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This week at the cinema - February 14, 2018

Times of Malta takes a look at the latest big screen releases

Daniel Day-Lewis plays a couturier for the stars in Phantom Thread.

Daniel Day-Lewis plays a couturier for the stars in Phantom Thread.

Phantom thread (2018)
Genre: Drama
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps, Lesley Manville
Duration: 130 minutes
Class: 15
KRS Releasing Ltd

Daniel Day-Lewis returns to the big screen for one last time as the Oscar-winning actor (My Left Foot, The Last of the Mohicans, Lincoln)  recently announced his retirement from acting.

The film, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Punch Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood) loosely based his film on the story of British fashion designer Charles James, known as America’s first couturier.

Day-Lewis’s last role is, in fact, that of a renowned dressmaker in 1950s post-war London,  Reynolds Woodcock, who together with his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) dresses royalty, film stars, heiresses, socialites, debutantes and dames.

Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship. But one day he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover.

Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.

The film has been nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture, best director, best actor (Day-Lewis) and best supporting actress (Manville).

Critics had words of praise for the script, director and main actors. Dan Jolin of Empire wrote: “Paul Thomas Anderson does gothic romance in prestige Brit picture style, eliciting a worthy final performance from Daniel Day-Lewis that’s admirably matched by newcomer Vicky Krieps.”

Owen Gleiberman of Variety said: “Phantom Thread is seductive and absorbing, but it’s also emotionally remote. The film is framed as a love story, but it never swoons.”

Christopher Orr of The Atlantic commented: “Like the couture of the House of Woodcock, Anderson’s direction is elegant and meticulous.”

And the critics’ consensus on Rotten Tomatoes reads: “Phantom Thread’s finely woven narrative is filled out nicely by humour, intoxicating romantic tension, and yet another impressively committed performance from Daniel Day-Lewis.”

Released in the US on February 11, the film has so far grossed $23 million in box office sales worldwide.

Ratings
IMDB: 8.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Empire: 4 stars

Spencer Stone, star of The 15:17 to Paris, is a real-life hero.Spencer Stone, star of The 15:17 to Paris, is a real-life hero.

The 15:17 to Paris (2017)
Genre: Drama
Directors: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone,  Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer, Roy Corasani, Irene White
Duration: 94 minutes
Class: 15
KRS Releasing Ltd

Clint Eastwood’s latest film is based on the autobiography The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train and Three American Soldiers by Jeffrey E. Stern. It tells the true story of how three American childhood friends, who were on a train from Amsterdam to Paris on a European holiday in August 2015, overpowered a suspected Islamist militant after he opened fire on passengers.

A most interesting aspect of this film is that these friends, Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos, play themselves in the film. And the passengers portrayed in the film are the same people who were on the train in 2015.

The film did not receive good reviews, with critics often mentioning the inexperienced actors.

Jeffrey M. Anderson of Common Sense Media, in fact, wrote: “The first half of this drama is slow and awkward, mainly due to the stars’ amateurish acting; but once it finally gets going, Eastwood’s skilled touch reveals itself.”

The critics consensus on Rotten Tomatoes reads: “The 15:17 to Paris pays clumsily well-intentioned tribute to an act of heroism, but by casting the real-life individuals involved, director Clint Eastwood fatally derails his own efforts.”

David Sims of The Atlantic panned the movie. He commented: “With more time and effort, The 15:17 to Paris might have worked; as it’s little more than a failed experiment.”

With a budget of $30 million, the film has gained $18 million globally since its US release on February 9.

Ratings
IMDB: 5.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 22%
Empire: 2 stars

Chris Hemsworth is on an extremely dangerous mission in 12 Strong.Chris Hemsworth is on an extremely dangerous mission in 12 Strong.

12 Strong (2018)
Genre: Action
Directors: Nicolai Fuglsig
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Peña, Navid Negahban, Geoff Stults
Duration: 130 minutes
Class: 15
KRS Releasing Ltd

Danish film-maker and photojournalist Nicolai Fuglsig directs this film based on Doug Stanton's non-fiction book Horse Soldiers, which tells the story of CIA paramilitary officers and US Special Forces, sent to Afghanistan immediately after the September 11 attacks.

The film revolves around Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth) who leads the Special Forces team in this extremely dangerous mission. Once in Afghanistan, the soldiers develop an uneasy partnership with the Northern Alliance to take down the Taliban and its al-Qaeda allies.

Critics praised the ensemble cast but were disappointed by the lack of depth of the story and some repetitive scenes.

Owen Gleiberman of Variety lamented: “The film is built like a grungy combat video game, with each village treated like a new level and the agony of battle taking a backseat to the pounding thrill of force.”

Released in the US on January 19, the film has grossed $50.7 million so far.

Ratings
IMDB: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Empire: 3 stars

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