New movies this week

Hits & misses at inner west cinemas

Opening this week 30.03

A Man Called Ove

Based on a best selling novel, and one of Sweden’s most successful comedy films ever, A Man Called Ove should resonant widely everywhere. We all know grumpy old men like Ove – just picture Mark Latham when he finally grows up. As wonderfully played by Rolf Lassgard, he directs his anger at his neighbours, bureaucrats, foreigners, anyone not parking correctly and cats. But after an attractive Iranian woman and her unruly family move next door, life slowly changes for the miserable old tosser. Hannes Holm’s film is not without it clichés, yet the telling of Ove’s backstory is so well done, even its predictable outcome can be forgiven. As it grapples with grief and loneliness, it turns into an unexpectedly touching film. And at a time when our country is so divided by race and politics, and we’re being instructed to distrust our neighbours, it could almost be seen as an important one. from Mar 30. ★★★ 1/2

Ghost in the Shell

The incredible city Major (Scarlett Johansson) lives in, probably a futuristic Tokyo though filmed in Hong Kong – is easily the immersive and eye-ball popping screen world we’ve seen since the planet Pandora. It’s a staggering achievement of technical artistry, state of the art and a total knockout… But there’s something strange – amidst the giant floating holo-ads, gleaming towers and neon corridors of a hundred of so years hence, we’re still driving cars! And not driverless Ubers either, actually the vehicles look a bit retro. That’s revealing of the story’s origin, a much-loved Japanese manga of the early 90s, and a classic cyberpunk anime version was made is 1995. But there is one decidedly progressive thing about Rupert Sanders’ dazzling update, which also stars Juliette Binoche and Borgen’s Pilou Asbæk, here genetically enhanced and sporting an impressive Billy Idol quiff. We might be still burning carbon, but at least we’ve evolved to non-gender specific toilets… But then, any dystopian future with a cyborg warrior like Ms Johansson in it, especially in that nude body suit, is one I’d be happy to live in.  M from Mar 30. ★★★★ 1/2

The Lego Batman Movie

My lowly rating is awarded with a heavy heart, especially since this was produced here in Sydney and provided solid creative employment for so many talented locals. But one and half stars is what the 4 year-old I took along gave it, and he just loved the (“everything is awesome!”) first Lego Movie (as did I) and has seen it sixteen times (me rather less). Chris McKay directed this latest version, not so much a sequel, but a completely new concept. Which is the problem, because even though my companion did know about Batman (“we got a book from the library,” he told me), he didn’t have a clue what the references to the whole DC universe meant, hadn’t seen any of the decidedly darker recent Batman movies and countless other Warner Bros super-hero spin-offs, so pretty much all the jokes sailed right over his head. I smiled a bit, it is a clever parody, and 13-15 year-olds will get more knowing laughs, though for them, its saccharine message may be a turn-off. And they’re not buying Lego anymore, so why try to tie the Lego Corporation to the DC machine? Did either of these two hugely successful multi-nationals need to join hands in a marketing exercise? Nah, mind you I did buy a Lego Batman speedboat. My 4-year-old loves that – 5 stars! But the movie (sigh), ★ 1/2. PG from Mar 30.

Reviews – Russell Edwards