This week, Y’s movie critic, Kevin McIndoe gives his take on the Churchill, Sachin: A Billion Dreams, The Mummy and Transformers: The Last Knight.
It takes a powerhouse actor to portray the most charismatic politician Britain has ever produced, and some of the greats have had a go, including Richard Burton, Albert Finney and Robert Hardy.
This time, it’s powerhouse Scottish veteran Brian Cox who takes up the cigar, stick and speech impediment.
In this, Churchill faces a pivotal moment in his war-time success with the D-Day landings in 1944. Then, Allied Forces invaded Normandy in France by sea in a bid to wrestle north-western Europe from the control of Nazi Germany.
But Churchill is beset with demons over his shortcomings in the First World War, and finds that he doesn’t exactly have untrammeled authority as he struggles to remind America’s General Eisenhower who’s boss.
Mercifully, he stops short of reminding the Americans that they only entered the war in 1942, and then only after being attacked by the Japanese in their own back yard.
Historical films often play fast and loose with the facts but it’s well known that Churchill suffered much both as a man and as a politician.
With solid support from Miranda Richardson as his long-suffering wife Clemmie, we get a far more nuanced and authentic portrayal than we probably have seen before.
But does it make for a good film? Well, as a thriller it falls slightly short (not least because we know what happens) and while it’s reassuring to know that even great men have doubts and demons, we don’t necessarily want to be constantly reminded of it.
However, such is Cox’s supreme skill, we get a warts-and-all look at a politican under extreme pressure, and one not afraid to admit he has made mistakes while providing the leadership his country needs (take note, Theresa May).
Ask a young Indian kid who their hero is and they will probably say, “Sachin Tendulkar”, the Indian cricketing legend.
This is why Sachin: A Billion Dreams makes sense as a biopic; it touches the hearts of a billion Indians worldwide. The biographical film follows the path that led a motivated Tendulkar all the way from his hometown in Mumbai, to dictate matches on some of the world’s most hallowed pitches, including Lords in the United Kingdom and the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The film also captures his dedication to cricket: think the time he scored 140 runs not out against Zimbabwe before rushing to his father’s funeral. There’s no denying that this will be a global hit.
When an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella) is awakened from her crypt, she is determined to right some of the wrongs that were done to her, and wrestle some degree of vengeance for good measure.
She is the very essence of evil, and it would take someone as formidable as Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to take her down.
Unfortunately, we get stuck with Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) who has to take some sagely advice from learned academic Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe). Never mind though, it’s all wonderful fun, with great CGI and action. Even though you know Cruise will still be there at the end, it’s a great ride.
Transformers: The Last Knight
Is it just me or are there any other film fans out there bored with another would-be blockbuster, the premise of which lies with computer-generated protagonists or leading actors (who might as well be) tasked with saving the earth from a hideous catastrophe? Mercifully, I haven’t seen a preview DVD for this. Frankly, I’d rather watch a kettle boil than sit through another bore-fest that pits humans against, well, in this case, transformers. I haven’t seen any of the previous Transformer movies (because I’m an adult) so can’t comment but apparently our future is under threat in it.
Oman Release Date: June 22
Review by Kevin McIndoe