Movies reviewed this week: Manchester by the Sea, Trespass Against Us, A Dog’s Purpose and Long View: Power Rangers (starring: Bryan Cranston).
Manchester by the Sea
Just when you thought all excellent US drama was to be found only on television these days, one film has come along to prove that US cinema for adults is not yet dead.
While French and Italian filmmakers might be more adept at dealing with the warts-and-all aspects of the human condition, this is a US drama that actually delivers a solid plot and careful characterisation.
When Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) faces up to the death of his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) he is left with the responsibility of taking care of his 16-year-old nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges).
The huge change in his life means he is faced with moving back to the Massachusetts fishing village of his childhood, and revisiting some memories he has tried hard to forget.
As a downtrodden odd-job man in an apartment building full of rude and ungrateful residents, his lot is not a happy one, to say the least.
Wondering where he went wrong in life is one thing, but Lee is going to have to get it together, and fast.
For one thing, his tell-it-like-it-is manner is not going to cut it with a stroppy teenager who has just lost his dad, and a fair bit of (occasionally comic) bickering ensues.
It takes a skilled director (Kenneth Lonergan) who can weld a family drama without making it mawkish or self-indulgent. He guides the film at a measured pace, which makes it all the more real as it explores trauma, guilt, grief, love and family ties.
With brilliant performances (also stars Michelle Williams) and stunning cinematography, this is real treat.
Affleck is also odds-on for this year’s Oscar for Best Actor.
Review by Kevin McIndoe
Trespass Against Us
Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender) is a career criminal at a crossroads. He wants a better life for himself and his son. However, his grizzled, grouchy father Colby (Brendan Gleeson) has other ideas and is head of the “family firm”, with Colby being the brains; and Chad, the brawn. As Chad is illiterate, his career options are going to be somewhat limited. But at least he is making sure his son gets the education he never had. Two great leads such as these bouncing off one another in scene after scene makes for a great film, and with a premise and themes that everyone looking for a better gig can relate to.
A Dog’s Purpose
Dog movies can often be a bit of a mixed bag. Think Marley & Me, Greyfriars Bobby or numerous life lessons with Lassie. Thankfully, here’s one canine caper that actually has something to say about a dog’s love for humans, and how some dogs are actually treated. Bailey is trying to get to grips with why he exists, and is reincarnated three times into several breeds before finally working it all out. Unfortunately, this movie has run into trouble with some silly animal rights activists who should get a life, and check their facts (no dogs were harmed on set). This is a family film, with our loveable lead voiced by Josh Gad. Dennis Quaid co-stars.
A group of high-school kids with unique powers are on a mission to save the world. Rita Repulsa, a former Green Ranger who has gone rogue and has a project of her own: to strip the Power Rangers of their powers. This is the third film in the Power Rangers franchise, and promises much. It also cost US$120m (RO46m) to make so it will need to open pretty big in its first weekend. However, it does have Breaking Bad maestro Bryan Cranston in it so here’s hoping it will live up to the hype. At any rate, there should be a few free plastic toys appearing in your kids’ cereal anytime soon.
Oman Release Date: March 23