based on a true story tagged posts

Tears and Laughter: Movie Reviews


Tears and Laughter: Women in Japanese Melodrama runs until Wednesday 29th November at the BFI Southbank. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

To read an interview with season curator and Sight and Sound features editor James Bell, click here.


OSAKA ELEGY

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi

Writer: Yoshikata Yoda (screenplay), Tadashi Fujiwara (dialogue)

Cast: Isuzu Yamada, Yôko Umemura, Benkei Shiganoya

Cert: PG

Running time: 71mins

Year: 1936



What’s the story: To pay off her father’s debts and her brother’s university fees, young switchboard operator Ayako (Yamada) becomes her boss’ mistress. But, when he rejects her she is forced into prostitution.

What’s the verdict: A pre-war film from director Kenji Mizoguchi, the 1936 Osaka Elegy anticipates Japan’s rejection ...

Read More

My Friend Dahmer

Director: Marc Meyers

Writer: Marc Meyers

Cast: Ross Lynch, Alex Wolff, Anne Heche, Dallas Roberts

Cert: 18 (TBC)

Running time: 107mins

Year: 2017


 


What’s the story: Ohio, 1978. High school student Jeffrey Dahmer is approaching graduation. But, impulses that would later cause him to kill begin to control his life.

What’s the verdict: Most of us will never know what it was like going to school with a serial killer. Not so Derf Backderf. He attended school in Bath, Ohio in the late 70s, and graduated in the same class as Jeffery Dahmer, who would later go on to murder seventeen men.

Based on Backderf’s graphic novel of the same name, My Friend Dahmer recounts the killer’s late adolescence...

Read More

Battle of the Sexes

Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

Writer: Simon Beaufoy

Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Sarah Silverman, Austin Stowell, Bill Pullman, Andrea Riseborough, Elisabeth Shue, Alan Cumming, Chip Chinery, Jessica McNamee

Cert: 12

Running time: 121mins

Year: 2017


 


What’s the story: In 1973, former men’s number one tennis champ Bobby Riggs challenges current female superstar Billie Jean King to a match broadcast around the world.

What’s the verdict: This tale of women’s rights, fought on the tennis court and in the court of world opinion, is presented in the broad Disney brushstrokes needed for these nuance-free times.

Indeed, Battles of the Sexes (as Billie Jean King’s showdown with Bobby Riggs was titled) can be read as a Disney Princess movie...

Read More

Eureka Blu-Ray Review: The Entity

Director: Sidney J. Furie

Writer: Frank De Felitta

Cast: Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver, David Labiosa, Alex Rocco

Cert: 18

Running time: 125 mins

Year: 1982


Film: medium_3
Extras: N/A


What’s the story: A young, single mother begins suffering sexual attacks from a malevolent unseen force. How can she convince others she is telling the truth?

What’s the verdict: Easy to see why The Entity has avoided remake treatment, despite its name-recognition title. The premise, a working class single mother is repeatedly raped by an invisible spirit, requires characters to question her story. Putting any remake in the difficult position of not believing a rape victim.

Sidney J...

Read More

The Founder

Director: John Lee Hancock

Writer: Robert Siegel

Cast: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Laura Dern

Cert: 12

Running time: 115mins

Year: 2016



What’s the story: In 1950s America, fifty-something milkshake machine salesman Ray Kroc (Keaton) convinces the McDonald brothers to allow him to franchise their burger restaurant across America. But, Dick and Mac McDonald (Offerman & Lynch) soon realise Ray’s ambition may be difficult to contain.

What’s the verdict: Birdman was tiresome Hollywood self-congratulation. But, one positive that emerged from the navel gazing was the revitalisation of Michael Keaton’s career. With Spotlight and now The Founder, Keaton is again becoming one of Tinseltown’s most exciting faces.

He clearly knows a juicy role when he sees it, sink...

Read More

Jackie (2016)

Director: Pablo Larraín

Writer: Noah Oppenheim

Cast: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Billy Crudup, Greta Gerwig, John Hurt, John Carroll Lynch, Caspar Phillipson

Cert: 15

Running time: 100mins

Year: 2016


medium_5


What’s the story: Weeks after the assassination of President John F Kennedy, a journalist (Crudup) is granted an interview with Jacqueline Kennedy (Portman), who recalls moments of her life as First Lady.

