In cinemas this week: Captain America: Civil War, A Month of Sundays, Mother’s Day, God’s Not Dead 2 and Pawno (released limited last week)
Captain America: Civil War – Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo deeply divides members of the team. Captain America (Chris Evans) believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sharply disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and others must pick a side. With a motion put in place to bring a more peaceful future, past vengeances resurface that threaten the harmony of the Avengers. An epic collaboration of brilliantly choreographed action and stake-fueled allegiances. One of the stronger entries in the MCU.
A Month of Sundays – Written and directed by Matthew Saville (Noise and Felony), this is a charming Adelaide-set drama about ordinary people and second chances, starring Anthony LaPaglia in a compelling performance as a career real estate agent, Frank Mollard, trapped in a mid-life crisis of professional failure and emotional disconnect. Having recently lost his mother and been divorced, he is estranged from his teenage son and can’t even manage to sell a house during a property boom. This humorous and often moving existential study has a unique offbeat approach, which ensures that it stirs and lingers in the consciousness longer than you would fist anticipate. Further thoughts at the link.
Pawno (released limited last week) – In a dusty old pawnbroker’s in the heart of Footscray, world-weary owner Les watches as the lives of the people who come through his doors collide, change and unravel. From incipient love affairs to desperate last gambles to those simply worn down by all the world has thrown at them, these individuals and their stories represent the best and the worst of Melbourne’s most hopeful and giddily mixed-up suburb. Transporting Wayne Wang’s seminal Smoke into the heart of Melbourne’s inner-west, Pawno is the ambitious and breezily watchable feature film debut from actor-turned-director Paul Ireland. Combining elements of thriller, romance and gangster genres this quirky, off-kilter character study features an eclectic ensemble cast including Maeve Dermody.
Mother’s Day – Intertwining stories revolve around a television host (Julia Roberts), a divorcee (Jennifer Aniston) looking for love and a woman (Kate Hudson) who wants to strengthen her relationship with her mother. The latest entry in that multi-plot/ensemble holiday-themed rom-com genre a la New Year’s Eve. You know what you’re in for.
God’s Not Dead 2 – High school history teacher Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart) comes under fire for answering a student’s (Hayley Orrantia) question about Jesus. When Grace refuses to apologise, the school board votes to suspend her and threatens to revoke her teaching certificate. Forced to stand trial to save her career, Grace hires young lawyer Tom Endler (Jesse Metcalfe) to defend her in court. Endler devises a powerful strategy to show the jury the historical significance of Wesley’s classroom discussion. There was another one of these?
Weekly Recommendation – Captain America: Civil War is the superhero movie that die-hard Marvel fans were waiting for. Millions will flock to see it, and it does deliver on a lot of levels; in particular the coordination of the new characters into the struggle. A Month of Sundays is a charming, nicely directed comedy-drama with a stirring existential salvation arc and a compelling performance from Anthony LaPaglia.