10   +   2   =  

We’re into June which means its officially referendum month. They’ll be little else in the news now (not that it hasn’t been like this for a while) so if you need a break from the endless arguing, look no further than jet black comedy, fantasy epics, social realism and whatever it is Paolo Sorrentino does.

On paper it looks perfect: two great actors (Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling) and a director and co-writer who has basically mastered the action comedy genre (Shane Black). It also is kind of perfect. For once everything comes together as it should in The Nice Guys, a 1970s LA detective thriller that sends a hapless PI and violent enforcer after a missing woman. The plot weaves various threads in and out, but the fun is watching Crowe and Gosling lurch from disaster to disaster with hilarious consequences. That and a darkly witty script that finds laughs out of just about everything.

Technically Warcraft: The Beginning opened with previews on Monday, but this is the first weekend for people to enjoy an awful lot of money thrown at something not very good. Hiring Duncan Jones off the back of the excellent Moon, and entertaining Source Code, seemed like a good idea, but this attempt to bring Blizzard’s popular RPG to cinema audiences appears to be flopping. Reviews are not good for what was supposed to be the start of a new franchise. Let’s see if it gets anywhere from here.

A million miles away from Hollywood glitz and crazy budgets is The Measure of a Man, a low-key French drama about an unemployed man forced into a job that pits him against his fellow workers. Vincent Lindon is fantastic as ever in the lead role, and although Stéphane Brizé’s film doesn’t get close to the likes of Two Days, One Night, it’s still a sharp attack on a capitalist culture that sees bosses pit employees against each other to trim costs that mean little on a corporate scale but everything to individuals struggling to get by.

If that’s a little too much for you, out on DVD this week is Youth, a film with plenty of glitz of the European variety. Italian director Paolo Sorrentino follows up his Oscar winning The Great Beauty with a starry effort set in a luxury Swiss resort. Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Jane Fonda, and Paul Dano are all superb as Sorrentino tackles a number of themes from aging to artistic achievements in his usual operatic style. It’s not The Great Beauty, but little is. You’ll just have to settle for very good instead.

Once again, that’s all I have for you. See you next week when Melissa McCarthy returns with her usual dose of mayhem.

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