Friends With Kids
You only have to take a cursory glance at the schedules to see how lacking in imagination mainstream Hollywood has become.
Hot on the heels of the resoundingly unremarkable What To Expect When You’re Expecting is this better, but still somewhat disappointing, tale of a group of friends struggling to adjust to life post children.
It’s all a bit patronising, despite the cast being excellent.
What starts as an interesting concept with two platonic friends deciding to parent a child while trying not to get bogged down in romance doesn’t have the strength of its convictions and ends up trying to appease and justify and cover all bases, which dilutes any impact it could have.
The cast does well, but once more it feels like film-making by committee, a box-ticking exercise that stifles any real creative voice.
Ah, Noel Clarke, one of those people with the inexplicable ability to get films made despite constantly turning out dross and cliché.
Following his involvement in the maudlin Fast Girls, Clarke decides he can turn his hand to sci-fi and horror after appearing in a few episodes of Doctor Who.
It’s this arrogance across the board that means Clarke’s work as actor or writer never stretches beyond parody or artifice.
It’s the familiar tale of two people being hunted down by a mysterious alien beast.
This time, their conflict comes from their recent break-up. Attack The Block it is not.
On the fringes of society, pushing the boundaries of taste, available on only a few screens across the region, is a real smack in the face return to form from enigmatic director William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection).
It features a scintillating central performance from Matthew McConaughey as a hitman, hired by a young man to kill his mother for the insurance money to clear a debt.
Complicated plot? Yep, and these complications are reflected in the relationships on screen in the sweaty, sordid Deep South locales.
It’s reminiscent of Oliver Stone’s U-turn in that it feels free and loose and is funny, violent, beautifully performed and perfectly pitched. A rare treat.
The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie
There’s little more delightful in the world of satirical cinema than Bunuel’s late masterpiece, stunningly restored and re-released for its 40th anniversary.
A group of upper middle class people try to eat a meal together only to be thwarted in ever-more hilarious and ludicrous ways.
It’s a scathing indictment on high society morality, taking in the Church and the military with its ire, but it works because of the surreal, comic and artistic imagination of the unique film-maker at the helm.
Seek it out for a dissenting voice on modern society from too long ago.