“Come and get your black bin bags! On offer ‘til December…”
I can never hear the Men In Black theme without thinking of Jerry St Clair’s version in Phoenix Nights.
Fingers crossed for a Brian Potter cameo when the UK branch of MIB opens its doors this week in Men In Black: International.
Also out: Diego Maradona lifts the lid on the football superstar, and Bill Nighy finds that love actually is worth seven points in Scrabble-themed drama Sometimes Always Never…
Director Asif Kapadia – the man behind hit documentaries on Ayrton Senna and Amy Winehouse – turns his attention to another iconic figure in this portrait of the legendary Argentine footballer.
Focussing on Maradona’s seven years at Naples which began in 1984, the film contrasts his footballing success (including two league titles and, of course, the 1986 World Cup) with his chequered life off the pitch, including cocaine addiction and trouble with the Mob.
Kapadia and his team trawled through hundreds of hours of previously unseen footage to piece together the story – which also includes new interviews with the man himself and those who know him.
Forming an unofficial trilogy with Senna and Amy, reviews suggest it looks well poised to repeat their success, with Time Out hailing it as a “spellbinding, empathetic documentary”.
The popular sci-fi comedy franchise gets a fresh lick of paint with this spin-off, which sees Thor: Ragnarok sparring partners Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson star as Earth’s new sharp-suited defenders.
Thompson takes the Will Smith role as rookie Agent M, who’s assigned to the London branch of Men In Black by agency chief Emma Thompson (reprising her role from MIB 3).
She’s paired up with Hemsworth’s Agent H, and the two soon find themselves investigating a series of alien attacks – whilst also dealing with the possibility of a traitor in their midst.
Liam Neeson is on hand as the head of MIB’s UK division, High T (see what they did there), while heading up the alien side of the cast is Mission: Impossible star Rebecca Ferguson.
Sometimes Always Never
If you only see one Scrabble-themed family comedy drama with a mystery element this week, make it this one.
Alan (Bill Nighy) is a tailor obsessed with both Scrabble and the mystery of his son’s disappearance many years ago – he was last seen storming out after a heated family argument over the board game.
Meanwhile, his relationship with his youngest son Peter (Sam Riley, Control) – now married with a child of his own – has suffered. Can a road trip to identify a body finally give them some answers?
The feature debut of director Carl Hunter, it’s written by acclaimed author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce, and co-stars Alice Lowe (Prevenge), Tim McInnerny and Jenny Agutter.
On a side note, while we’re talking Sam Riley and fraught family dynamics, he’s excellent as the black sheep of the clan in tragicomedy Happy New Year, Colin Burstead, which is available all year on the iPlayer.
Other screenings and one-offs
Let’s start with a golden oldie motoring its way back to the big screen just in time for Father’s Day…
Yes, The Italian Job marks 50 years of blowing the bloody doors off with an anniversary screening at Vue on Sunday 16th.
Dads heading down to an all-you-can-eat buffet, on the other hand, should be mindful of the fate of the heroine’s father in Studio Ghibli classic Spirited Away (Everyman, Sun 16th), who scoffs so much food he turns into a pig…
Meanwhile, a rather reluctant father figure can be found at City Screen on Mon 17th, when a gruff Sam Neill (is there any other kind?) finds himself on the run with his foster son in Hunt for the Wilderpeople – the acclaimed 2016 comedy from Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi.
Showing throughout the week at City Screen is German drama Balloon, the incredible true story of two families who escaped the oppressive regime of East Germany by flying a hot air balloon over the border.
City Screen also have a couple of one-off documentary screenings this week. Showing on Tues 18th as part of Refugee Week, On Her Shoulders depicts the tireless activism of 23-year-old Nadia Murad, who survived the 2014 genocide of the Yazidis in Northern Iraq and now speaks out around the world on behalf of her embattled community.
That’s followed on Weds 19th by Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf, a film about influential Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, whose iconic works include New York’s High Line, an elevated park built out of a former railroad.
South Bank Community Cinema have a real treat this week, continuing their moon landings-inspired season with a showing of the (eventual) 2017 best picture Oscar winner Moonlight on Friday 14th.
Barry Jenkins’ mesmerising coming-of-age drama follows Chiron, a quiet, withdrawn African American boy growing up in a crime-ridden Miami neighbourhood.
He’s superbly played by three different actors (Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes) as a child, teenager and young adult navigating issues of identity, family and sexuality – while Green Book star Mahershala Ali bagged his first Oscar for his role as a drug dealer whose kindness offers the young Chiron a lifeline.
It’s on at Clement’s Hall at 8pm (doors 7:30pm). Tickets are £3 for members and £4 for guests.