The Venice Film Festival is well underway and is serving up some seriously good reviews for this year’s biggest releases which will be playing soon at Palace Cinemas (yeah, we’re very excited!). Here they are in no particular order, each one directed by filmmakers we adore.
Pedro Almodovar (Pain & Glory) is one of our favourite filmmakers, and he’s opened up this year’s festival with “Parallel Mothers,” which is also in the race for the Golden Lion. The film portrays two women who give birth to a child on the same day, and whose lives run parallel during the first two following years. It stars Penelope Cruz, Aitana Sanchez-Gijon, Julieta Serrano and Rossy De Palma, all actors who have already worked with the acclaimed Spanish filmmaker. Almodovar has also cast up and comer Melina Smit (star of No Mataras, a hidden gem at this year’s Moro Spanish Film Festival. Check out our review here!) who is receiving attention for an incredible performance which we, obviously, are dying to see!
The poster and the trailer of Pablo Larrain’s drama on the British royals certainly got heads turning ahead of the festival. “Spencer”, which was the maiden name of Lady Di, is set in 1991, during Princess Diana’s Christmas holidays with the royal family, when she decides to separate from Prince Charles. Kristen Stewart plays the lead role and is sure to be nominated in what many are calling a transformative performance and a career-best. Larrain is a Palace favourite with films like Ema, Jackie and Neruda, we can’t think of a better filmmaker at the helm of this incredible story.
Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) has taken on the iconic benchmark of science-fiction literacy and has premiered his adaptation of the first half of Frank Herbert’s novel at Venice out of competition, with first reactions heralding it a ‘cinematic achievement (needless to say, we can’t wait to experience this one on the big screen!) Timothée Chalamet is Paul Atreides, the gifted young man who finds himself on a new planet and in the middle of a cosmic war. Zendaya is Chani, the desert-dwelling “Fremen” woman who will change his life; Oscar Isaac and Rebecca Ferguson are his parents, Duke Leto and Lady Jessica; Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, Dave Bautista, Stellan Skarsgard (as Baron Harkonnen!), Stephen McKinley and some gigantic sandworms all show up to fight, counsel and/or look extremely stern. It’s epic, in every sense of the word, and if there was ever a movie that deserved to be seen on a gigantic screen, with a crowd, it’s this one.
‘The Card Counter’
Oscar Issac stars in Paul Schrader’s latest film (the screenwriter of Taxi Driver) about a professional gambler who haunts the casinos of the American midwest. He only wins as much as he needs before moving on, never outstaying his welcome. Then this solitary figure attracts the attention of two people: a woman who acts as a sort of patron for five-card-stud tournament players; and a young man who has a connection to something (or someone) in William’s past. Given writer-director Paul Schrader’s track record with anguished and often violent antiheroes, you could say this character study is a safe… bet.
‘Last Night in Soho’
Edgar Wright, the director of Baby Driver, Shaun of the Dead, and numerous other movies you can’t turn off once it starts— says that his latest high-genre film is a psychological thriller partially set in Swinging Sixties London, is heavily inspired by retro horror like Don’t Look Now and Repulsion. As if that was not enough to get movie buffs excited, his tale of a modern young woman (Jojo Rabbit‘s Thomasin McKenzie) — who is somehow connected to a Mod-ish Carnaby Street hipster (Emma’s star Anya Taylor-Joy) from the past — is dotted with iconic actors from the era: Terence Stamp, the great Rita Tushingham, the late Diana Rigg. Prepare to enter a gleeful state of genre-nerd bliss.