7:30 PM, 17th February, 2017
Ron Howard returns to direct another of Dan Brown’s (“The Da Vinci Code”) Robert Langdon novels, Inferno, which finds the famous symbologist (again played by Tom Hanks) on a trail of clues tied to the great Dante himself. When Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Sienna Brooks (Jones), a doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories. Together they race across Europe and against the clock to stop the unleashing of a global virus that would wipe out half of the world’s population that was created by the late nutcase billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster). But there are traitors aplenty, making Langdon’s task all the more difficult and dangerous.
For the first half hour or so I had no idea what was going on and wondered whether I was supposed to remember the events of Langdon’s previous outing in Angels & Demons. But bear with it. Perhaps this is Ron Howard’s attempt to replicate Langdon’s fragmented state of mind.
If nothing else Inferno served as a wonderful tourism ad for Italy, as I found myself thinking ‘gee, maybe we should go to Florence as it looks beautiful’, followed shortly after by my husband suggesting we should go and see Venice before it sinks. If you can’t make it to Italy, seeing Inferno might be the next best option.
9:41 PM, 17th February, 2017
Multi-award winning director Ang Lee brings his unusual perspective to Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, based on the best-selling novel by Ben Fountain. The film, set in 2004, is told from the point of view of 19-year-old private Billy Lynn who, along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, becomes a hero after a harrowing Iraq encounter and is brought home temporarily for a celebration tour.
Set across a single day, the soldiers are to be paraded at halftime before a huge Thanksgiving Day football crowd. Lee contrasts the cheerleaders, marching bands, fireworks, noise and excitement with flashbacks of the brutality and horror of war.
This movie is rich with interesting characters portrayed by a talented cast. Fresh-faced English actor Joe Alwyn is perfect as Billy and Kristen Stewart again shows her real talent playing Billy’s sister. Steve Martin brings out his most sly persona as a cynical businessman who understands that patriotism sells. It’s good to see Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) again as a wealthy Texan driller.
Like other seminal work from Taiwanese Ang Lee, he brings an outsider’s insight into the ways that Americans demonstrate their national fervour and to his portrayal of their society and culture in a film that you will not forget quickly.