Rock icon Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton) is mutely relaxing on a sunny coastal retreat with her boyfriend Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts) after throat surgery when their lazing around is harshly interrupted by the arrival of her high energy ex Harry (Ralph Fiennes) and a young lady who he claims is his daughter Penelope (Dakota Fanning).
Eighteen months have passed since the city-smashing events of Man of Steel, and while much of the world has embraced Superman (Henry Cavill), there’s still a lot of mistrust – especially from vigilante Batman (Ben Affleck), who’s become increasingly bitter and violent in his old(er) age.
Cloverfield was the surprise hit of 2008; a found-footage tale of a giant monster’s rampage through New York. As sequels go, 10 Cloverfield Lane is about as far from that as you can get: after leaving her fiancée in New York, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is driving as far away as she can get when her car is hit and she wakes up chained to a wall in the basement of Howard (John Goodman).
This isn’t exactly “what if James Bond had a soccer hooligan brother” (that’d be Kingsman), but when Nobby (Sasha Baron Cohen), Grimsby resident and massive soccer fan, finally tracks down his long-lost brother Sebastian (Mark Strong) only to find he’s a posh, gadget-heavy secret agent, you’d be forgiven for expecting a bunch of spy antics with some broad comedy mixed in. And you’d be right… except that when Sasha Baron Cohen is involved, “broad” is an understatement.
In a world where all kinds of animals try to live in harmony, rabbit Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is going against the grain. She’s joined the police force – not usually the domain of “cute” (a racist insult in this world) little bunnies in a world where lions and lambs are meant to exist side by side – and even being a traffic cop doesn’t come free of prejudice.
At first glance this film adaptation of Alan Bennett’s play and memoir sounds like the worst kind of treacle: an introverted writer (Alex Jennings, playing Bennett) finds his life turned upside down when a fiery, obnoxious and somewhat odorous old lady (Maggie Smith) parks the van she lives in outside his London home.
It’s been a while since the Coen Brothers have made a straight-out comedy (perhaps because their reputation there is a little hit-and-miss); Hail, Caesar does a pretty good job of highlighting both their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to getting laughs.
We’ve seen a few crime films of late that have suggested crime is turning America into a warzone, but this cranks it up a notch: here Atlanta is a city torn between murderous Latino gangs who leave severed heads on car bonnets just for fun, and the all-Jewish Russian Mob who have a stranglehold on the “tied up people in car boots” market.
Michael Bay doing a based-on-a-true-story war movie should be a no-brainer in more ways than one, and it’s fair to say that this features both a lot of impressive action sequences and not a great deal of insight into the causes of those action sequences.