour triumph.
In UK cinemas: 1st January 2019
Stan & Ollie
The closing night gala of the London Film Festival in October consisted of a cold, autumn evening and a biopic of Laurel and Hardy. For me, that’s a tip-top night! Stan & Ollie tells the tale of Laurel and Hardy, the world’s most famous comedy duo, as they attempt to reignite their film careers as they embark on what becomes their swan song – a gruelling theatre tour of post-war Britain. John C. Reilly (Ollie) and Steve Coogan (Stan) play the titular roles in a freakishly life-like portrayal. It’s a touching biopic with comedy entwined – watch it.
In UK cinemas: 11th January 2019
Back in 2016, Split by M. Night Shyamalan got a bit of unjustified criticism in my opinion. It was tense and enthralling – 10 Cloverfield Lane-esque for me. Now, three years on, Shyamalan is back with Glass. Billed as a spiritual sequel to Split and The Sixth Sense; it focuses on security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis), who uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities. Shyamalan seems to have hit his stride in recent years, and it shouldn’t slow down here either.
In UK cinemas: 18th January 2019
On a final end of year note, I hope you’ve enjoyed this column in 2018 and 2017, let’s see what 2019 brings shall we Systonites?!
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.