In cinemas this week – Bridge of Spies, Burnt, The Lobster, Alex and Eve and Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension.
Bridge of Spies – In Steven Spielberg’s compelling and competently crafted new espionage drama Tom Hanks stars as James B. Donovan, an experienced and respected Brooklyn insurance attorney who is tasked with the duty of defending Rudolph Abel (Mark Rylance), a Soviet spy arrested on U.S soil. Due to his involvement in the trial he is recruited by the U.S Government to negotiate the release of a U-2 spy plane pilot shot down over Russia at the height of the Cold War. Donovan journeys into East Berlin to make contact with both the Soviets and the Germans, offering his client Abel, whom he has saved from the Death Penalty, as a bargaining chip for their safe release. Donovan would become a celebrated humanist for this timely negotiation (and another exchange following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion), and wrote a book, ‘Strangers on a Bridge, The Case of Colonel Abel’, detailing the event. My review at the link.
Burnt – Chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) had it all – and lost it. A two-star Michelin rockstar with the bad habits to match, the former enfant terrible of the Paris restaurant scene did everything different every time out, and only ever cared about the thrill of creating explosions of taste. To land his own kitchen and that third elusive Michelin star though, he’ll need the best of the best on his side. This remarkably funny and emotional story is about the love of food, the love between two people, and the power of second chances. A sloppy screenplay and erratic editing prove distracting, but the film comes alive and finds comfort in the kitchen chaos. This is a flinty depiction of a flawed man seeking redemptive perfection and learning the lesson that chemistry in the kitchen stems from treating his team like human beings and not another utensil for manipulation [AB]. Sam’s review is at the link.
The Lobster – Winner of the Cannes Jury Prize, this is the new film from Yorgos Lanthimos (Alps, Dogtooth). In the near future, single citizens are sent to a hotel where they have 45 days to pair off with a mate – or be turned into the animal of their choosing and hunted in the woods. It features an all-star cast including Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Lea Seyoux and John C. Reilly. Reviews suggest that The Lobster is fiercely, unmistakably Lanthimos: surreal, grimly funny and strangely moving.
Weekly Recommendation: From the two that we have already seen this week, we like Bridge of Spies. We are very much looking forward to The Lobster. Will be well worth seeking out.