Now showing at Curzon Knutsford Civic Centre, Toft Road,Knutsford,Cheshire WA16 0PE 01565 633005
- A Hologram For The King
- X-Men: Apocalypse
A Hologram For The King 3 stars
World-weary salesman Alan Clay is dispatched to Saudi Arabia to woo King Abdullah with his company's state-of-the-art 3D conferencing technology. The problems begin in earnest. Alan oversleeps on the first morning and his on-site technical team comprising Brad, Cayley and Rachel are consigned to a large marquee outside the main complex without access to WiFi, food or water. Tempers fray and Alan finds an alluring ally in a Danish IT contractor called Hanne.
- GenreAdaptation, Comedy, Drama, Romance
- CastAlexander Black, Tom Hanks, Sarita Choudhury, Sidse Babett Knudsen.
- DirectorTom Tykwer.
- WriterTom Tykwer.
- Duration98 mins
- Official sitewww.ahologramforthekingfilm.com
Adapted from Dave Eggers' novel by writer-director Tom Tykwer, A Hologram For The King is a misshapen, muddled yet curiously engaging love story that will draw comparisons to Salmon Fishing In The Yemen. Forbidden romance blossoms in the arid landscapes of the Middle East, irrigated here by sizzling screen chemistry between Tom Hanks and the luminous Sarita Choudhury. This is Satellite Dishing In The Next-To-Yemen in tone and intent, and Tykwer ensures that the central character's existential crisis doesn't weigh too heavily, courtesy of farcical narrative detours and side swipes at Saudi Arabian culture. These polished barbs are gifted largely to Alexander Black in the scene-stealing role of a taxi driver called Yousef, who ferries Hanks' beleaguered businessman to various meetings while commenting on the sorry state of his nation. "We don't have unions here. We have Filipinos," quips Yousef tartly during one expedition into the desert. He also pithily describes his sweetheart as "sweet but dumb as a goat". There are big laughs too when the men awkwardly bond through the medium of American rock music. A bulbous growth on the lead character's back provides the film with a puss-filled metaphor for the woes that weigh down Hanks' everyman. Under the influence of alcohol, he attempts to lance the cyst and not for the first time, we wince at Tykwer's film. An opening sequence set to the Talking Heads' anthem Once In A Lifetime introduces us to world-weary salesman Alan Clay (Hanks), who has been dispatched to Riyadh to woo King Abdullah (Mohamed Attifi) with his company's state-of-the-art 3D conferencing technology. The problems begin when Alan oversleeps on the first morning and misses a scheduled meeting with the King's assistant Karim Al-Ahmad (Khalid Laith). Moreover, Alan's on-site technical team comprising Brad (David Menkin), Cayley (Christy Meyer) and Rachel (Megan Maczko) have been consigned to a large marquee outside the main complex without access to WiFi, food or water. Tempers fray and Alan finds an alluring ally in a Danish IT contractor called Hanne (Sidse Babett Knudsen), who knows how to party hard with her Scandinavian countrymen. Meanwhile, the unsightly growth on Alan's back leads him to an emergency appointment with female doctor Zahra Hakem (Choudhury), whose tender bedside manner forces the businessman to question his priorities and future. A Hologram For The King relies heavily on Hanks' innate likability and comic timing, and he plies both with precision. The plot around him feels like it might blow away in the first sandstorm, but Hanks stands firm, kindling palpable sparks with Choudhury in her underwritten role. The pivotal sales pitch to the King almost becomes redundant, but does provide Tykwer with a bittersweet punchline to a gag he sets up much earlier in the film. Some things are worth waiting for.
X-Men: Apocalypse 3 stars
The very first mutant, En Sabah Nur, aka Apocalypse, reawakens after thousands of years. He is disgusted by the pitiful state of mankind and resolves to clean the evolutionary slate by creating a new world order with the help of his four horsemen of the apocalypse: Angel, Psylocke, Storm and Magneto. Professor X and Raven are determined to protect mankind at all costs and they assemble a team of young X-Men to avert armageddon.
- GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Science Fiction
- CastOlivia Munn, Jennifer Lawrence, Sophie Turner, Evan Peters, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy, Oscar Isaac.
- DirectorBryan Singer.
- WriterSimon Kinberg.
- Duration144 mins
- Official sitewww.xmenmovies.com
Too many kooks spoil the broth of director Bryan Singer's fourth tour of duty with the Marvel Comics mutants, which began in 2000 with X-Men. Simon Kinberg's messy script bursts at the seams with tortured characters and subplots vying for our attention, bloating the running time to close to two and a half hours. It's a physical ordeal for us, but too little time for X-Men: Apocalypse to do justice to a menagerie of gifted misfits on both sides of a conflict that reduces several capital cities to rubble. There is dramatic fat that could be trimmed: a blood-spattered interlude involving a face from the past - codenamed Weapon X - is superfluous and the final showdown is played out simultaneously in the real world and inside the connected minds of telepaths. The arch-villain is omnipotent - he slaughters an entire factory of workmen with a casual swipe of his hand - and could conceivably destroy mankind without breaking computer-generated sweat. Instead, this otherworldly tyrant chooses to waste precious time recruiting less powerful mutants to do his bidding and consequently undermines his nefarious plan to wipe clean the evolutionary slate. Ten years have passed since the cataclysmic events of X-Men: Days Of Future Past, which saw Logan (Hugh Jackman) travel back in time to 1973 to make contact with the young Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and neutralise the Sentinel program of killer robots. It's now the early 1980s and the very first mutant, En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac), reawakens after thousands of years of inactivity. He is disgusted by the pitiful state of mankind and resolves to create a new world order with the help of his four devoted horsemen of the apocalypse: Angel (Ben Hardy), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and Magneto. Professor X and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) vow to protect mankind and they assemble a team of young X-Men to avert armageddon including Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Havok (Lucas Till) and his younger brother Cyclops (Tye Sheridan). X-Men: Apocalypse doesn't settle long enough on one narrative thread to generate dramatic momentum or suspense. Turner and Sheridan make the biggest impact, capturing the inner turmoil of teenagers unable to control their unique and potentially devastating powers. Apart from one rallying cry, Lawrence is surplus to requirements, while McAvoy stares teary-eyed into the camera as his romantic subplot with CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) is resuscitated. Special effects have improved in superhuman leaps since Singer's first foray into this universe. He blitzkriegs the screen with eye-popping digital trickery, guaranteeing a relentless assault on the eyes - especially in 3D - which is just as likely to induce a headache as awe and wonder.