Francois Ozon's The New Girlfriend is elegant, witty and razor sharp, Ana lily Amipour's A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a stylish, haunting and hypnotic mix of dark lipstick and blood, Gil Kenan's update of the 1982 classic Poltergeist falls short on the shock factor, Shino Sono's Tokyo Tribe offers a mix of Yakuza gangsters, hip hop and rap, Moomins on the Riviera prods the over glamorised wealthy celebs, Return To Sender struggles to find gasp inducing twists and the indie horror-romance Spring plods.
Director: François Ozon
Cast: Anaïs Demoustier, Romain Duris, Raphaël Personnaz, Isild Le Besco
Genre: Comedy Drama
Language: French with English subtitles
Country of Origin: France 2014 107 mins
'Witty, observant and suggestive with outstanding performances and a razor sharp script - it's a delight.'
To reveal anything about François Ozon's elegant and witty latest film would be a sacrilage. Just expect twists galore, outstanding performances from Romain Duris and Anais Demoustier and a delightfully observant, witty, razor sharp script.
Claire (Anaïs Demoustier), devastated by the death of her best friend Laura (Isild Le Besco) makes a promise to watch over her husband David (Romain Duris) and newborn daughter Lucie. Claire's got her own problems. The rose tinted ideal that she'd hoped for is a bubble wrapped dream and her unresponsive husband Gilles (Raphael Personnaz) only adds to a depressive scenario. When Gilles suggests Claire visit David she reluctantly agrees and arrives unannounced at his plush suburban home to make a wow, draw breath, count to ten discovery about the form his grief has taken. Initially shocked and resistant, Claire's gradually seduced and ultimately finds expression for her own anguish and repressed desires. Suburbia has it all.
Elegant and witty with spot-on performances throughout, The New Girlfriend is a delight.
Released by Metrodome 22nd May
Director: Ana Lily Amipour
Cast: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh
Genre: Horror Romance Thriller
Language: Farsi (Persian) with English subtitles
Country of Origin: USA 2014 101 mins.
Dark lipstick and blood - dazzling, original, creative, stylish and seductive, writer-director Ana Lily Amipour's directorial debut casts a haunting and hypnotic spell.
A hijab clad lone female vampire cruises the deserted streets of a ghost-like lawless Iranian town seeking blood. James Dean look-a-like Arash (Arash Marandi) with a 1950s sleek, give your life for it, car, his dying junkie father Hossein (Marshall Manesh) and dealer- pimp Saeed (Dominic Rains) who abuses Atti (Mozhan Marno), a part-time hooker and wants that sleek gleaming automobile lead to the hijab clad Girl (Sheila Vand) and an unlikely love affair.
Lyle Vincent's black and white visually seductive cinematography offers a haunting, moody, sensual and stylish film noir feel. Masuka The Cat purrs and The Urchin (Milad Eghbali) hovers in the background as a love affair takes hold. With spot on music tracks that blend contemporary arab rock and 80s New Wave and a dream-like visually expressive style, A Girl walks Home Alone At Night casts a hypnotic spell of dark lipstick and blood.
Released by StudioCanal 22nd May
Director: Gil Kenan
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie De Witt, Jared Harris, Kennedi Clements, Kyle Catlett, Saxon Sharbino, Jane Adams
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Country of origin: USA 2015 93 mins.
Tobe Hooper's 1982 'Poltergeist' with Steven Spielberg's script remains a classic that's inspired many a haunted house copy. Gil Kenan's update keeps the essentials and updates with reference to the technological communication love affair and the global recession but falls short on that essential jump out of the chair shock factor.
Eric's (Sam Rockwell) lost his job and Amy (Rosemarie De Witt) who struggles to make it as a writer have moved with their family to a house smack bang in the middle of a suburban Illinois estate on the outskirts of town. As expected the kids have mixed feelings about the move. Griffin (Kyle Catlett) hates his attic bedroom and is the first to notice strange goings on, Maddy (Kennedi Clements) has no problems, loves the TV screen and chats away with her invisible friends and Kendra (Saxon Sharbino) is glued to her phone to keep in contact with her friends. When the 'lost people' start making their presence felt, objects fly, Maddy's abducted by the spirits and Dr Claire Powell (Jane Adams), an academic who researches the paranormal comes on the scene and enlists the help of Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris), a medium who hosts the TV reality show Haunted House Cleaners.
