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Features Live Action Movies Music

Bob Marley
One Love

Director – Reinaldo Marcus Green – 2023 – US – Cert. 12a – 104m

***1/2

From his childhood in poverty in Jamaica, Bob Marley rises to stardom and international fame as the bast known proponent of reggae music – out in UK cinemas on Friday, February 16th

All this movie has to do to succeed is give us lots of Bob Marley’s recordings and show us lots of images of him doing things in the process. That’s what the movie says on the tin and that’s what you find inside. It fundamentally delivers what its audience expects and will probably do very well. Although I wouldn’t describe myself as a particular fan, over the years Marley’s music has seeped inescapably into both the popular and my own consciousness: it’s good, positive stuff which genuinely hits a tangible musical groove. I watched the movie and had the good time I was expecting. And Kingsley Ben-Adir is watchable enough as Marley.

However.

Anyone who comes to this wanting to know more about Bob Marley will find this a frustrating experience. Director Green, who co-wrote the script, fails to introduce a number of characters properly. Among Marley’s entourage of musicians and friends, for instance, I couldn’t tell you which one in the film is Peter Tosh (Alex-A Game), who is something of a lesser legend in the world of reggae.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

The Old Man
And The Land

Director – Nicholas Parish – 2023 – UK – Cert. none – 100m

*****

As he works on the land, an aging farmer hears his two adult children argue about the future of the family farm – premieres in the Critics’ Picks Competition at the 27th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival

Movies. You think everything’s been done, then along comes something you’ve never seen before. Or, in this case, seen or heard before.

The Old Man in question is an English farmer (Roger Marten) whose family have worked the land for generations. He’s getting on in years, so won’t be around forever. His wife died a while ago, so he’s now running the farm on his own. He has two children who have long since grown up and left home: a son (voice: Rory Kinnear) and a daughter (voice: Emily Beecham), and the big question is, when he dies, will they take over – or will they get rid of the farm?

In recent years, the UK has produced a number of rural movies that stand in stark contrast to the urban- (Often London-) based films produced. Quite a few of these have been about farms or farmers (e.g.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

20,000 Species
Of Bees
(20.000 Especies
De Abejas)

Director – Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren – 2023 – Spain – Cert. 12a –128m

**

An eight-year-old assigned male at birth struggles with their gender identity while mum struggles with her artistic identity as a sculptress – plays the 2023 London Film Festival which runs from Wednesday, October 4th until Sunday, October 15th, and will be out in UK cinemas on Friday, October 27th

This is one of those films that’s picked up lots of prizes at various international film festivals, which means that lots of people rated some aspect of the film highly or possibly that it was the best of a bad lot (although if a film wins awards over a number of festivals, that latter scenario is less likely).

I didn’t know any of that going in, and I didn’t like the film very much coming out – I found it difficult to follow who was who, a problem scarcely helped by the fact that one of the main characters is initially called by one name, then by a nickname they don’t like very much, then finally by the name by which they wish to be known. The film credits the eight-year-old character played by Sofia Otero as Lucía, but at the start of the film, they are called by their given name Aitor, although the character uses the nickname Cocó.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

Bolan’s Shoes

Director – Ian Puleston-Davies – 2022 – UK – Cert. 15 – 97m

****

Two traumatised siblings reconnect as adults years after a childhood coach crash coming back from a Liverpudlian orphanage trip to a T.Rex gig in the 1970s – out in UK cinemas on Friday, September 15th

*** SPOILER ALERT ***

Picture black. A radio DJ dedication to Bob and Sally. T.Rex’s Calling All Destroyers blasts out on the soundtrack against a sudden image of a coach travelling through the English countryside. On board: excited orphanage kids with the trip organiser Simon (Louis Emerick) plus their local vicar (Andrew Lancel) and his daughter Penny (Eden Beach). Sadie (Amelia Rose Smith) nuts Tommo (Alfie Donnahey) for, as she swearily and excitedly explains to Penny, picking on her older brother Jimmy (Isaac Lancel-Watkinson). There is blood. To the consternation of Simon, who isn’t going to let the incident get in the way of the day’s enjoyment. “You’ll thank me in later years,” he says. “You’ll be able to say, I was there.”

After the gig, Simon has fixed up a trip backstage for the kids to meet founding T.Rex member Marc Bolan, getting them past other fans waiting outside for a glimpse of their hero.… Read the rest

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Documentary Features Live Action Movies

Orchestrator
Of Storms:
The Fantastique World
Of Jean Rollin

Directors – Dima Ballin, Kat Ellinger – 2022 – UK – 112m

***

The story of one of Europe’s most idiosyncratic and overlooked directors – on the Arrow Video Channel from Tuesday, February 14th

In the early 1960s when the French New Wave was taking off, the idea was to go out and make movies on the streets, an approach intended to inject them with freshness. That movement is present in the backdrop of this film, because while it was achieving a huge international profile, fledgling French film maker Jean Rollin who similarly wanted to go out and shoot movies without all the old formal constraints was being largely ignored by industry, critics and audiences.

Finance was always a struggle, and he soon found himself making features within European sexploitation cinema, where directors had a great degree of freedom provided they incorporated a certain amount of nudity and sex.

