New Releases: 3rd June

FOR ELLEN:

For-Ellen-PosterReviewed by Rob Munday

For Ellen follows Joby Taylor an itinerant rock star lost in a snowbound small town America. He’s there to sign divorce papers with his estranged wife but signing will also mean forfeiting all custody of his six-year-old daughter Ellen – and there’s the rub.

In the role of Joby is Paul Dano and this film belongs to him. With his skinny jeans and leather jacket he is ill-suited to these frosty conditions. We see him slip around like a puppy learning to walk. Joby tries to find his feet and get his head around a situation that he has long ignored. He’s palpably scared of the responsibility of fatherhood but also drawn to it.

2546211_origThis is a character study clearly influenced by 1970s cinema and in particular Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces. There we observed Jack Nicholson’s Robert Dupea – another talented man adrift, forced to confront a family he feels isolated from but determined to remain unknowable. Writer/director SoYong Kim hones in on Joby using a shallow depth of field to isolate him and letting shots linger as if to allow us a chance to work him out.

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In sharp contrast to Joby is his solicitor Fred Butler. We witness the suffocating comfort of Fred’s domestic life with his mum and he seems to be the polar opposite of Joby: all thick jumper and sensible hair. But Jon Heder’s subtle performance conveys a man equally at sea. You feel there is more to explore here but the film (like Joby) shies away from relationships.

There is a refreshing honesty in the way SoYong Kim embraces awkward reality but at times you yearn for stronger interactions to lift Joby from his stupor. Despite this For Ellen has a real feel for atmosphere and while Joby may slip from our grasp there is no doubt that Dano and Kim are worth keeping track of.

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FLIGHT:

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From Robert Zemeckis, director of such joyous cinematic treats as the Back to the Future Trilogy and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, as well as Forrest Gump. The ever-watchable Denzel Washington (could actually watch him play a statue in an otherwise empty museum) plays a commercial airline pilot who, after successfully saving his passengers from a malfunctioning plane, is lauded as a hero. But an investigation into the incident turns up some unexpected and troubling details… Co-starring John Goodman (Emperor’s New Groove). Cert. 15

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WRECK IT RALPH:

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Disney’s latest epic, featuring characters taken from iconic computer games including Sonic the Hedgehog etc and set within an arcade game world. Featuring the voices of John C. Reilly (Carnage) and Sarah Silverman (Take this Waltz). Cert. PG

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I GIVE IT A YEAR:

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British comedy marketed as the GB Bridesmaids.. (?!) Perfectly happy newly weds encounter their first obstacle in the form of mutual temptations. Starring Rose Byrne (Damages, Bridesmaids) and Ralph Spall (Anonymous). Cert. 15

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BULLET TO THE HEAD:

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First Arnie, now Sly – the muscles are back. Looks like atrocious fun. And directed by Walter Hill, who made both the Long Riders and 48hrs… Hmmm. Cert. 18

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SMASHED:

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A young couple who have always bonded over their love of alcohol try to clean themselves up. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Sundance. Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim) and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad). Cert.15

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Also out this week:

SWEET VENGEANCE:

VengeanceDVD-727x1024“Inventively violent”

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GOOD DOCTOR:

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BREAKING BAD SEASON 5:

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VEEP SEASON 1:

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DEXTER SEASON 7:

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by Dixie Turner

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