We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word ‘SHAZAM!’ this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam, courtesy of a magic spell. Inside that ripped, godlike body, Shazam is still a kid himself and revels in doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have a riot. Hilarious, packed with heart and carelessly breezy.
Showing at Arena Cinemas, Cinéma Voltaire, Pathé Balexert.
AN AWAKENING FOR MELISSA MCCARTHY – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Melissa McCarthy is, surprisingly, terrific in this juicy dramatic role where for once she has to play it straight. She stars as Lee Israel, the best-selling celebrity biographer who made her living in the 1970’s and 80’s profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Estée Lauder. When Lee found herself unable to get published because she had fallen out of step with the marketplace, she turned her art form to deception, helped by her scoundrel friend Jack, played by Richard E Grant. Showing at Ciné 17
PACKS A POIGNANT PUNCH – Boy Erased
Boy Erased tells the true story of the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town, who is outed to his parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe) at the age of 19. He is faced with an ultimatum: to attend a gay conversion therapy program or be permanently exiled and shunned by his family, friends, and faith. Well-acted and moving.
Showing at Cinerama Empire, Pathé Balexert.
WHEN I SEE AN ELEPHANT FLY – Dumbo
From Disney and visionary director Tim Burton, the all-new grand live-action adventure Dumbo expands on the beloved classic story of the elephant that can fly. Tim Burton delivers his best family movie in a long long time
Showing at Arena Cinémas, Ciné 17, Cinérama Empire, Pathé Balexert.
INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY – Three Identical Strangers
In 1980 New York, three young men who were all adopted meet each other and find out they’re triplets who were separated at birth. But their quest to find out why turns into a bizarre and sinister mystery. Three Identical Strangers succeeds far beyond its role as a documentary and even holds the ingredients necessary for a thriller. Enthralling.
Showing at Cinérama Empire.
REVELATORY DOCUMENTARY – RBG
At the age of 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. This documentary charts the unique personal journey of this diminutive, quiet warrior’s rise to the nation’s highest court.
Showing at Ciné 17
A COMPLETE AND TOTAL MISFIRE – Captive State
Set in a Chicago neighbourhood nearly a decade after an occupation by an extra-terrestrial force, Captive State explores the lives on both sides of the conflict – the collaborators and dissidents. Some inexplicably incoherent storytelling going on here.
Showing at Cinérama Empire, Cinema Voltaire and Balexert.
SURVIVAL, RELAPSE AND RECOVERY – Beautiful Boy
Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs of New York Times writer David Sheff and his son Nic, Beautiful Boy chronicles Nic’s drug addiction. A heartbreaking tale of survival, relapse, and recovery, with some powerful performances. However, it really isn’t as moving as one would expect, leaving you a tad unengaged, sporadically checking your watch.
Showing at Cinéma Voltaire.
THIS GENERATION’S HITCHCOCK – US
Haunted by an unresolved trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide is increasingly certain that something bad is going to befall her family. After a day out, they return home to find four figures holding hands stand in the driveway. They’re terrifying opponents are doppelgängers of themselves. The violence, the tears, the screams, the jump scares are all familiar, but still done in a fresh way. Jordan Peele is this generation’s Hitchcock. One to watch (through your fingers).
Showing at Pathé Balexert, Cinema Rouge et Noir.
A TRUE CRIME – King of Thieves
A disappointing film about a crew of retired crooks who pull off a major heist in London’s jewelry district. What starts off as their last criminal hurrah quickly turns into a brutal nightmare due to greed. Based on infamous true events and starring Michael Caine, Michael Gambon, Ray Winston and Charlie Cox. Whilst it is a pleasure watching these old geezers at work, but that is where the pleasure stops.
Showing at Pathé Archamps, Pathé Balexert, Ciné 17.
SMART, SHARP AND DECEPTIVE – The Kindergarten Teacher
Maggie Gyllenhaal plays a forty-year old kindergarten teacher living in Staten Island who is terminally bored with her banal middle-class existence. When she becomes convinced that her five-year-old student is a child prodigy she tries to nurture his talents, but finds herself unravelling as the project turns into an obsession.
HALF BAKED PSYCHO-DRAMA – The Death & Life of John F Donavan
A decade after the death of an American TV star, a young actor reminisces the written correspondence he shared with him, as well as the impact those letters had on both their lives. It tells the story of the star and the boy in parallel, by an impressive cast (Nathalie Portman, Susan Sarandon, Thandie Newton, Kit Harrington, Kathy Bates, Michael Gambon)
Which should be ok right? Not so. Clumsy scenes, odd editing, embarrassing accents and altogether one film to avoid.
Showing at Cinéma Rouge et Noir.
STAN AND OLLIE
Laurel & Hardy, one of the world’s great comedy teams, set out on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953. Diminished by age and with their golden era as the kings of Hollywood comedy now behind them, they face an uncertain future. Fabulous performances by Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel and John C Reilly as Oliver Hardy, this is essentially a touching love story about two performers who lived to make each other laugh.
Showing at CIne 17.
JUST ANOTHER MARVEL MOVIE – Captain Marvel
The story follows Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races. Set in the 1990s (with awesome 90’s soundtrack), Captain Marvel is predictable yet pleasing enough.
Showing at Arena Cinemas, Pathé Balexert.
THE MECHANICS OF POWER – Vice
Christian Bale plays Dick Cheney, the former U.S. Vice President in this biographical comedy/drama. Bale nails it as the resilient, backstabbing, front-stabbing, ruthlessly ambitious Cheney.
Showing at Cinérama Empire.
A COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP – The Wife
Joe and Joan Castleman have been married for 40 years. Joe has a public role as a Great American Novelist soon to be awarded the Noble Peace Price. Joan is the woman behind the scenes. The Wife is a clever, subtle and moving portrait of a hidden woman brought to life by a fantastic performance by Glenn Close.
Showing at Cine 17
BUG SAGA – Miniscule – Mandibles from Far Away
Dialogue free bug saga that will charm all ages. In the conditioning unit of a small chestnut can factory in a quiet little country village as winter slowly settles, a young ladybug gets trapped by accident in a cardboard box shipped to the Caribbean. His parent sets off for the paradise archipelago to find his little kiddy bug and free him.
Showing at Cinelux.
MULTI-AWARD WINNING – Green Book
When Tony Lip (Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighbourhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on “The Green Book” to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger-as well as unexpected humanity and humour-they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime. Green Book recently won three Golden Globes including best motion picture.