WINGS (Eureka). During the next four years we will be seeing lots of films about World War 1. 27-year-old William Wellman’s great epic (1927), winner of the first Academy Award for Best Picture, is one of the very best films of the silent era. The recreation of the battles on land and the dog-fights in the air, a massively expensive and jaw-dropping operation, are brilliantly composed. The air stunts (the viewer is, as it were, right there in the cockpit with the actors and stunt men) are breathtaking in their authenticity, the camera sweeping high and low. The cast is headed by Buddy Rogers, Richard Arlen and the vivacious Clara Bow
THE SELFISH GIANT (Artificial Eye). Clio Barnard’s gritty Bradford realism owes far more to Ken Loach than it does to Oscar Wilde’s Christian fairy tale. The giant here is a scrap metal merchant (Sean Gilder) who corrupts and exploits two youngsters (Connor Chapman and Shaun Thomas), children of impoverished parents. Excluded from school, they earn money by stealing power cables. You can guess where the story is going. The Bradford accents are such that some viewers may well feel that they need sub-titles.
RUSH (StudioCanal). There’s always plenty of excitement in the fast lane. Here is an account of the legendary 1970’s Formula 1 rivalry between two racing Titans: the flamboyant swaggering, romantic playboy Brit, James Hunt (played by Chris Emsworth), and the strait-laced, highly disciplined, dour Italian, Niki Laud (played by Daniel Bruhl). The two champs put their lives on line every time they race. They need each other and they feed off each other. The film will appeal to those who know how the story ends and to those who don’t. Ron Howard directs.
BLOOD GLACIER (StudioCanal). Scientists working at a weather station in the Alps face Eco-difficulties. Life on earth is going to change forever. A glacier is drenched in blood. Horror fans will have an icy, gory field day. Did you like John Carpenter’s The Thing? If you did, you will probably like this German film, too. The Alps are always good for a breathtaking location; but, frankly, global warming is horror enough without the addition of any organic monsters.
THE LAST PASSENGER (Kaleidoscope). Trains and hi-jacked trains especially are a popular genre in film. This particular British train, speeding through the night, driven by who-knows-who (we never find out) does not stopping at stations, not even at Tunbridge Wells. Where will it end? It should all have been so much more exciting. Iddo Goldberg quite rightly doesn’t take the script seriously. Dougray Scott does take it seriously and is a bit dull.