What’s the verdict: From the opening close-up of Natalie Portman’s pinched, pale face and the strings of Mica Levi’s woozy score, it is clear Jackie aims for something beyond a standard soup-to-nuts biopic.

Director Pablo Larraín (who had a better 2016 than most with this and Neruda) and writer Noah Oppenheim (a long way from his scripts for Allegiant and The Maze Runner) con...

Read More

A United Kingdom

a-united-kingdom-posterDirector: Amma Asante

Writer: Guy Hibbert

Cast: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport, Terry Pheto, Tom Felton, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Vusi Kunene

Cert: 12A

Running time: 105mins

Year: 2016

 


medium_3


What’s the story: While studying in London in 1948, Seretse Khama (Oyelowo), King of Bechuanaland (modern day Botswana), falls in love with local office worker Ruth Williams (Pike). But, their relationship is opposed by her family, the people of Bechuanaland, and an imperialistic British government.

a-united-kingdom-david-oyelowo-rosamund-pikea-united-kingdom-rosamund-pike-david-oyelowo

What’s the verdict: If star ratings could be awarded for good intentions, then A United Kingdom would be a five star movie...

Read More

Anthropoid

anthropoid-posterDirector: Sean Ellis

Writer: Sean Ellis, Anthony Frewin

Cast: Cillian Murphy, Jamie Dornan, Toby Jones, Charlotte Le Bon, Anna Geislerová

Cert: 15

Running time: 120mins

Year: 2016



What’s the story: In 1942, partisans selected by the London-based Czechoslovakian government are tasked with aiding the Czech resistance in the assassination of high-ranking SS official Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler’s second-in-command.

anthropoid-heydrich-car-detlef-botheanthropoid-james-dornan

What’s the verdict: The plot against Reinhard Heydrich has been filmed numerous times previously, notably in 1943 by Fritz Lang as Hangmen Also Die, and again in 1975 as Operation Daybreak by Spy Who Loved Me director Lewis Gilbert.

Anthropoid was the real name of the operation to assassinate Himmler’s no.2, the man known as “the Butcher of Prague...

Read More

Elvis & Nixon

Elvis-&-Nixon---posterDirector: Liza Johnson

Writers: Joey Sagal & Hanala Sagal and Cary Elwes

Cast: Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey, Alex Pettyfer, Colin Hanks, Evan Peters, Johnny Knoxville

Cert: 15

Running time: 86mins

Year: 2016

 



What’s the story: In December 1970, Elvis Presley, determined to battle the drug crisis he sees threatening American youth, meets with President Richard Nixon to discuss becoming a self-styled “Federal Agent at Large”.

Elvis-&-Nixon---Michael-ShannonElvis-&-Nixon---Michael-Shannon,-Kevin-Spacey

What’s the verdict: Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon have been portrayed on film often enough to have mini-film festivals dedicated to the two of them. And Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey’s fun and finessed performances make this a great bridging film.

Fun and finessed are also apt words for Liza Johnson’s movie, along with nuanced, smart, surprising an...

Read More

Miss Hokusai

Miss-Hokusai-posterDirector: Keiichi Hara

Writer: Miho Maruo, Hinako Suguira (comic)

Cast: Anne Watanabe, Yutaka Matsushige, Shion Shimizu, Kumiko Aso

Cert: 12

Running time: 93mins

Year: 2015



What’s the story: In 1814 Edo (now Tokyo) 50 year old artist Tetsuzo casually produces masterpieces, assisted by his daughter O-Ei. Using the vibrant city, its inhabitants, the seasons and superstitions they create works of art revered to this day.

Miss-Hokusai---O-Ei,-magic-hourMiss-Hokusai---O-Ei,-painting-society-woman

What’s the verdict: Don’t worry if you have never heard of Japanese artist Tetsuzo, or his most famous assumed name Katsushika Hokusai. You will be familiar with his wood block print The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. It’s that striking flat perspective view of a giant blue wave engulfing fishing boats that adorns everything from mugs to mouse pads to many a student bed...

Read More