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Film Talk: Latest Movie Releases – Sci-fi sensations, finding faith and telepathic terror

Stephen King carnage, a certain Mr Wahlberg finding the Lord, and the second flick out in two weeks delivering the bonkers beast that is ‘multiversal mayhem’.

Stephanie Hsu as Joy Wang, Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Quan Wang and Ke Huy Quan as Waymond Wang in Everything Everywhere All At Once
Stephanie Hsu as Joy Wang, Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Quan Wang and Ke Huy Quan as Waymond Wang in Everything Everywhere All At Once

It’s all going on at the cinema right now – and thank goodness for that.

A bona fide film dork, one of the things I missed most during the height of the pandemic was the joy of the silver screen. Now as we move ever further back to normality, I’m delighted to be bringing you our picks of the flicks, and celebrating the cinema industry in all its glory.

Following the arrival of Doctor Strange 2 last week, the ‘multiverse motif’ is being given another outing with today’s general release of the hotly-anticipated Everything Everywhere All At Once.

A tale of a mother attempting to save reality while battling with her tax returns, this absurdist comedy-drama yarn showcases the talent of the ever-brilliant Michelle Yeoh, and heralds the return to the spotlight of ‘80s film hero Ke Huy Quan – legendary alumnus of The Goonies and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, having played Data and Short Round respectively. We bow before you, sir...

With Zac Efron getting his telepathy on in new Stephen King adaptation, Firestarter, the sci-fi action of the week is pushed firmly into the horror-thriller camp. Luckily, Mark Wahlberg is here to bring us back down to Earth with the heart-wrenching tale of finding faith that is Father Stu, and he’s bringing his established on-screen dad Mel Gibson (à la Daddy’s Home 2) along for the ride.

Without further ado, let’s get into cinema’s latest offerings. Lights, camera, action...

Firestarter (15, 94 mins)

Released: May 13 (UK & Ireland)

Ryan Kiera Armstrong as Charlene and Zac Efron as Andrew in Firestarter

Stephen King’s celebrated 1980 novel kindled a film adaptation four years later starring David Keith and a cherubic Drew Barrymore.

Screenwriter Scott Teems revamps the source material for a supernatural horror, which tests the bond between a father and daughter on the run from a shadowy agency.

Captain Hollister (Gloria Reuben) is director of The Shop, a top-secret government off-shoot, which intends to capture one of its test subjects, Andrew McGee (Zac Efron), who developed telepathic abilities in response to an experimental drug.

Andrew’s daughter Charlene (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) is blessed – or perhaps cursed – with devastating pyrokinetic powers.

Andrew joins her on the run from assassin John Rainbird (Michael Greyeyes) and other nefarious individuals who seek to weaponise Charlene.

Father Stu (15, 124 mins)

Released: May 13 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas)

Mark Wahlberg as Father Stuart "Stu" Long

Mark Wahlberg plays a fallen man who discovers his calling as a messenger of the Lord in a drama based on an improbable true story.

From an early age, Stuart Long (Wahlberg) yearns to impress his hard-drinking father Bill (Mel Gibson) but the death of his brother Stephen creates a rift in the family that can never be healed.

As an amateur boxer, Stu takes as many blows as he delivers so he decides to try his luck instead as an actor in Hollywood.

Working in a grocery store to make ends meet between auditions, Stu becomes hopelessly smitten by Carmen (Teresa Ruiz), who is an active member of the Catholic Church.

To impress the object of his affection, Stu persuades sceptical Monsignor Kelly (Malcolm McDowell) to allow him to enrol in a seminary.

Against the odds, Stu forms spiritual connections with those in need and pursues a path in the priesthood.

Everything Everywhere All At Once (15, 139 mins)

Released: May 13 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas)

Stephanie Hsu as Joy Wang, Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Quan Wang and Ke Huy Quan as Waymond Wang in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Michelle Yeoh crouches like a tiger and hides like a dragon as she tumbles through the multiverse in a fantastical yarn directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.

Evelyn Wang (Yeoh) runs a laundromat in California with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), who has a habit of sticking googly eyes on objects to make life seem happier than it is.

