It’s the week of the loosely adapted biopic with musician/comedians, aeronautical engineers and prisoners of war all getting an outing. And if that all sounds a little too serious, Arnie also pops up to shoot some stuff.
How do you make an impenetrably obscure band fronted by a man wearing a papier-mâché head popular? It’s the challenge Domhnall Gleeson’s enthusiastic keyboard player takes on in Frank when he joins experimental band the Soronprfbs’ fronted by Michael Fassbender’s title character. Loosely based on the life of Frank Sidebottom, Frank is a very funny, very offbeat and very good film that looks at the dividing line between madness and genius, and the margins between innovative music and mainstream success.
It’s time to shed a tear because Hayao Miyazaki is taking a final bow. Over several decades he’s directed a series of classic films through Studio Ghibli, the animation house he co-founded. According to the man himself, The Wind Rises will be his last film. The second loose biopic of the week, he explores beauty and the cost it incurs through the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the Japanese engineer who designed some of the most effective combat planes on any side in World War 2. As ever with Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, it’s thoughtful, emotional and quite something to look at.
Now he no longer has distractions like running a state so big it dwarfs the economy of most countries, Arnie can turn his attention back to the big screen. His comeback continues apace this week in Sabotage, his latest all-action b movie. He plays the head of a DEA team that finds itself hunted by a non-descript drug cartel determined to get back the cash stolen from them. This is not one for subtlety. Expect frenetic nonsense punctuated by shoot-outs, fist fights and painful deaths.
Already out on DVD this week after a theatrical run in January comes The Railway Man starring Colin Firth. Adapting Eric Lomax’s account of his horrific war time experiences in Burma and the subsequent impact it had on his life, the film contains several good moments that are tempered by a poor framing device and Stellan Skarsgård’s remarkably Swedish sounding British officer. A decent effort that could have been so much more.
That’s all for now. See you next week when Godzilla returns.