The busiest month of the year so far with a huge variety of films ranging from the disposable to a couple of instant classics.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: A high-school student and armature filmmakers is forced by his mother to befriend a girl diagnosed with leukaemia. The pair become friends for real and result in a film that manages to funny at the same time as being heartfelt and touching. The film reference will amuse movie fans and go over the heads of others.
American Ultra: A stoner comedy crossed with a spy/hitman thriller. Some great scenes but not always as funny as it should be. Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart are great together as they were in Adventureland.
Ricki And The Flash: A ageing singer who abandoned her family years before chasing dreams of becoming a rock star returns home at a time of crisis. You know you are in safe hands with a film directed by Jonathan Demme with a script by Diablo Cody. Meryl Streep is fantastic, the characters are good but the film feels a little episodic.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials: Follow up to the Maze Runner. It doesn’t work as a standalone film as it lacks a begging and an end. The action scenes are good, as are the young cast but the film lacks the intrigue and the great concept of the first film. There are clearly twists and turns to come in the plot in the final film The Death Cure due out in 2017.
Legend: Tom Hardy is brilliant in a duel role as both the Kray twins. Emily Browning tries hard in an underdeveloped part, the rest of the characters are thinly written and forgettable. The film captures the look and the vibe of 60’s London but is glossy and lacks any real depth. It is however well worth watching for Hardy.
Everest: Based on the true story of an ill-fated attempt to climb the worlds tallest mountain in 1996. The large cast are all good but the star of the film is the photography that is breathtaking on Imax. If you don’t already know the story go in with as little knowledge as possible.
The Visit: A pair of young siblings spend the week with their grandparents who they have not previously met. The reveal won’t come as any surprise but the film is fun along the way. Of the ones I have seen it is M. Night Shyamalan’s best movie for a decade.
A Walk in the Woods: Adaptation of Bill Bryson’s book of the same name about his attempt to walk the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail. Robert Redford and Nick Nolte have great chemistry. The film has some funny moments but in a year that gave us Wild it feels a little flimsy in comparison.
Sicario: Emily Blunt plays an idealistic and naïve FBI agent who gets drawn into a shady joint task force in the war on drugs. Blunt and her co stars Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro are all fantastic. Roger Deakins photography is a spectacular as you would expect and Denis Villeneuve’s direction is sublime. It doesn’t have anything new to say, but equally it doesn’t tell the audience what to think.
The Martian: Matt Damon plays an astronaut who has to find a way to survive when is left for dead on Mars. Held together by a great turn from Damon but kept tripping along by director Ridley Scott who has crafted a surprisingly funny and easy going movie. Scott’s best film since the underrated Kingdom of Heaven a decade ago.