A small but eclectic selection of films were viewed at the multiplex during the second quarter of 2014.
2nd April: Yves Saint Laurent. French-language biopic that provides a fascinating insight into the turbulent relationship played out between the innovative fashion designer (brilliantly captured by Pierre Niney), his long-term partner Pierre Bergé (Guillaume Gallienne) and the women who modelled his clothes. The film follows the life and work of YSL from the late 1950s, when he assisted mentor Christian Dior, through to his Ballet Russes collection of the mid-1970s. The runway shows are recreated using original garments from the YSL archives, including the iconic Le Smoking jacket. Featuring a sparkling jazz score, this film is undeniably chic and will make you want to move to Paris tout de suite.
6th April: Muppets Most Wanted. Anyone who has ever read the About dolittle page will know that the Muppets are one of my favourite things. The latest movie in the franchise does not disappoint. Along with their human co-stars (notably Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey and Ty Burrell), Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear et al. are on fine form in what is essentially a classic heist-caper movie. Muppets Most Wanted finds our foam friends implicated in a series of high-profile robberies while on a world tour. Throw in a Kermit look-alike master criminal, his nefarious sidekick, a policeman who personifies all known French stereotypes and a clutch of witty musical numbers (including the keenly observed We’re Doing a Sequel) and you just know you’re in for a treat. Look out for the multitude of celebrity cameos.
23rd April: The Love Punch. A four-hander in the up and coming British comedy genre of ‘older people behaving badly’ that stars Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson, Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie as a group of friends who set out to steal a priceless diamond necklace while larking around on the French Riviera. The plot is beyond daft but I still found it all rather enjoyable.
27th April: The Other Woman. High-flying legal whizz Carly (Cameron Diaz) is shocked to find that she’s been dating a married man. Even more shocking, Carly and his wife (Leslie Mann) somehow find a way to become pals. When they discover evidence of yet another affair, all three women team up to take revenge on the love rat. Perhaps not in the same league as The First Wives Club; nevertheless, The Other Woman is an entertaining enough film for a Sunday afternoon. Singer Nicki Minaj is surprisingly accomplished in the role of Carly’s assistant Lydia.
25th May: Blended. Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler reunite for this lumbering comedy set in a family friendly hotel in Africa. Some parts are quite excruciating, others mildly amusing. The Greek Chorus of African singers that pop up throughout the film possess the annoying knack of lodging in your brain cells. Even now, the mister and I are prone to spontaneous outbursts of their dratted theme tune…
8th June: Edge of Tomorrow. A Sci-Fi mash-up of Groundhog Day and Source Code. Aliens have invaded Earth and mankind’s only hope rests with a cowardly press officer (Tom Cruise) who is caught in a time loop that enables him to get a handle on how to defeat the enemy. Co-starring Emily Blunt, who is terrific as the uncompromising poster girl for the war effort, Edge of Tomorrow is a great action movie that has Cruise playing against type. The opening scene in London’s Trafalgar Square was filmed for real, none of that blockbuster CGI fakery.
25th June: Chef. Jon Favreau’s uplifting sleeper indie movie about food, friendship and family. Chef Carl Casper loses his job at a fancy LA restaurant in spectacular style when he experiences a viral-video meltdown. With his career and reputation in tatters, Casper’s ex-wife offers a solution: why not start-up a street food truck to provide quality cooking on his own terms? So follows a gastronomic road trip in the grand American tradition set to the accompaniment of a catchy Cuban-inspired soundtrack. Chef has been described elsewhere as “food porn” and there’s no doubt that the audience were drooling by the end. I recommend seeing a matinée and then going for a hearty steak dinner afterwards.