This part covers letters H to L…
Heart (dir: Jeong Gu-young) “Fleabag meets Hong Sang-soo” according to the brochure. I can believe it, as Jeong’s earlier film Hit the Night (which I really liked) was very much in the Hong tradition. Here she plays the lead role of a shameless asshole who tracks down her ex, on the night of the birth of his first child, to pester him with questions about another affair she has on the go. Promises squirm-inducing social faux-pas to revel in.
Honey Boy (dir: Alma Har’el) Shia LeBeouf scripted this fictionalised, knowing, playful, heart-bearing, no-holds-barred film about his relationship own dad and the associated emotional abuse. If LaBeouf is ever going to deliver on his artistic aspirations, this’ll be it. Early reviews say: he’s managed it.
House of Hummingbird aka Beol-Sae (dir: Kim Bora) A girl’s coming-of-age tale set against the momentous changes of mid-90s South Korea. I’m looking to be transported to another time, another place with Kim as my guide.
The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão (dir: Karim Aïnouz) Two sisters are cruelly separated in 1950s Rio by the ironic machinations of fate (and family). This won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes this year, and the cinematography and score look utterly intoxicating: cars, dresses, smoking and hot, hot summer nights.
The Irishman (dir: Martin Scorsese) Scorsese directs De Niro, Pacino, Pesci, Keitel, Romano, Cannavale and Paquin, for 210 minutes, in a true-life crime story spanning decades of American history. If you’re not existed, check your pulse – you may have been whacked.
Jojo Rabbit (dir: Taika Waititi) Taika Waititi’s satirical Hitler farce. Also stars Sam Rockwell. How can you say no?
Judy and Punch (dir: Mirrah Foulkes) Mia Wasikowska (Stoker) in a post-modern riff on Punch and Judy? A darkly comic fable, you say? That’s the way to do it! (Sorry)
The King (dir: David Michôd) A reworking of the story of Henry V; the reason to see this is Robert Pattinson having fun as the deliciously-armoured, ludicrously-accented Dauphin of France. That’s a good reason, although it’s apparently pretty plodding otherwise. (Also stars some guy called Timothée Chalamet, apparently with quite a big fanbase. Guys, if you’re reading, please retweet this article, cheers.)
Knives Out (dir: Rian Johnson) I have a love for Rian Johnson based as much on our shared appreciation for Under The Skin as for anything else. This twisty, escalating Agatha Christie pastiche looks to be filled with amusing character turns and stiletto-sharp gags; the bulgingly-good cast (Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Amas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael freakin’ Shannon, Don Johnson and Christopher Plummer) certainly doesn’t hurt.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (dir: Joe Talbot) A black man dreams of reclaiming the 19th century home his grandfather built in San Francisco. If you know anything about San Francisco property prices, you’ll be thinking: fat chance. The best-reviewed film out of Sundance the year. The subject of gentrification is one for our age, the cinematography looks gorgeous… and I do love films about architecture.
Leap of Faith (dir: Alexandre O Philippe) An “epic six-day interview” with William Friedkin on the subject of his most famous film, The Exorcist. A must-see doc for any fan of horror.
Le Mans ’66 (aka Ford v. Ferrari) (dir: James Mangold) Two teams compete to win the gruelling Le Mans 24-hour race. I loved Mangold’s Logan, and people are already saying this might be Christian Bale’s best ever performance as Ken Miles, the Ford driver. Also features Matt Damon as the car designer who’s driven (heh) by a desperate passion to get Miles over the line. A strong contender for the 2020 best picture Oscar.
The Lighthouse (dir: Robert Eggers) Hypnotic, surreal, haunting, stark, claustrophobic… what more could you hope for when the director of The Witch puts Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in a lighthouse and has them go at each other in their best salty sea-dog voices? Beautiful black and white photography seals the deal.
Little Joe (dir: Jessica Hausner) Scientists are farming mushrooms. Or are the mushrooms farming the scientists? And in the end, does it really matter? A smart, existential spin on bodysnatch and mind-control horror.
Little Monsters (dir: Abe Forsythe) Lupita Nyong’o and a bunch of kids on a school trip battle zombies at a zoo. Sold sold sold.
The Lodge (dir: Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala) Riley Keogh, shut in a wooden lodge with a storm raging outside, deals with ghosts both figurative and maybe literal. Crushing psychological claustrophobia meets the hauntingly eerie. I loved Keogh’s sour, nasty turn in American Honey – hoping for good things from her here.
Please continue on to Part 3 for letters M-Z!