Wimbledon is out of the way and the World Cup comes to a close on Sunday leaving a large hole that could be filled by a wonderful summer outdoors but is really better spent watching films. Here’s what you can make a start on this week.
After several days of special previews that basically amounted to a full release, the fourth in the Transformers franchise officially arrived in cinemas yesterday. Given that the world has already taken a battering in the last three outings it’s amazing that there’s anything left to destroy in Age of Extinction. Mind you, that doesn’t stop Michael Bay trying for 165 minutes. In between copious amounts of product placement and a concerted effort to crack the Chinese market, it’s clear the man certainly knows how to direct an action sequence. It’s everything else that’s missing. Still, if you like the previous efforts you’ll almost certainly like this one, and if you didn’t, at least they’ve replaced Shia LeBeouf with Mark Wahlberg.
Richard Linklater’s back catalogue is not without the occasional blemish but on the whole it’s a truly remarkable body of work. From Dazed and Confused to the Before trilogy and everything in between, he continually raises the bar for independent American filmmaking. In Boyhood, his astonishing new film, his fascination with the passage of time comes to the fore. Filmed over twelve years, he tracks Ellar Coltrane’s Mason Jr. as he grows through childhood and adolescence. With an excellent central performance and supporting turns from Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as his parents, it’s unmissable cinema.
If you’re looking for something a little lighter, try Begin Again. A romantic comedy with Keira Knightley as a down-on-her-luck songwriter and Mark Ruffalo as the disgraced record executive who can re-start both their lives, John Carney’s film knows that music is the fastest route to the heart. Throw in names from James Corden to Catherine Keener, a prominent soundtrack and summer in New York and you’re onto a winner.
Whatever else you may think about Wes Anderson, it’s impossible to deny that he has a very distinct vision. To be honest, it should also be impossible to deny that he makes great films though the occasional person tries. After an incredibly successful cinema run in the UK, The Grand Budapest Hotel arrives on DVD this week. Set in the titular hotel in a fictional European country, it follows the adventures of Ralph Fiennes’ concierge and his lobby boy through several decades in turbulent Europe. A stunning cast, beautiful production design and a witty script make it a must have.
With summer blockbuster season roaring back, that’s all for now. Next week sees giant transforming robots step back to let the apes take centre stage. See you then.