6   +   8   =  

There’s almost too much to keep up with at the cinema this week so I have four new releases and nothing for home viewing. With the end of summer and the start of the school year looming, it’s probably best to get out the house anyway, and with golden era throwbacks, risqué comedy, corporate thrillers and family drama, there’s more than enough to soften the blow.

We start with the latest Woody Allen installment. This outing brings Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Steve Carell to the party for Café Society, a sort of love letter to golden era Hollywood. Eisenberg leaves New York for LA where he gets a job working for his uncle, Carell, a top Hollywood agent. There’s a love triangle with Stewart, a ridiculous number of movie references and some gangster business back on the east coast. It’s perfectly serviceable, better than his past couple of efforts but nowhere near the late-period high water mark of Blue Jasmine.

The classical style of old Hollywood is nowhere to be found in Sausage Party, Seth Rogen’s adult animated comedy. Rogen co-writes, co-produces and voices the main character, a supermarket sausage that sets out to test if human shoppers really are the benevolent Gods all the produce believes them to be. It’s rude, crude, sometimes deliberately offensive, and packs an excellent voice cast ranging from Jonah Hill and Kristen Wiig to James Franco, Paul Rudd, Salma Hayek and Edward Norton. Sausage Party may be puerile, but that’s the point. It’s also funny, more importantly.

Recent years have seen the emergence of a few good thrillers set in the dark world of finance. Usually men dominate the cast, going about their snarling macho ways as unpleasant city traders. Equity brings the usual thrills and slick corporate aesthetic but upends the gender balance handing the key roles to women. Anna Gunn takes the lead as she battles scheming colleagues and the authorities to steer though a major IPO. Equity isn’t coy about its female focus, sparing time to examine the difficulties faced in the workspace, but just as importantly, the main characters are as ruthless, able and committed, and the world of finance comes across as the same depressing black hole.

We close with a final cinematic outing. Last year Mia Hansen-Løve released the brilliant Eden and she’s back already with Things To Come, a further dip into her own life. While Eden drew on her brother’s experiences (and was co-written with him), her latest draws inspiration from her mother. The indomitable Isabelle Huppert stars as a philosophy teacher struggling with a succession of life crises. It premiered back in Berlin in February to good reviews so make sure you don’t miss out.

That brings another week to a close. I’m off to overload on films in Toronto for the next two weeks but you’ll be left in capable hands.

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