Their efforts to raise a teenage daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) with more tenderness and consideration than Evelyn received from her domineering father Gong Gong (James Hong) haven’t been entirely successful.

Joy is wary of her parents’ reactions when she introduces them to her long-time girlfriend Becky (Tallie Medel).

As Evelyn hurriedly completes her tax return ahead of an audit by merciless IRS agent Deirdre Beaubeirdra (Jamie Lee Curtis) and a Chinese New Year party in honour of Gong Gong’s latest visit, the beleaguered mother receives alarming news: she alone can save the multiverse from destruction.

The Quiet Girl (12A, 95 mins)

Released: May 13 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas)

Adapted from Claire Keegan’s short story Foster, writer-director Colm Bairead’s debut feature is a coming-of-age story set in 1981 rural Ireland.

Shy, neglected Cait (Catherine Clinch) is separated from her dysfunctional family for the summer and sent to live with foster parents.

Childless older couple Sean and Eibhlin Kinsella (Andrew Bennett, Carrie Crowley) welcome Cait to their country farm and provide her with the support she needs to edge closer to womanhood.

Far from the pain of the past, Cait blossoms but she gradually realises that even in her new idyll, there are discomfiting secrets waiting to be unearthed.

Vortex (15, 142 mins)

Released: May 13 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas)

Provocative Argentinian filmmaker Gaspar Noe retains his standing as one of the enfants terribles of modern cinema with a meditation on love in the throes of dementia.

Employing a split screen format almost for the entirety, Vortex explores the bond between a nameless film historian (Dario Argento) and his wife (Francoise Lebrun), who share an apartment in Paris.

Her mind is frequently clouded and he is her dutiful caretaker but health issues and a persistent cough suggest the husband isn’t best placed to tenderly shepherd his wife home every time she wanders off in a state of befuddlement.

With each passing day, the potential for catastrophe heightens.

The Drover’s Wife: The Legend Of Molly Johnson (109 mins)

Released: May 13 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas)

Based on Henry Lawson’s 1892 short story, The Drover’s Wife: The Legend Of Molly Johnson revisits the western through a feminist lens.

Director, writer and actor Leah Purcell’s debut feature canters into 1893 New South Wales where pregnant wife Molly (Purcell) fiercely protects her four children while her sheep drover husband Joe is away for extended periods.

It’s a harsh, unforgiving existence but Molly has her dog Alligator for company and a gun for protection.

When a fugitive Aboriginal man called Yadaka (Rob Collins) stumbles on to the Johnson property, Molly is initially wary and distrustful of the interloper.

Over time, the two strangers come to rely on each other in their harsh surroundings.

Twenty One Pilots Cinema Experience (90 mins)

Released: May 19 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas)

On May 21, 2021 singer and guitarist Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun aka Grammy Award-winning duo Twenty One Pilots hosted an hour-long livestream party to celebrate the release of the Scaled And Icy album, supported by a full complement of musicians and dancers.

Opening with a rendition of the song Choker against the backdrop of a fictional talk show, the highly theatrical spectacle storms into selected cinemas with remastered audio and video plus previously unseen content.

The set list includes Car Radio, Chlorine, Lane Boy, Level Of Concern, Mulberry Street, Never Take It, Ride and Saturday.

The Royal Ballet Live: Swan Lake (175 mins)

Released: May 19 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas)

The Royal Ballet’s artist in residence Liam Scarlett choreographs a sparkling production of the romantic ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s score, emboldened by the designs of John Macfarlane.

A 2020 production was interrupted by the Covid pandemic and this welcome revival is broadcast live from the stage of the Royal Opera House in London under the baton of conductor Gavriel Heine.

This sold-out performance casts Devon-born principal dancer Lauren Cuthbertson in the dual roles of Odette and Odile, who performs a challenging pas de deux between the bewitched princess and her regal paramour.

Prince Siegfried (William Bracewell) escapes his birthday celebrations and stumbles upon a magical lake where he meets beautiful Princess Odette (Cuthbertson), who must spend each day as a swan until true love breaks the curse.

Siegfried vows to lift the enchantment but he is no match for evil spirit Von Rothbart.

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