In cinemas this week: The Gift, The Wolfpack, Holding the Man, Ricki and the Flash, We Are Your Friends, She’s Funny That Way and Stalkher.
The Gift – Can you really go through life having never wronged anyone? Even if you are unaware of how, or when, and even who you may have wronged….chances are there is someone out there who won’t ever forget it…or you. Simon and Robyn are a young married couple whose life is going just as planned until a chance encounter with an acquaintance from Simon’s high school sends their world into a harrowing tailspin. Simon doesn’t recognize Gordo at first, but after a series of uninvited encounters and mysterious gifts prove troubling, a horrifying secret from the past is uncovered after more than 20 years. As Robyn learns the unsettling truth about what happened between Simon and Gordo, she starts to question: how well do we really know the people closest to us, and are past bygones ever really bygones? This looks gripping – and there has been a lot of praise for both Joel Edgerton’s direction and Jason Bateman’s performance. Can’t wait.
The Wolfpack – Locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Angulo brothers learn about the outside world through the films that they watch. Nicknamed the Wolfpack, the brothers spend their childhood re-enacting their favorite films using elaborate homemade props and costumes. With no friends and living on welfare, they feed their curiosity, creativity, and imagination with film, which allows them to escape from their feelings of isolation and loneliness. Everything changes when one of the brothers escapes, and the power dynamics in the house are transformed. The Wolfpack must learn how to integrate into society without disbanding the brotherhood. This film tells an incredible, and very sad, story about the power of cinema as escapism, but unfortunately the assembly is not strong. Still, it is an inspiring tale of the strength of the human spirit and the power an imagination can yield.
Holding the Man – Tim and John fell in love at their all boys high-school while both were teenagers. John was captain of the football team. Tim an aspiring actor playing the lead in Romeo and Juliet. Their romance endured for 15 years to laugh in the face of everything life threw at it – the separations, the discriminations, the temptations, the jealousies and the losses – until the only problem that love can’t solve, tried to destroy them. Ryan Corr and Craig Stott will star in this remarkable true-life story as Timothy Conigrave and John Caleo, whose enduring love affair has been immortalised in both Tim’s cult-classic and hilarious memoir and Tommy Murphy’s award-winning stage play of the same name. Murphy has adapted Tim’s book for the screen.
Ricki and the Flash – Ricki (Meryl Streep) is an aging rock star who abandoned her family to chase fame and stardom. The sacrifice delivered the stardom she craved, but it cost her a relationship with her family. After years of rocking with her band, the Flash, her life is interrupted by a call from her ex-husband (Kevin Kline). She discovers their estranged daughter (Mamie Gummer) is going through a tough situation and decides to head back home. Given the opportunity to reconcile and make things right, Ricki must again choose between the music she loves and the family she lost. This film is directed by Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Stop Making Sense) and stars Meryl Streep. It has to be okay.
We Are Your Friends – Set in the world of electronic music and Hollywood nightlife, an aspiring 23-year-old DJ named Cole (Zac Effron) spends his days scheming with his childhood friends and his nights working on the one track that will set the world on fire. All of this changes when he meets a charismatic but damaged older DJ named James (Wes Bentley), who takes him under his wing. Things get complicated, however, when Cole starts falling for James’ much younger girlfriend, Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski). This DJ-centric A-Dream tale has rare inspiration. Never the desired cinematic rave, nor an affecting LA over-indulgence drama. Review at the link.
She’s Funny That Way – From renowned director Peter Bogdanovich, SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY is a screwball comedy featuring the interconnected personal lives of the cast and crew of a Broadway production. When established director Arnold Albertson (Owen Wilson) casts his call girl-turned-actress Isabella “Izzy” Patterson (Imogen Poots) in a new play to star alongside his wife Delta (Kathryn Hahn) and her ex-lover Seth Gilbert (Rhys Ifans), a zany love tangle forms with hilarious twists. The response at SFF was very cold – no one seems too excited about this.
Stalkher – Jack is pushed past the brink of his stalking obsession when finally decides to break into Emily’s home to take what he wants by force. However his plans for her pain and his pleasure come unhinged when he wakes up to find himself bleeding and bound to a chair in her kitchen. It doesn’t take long for Jack to realize that Emily is not the woman he thought she was. For one night Jack and Emily engage in a twisted and thrilling courtship that leads one to wonder which one of them will survive the night. I have heard VERY bad things.
Weekly Recommendation: With so many different films on offer one certainly has to make a choice this week. I’d lean towards The Gift, Holding the Man and The Wolfpack. The latter I didn’t love, but it is a very interesting story. Holding Man has screened at SFF and MIFF and the word-of-mouth is hot. Joel Edgerton’s debut thriller The Gift has been receiving rave reviews at home and in the US. Many claiming it is one of the best thrillers of the year. Will definitely be seeing both of them in the not too distant future.