Verdict: Tycoon lampooned
Like A Boss (15)
Verdict: Slick and soulless
The main emotion when you leave the cinema at the end of Greed might be the surprise that there is no pose of lawyers running with an order commissioned by billionaire Sir Philip Green.
The movie star, Steve Coogan, and his writer-director Michael Winterbottom, have made a few noises about Green, the former BHS boss, and is just one of several inspirations for Coogan & # 39; s character, a charismatic, but coarse, High -Street fashion mogul named Sir Richard McCreadie.
But you won't be fooled for a second.
The tycoon, once celebrated as a titan of retail, has faced a series of big blows to its reputation since Parliament began to control its doubtful business ethics, its pursuit of asset, its tax preparation
When 'Greedy' McCreadie, as the tabloids call him, appears before a parliamentary selection committee, he even orders one of the MPs to stop staring at him.
That's a jewel that is lifted directly from the Green playbook, and there are many more.
If there is a broader context, it's only that the film uses Green – sorry, McCreadie – to satirize the way in which & # 39; international fashion brands & # 39; massive profits on & # 39; backs, more or less literally, from workers of & # 39; raise a Third World.
But the story is driven by the preparations for McCrageie's scandalous 60th birthday bash – themed on his favorite movie, Gladiator – on the Greek island of Mykonos.
The tycoon, once celebrated as a titan of retail, has suffered a series of major blows to its reputation since Parliament began to take control of its dubious business ethics, its pursuit of asset, its tax avoidance.
To his dismay, some A-list celebrities declare that they will no longer attend his party.
An assistant (Sarah Solemani) brings the unwelcome news that & # 39; Angelina & # 39; s definitely not coming and Rihanna & # 39; s now a maybe & # 39 ;.
& # 39; Leo & # 39; has also sent his apologies, though another kind of leo – a lion hired to replicate the colosseum scene – ends up making his presence very much.
Keith Richards isn't crying – he's probably getting $ 800,000 to attend. But McCreadie is furious when he learns that the Rolling Stone is turning late.
The most important emotion when you leave the cinema at the end of Greed, might be the surprise that there is no pose of lawyers running with a commission on behalf of billionaire Sir Philip Green
& # 39; I pay him a dollar a wrinkle, & # 39; is rushing. & # 39; Tell him I want him over an hour, grinning like a tramp that won the lottery, that's what he really is. & # 39;
There are many chucklesome lines like that in Greed, and Winterbottom extracts as much fun as possible from the phenomenon of mega-rich protectors for private concerts.
A flashback whispers us to the preparations for a 40th birthday celebration for his first wife Samantha (Isla Fisher).
McCreadie is embarrassed to learn that Robbie Williams will cost him the same as Elton John – a million dollars. Tom Jones is a $ 350,000 bargain.
How much of this is based on closely examined fact, and how much is harmful whimsy, is hard to say. Coogan's portrayal of McCreadie as a perma-tanned plague with dazzling, white teeth is certainly over the top – but perhaps not.
Other flashbacks take us to his school days, to the parliamentary hearing, to the early stages of his government building. We see him a hapless manager of one of his downmarket High Street stores, Xcellent.
We also find him asking Samantha, by hiring James Blunt to serenade her outside her bedroom window.
Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Ben Stiller, Chris Martin and Stephen Fry offer gamely even more small comedies.
The story is driven by the preparations for McCrageie's scandalous 60th birthday bash – themed on his favorite movie, Gladiator – on the Greek island of Mykonos
Remember, it's almost worth a tangential satire in itself, no matter how willing the stars themselves are to contribute to the mockery of a once-beloved public figure, now it's not safe to do so.
The devices that Winterbottom uses to slap some narrative form into all of this come in two forms: David Mitchell plays a diffident journalist hired to write McCreadie's authorized life story, while Dinita Gohil is one of his comrades, whose own siblings work in his sweatshops back in Sri Lanka.
With Shirley Henderson sparkling as his proud Northern Irish mother, Asa Butterfield as his sad son, and Sophie Cookson playing his daughter as an aspiring Made In Chelsea-type reality TV star, there is a much to entertain us, yet in a way that the film is weaker than its strength.
The comedy is too scattered, trying to reach too many goals at the same time. We get how horribly decadent McCreadie and his chums are without a further reminder in the form of Syrian refugees camped on the beach in Mykonos, with whom he is working on building his birthday amphitheater.
Satire loses its edge when it becomes a lampoon, which is what happens in Greed.
In addition, the statistics that are on the side, that do not play on the closing credits, on the difference between & # 39; a super-rich of the world and its mega-poor, slightly shaky self-righteousness, seeing all the insatiable knock-out silliness that has been before.
However, none of that should discourage you from seeing it. I can practically guarantee that you will laugh.
