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Film Review: The Danish Girl - Sleeping With Other People - At Any Price - Le Mepris

03/01/2016 20:03 GMT | Updated 30/12/2016 10:12 GMT

Tom Hooper's 'The Danish Girl' has it's eye on the awards season with the story of Einer/Lili Wegener, the first transgender person to undergo reassignment surgery - 'Sleeping With Other People,' splits the rom from the com but it's too smart for its own self - Ramin Bahrani's 'At Any Price' is akin to a midweek afternoon Iowa farming family soap opera switch-off - 'Le Mepris' (Contempt), Jean-Luc Godard's stylish and fascinating classic is revived.

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Director: Tom Hooper. Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander. Drama. UK, USA 2015 119 mins. (15) ****

Two moments define the remarkable story of the Danish artist Einer/Lili Wegener the first transgender person to undergo reassignment surgery. Einer/Lili Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) slipping on stockings and ballet pumps to stand in for a life model awakens Einer's female self and Einer/Lili stating her belief that she's a woman inside a male body reaffirmed by Einer's wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander).

The film's got it's eye on the forthcoming awards season and I suspect that it'll do well. Stunningly shot by Danny Cohen, it offers a painterly quality with costumes and interiors made for the camera which if anything masks the psychological and later the physical reality of the experimental operations Lili underwent in Dresden. Eddie Redmayne lauded for his role as Stephen Hawking adopts a coy and safe approach to his portrayal of Lili which includes a justified full frontal nude scene but it's Alicia Vikander who dominates much of the film.

Episodes from Einer/Lili and Gerda's bohemian life - Lili posing for paintings, attending a society ball dressed as a woman, and Henrik (Ben Whishaw), an admirer stealing a kiss offer some insight as we move towards Lili's decision to undergo experimental reassignment surgery in Dresden.

'I believe I am a woman' - Einer/Lili. 'I believe it too' - Gerda.

Released 1st January

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Director: Leslye Headland. Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Jordan Carlos. Comedy. USA 2015 101 mins. (15) ***

Jake (Jason Sudeikis) seduced Lainey (Alison Brie) in student days. Hop on 12 years and Jake's been round the block and Lainey's done a full-on, sleeping with someone else confessional to her fiancee (Adam Brody)and can't shake off her obsession with gynaecologist Matthew (Adam Scott), the guy that she wanted to loose her virginity to. Of course Lainey and Jake have to meet and where better than a sex addicts meeting but can they just be pals and not do the love bit.

Split the rom from the com and laugh along in a take on contemporary relationships. Sounds good but we've been there before and now it's upped to an OTT screw ball speed dialogue that pops 'Sleeping With Other People' onto the too smart for it's own good shelf.

Bring on Woody Allen.

Released 1st January

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Director: Ramin Bahrani. Dennis Quaid, Zac Efron, Kim Dickens, Heather Graham, Clancy Brown. Drama. USA 2012 105 mins. (18) **

'At Any Price,' is akin to a midweek afternoon Iowa farming family soap opera switch-off.

Super stressed farmer Henry Whipple (Dennis Quaid) needs to sell his product. Rival farmer Jim Johnson's (Clancy Brown) causing trouble, family loyalty's gone, one son's gone to South America to climb a mountain, rebel Dean's (Zac Efron) into stock car racing, local good time gal Meredith (Heather Graham) offers a bit of fun for poor old Henry and his wife Irene's (Kim Dickens) very patient. It's Iowa's soap opera with odd ball Henry, a field of wheat and a bit of violence, and guilt later on.

Released 1st January

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Director: Jean-Luc Godard. Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance, Fritz Lang. Drama. French with English subtitles. France, Italy 1963 103 mins. (15) ****

With a screenplay adapted from the Alberto Moravia novel 'A Ghost At Noon,' Jean-Luc Godard orchestrates a stylish 60s cinematic feast with visual delights and moments to savour in a film that was a defining moment in the director's career. It's a fascinatingly toxic mix -sexy siren BB, the estranged wife of failed screenwriter Michel Piccoli who's struggling to bring Homer's Odysssey to the screen with the veteran director Fritz Lang who plays himself at the helm with Godard as his assistant (lovely touch) and bad boy Hollywood style producer Jack Palance whose appreciation of cinema's off the planet. A Godard classic.

'Le Mepris' forms part of the BFI Southbank's Godard retrospective season which opens 8th January.

Released 1st January

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