The Lost City of Z – an epic tale of courage and passion
Amid spectacular locations, The Lost City of Z – an intriguing re-telling of the life and adventures legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett is an “epic tale of courage and passion”, writes Ruth Allen. Get Out – warning or threat? This gripping thriller is a “provocative commentary on current mores”. While Beauty and the Beast – a tale as old as time – is “everything you want from an old fashioned musical fairytale for all the family”.
THE LOST CITY OF Z (15)
(Run time: 140 mins, Director: James Gray, Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller, Robert Pattinson, Angus Macfadyen, Tom Holland, Ian McDiarmid, Harry Melling, Franco Nero)
Synopsis: At the dawn of the 20th century, British explorer Percy Fawcett journeys into the Amazon, where he discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilisation that may have once inhabited the region. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment, which views indigenous populations as savages, the determined Fawcett, supported by his devoted wife, son, and aide-de-camp, returns to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case.
Director James Gray [The Immigrant (2013), Two Lovers (2008), We Own the Night (2007), Little Odessa (1994)] has adapted David Grann’s 2009 non-fiction bestseller into an epic tale of courage and passion filmed in his classic filmmaking manner with cinematography from Darius Khondji of spectacular Colombian locations.
Charlie Hunnam [Sons of Anarchy (TV series, 2008-2014), Children of Men (2008), Cold Mountain (2003)] plays legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett in The Lost City of Z, this semi-biography of his life and adventures in unchartered Amazonian territories
Major Percy Fawcett was an undecorated, middle-ranking army officer who wanted to restore his family name from previous domestic scandals. When approached by The Royal Geographical Society to take a voyage to the Bolivian jungle to map out its borders with Brazil, Fawcett accepts with alacrity as an opportunity to prove himself to his superiors. Despite the dangers he encounters, he soon falls deeply in love with the Amazon and its people.
He discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the region. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment, which viewed indigenous populations as ‘savages’. The determined Fawcett supported by his devoted wife (Sienna Miller), son (Tom Holland) and aide de camp (Robert Pattinson), returned time and again to his beloved jungle to prove his case, culminating in his mysterious disappearance in 1925.
With nods to Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo (1982), Aguirre – Wrath of God (1972) and in Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979), The Lost City of Z is a cerebral, beautiful, linear, re-telling of Fawcett’s obsessive quest to find his city which prompts reflection about the central enigma of his psychological makeup and his neglect of family for “his reach to extend his grasp” to the extent that it did.
Images courtesy of Studio Canal
GET OUT (15)
(Run time: 104 mins, Director: Jordan Peele, Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, LilRel Howery, Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel)
Synopsis: Now Chris and his girlfriend Rose have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behaviour as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s inter-racial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth he never could have imagined.
URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doQfubj5M94 Screening types: 2D
Fifty Years after Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (director Stanley Kramer,1967) comes Jordan Peele’s nerve jangling horror – a social chiller on white, liberal, racist attitudes in contemporary America.
In a pre-title sequence an innocent black man is abducted in an affluent neighbourhood to the creepy strains of Flanagan and Allen’s Run, Rabbit, Run.
African-American Chris [Daniel Kaluuya – Sicario (2016); Welcome to the Punch (2013), Psychoville, (TV series, 2009-2011)], a talented photographer, leaves to spend the weekend in the country with his white girlfriend Rose [Alison Williams – Girls (TV series, 2012-2017), although his friend Rod (LilRey Howery), a transport security administration officer, advises him not to go to a white girl’s parents’ house,
On arrival father Dean (Bradley Whitford – [The Cabin in the Woods (2012); The West Wing (TV series, 1999-2006)] and psychiatrist mother Missy [Catherine Keener – Captain Phillips (2013), A Late Quartet (2012)], greet them warmly.
Initially, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behaviour as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s inter-racial relationship. Repeated assertions that “We would have voted for Obama a third time” begin to sound like a mantra and the couple’s black servants have a peculiarly passive, ‘Stepford’ like attitude.
As the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead Chris to a truth he could have never imagined and he becomes ensnared in a more sinister real reason for the invitation.
Equal parts gripping thriller and provocative commentary on current mores – and with a tagline ‘Just because you’re invited doesn’t mean you’re welcome’ – the film’s title Get Out can be taken as a warning or a threat……
Images courtesy of Universal Pictures
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (PG)
(Run time: 123 mins, Director: Bill Condon, Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans ,Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson)
Synopsis: The fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within.
URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnkgw6pAKkM Screening types: 3D/2D/4DX/ViP/Subtitled/Superscreen
Disney’s 1991 animated classic gets a glorious and sumptuous live-action reboot with Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in the lead roles. This greatest of all fairy stories about the transforming power of love is a visual feast using the latest motion capture and GCI technology for this “tale as old as time.”
Twilight director Bill Condon brings a lavish sense of magic to this all-star remake with a screenplay by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos based on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991) and “Beauty and the Beast” by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont.
Alan Menken returns to score the film’s music, which features memorable songs from the original film which he co-wrote with Howard Ashman, plus new songs written by Ashman and Tim Rice.
During the mid 17th century in a French village, Villeneuve Belle (Emma Watson) is a bookish young woman and keen inventor who lives with her kindly father, Maurice (Kevin Kline) but whose horizons spread beyond her small town.
She is constantly pestered with advances by the local rake Gaston (Luke Evans) but fends him off. When her father disappears after visiting a mysterious castle, Belle goes in search of him and is shocked to learn that he is the prisoner of the monstrous Beast (Dan Stevens) and volunteers to take his place. Initially terrified of her captor, she soon learns how he was transformed from a handsome prince into his current state and his servants into inanimate objects by a magical curse. A tender love story soon develops.
There is great nostalgic pleasure in being carried into the superb Busby Berkeley style animated sequences involving household crockery, and the spectacle of the huge, epic castle with interiors which acknowledge the dream-like qualities of Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête (1946).
Anchored by Watson and Stevens, the superb ensemble also features Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts and Josh Gad as LeFou. Everything you want from an old fashioned musical fairytale for all the family.
Images courtesy of Disney