I have no such trust in Like A Boss, which is also set in our dog-food-dog world of retail.
Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish play Mel and Mia – business partners, best friends and housemates, so dedicated to each other that they load toothpaste toothbrushes together in the morning.
Theirs is one of those unlikely relationships that only exist in films; their banter feels precision-tooled by teams of white-coated giggle makers in a film formula factory somewhere.
The premise is that they manage an Atlanta cosmetics business together, but it loses money, and the only way to survive is to sell a large stake to cruel makeup mogul Claire Luna (a hammy Salma Hayek).
The rat then pleads to shake her half out of business, but gets her arrival of course.
Haddish and Byrne are complete comedic actresses: the latter has more than proved them in Bridesmaids (2011), and that's clearly the kind of bawdy sisterhood comedy that director Miguel Arteta strives for here.
Unfortunately, they can't even redeem a movie that, despite a few amusing moments, is just as smooth as its dancing pop soundtrack, and just as soulless.
Even kids will smell a rat in the shaggy dog story of Ford …
Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish play Mel and Mia – business partners, best friends and housemates, so dedicated to each other that they load toothpaste toothbrushes together in the morning. The couple is pictured together
The Call Of The Wild (12A)
Verdict: A leg replacement
The 1903 novel The Call Of The Wild by Jack London, about the adventures of a dog named Buck in the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, has inspired filmmakers for the best part of a century.
There was a silent version, and one with Clark Gable and Loretta Young, and another with Charlton Heston.
And here we are again, with a cast led by Harrison Ford (below), no less. But this time, instead of an actual dog that doesn't play Buck, we get actor Terry Notary moving.
In & # 39; the award-winning Swedish film The Square of 2017, Notary was responsible for one of & # 39; the most devastating spectacles I've ever seen on screen when a man makes an ape impression and terrorizes a room full of people at a black-tie dinner.
Buck is a bitch of a dog. Unfortunately, the only challenge is that he does not attract much, convincing us that he is actually one
He also does a great job as a dog, but for all the wizardry of motion capture technology, even young kids will smell a rat.
However, they will enjoy this racy dog story, which begins as Buck, a fiery St Bernard / Scotch collie cross, is stolen from the home of a friendly judge (Bradley Whitford) by thieves who have not heard that there is a market is raised in & # 39; the Yukon for dogs large and strong enough to pull sleds.
He then gets passed from owner to owner, some kindly and others cruelly, and ends up in & # 39; the care of Ford & # 39; s grim, sad frontal, John Thornton.
Or is Buck the caregiver, and rescues John from nasty gold prospector (Dan Stevens, giving a performance that even the average pantomime villain might consider a little over the top) and even tackling his alcohol problem, such as a canine AA consultant?
Either way, Buck is a bitch of a dog. Unfortunately, the only challenge is that he does not quite attract, convincing us that he is actually one.
The day of the triffids was never so dull
Little Joe (12A)
Verdict: Will surprise you
The film by Austrian director Jessica Hausner held oodles of critical acclaim at the Circuit festival, and at Cannes last year, where I first saw it, Emily Beecham won the award for Best Actress.
She's a pretty actress, but I don't know how she was impressed by jurors. It is a strange achievement and this is a strange image, with strange, discordant music to represent the strange things and a too much design set dominated by yellow, vegetables and oranges, as if the film was sponsored by some of us still nice think about Opal Fruits.
It is billed as science-fiction horror. Well, that's pretty enough & # 39; sci & # 39; – not many films refer to & # 39; the olfactory path to the limbic system & # 39 ;.
Alice is a cold fish, but let's not bring fish in it either. The plant, which she calls Little Joe, seems to have the power to make her happy, but it also has sinister qualities
There are also many & # 39; fi & # 39; in a story about plant life that doesn't get better from humans.
But it is completely fearless and there is not much in the way of tension, to make an introspective scientist Alice (Beecham) one of & # 39; a genetically-engineered plant at home takes them and raises them in a lab and gives it to their young son Joe (Kit Connor) to breed.
There is something in the pollens of these plants that mankind appears to make, and the idea is that Alice and her team will continue to produce them commercially.
Alice is a cold fish, but let's not bring fish in it either. The plant, which they call Little Joe, seems to have the power to make them happy, but it also has sinister qualities.
There are silly echoes of The Day Of The Triffids, and for that matter, echoes of a compelling movie that are trying to come out. But despite the presence of Ben Whishaw, as Alice & # 39; s lovelorn colleague, and Lindsay Duncan as a psychotherapist, I'm afraid it never does.
In fact, far from making me happy, Little Joe just made me tired. I can remember almost enough O-level biology to recall the difference between chlorophyll and chloroform, but this blurry image makes the distinction easier.
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