ENJOY THE SHOW
There was a time where DC was all intense and dark, and Marvel was light and silly. Yet, over the years, Marvel got serious. And it was great. But a large part of me missed the silliness (and let's face it, we could all use a little silliness right now, if only for a couple of hours to escape the shitshow happening outside!). With Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok, that silliness is back by the space-ship load. Waititi sets the tone early and it's evident that, for that time you spend in the cinema, all will be well. Big, bold moments are set up and immediately torn down with a witty one-liner that takes the legs out from under you and, despite some pretty twisted content, you're never really worried because you know you're in very safe hands.
Jonás Cuarón's Desierto opens with a small group of people all hidden away in the back of a truck, crossing an expanse of Mexican desert on their way to try and cross the border into the United States. Their truck breaks down. They're told to get out and walk. We know immediately that route is not safe – far from it. And that's it: we are invested in their journey – even before the murderous Sam shows up and throws the tension levels into health-warning territory. Our hero, Moises (get the not-so-subtle Biblical reference there?), played by Gael García Bernal, works beautifully opposite villain Sam, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
To show us where we'll be ending up, the chaos has already taken place when the completely bloody bonkers High-Rise begins, and what we're left with is the dog-eating aftermath. (Literally, he eats a dog!) Director Ben Wheatley (of Sightseers, Kill List) certainly knows how to make weird and wonderful cinema that will divide audiences and he's gone on to make another one with this adaptation, based on the JG Ballard novel from the 70s. Set in a tower block, where the wealthy live at the top and the poor live at the bottom, this is a tale of class and wealth divide, with plenty of chaos, debauchery and nudity for all to enjoy.
When Suffragette begins, Maud is not one. She's a working woman, a wife and a mother, going about her life as best she can, trying to be respectful and do as she's told. Her work is pretty grim but she's good at it. Instead of using this movie to tell the story of real people, writer Abi Morgan and director Sarah Gavron have created Maud, an amalgamation of many, many stories of real Suffragettes and everything that they endured. They then surround her with a few real stories but these characters remain in the background until needed. You know from the outset there is real truth to this fiction and, with Carey Mulligan at the lead, and Morgan and Gavron behind the scenes, this movie will not hide from the horrors faced. It's taken a very long time to make a movie about the Suffragettes but the angle chosen is spot on, and entirely worth the wait.
Whether you know him as the dad from "Malcolm in the Middle" or as Walter White, there's no denying the chameleon-like acting skills of Bryan Cranston. In Trumbo directed by Jay Roach, he plays the titular character with an outlandish caricature-style panache that anyone else could so easily have turned into pure farce. Thanks to Cranston, however, Trumbo manages to come across as a man driven by the injustice surrounding him. His Trumbo is annoyingly charming and doggedly determined, and his sometimes quietly powerful, sometimes manic and heart-breaking, take on the man is surely one that will spark award interest.
There are two things we see straight away in A Bigger Splash: Tilda Swinton, naked and sunbathing, and her character Marianne then having sex in the pool with her boyfriend Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts). No words are spoken as we silently follow the pair from their villa to the beach and when the first notable sound is heard, a cellphone, it's an assault on the senses. This opening immediately sets the tone for this sexually-charged and sun-kissed movie, from Italian director Luca Guadagnino, that does not hide from both the raw ugliness and beauty of relationships so interwoven they can quickly shift from great to toxic.