Hello and welcome to the inaugural Geeky Brummie weekly film roundup! Every Thursday I’ll be taking you through the new releases you can look forward to this week and why I’m excited to watch them.
A quick disclaimer – for the most part, these are not reviews. Unless I’ve managed to get to some sort of preview screening I won’t have seen most of these films before. These opinions will be based purely on trailers, rumours and early buzz.
The Color Purple
All of that said, I have actually seen the first of this week’s new releases after a recent preview screening. The Color Purple is the film adaptation of the Broadway musical based on the 1985 movie adapted by Steven Spielberg from the novel by Alice Walker.
If you’ve seen or read any of those earlier versions, you’ll already be familiar with the plot – in early-1900s Georgia, black teenager Celie (played as an adult by former American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino) is forced to give up her babies before being married off without a choice to an abusive husband (Colman Domingo). As the years go by she is inspired by the confident women who come into her life and gradually learns to stand up for herself. It is a harrowing tale in places but can also be touching and wonderfully uplifting.
Whatever version you’re familiar with, this adaptation adds something extra. The soundtrack is a lot of fun, with a good mixture of rousing foot stompers and introspective ballads providing an insight into the characters that you don’t get in a standard drama. Meanwhile, the cinematography languishes in the hot and heavy atmosphere of the American deep South far more effectively than you’d get on the page or the stage.
With Spielberg, Walker, Quincy Jones and Oprah Winfrey among the producers, there is a lot of talent behind the camera making sure that the film is true to both the earlier versions of the story and the black voices it represents. In front of the camera the highlight is the Oscar nominated Danielle Brooks, whose Sofia dominates every scene she’s in and gets to belt out the film’s catchiest song, Hell No, a furious protest against domestic violence.
All Of Us Strangers
This week’s other big release is All Of Us Strangers. A screenwriter, played by Andrew Scott, returns to his childhood home and strikes up a relationship with his neighbour, played by Paul Mescal. While he is there, he finds that his parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell) appear to be living as they did when they died 30 years earlier.
I haven’t seen this one, but the reviews have been very positive. Paul Mescal is one of the biggest up and coming names in British cinema after his Oscar nominated performance in Aftersun and with Gladiator 2 on the horizon, while Scott, Bell and Foy are consistently dependable actors. This looks to be a charming, intimate character study of troubled lonely people finding refuge in each other. The trailer is light on story but looks beautifully shot – all dreamlike romantic lighting and gentle dialogue.
Next up we have Baghead – a horror starring Freya Allen (Ciri in the Witcher) in which a young woman inherits a pub with a creature in the basement who can transform into people who have died. She tries to exploit this for profit, charging rich grievers for a final chat with their loved ones, only to find that the consequences of breaking Baghead’s strict two-minute rules are deadlier than she had expected. I haven’t heard much about this but it sounds like a fun take on the classic meddling-with-the-dead-turns-out-to-be-a-bad-idea horror trope. There isn’t much of this sort of thing around at the moment so if you’re a big horror fan looking for a scare this could be a good way to scratch that itch.
Finally, rounding out this week’s releases is Jackdaw – a British thriller about a former Motocross champion (named Jack Dawson) agreeing to pick up an illegal package in the North Sea. I know very little about this but it has an excellent and very British cast (Doctor Who’s Jenna Coleman, This Is England’s Thomas Turgoose, Game of Thrones’s Rory McCann). Dawson himself is played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen, who was great in the respective Hauntings of Hill House and Bly Manor on Netflix. This could be fun, but it’s getting quite a limited release so if you’re keen to see it on a big screen, buy your tickets now.
If you only see one film this week…
It sounds like it’s going to be a beautiful film, so my recommendation of the week is All Of Us Strangers.
Still in cinemas and worth a watch
- The Holdovers
- Poor Things
- Mean Girls