Entertaining with plenty of noises and easy to watch. Perhaps that's it's achilles' heel.
Released by 20th Century Fox 22nd May
Director: Shion Sono
Cast: Akihiro Kitamura, Hitomi Katayama, Ryohei Suzuki, Riki Takeuchi
Genre: Drama Sci-Fi
Language: Japanese with English subtitles
Country of Origin: Japan 2014 116 mins.
A futuristic candy coloured Tokyo ghetto mix of Yakuza gangster mayhem, hip-hop and rap verse. Now that's something different.
Yakuza boss Lord Buppa (Riki Takeuchi) rules but when the Musashino Saru tribe cross over into Wu-Ronz turf all hell breaks loose with an OTT assault on the senses. Add on female killing machine, Sunmi (Nana Seino), who has Lord Buppa's son Nkoi (Yosuke Kubozuka) drooling, stunt performers, real rappers, choreograph it with a technicoloured eye and street imagery, drop it into a candy coloured stage set and enter Shion Sono's madcap hip-hop futuristic, bizarre alternate -world Tokyo set to music.
Released by Eureka Entertainment 22nd May
Director: Xavier Picard, Hannaa Hemila
Cast: Maria Sid, Mats Langbacka, Kristofer Gummerus
Genre: Animation, Comedy
Country of Origin: Finland, France 2014 80 mins.
Inspired by Tove Jansson's comic strips and novels, the Moomin family take their hols on the Riviera in a gentle, delightful and witty prod at over glamorised wealthy celebs.
After a bit of a tussle with a pirate ship and hungry sharp toothed sharks, it's time for the Moomin family with Snorkmaiden and Little My to take off for a well earned break on the sunny Riviera. Only the best hotel for the upmarket 'De Moomins' and the lure of celebs, glamour and wealth begins to seduce Snorkmaiden and Moominpappa, but not everyone's impressed with the headline pinching glamorised elite.
Hand drawn animation is a rarity nowadays and I hope that it'll appeal to young audiences who are saturated with digitally enhanced computerised animation.
Released by Vertigo Films 22nd May
Director: Fouad Mikati
Cast: Rosamund Pike, Rumer Willis, Nick Nolte, Scout Taylor, Shiloh Ferdandez
Country of Origin: USA 2015 96 mins.
After her Oscar nominated performance in the screen adaptation of the best selling novel 'Gone Girl', Rosamund Pike's in familiar territory but without the psychological thrill hit and you do question as to why she agreed to take the role in what is an indie B movie with a paper thin plot.
Miranda (Rosamund Pike), a surgical nurse in a American small town is viciously raped by creepy tooth pick chewing William Finn (Shiloh Fernandez). Following his imprisonment, Miranda befriends him in jail which all points to a long term plan for revenge. Do you really believe that she's that forgiving? Of course Miranda's got her hang ups and it's not just her OCD. Nick Nolte, who plays her father isn't happy with his daughter but he's as inspirational as a wet November morning. The plot line's obvious with zero gasp inducing twists and even Rosamund Pike's strong performance can't save it.
Released by Arrow Film 22nd May
Director: Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead
Cast: Lou Taylor Pucci, Nadia Hilker, Vanessa Bednar
Genre: Horror, Romanace Sci-Fi
Country of Origin: USA 2014 109 mins.
Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) bids his suburban back water good bye to travel to sunny Italy to clear his mind of the tragic loss of his mother. In a small village in Puglia he gets a live-in job with local farmer Angelo (Francesco Carnelutti) and meets the outspoken and mysterious Louise (Nadia Hilker) who has a dark and surprising secret.
An indie horror-romance with a sunny Italian backdrop that hopes for a smart chat, dark humour romance, intrigue and unexpected horror but offers little beyond a plodding and mundane 109 minutes.
Released by Metrodome 22nd May