There were lean periods too where he worked directing softcore and hardcore porn to survive; aside from chronicling when these happened in his career, this documentary doesn’t go into them at any length. Overall, it takes a chronological approach to Jean Rollin to give some idea of his life, career and filmography.… Read the rest

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Documentary Features Live Action Movies

Doctor Who Am I

Director – Matthew Jacobs, Vanessa Yuille – 2022 – UK – Cert. 12a – 80m

****

Screenwriter Jacobs’ entry into US Dr. Who fan subculture follows his scripting of the 1996 Dr. Who TV movie that was supposed to launch the franchise Stateside but floppedout in UK cinemas on Thursday, October 27th and Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download Monday, November 28th

What the hilarious narrative feature Galaxy Quest (Dean Parisot, 1999) did for Star Trek, this heartfelt yet hugely entertaining documentary does for Dr. Who. Matthew Jacobs, whose work includes the screenplay for Paperhouse (Bernard Rose, 1988) and the original story for offbeat Disney cartoon The Emperor’s New Groove (Mark Dindal, 2000), also wrote the script for the US network TV movie Doctor Who (1996) which was supposed to relaunch the BBC franchise in the US, a goal it spectacularly missed when no series proved forthcoming.

In retrospect, Jacobs considers that his script made two major errors in terms of the Doctor Who legacy. One, it recast the hitherto entirely alien Time Lord as half-human, and, two, it allowed him to kiss a member of the opposite sex, something no previous version of the doctor had ever been seen to do.… Read the rest

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Documentary Features Live Action Movies

Doctor Who Am I

Directed by Matthew Jacobs & Vanessa Yuille
Certificate 12a, 80 minutes
Released in cinemas 27 October and
DVD & Digital 28 November

What is a church, and why do people attend it? This is a documentary about Doctor Who fandom and conventions. At no point does it suggest, at least not in so many words, that such gatherings might be churches. Hold that word, ‘gathering’. It’s one that those of us who are religious often employ to describe ‘church’.

Screenwriter Matthew Jacobs has, for many years, avoided attending such gatherings… [Read the full review in Reform Magazine.]

Doctor Who Am I is out in cinemas in the UK on Thursday, October 27th and DVD & Digital Download Monday, 28th November.

Read a longer review elsewhere on this site.

Trailer:

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Features Live Action Movies

The Innocents
(De Uskyldige)

Director – Eskil Vogt – 2021 – Norway – Cert. 15 – 117m

***

A small group of pre-teen children begin to explore their supernatural powers with devastating results – out in cinemas on Friday, May 20th

Two children live with their parents on a very ordinary housing estate near woodlands leading to a footbridge over a nearby motorway. Ida (Rakel Lenora Fløttum) enjoys going outside to play with other kids of her own age, seven or eight. Often, though, her mum will ask her to take her autistic, older sister Anna (Alva Brynsmo Ramstad), 11, with her, which Ida doesn’t really like having to do.

Anna is autistic and lives largely in her own internal world. When Ida goes outside to play, knowing Anna will likely sit happily in the same place for several hours if left to her own devices, Ida will leave Anna on her own while Ida plays with other kids her own age – Ben (Sam Ashraf) or Aisha (Mina Yasmin Bremseth Asheim). Ida assumes that Anna will still be there when she comes back.

Ben is troubled by a strange ability he possesses which he doesn’t understand. He can control people. Alone in the woods with Ida, he explains this to her.… Read the rest

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Mouthpiece

Director – Patricia Rozema – 2018 – Canada – Cert. 15 – 91m

****1/2

Tall Cassie and short Cassie struggle to find the words for the eulogy for their mother’s funeral after she dies suddenly and unexpectedly – on MUBI from Thursday, March 24th

Christmas. Tall Cassie (Amy Nostbakken) and short Cassie (Norah Sadova) get drunk in a bar with friends, make their way home on their (one) bicycle and collapse into bed, ignoring the flood of mobile messages which they don’t pick up ‘til the next, sunny morning. They answer. It’s bad news. Their mum has died. Could she pick the flowers? Danny is going to do the speech.

But Cassie is the writer in the family and she won’t have it. She’ll do the speech herself. Danny isn’t capable of doing it. Although she doesn’t yet know what to say. And the funeral is in 48 hours.

Welcome to the world of sudden parental bereavement where things you know to be solid and true fold and crumple before your eyes. Where you are flooded with random memories as you try to make sense of it all. There are social rituals and structures supposedly to help you deal with this – ordering the flowers, choosing suitable clothes to wear, picking out the coffin, writing a eulogy for the deceased, attending a funeral service.… Read the rest

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Animation Documentary Features Live Action Movies

Flee
(Flugt)

Director – Jonas Poher Rasmussen – 2021 – Denmark, France, Norway, Sweden – Cert. 15 – 83m

****

In a series of interviews, a gay man now living in Denmark tries to explain his experience of fleeing Afghanistan – in cinemas from Friday, February 11th

Like The Breadwinner (Nora Twomey, 2017) and The Swallows Of Kabul (Zabou Breitman, Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec, 2019) before it, this is an animated film about life in Afghanistan under the Taliban. At the same time, it’s very different from those films for three reasons.

One, it details not so much the experience of life under the Taliban but the refugee experience of getting out of the country and its psychological aftermath on those who manage to get out.

Two, its central character is not fictional but real, the film being to all intents and purposes a documentary.

Three, although the film incorporates live action archive footage at various points, it’s essentially structured around an interview, visually represented in animation, in which the refugee subject recounts his experiences which are brought to life in a highly effective 2D animation as he speaks.

The style of the animation is almost perfunctory, a far cry from The Breadwinner’s colourful, detailed and rounded rendering which enable meshing with mythological storytelling and an equal distance from The Swallows Of Kabul’s pastel shades which so brilliantly convey a romance doomed by the circumstance of the regime.… Read the rest