It’s Thanksgiving weekend in the US, and while that means little back in the old world, the shopping frenzy that follows appears to have crossed the Atlantic. If you are going out though, make sure to slip away for a while to catch unlikely romance, prime US indie cinema and drunken Santas, or blow your money on DVD reboots.
It took Amma Asante a long time to follow-up her 2004 debut A Way of Life, but Belle in 2013 drew great praise. Three years later and she’s back again with A United Kingdom, the tale of the true-life romance between the first president of Botswana and his white English wife. With David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike onboard, Asante ensures a solid effort. Unlikely to bowl anyone over, it’s also hard to come away disappointed.
With Jim Jarmusch it’s possible to know exactly what you’re going to get while still being surprised. The US indie champion has worked steadily since his 1980 debut, churning out achingly cool character studies that span numerous genres. Paterson follows an eponymous bus driver in an eponymous town in New Jersey as he goes about his business for a week. Adam Driver takes the lead in a film that premiered at Cannes this year, and has been picking up strong reviews ever since.
13 years have passed since Billy Bob Thornton trashed the holiday spirit in Bad Santa. His foul-mouthed, hard drinking, criminal Santa has oddly become lodged in festive folklore, the film reappearing for annual viewings. That it sits uncomfortably alongside the likes of It’s a Wonderful Life and Love Actually is all part of the charm. Here we go again then for Bad Santa 2 as he teams up with his sidekick for more highly illegal activities. Sadly though, it seems to be one Christmas too far if the fairly scathing reviews are anything to go by.
The furor surrounding the decision to remake 1984 classic Ghostbusters with the leading men switching out for women overshadowed the film from pretty much the day it was announced. It’s a shame because look beneath the nonsense and this reboot, out now on DVD, is really rather funny. Not everything works, but with the likes of Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig leading the charge, Paul Feig behind the scenes, and Chris Hemsworth sending himself up as a total idiot, there’s a lot to like.
That’s all we have for now. See you next week as Tom Hanks turns all-American hero again.