In cinemas this week: InfinitelyPolar Bear, Shaun the Sheep, Leviathan, Cinderella, A Little Chaos, Get Hard and Dior and I.
Infinitely Polar Bear – Maggie (Zoe Saldana) and Cam (Mark Ruffalo) have a loving, but volatile relationship. Cam is a diagnosed manic-depressive, and while his love for his wife and two daughters is undeniable, he can’t always keep an even keel. After a particularly frightening manic episode, Maggie leaves Cam and moves the family to Boston. Cam is forced to live in temporary single accommodation. Despite Cam’s wealthy family and Maggie’s infallible work ethic, the family struggles to make ends meet. When Maggie is offered a full scholarship to study business at Columbia, she is elated – this is their ticket out of poverty. However, this means leaving Faith and Amelia (Imogene Wolodarsky) in the full-time care of her father. Maggie and Cam decide to take the leap, and through his extreme highs and extreme lows, he cares for the girls while Maggie works hard to secure them a better future. Continue reading Sam’s review from An Online Universe at the link.
Shaun the Sheep – When Shaun’s mischief inadvertently leads to the Farmer being taken away from the farm, Shaun, Bitzer and the flock have to go into the big city to rescue him, setting the stage for an epic adventure. Meant to be great, plus it is from the creators of Wallace and Gromit.
Leviathan – The latest drama from Andrey Zvyagintsev, the acclaimed director of The Return (Venice Film Festival Golden Lion winner). Kolya (Alexeï Serebriakov) lives in a small fishing town near the stunning Barents Sea in Northern Russia. He owns an auto-repair shop that stands right next to the house where he lives with his young wife Lilya (Elena Liadova) and his son Roma (Sergueï Pokhodaev) from a previous marriage. Isolated in a desolate coastal boneyard, an aging patriarch battles a corrupt official seeking to purchase the land his home stands upon and then finds his cherished relationships begin to crumble around him as a result. Marvellously constructed and photographed, this is a gut-wrenching story of a proud Everyman whose oppression grows increasingly closer, eventually enveloping everything he cares for and has stakes in.
Cinderella – When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her daughters. Never one to give up hope, Ella’s fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger. Starring Lily James, Cate Blanchet and James Madden, this revisionist take on the Disney classic is directed by Kenneth Branagh and supposed to be quite good.
A Little Chaos – A romantic drama following Sabine (Academy Award winner Kate Winslet), a strong-willed and talented landscape designer, who is chosen to build one of the main gardens at King Louis XIV’s new palace at Versailles. In her new position of power, she challenges gender and class barriers while also becoming professionally and romantically entangled with the court’s renowned landscape artist André Le Notre (Matthias Schoenaerts). Directed by Alan Rickman this had its premiere at TIFF last year, and met petty negative responses. Still, should be light entertainment, and worth a look for the Winslet/Schoenaerts match-up.
Get Hard – Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart headline this Warner Bros. comedy about a wrongfully convicted investment banker who prepares for prison life with the help of the man who washes his car. Etan Cohen directs, with Ian Roberts and Jay Martel handling screenwriting duties. Eh.
Dior and I – Frédéric Tcheng’s solo directorial debut brings the viewer inside the storied world of the Christian Dior fashion house with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first haute couture collection as its new artistic director-a true labor of love created by a dedicated group of collaborators. Melding the everyday, pressure-filled components of fashion with mysterious echoes from the iconic brand’s past, the film is also a colorful homage to the seamstresses who serve Simons’ vision.
Weekly Recommendation: Infinitely Polar Bear is a warm, loving film, an endearingly personal study of family togetherness through tough times. The performances are terrific. I am not sure I ever want to watch Leviathan again, but it feels like a true testament to Crime and Punishment, a painful epic of human drama with bold contemporary commentary. I definitely want to see Shaun the Sheep, and am genuinely intrigued by Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos. Something for everyone this week, as it should be.