Some movie stars are so totemic, and such an integral part of the cinematic landscape, that it can feel like you’ve seen their films even when you haven’t.
As I was reading up on Clint Eastwood’s new release Cry Macho this week, I realised that I’ve somehow made it into my forties without once dipping into his vast filmography.
So, where do I start? The classic Sergio Leone westerns? Dirty Harry? Unforgiven? Those ones where his best mate is a monkey?
Maybe I should just switch on ITV4 after 10pm and leave it up to fate – or, to put it another way: Do I feel lucky?
This period drama, based on the 2016 novella by Graham Swift, tells the story of a housemaid to a grief-stricken family and her affair with the son of their well-to-do neighbours.
Odessa Young (Assassination Nation) stars as Jane, a bright, orphaned housemaid working for the Nivens (played by those masters of repressed British anguish, Olivia Colman and Colin Firth), who are mourning the loss of their sons in the First World War.
Jane’s secret relationship with Paul (Josh O’Connor, God’s Own Country), the only remaining son of the neighbouring Sheringhams, takes place under the shadow of his imminent marriage to another woman – but as Jane prepares for their next rendezvous, on Mother’s Day, little does she know that the day’s events will reverberate throughout the rest of her life.
Reviews suggest that director Eva Husson has crafted something with a little more edge than its tasteful period trappings might suggest – perhaps not a surprise given that the screenplay is by Alice Birch, who penned 2016’s dark and twisted thriller Lady Macbeth.
Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this drama about the friendship between an ageing former rodeo star and a Mexican teenager.
The 1970s-set tale sees Mike Milo (Eastwood) head out to Mexico in order to bring home the estranged son (Eduardo Minnett) of his old boss (Dwight Yoakam).
In time-honoured road trip fashion, the mismatched pair slowly bond during an incident-filled journey back across the border – with, as the title might suggest, a few reflections on masculinity from Eastwood’s washed-up old timer along the way.
Film fans willing to take a punt on the unknown can catch a mystery movie preview at City Screen on Friday 12th, as their regular Surprise Film Screening returns – for the reduced price of £8 (£5 for members), you can see an early screening of an upcoming release, but you won’t know what it is until the lights go down…
Having heard many a film critic rave over the work of the Japanese director Yasujirō Ozu, I was keen to catch Early Summer at City Screen last weekend – the first of three Ozu films they are showing over the next few weeks.
I was glad I did – it was a charming slice-of-life drama, and I loved its affectionate, nuanced portrait of family life. If you’re a fan of the kind of films – such as Richard Linklater’s Boyhood – where not a lot happens plotwise, but you feel you could sit and watch these people go about their lives for hours, then I’d recommend giving one of his other films showing at City Screen a try.
His most celebrated work Tokyo Story shows in a couple of weeks, but this Sunday you can catch the evocatively titled The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice.
This 1952 comedic drama focuses on a wealthy but mismatched Tokyo couple whose marriage is showing signs of strain, while their niece hopes to use the example of their unhappiness to avoid wedlock herself.
City Screen also have a preview of the latest film from acclaimed French director Céline Sciamma – another filmmaker who’s celebrated for her naturalistic, observational style (her last film, 2019’s period romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire, has just landed on the BBC iPlayer and is well worth a watch).
Showing on Tuesday 16th, Petite Maman has a fairytale element in its story of an eight-year-old girl dealing with the loss of her grandmother, who receives help from a curious new friend who seems oddly familiar.
Meanwhile, over at Vue there’s still time to catch the reissues of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Sat 13th/Sun 14th) and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Fri 12th – Sun 14th, plus Tues 16th), while the author of another beloved children’s fantasy series is celebrated in The Most Reluctant Convert (Sun 14th), a biopic of C.S. Lewis which details the once avowedly atheist writer’s embrace of Christianity.
Classic musical West Side Story returns to the big screen this week, both marking its 60th anniversary and also serving as an appetiser for Steven Spielberg’s new version, due out next month – you can catch it at Everyman (Sun 14th) and Vue (Fri 12th to Mon 15th, plus Weds 17th).
Finally, your budget children’s offerings this week are Pixar’s brilliant Coco in City Screen’s Kids’ Club (Sat 13th, £3.00), while Cineworld’s Movies For Juniors screenings are this year’s Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds remake (Sat 13th/Sun 14th, £2.50) and The Croods 2: A New Age (Sun 14th, £2.50), and Vue have the ever-popular Paw Patrol movie in their Mini Mornings slot (Sat 13th/Sun 14th, £2.49).