“Crazed wolves in store a mistake, admits Mothercare”…
Twenty-five years since Chris Morris first made (up) the headlines in TV news satire The Day Today, the reclusive comedy genius is back to take on the US ‘War on Terror’ in his long-awaited new film The Day Shall Come.
Also feeling his age is Will Smith, whose life gets flipped-turned upside down by a youthful clone in Gemini Man…
The Day Shall Come
”Finding a real terrorist is harder than creating your own” – so runs the tagline to this new black comedy from the mind of Chris Morris, whose controversial previous film Four Lions followed the antics of a gang of hapless suicide bombers.
That same blend of satire and surrealism looks set to run through The Day Shall Come, which concerns an attempt by the FBI to manufacture a terrorist threat involving an unwitting Miami preacher – so that they can arrest him and be seen to be making the country safer.
Newcomer Marchánt Davis plays Moses, a young, idealistic family man living below the poverty line, whose passionate speeches to his modest group of followers put him on the radar of FBI agent Kendra (Anna Kendrick) and her boss (Denis O’Hare).
For all that Morris is deploying his trademark brand of absurdist humour here, the film is in fact ‘based on 100 true stories’ – he put the story together after researching a multitude of real-life cases, some of which you can read about on the film’s website.
Ah, Development Hell – that tortuous realm where skeletal screenwriters sit chained to their chairs as they attempt their 1,473rd rewrite, their heads ringing with the constant clanging of doors as new directors come and go…
Stumbling out of the murk of that cursed netherworld this week is Gemini Man – a high-concept sci-fi thriller which various filmmakers have been trying to get off the ground since 1997.
Will Smith takes the lead role(s) as ageing government assassin Henry Brogan, whose decision to quit the game results in him being targeted by a 25-years-younger clone of himself (sadly not sporting an oversized stripy t-shirt and backwards cap).
Co-starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim Vs The World) and Clive Owen, it’s been finally brought to the big screen by director Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), utilising de-ageing tech to enable Smith to face off against himself – though as Variety pointed out in their review, they could’ve just filmed Smith back in ’97 and waited 20 years…
Life after prison and a 1980s rock god are the subjects of two new documentaries showing at City Screen on Weds 16th, both with accompanying Q&A sessions.
Showing at 18:15, A Second Chance is billed as ‘a film about hope’, as it follows the experiences of two serving prisoners enrolled on a unique academy run by high street retailers Timpson, which gives inmates a chance of employment with the company upon their release.
With almost two thirds of former prisoners being convicted of another crime within 12 months of release if they don’t have a job, the project is a welcome success story – here’s hoping more employers follow suit. The film will be followed by a live Q&A session with director Rex Bloomstein.
Meanwhile, at 18:30 there’s a screening of new rock doc Mystify: Michael Hutchence, a portrait of the late INXS frontman by director Richard Lowenstein, who made many of the band’s videos and was a friend of the singer.
Rare archive footage and interviews with those close to Hutchence – including famous lovers Kylie Minogue and Helena Christensen – are promised, and the film will be followed by a recorded Q&A with the director and special guests.
Will Smith isn’t the only one getting a youthful makeover this week. One of the most eagerly-awaited films of the year is Martin Scorsese’s new gangster epic The Irishman, which sees the director utilising today’s state-of-the-art effects to restore several of his stars – including Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, the latter in his first collaboration with the director – to their youthful prime.
It’s all in the service of a decades-spanning tale centered around the real-life figure of Frank Sheeran (the Irishman of the title, played by De Niro), a union official with mafia connections, and his relationships with labour leader Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino) and crime boss Russell Bufalino (Pesci).
You can catch an exclusive preview of the film at Everyman on Sun 13th, where it’s coming live from its international premiere at the closing night of the London Film Festival, complete with interviews and red carpet footage.
Smoothing out all those wrinkles don’t come cheap, and Scorsese has been bankrolled by the shadowy figures at Netflix, meaning cinema screenings are likely to be limited – grab the chance to see this up on the big screen while you can. (That’s if you can stomach the £18 ticket price, presumably due to the red carpet stuff – hopefully there will be some regular-priced screenings to follow?).
Everyman also have another high profile preview on Sun 13th, with a matinee screening of Shaun The Sheep: Farmageddon, the new big screen adventure for the eweniversally-loved character (there will be more of this sort of punnage from me when it’s released next week, just to warn you).
Over at City Screen, meanwhile, there’s an always-welcome chance to see Spike Lee’s peerless Do The Right Thing on Sun 13th – part of a short series of screenings to mark Black History Month – while the same day sees concert doc Roger Waters: Us + Them return for an encore, and an Autism-Friendly screening of Toy Story 4.
South Bank Community Cinema continue their road trip-themed season this week with one of the best-loved road movies of all time, 1991’s Thelma and Louise.
The Ridley Scott-directed tale of two best friends (Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon) who hit the road to escape their domestic drudgery, it bagged an Oscar for screenwriter Callie Khouri, who went on to create the hit TV show Nashville.
Davis, meanwhile, has continued to blaze a feminist trail off screen by founding the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which works to champion gender balanced onscreen portrayals – work for which Davis received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at this year’s Oscars.
The film shows at Clement’s Hall at 8pm on Friday 11th (doors 7:30pm). Tickets are £3 for members and £4 for guests.