Trailer: X-Men: Days of Future Past
The ultimate X-Men ensemble must change the past to save their future, as they fight a war for the survival of the species.PT2M37S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-35y0d 620 349 April 2, 2014
Philippa Hawker on X-Men: Days of Future Past (M, 131 mins; ★★★☆) Read the full review
We begin with a near-future that looks particularly grim. Huge mutant-seeking machines known as Sentinels are hunting the mutant X-Men down, with devastating success. The decisive moment, it turns out, was in 1973, when Raven, aka Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), the blue-bodied shape-shifter, decided to turn assassin. She targeted Dr Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the scientist who masterminded the Sentinels. This badly misfired, and rather than saving mutants her action had the opposite effect. A plan is hatched to go back in time and change the course of history. There are a few moments that will only make sense to franchise devotees, but director Bryan Singer and screenwriter Simon Kinberg have conjured up an X-Men instalment that ticks most of the expected boxes.
Paul Byrnes on Sunshine on Leith (PG, 100 mins; ★★★★) Read the full review
If there is a better Scottish musical I've nay seen it (and no, I don't mean to slight Brigadoon but that was shot in the Hollywood ''highlands'', in a well-dressed studio). The songs are by the Proclaimers, and of course, I'm Gonna Be (500 miles) gets a good workout, as two ex-squaddies return from an unhappy tour of Afghanistan in which their troop transport ran over an IED. As in many great musicals, the story is flummery, expertly constructed to allow transitions between songs. The hard part is to make the singing seem the most natural thing in the world; the innovation here comes from a buoyant sense of realism.
Jake Wilson on Under The Skin (MA15+, 108 mins; ★★★★) Read the full review
Ideally, audiences for Under the Skin ought to go in knowing nothing at all. Jonathan Glazer's remarkable and alarming third feature demands a fresh set of eyes, much as the nameless heroine played by Scarlett Johansson looks at everything as if she were seeing it for the first time: a Glasgow shopping mall, a windswept beach, her own body in a mirror. As in his last film Birth a decade ago, Glazer presents the strange and the familiar as two sides of the same coin: Johansson's mystery woman is a predator, but also potentially a victim. As in the classic thrillers of Roman Polanski, such as Repulsion or Rosemary's Baby, it's implied that the mere fact of being a human being – and more particularly, a woman – is sufficient reason for paranoia.
Philippa Hawker on My Sweet Pepper Land (M, 90 mins; ★★★☆) Read the full review
It's tempting to see My Sweet Pepper Land as a Western with a twist, but writer-director Hiner Saleem certainly doesn't allow himself to be limited by templates or genre considerations: it's a movie with its own distinctive, singular tone. One-time Kurdish war hero Baran (Korkmaz Arslan) now finds himself in a country supposedly at peace, and has become the police chief in a remote mountain village on the border between Iran, Iraq and Turkey. Saleem sets his struggles against a stark, beautiful mountain landscape, to an eclectic soundtrack that combines tradition and modernity. One of the notable achievements of Saleem's quietly surprising film is a combination of off-beat comedy and a strong sense of menace and danger.
Jake Wilson on Son of God (M, 138 mins; ★) Read the full review
Were I a believing Christian, I might respond to Son of God with anger, or at least embarrassment. Directed by historical documentary specialist Christopher Spencer, the latest cinematic retelling of the life of Christ recycles parts of the American TV miniseries The Bible, noted mostly for the casting of a supposed Obama lookalike as Satan. While it's technically competent in a basic sense, it's hard to imagine how the Greatest Story Ever Told could be rendered any more banal. It's bizarre that a film presumably conceived as an act of devotion should feel so lacklustre and impersonal.
Jake Wilson on Ida (M, 82 mins, ★★★) Read the full review
The year is 1962, and the heroine, Anna, is an innocent novice raised in a convent (she's played by non-professional Agata Trzebuchowska, a dimpled icon of purity with black button eyes). Before taking her vows, she's sent off to meet to her one surviving relative, a cynical, hard-drinking aunt (Agata Kulesza) once notorious as the Stalinist prosecutor "Red Wanda". It turns out that the family is Jewish, and Anna – still in her wimple, but now going by her original name, Ida – heads out with Wanda on a road trip to learn just how her parents died in the Second World War. Though not quite a pastiche in the vein of, say, The Artist, Pawel Pawlikowski's film is more about evoking memories of earlier cinema than shedding genuine light on the past. Still, he is intelligent, sensitive to mood and willing to defy fashion – and this last quality, in particular, is rare enough to be worth valuing.