Prove your humanity: 4   +   4   =  

With every little detail leaked in advance, it’s rare for a film to surprise these days. Unless J.J. Abrams is somehow involved of course, the odds of which are fairly high given that he seems to be doing everything of late. This week he brings a return to alien infested waters alongside dystopian Britain, transplanted singers and dressmaking renegades.

Well this one came out of nowhere. Cloverfield was a secretive enough project but no one knew a (sort of) sequel was in the works until the trailer popped up. 10 Cloverfield Lane takes places in the same world, and also in a locked basement where John Goodman’s survival nut is holed up with Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Are they safe down there, or is he the real threat? With strong reviews, it’s worth watching to find out.

Next up, Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump take on J.G. Ballard’s classic dystopian novel with Tom Hiddleston in the lead role. On paper, everything about High-Rise seemed perfect. There’s even a great supporting cast including the likes of Sienna Miller, Elisabeth Moss and Jeremy Irons. And for a long time, it’s bleak, anarchic fun as a stratified residential tower turns on itself. Then it slips into a horrible, overblown mess. But boy is it stylish.

From one kind of style to another in Marguerite. Based on the infamously bad opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins (there’s a US biopic starring Meryl Streep in the works), this French film relocates the action from Pennsylvania to Paris as rich socialite Marguerite Dumont insists on pursuing a singing career she’s nowhere near good enough for. With a great lead performance from Catherine Frot, there’s plenty to enjoy here.

After switching country for each cinematic release, we move again for The Dressmaker, out now on DVD. Kate Winslet stars as the black sheep returning to her small Australian hometown to care for her mother after 25 years of exile. There she battles suspicious locals and makes a hell of a lot of dresses. Frothy entertainment maybe, but it comes with a sharp tongue.

Well that’s all for now. See you next week for a superhero smack down.

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