Thunder Road is one for the more patient among us. It is an uncomfortable feature-length account of grief, rage, sorrow, and just about every other adverse emotion conceivable. Based on an award-winning short of the same name, this comedy-drama follows well-intentioned but volatile police officer Jim Arnaud (Jim Cummings) as he struggles to cope in the wake of his beloved mother’s passing. Hostile relations with estranged wife Rosalind (Jocelyn DeBoer) don’t help matters for this moustachioed, ticking timebomb, especially as she’s divorcing him and claiming full custody of his resentful daughter Crystal (Kendal Farr).
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If you’re a hungry creative, there’s nothing quite like Bo Burnham’s IMDb page to serve you a good slice of humble pie with a side of incentive. The things this talented polymath has accomplished in his young career would coax out the green-eyed monster in the best of us. The YouTube alum has already run the gamut of entertainment since he burst onto the scene in 2006, impressing audiences with various creations. His wonderfully empathetic debut feature, Sundance favourite Eighth Grade, heralds a quantum leap for Burnham and the dawn of an entirely new era in teen cinema.
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There are no words to describe Paris Is Us. Actually, that’s a lie. Musician Simon Boswell’s album title applies perfectly to this new Netflix feature: ‘It’s horrible. I love it. What is it?’ Paris is Us isn’t a love-or-hate sort of affair; it’s both, with a whole load of confusion on top.
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You may have heard in recent news about the Indian man threatening to sue his parents for giving birth to him without his consent. Raphael Samuel believes it to be wrong to bring children into the lifelong suffering of the world. His stunt seeks to promote anti-natalism, a philosophy based on the idea that, because life is so miserable, procreation should cease immediately. If you think this is insane, watch Capernaum.
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On occasion, it’s a real test of strength to endorse certain films. That’s not because they’re utter tripe, but because they manage to pull off tackling tough topics with such a blithe ease that it seems a bit wrong on a human level to recommend them. Sorry Angel is one such film but it has absolutely nothing to apologise for.
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A fuss was made recently about The Upside, an American remake of foreign-language film Les Intouchables. Few saw its purpose, given the success of the well-loved original, but I took exception. While I appreciated many aspects of the French version, I also understand that films not in the English language don’t feel accessible for everyone. Many people simply don’t have the tolerance required for subtitles or dubbing, which is okay. There has been a comparable hoo-ha about Sara Colangelo’s The Kindergarten Teacher, a largely faithful remake of critically-acclaimed Israeli film Haganenet. To those up in arms, I say: why can’t we just enjoy both?
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In light of the abysmal critical reception that has met The Upside, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was a scarlet woman returning to a party after being caught fellating the hostess’ husband in the bathroom. Countless reviews have lambasted this remake of 2011 French buddy comedy-drama The Intouchables. Also inspired by the life of Phillipe Pozzo di Borgo, Neil Burger’s The Upside traces the developing relationship between Phillip Lacasse (Bryan Cranston), a quadriplegic billionaire, and Dell Scott (Kevin Hart), his young, recently paroled African-American carer. Critics opine that this flat offering is just as flawed as its predecessor, coming off as even more mawkish and basic, while simultaneously failing to exhibit any of its abundant charm.
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