Much has changed across DC’s Extended Universe since Shazam! first bolted into cinemas. A pass the parcel of creative control has seen Marvel’s murkier cousin shuffle between soft reboots and directional alt rights. As things stand, Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck are out, while Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa sit patiently on the bench. Robert Pattinson and Joaquin Phoenix, by contrast, enjoy a league of their own. When it comes to Shazam, the judge’s gavel has yet to fall and there’s little optimism in the jury. It would be a shame if Fury of the Gods marked the final bow for Zachary Levi’s lovably insecure supe but the battle for retention won’t be easy. It’s hard to see so second rate a sequel mirroring the success of its peppier predecessor nor enjoying anything like the audience adoration.
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There’s absurdity in the capacity of a film like 80 for Brady to boast three Oscar winners and a near-miss nominee as its leading quartet. A vague sense that something has gone rather awry in tinsel town. Is this the best available to such talent? From debutant director Kyle Marvin and two the writers of Booksmart – Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern – this one is rote grey pound farce. Think Girls Trip meets Book Club by way of The Blind Side. An ungodly mix if ever one were. What’s more, as produced by NFL legend Tom Brady, it’s a blatant vanity project. And based on a true story don’t cha know?
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Love bleeds into life through a dreamy Brixton haze in Raine Allen-Miller’s Rye Lane, which must be far and away the best British romcom in some time. It’s a vibrant, audacious affair, thrumming with colour and exciting diversity of beats. Right from the off, via an aerial flight over a row of unisex lavatories, Rye Lane revels in its own strange and alluring beauty. The experience is all encompassing, a rush of overwhelming sensory engagement, but thoroughly intimate. It’s the sort of closeness that comes only when a film feels something of the love its story tells.
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