Since I don’t get to the cinema to see new releases that often anymore, this is my new weekly feature reviewing the latest releases on Sky Cinema Premiere (and in turn, Now TV). I will write a short review and rating for each of the films that I have watched and then give you the details for the ones that I didn’t get a chance to see.
This week’s feature sees the release of Breaking Brooklyn, The Last Witness, Jeune Femme, A Crooked Somebody, Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Wedding Guest, and Unsane.
14th January – Breaking Brooklyn
Synopsis: A 12-year-old dance fanatic and his brother are rescued from the streets by an old showman who takes them to live in an old New York theatre with his estranged former dancing partner/brother.
Director: Paul Becker
Cast: Nathan Kress, Madeleine Mantock, Jack Noseworthy, Louis Gossett Jr., Deidre Goodwin, and Vondie Curtis-Hall
15th January – The Last Witness
Synopsis: Ambitious young hack Stephen Underwood uncovers a conspiracy on an international scale – the Katyn massacre by the Red Army of Polish officers but which was blamed on the German Army – when he begins investigating the unusually high rate of suicides among Polish veterans resettled in England after World War II.
Director: Piotr Szkopiak
Cast: Alex Pettyfer, Robert Wieckiewicz, Talulah Riley, Michael Gambon, Charles De’Ath, and Holly Aston
16th January – Jeune Femme
Synopsis: Broke thirty-something Paula pinballs emotionally after getting dumped by a lover – her ex-teacher and hip photographer Joachim – with whom she lived for a decade. Newly-single and rudderless, she finds herself struggling to get by in Paris. However, if she can make it there, she’ll make it anywhere. In French with English subs.
Director: Léonor Serraille
Cast: Laetitia Dosch, Souleymane Seye Ndiaye, Grégoire Monsaingeon, Jean-Christophe Folly, Nathalie Richard, and Arnaud de Cazes
17th January – A Crooked Somebody
Synopsis: Crooked small-time medium Michael Vaughn plays to half-full hotel meeting rooms with his audience plant and ex-lover Chelsea. However, one day, attendee Nathan believes the schtick and connects Michael’s show to someone he murdered twenty years ago. Fearing he’s going to be revealed, he captures the medium but things don’t pan out.
Director: Trevor White
Cast: Rich Sommer, Joanne Froggatt, Ed Harris, Clifton Collins Jr., Michael Mosley, and Amy Madigan
18th January – Solo: A Star Wars Story
Synopsis: Stand-alone Star Wars spin-off chronicling the story of the young Han Solo, as we follow his trajectory from rebel pilot to criminal colluder. Along the way, we discover the circumstances leading to Han meeting his future brother-in-arms Chewbacca and the first time he took the controls of the Millennium Falcon.
Director: Ron Howard
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Paul Bettany, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Review: A really great cast and a believable portrayal of the early days of Han Solo and Lando Calrissian. Their back story is enjoyable enough, but without the conflicts that we are used to seeing in a Star Wars film, the adventure doesn’t feel as exciting or fast-paced. Alden Ehrenreich plays Han Solo brilliantly and Donald Glover is great, too, but there’s very little that stands out to remember this stand-alone film for.
29th January – The Wedding Guest
Synopsis: Jilted Adam is invited to the wedding of Allison, the girl he went out with for nine years before they split up. Still heartbroken, he agrees, hoping it will bring closure to the relationship that ended more than a year ago.
Director: Ryan Eggold
Cast: Justin Long, Cobie Smulders, Lea Thompson, Dana Delany, Kristen Schaal, and Peter Gallagher
20th January – Unsane
Synopsis: Sawyer Valentini, a Boston businesswoman, is driven to seek treatment after being plagued by a stalker. However, she involuntarily commits herself at a behaviour clinic and soon discovers that her nemesis, David, in the guise of a mild-mannered nurse, is employed on her ward. Naturally enough, no-one believes her.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, Juno Temple, Amy Irvine, and Polly McKie
Review: Filmed solely on an iPhone, the quick and unfocused camera movements suit the premise incredibly well. The grittiness and blurred edges are like the ongoings of Sawyer’s mind: slightly hazy but trying to hold her focus on to what’s in front of her.
It’s a decent enough thriller and certainly not disappointing in any way, but it’s not quite up to Steven Soderbergh’s usual standards. Maybe it’s because its unrefined features play down the quality, but it just didn’t give an impact, despite the good plot and script and excellent performances.