It’s time. Oscar weekend is here at last. After months of speculation, there are just hours to go before the world finds out whether The Favourite will live up to its name and if Actress in a Leading Role proves to be as Close as expected.
Thanks not least to a joyful extended cameo from Dwayne Johnson, Fighting With My Family rocks. Penned and directed by Stephen Merchant, here is a British underdog tale done well. Think Billy Elliot meets Rocky meets The Royle Family and you’re there. Following the well furrowed path of sporting film formulae – and showboating a terrific cast of characters along the way – this is a gem as funny and heartfelt as they come.
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.
Somewhere between Rupert Sanders’ Ghost in the Shell and Christian Rivers’ Mortal Engines falls Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel. Like the former, this is Hollywood mangled manga, being opted from hit Japanese franchise Gunnm. Like the later, the film comes from a producer known for visual spectacle and overlong screenplays: James Cameron, in this case. If Alita does little to disprove the theory that western cinema can do no justice to East Asian anime, it certainly offers enough style, flair and action to disguise the troubling lack of substance.
By the time you finish reading this sentence, a new a-lister will have joined the – already hugely impressive – cast of Dune, the new film by Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve. That’s how it seems anyway.
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.
Sky high ambition turns out an admirable failure in this sequel to 2017 comic horror hit Happy Death Day. Christopher B. Landon returns as writer and director of the film, which knowingly adds Back to the Future II to its roster of influences. While, there’s still much to enjoy here, Landon’s script feels too overcooked and underdeveloped to truly stir engagement . You can’t fault him for trying though, especially with left turns this bonkers.