From the classic 1953 Disney animated adaptation to Steven Spielberg’s Hook in 1991, many filmmakers have tried to reinvent J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan on the silver screen with varying results. The latest director to walk the plank is Joe Wright; giving us a new origin story for the boy who wouldn’t grow up, the occasional entertaining set-piece can’t stop Pan from being a forgettable, CGI-overloaded mess.
Like the rummagers on which his latest film is centred on, Stephen Daldry has long had a talent for picking out diamonds in the rough. The three time Academy Award nominated director discovered a young Jamie Bell for his debut feature Billy Elliot, and he struck gold again when he cast Thomas Horn in 2011’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. His aptitude for scouting young thespians has served him well once more in Trash, an enjoyable adaptation of Andy Mulligan’s novel.
Our culture’s increasing reliance on technology has been a heavily utilised plot point in cinema for quite a while, the most prudent example being the Terminator franchise. With Her, Spike Jonze – here directing from his own script for the first time – has tackled the topic in a much more intimate fashion, and the result is a gloriously original and imaginative examination of love and human connection that, whilst perhaps not being ideal date-material, will have a wide appeal.
After gaining a lot of buzz at this year’s Sundance and Cannes film festivals, Neo-Western Ain’t Them Bodies Saints – the assured second feature from prolific film editor David Lowery – finally gets its UK release. Although working with familiar archetypes, excellent performances combined with some sumptuous visuals help distinguish this from similar fare.