In cinemas this week: Bad Neighbours 2, Florence Foster Jenkins, Mia Madre and The Man Who Knew Infinity
Bad Neighbours 2 – Life is good for Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and pregnant wife Kelly (Rose Byrne), until the unruly sisters of Kappa Nu, led by Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz), move in next door. As loud parties continuously disrupt the peace, the couple turn to former neighbour and onetime enemy Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) for help. Now united with the fraternity stud, the trio devises schemes to get the wild sorority off the block. Unfortunately, the rebellious young women refuse to go down without a fight. While the sorority sisters don’t have as much depth as the preceding fraternity dude-bros this sequel, despite suffering from some pitfalls, has a breakneck pace, maintains laughs throughout and has some absolutely stinging scenes/lines. It serves as a millennial study of generation gaps, gender equality and female empowerment, while still exploring the trials and tribulations of parenthood. Every moment with some combination of Rogen/Byrne/Efron is gold.
Florence Foster Jenkins – The story of Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep), a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer despite having a terrible singing voice. There seems to be a recent obsession with this talentless celebrity, and I can’t imagine this being particularly compelling with Steven Frears at the helm.
Mia Madre – Acclaimed Italian auteur Nanni Moretti returns to brilliant form with his semi-autobiographical new film starring Margherita Buy as a director struggling to balance life and art. Margherita (Buy) is directing a new social drama, set against the backdrop of an industrial dispute. Try as she may to remain professional, the emotional turmoil of her private life is taking a toll: an affair with one of her actors (Enrico Ianniello) has come to an end, her adolescent daughter (Beatrice Mancini) is failing Latin, but most troubling is the recent hospitalization of her formidable, beloved mother Ada (Giulia Lazzarini). Meanwhile, the famous American actor Barry Huggins (the fabulous John Turturro) has arrived, a needy and capricious personality whose brash presence on set sees things go from bad to worse, and whose general ineptitude might finally push Margherita over the edge. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year, and has won a bunch of Italian Oscars. Should be very good.
The Man Who Knew Infinity is the true story of friendship that forever changed mathematics. In 1913, Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel), a self-taught Indian mathematics genius, traveled to Trinity College, Cambridge, where over the course of five years, forged a bond with his mentor, the brilliant and eccentric professor, G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons), and fought against prejudice to reveal his mathematic genius to the world. Plays it pretty safe, but the endearing performances from Patel and Irons bring this largely-unknown (I imagine) story of a mathematics trailblazer to life.
Weekly recommendation – We’re keen to catch up with the acclaimed Mia Madre, after missing it at last year’s Italian Film Festival, and Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising is a worthy sequel that is amongst the top comedies of the year to date.