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Film Talk: Latest Movie Releases – Dystopian Detroit back for birthday cyborg splendour

Dead or alive, you’re coming with me.” It’s been decades, and that line still plants a grin on my face.

Peter Weller in RoboCop
Peter Weller in RoboCop

And now, that smile is going to shine afresh.

That’s right folks – while there have been some promising releases this week, today we are treated to the Director’s Cut of RoboCop (vintage 1987) hitting selected cinemas.

This legendary cyberpunk spectacular has long had a place on the sci-fi altar due to its deliciously dystopian vision of a future Detroit, its no-nonsense ‘justice hammer’ of a protagonist, and its grimy, grimy, oh-so-very-grimy violence.

Bearing in mind that said grit and gore was actually toned down for the theatrical version we know and love, this Director’s Cut – airing to honour the flick’s 35th birthday year – is probably only one for those with a strong stomach. But if you can hack it, it promises to be a nostalgic fanboy-thrilling beauty of no mistaking.

Of course this week we are also treated to the release of powerful period drama, Benediction – a portion of which was filmed on our own doorstep at Weston Park, near Shifnal.

Directed by Terence Davies, this one tells the tale of acclaimed poet Siegfried Sassoon, and how following his survival of the horrors of the First World War, he became one of the conflict’s staunchest critics.

With a potent premise and a talented cast including Jack Lowden, Peter Capaldi and Kate Phillips, this flick could well be one to cut you to the core several times over.

Once again, it’s a great week for cinema and film fans everywhere, with plenty of other ripe and juicy offerings hitting the silver screen.

Let’s take a closer look at those new releases...

BENEDICTION (12A, 137 mins)

Released: May 20 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas)

benediction

Liverpudlian writer-director Terence Davies explores the horror of the First World War through the eyes of one of England’s great poets in a melancholic drama nominated for two prizes at last year’s British Independent Film Awards.

As a soldier, Siegfried Sassoon (Jack Lowden) is decorated for his bravery on the battlefield.

However, the loss of young lives haunts Sassoon and he openly disobeys orders to become a vocal critic of the government’s continuation of the conflict.

Faced with a possible court marital that would besmirch the family name, Sassoon accepts the advice of his friend Robbie Ross (Simon Russell Beale) and is moved to a military psychiatric hospital, where his behaviour is dismissed as a nervous breakdown.

Far from home, he meets Wilfred Owen (Matthew Tennyson) and becomes a mentor to the young wordsmith.

Sassoon struggles to come to terms with his homosexuality and he fosters potentially damaging relationships with figures from London’s glittering literary and theatre scene including Ivor Novello (Jeremy Irvine) and Stephen Tennant (Calam Lynch).

THE INNOCENTS (15, 117 mins)

Released: May 20 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas)

Eskil Vogt, Oscar-nominated screenwriter of The Worst Person In The World, directs and writes a tense psychological horror set during a bright Nordic summer, which warps and corrupts the tropes of a superhero origin story.

Nine-year-old Ida (Rakel Lenora Flottum) lives on a housing estate with her autistic sister Anna (Alva Brynsmo Ramstad).

The siblings struggle to communicate and little Ida explores her surroundings, meeting a neglected and bullied boy called Ben (Sam Ashraf), who channels his rage and alienation into the murder of a cat.

Left to their own devices, Ida and Ben unleash dark and mysterious powers when they are together.

Anna and another girl Aisha (Mina Yasmin Bremseth Asheim) are also blessed with dangerous abilities.

When the adults aren’t looking, the four children push the boundaries of their playtime with harrowing consequences.

EMERGENCY (15, 104 mins)

Released: May 20 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas)

A group of friends make tough split-second decisions in a comedic thriller written by Academy Award nominee KD Davila and directed by Carey Williams.

College seniors Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) and Sean (RJ Cyler) return to their apartment to find the front door open.

Inside, the best friends discover a semi-conscious girl, who they christen Goldilocks (Maddie Nichols), and their videogaming roommate Carlos (Sebastian Chacon) oblivious to the intruder.

Reluctant to call the police and answer questions about how two black men and one Latinx man found a white woman passed out, Kunle, Sean and Carlos decide to put the stranger in Sean’s van and take her somewhere safe to recover.

Little do they know that the girl, Emma, has a sister called Maddy (Sabrina Carpenter), who is tracking the location of Emma’s phone to locate her missing sibling.

A-HA: THE MOVIE (12A, 108 mins)

Released: May 20 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas)

In October 1985, Norwegian synth-pop band a-ha reached number two on the UK singles chart with the anthemic Take On Me accompanied by a music video fondly remembered for Steve Barron’s sketch animation.

Guitarist Pal Waaktaar-Savoy, keyboardist Magne Furuholmen and vocalist Morten Harket topped the chart later that year with The Sun Always Shines On TV, continuing a run of hits that included Train Of Thought, Hunting High And Low, I’ve Been Losing You, Cry Wolf, Manhattan Skyline, The Living Daylights and Stay On These Roads.

To coincide with a-ha’s forthcoming UK tour, this documentary directed by Thomas Robsahm and Aslaug Holm follows the group over a period of four years to reminisce about the trio’s fortunes almost more than 35 years after their breakthrough.

The film incorporates unreleased footage and interviews with Waaktaar-Savoy, Furuholmen and Harket, and reveals that they drive in separate cars and stay apart backstage, and only appear together on stage to perform their hits.

ROBOCOP: DIRECTOR’S CUT (18, 99 mins)

Released: May 20 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas)

Peter Weller in RoboCop

You have 20 second to comply when a definitive 4K restoration of Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven’s scabrous sci-fi satire blasts back into cinemas to mark its 35th anniversary.

The director’s cut fell foul of censors for its graphic on-screen violence, notably the hero’s execution before his reanimation as the titular crimefighter.

Approved by Verhoeven, this restoration from the original camera negative by MGM enters a dystopian Detroit where law enforcement droid ED-209 is touted as a replacement to human cops on the city streets.

In the interim, dedicated officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) and partner Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) serve the Metro West precinct, answering a call to arms to defeat hardened criminal Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) and his gang.

Murphy is killed by the thugs and revived as a heavily armoured cyborg called RoboCop, which is programmed to serve and protect the public.

This metallic crimefighter is supposed to have no memory of the past but RoboCop experiences disorienting flashbacks to Murphy’s past and begins to delve into the circumstances of Murphy’s brutal demise.

THE METROPOLITAN OPERA LIVE: LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR (205 mins)

Released: May 21 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas)

Riccardo Frizza conducts Australian theatre and film director Simon Stone’s bold new staging of Donizetti’s tragic opera, broadcast live from the stage of the Lincoln Center For The Performing Arts in New York, with a libretto by Salvadore Cammarano.

Lucia (American soprano Nadine Sierra) privately exchanges rings with her beloved Edgardo (Javier Camarena), choosing her heart’s desire rather than a marriage to a wealthy suitor, which would secure the Lammermoor fortune.

When her scheming brother Enrico (Artur Rucinski) learns that she has pledged her heart to his sworn enemy, he tricks Lucia into believing that Edgardo has been unfaithful so she might enter into a marriage contract with his preferred suitor, Arturo.

Moments after Lucia signs the contract, Edgardo discover his sweetheart’s apparent betrayal of their love, setting in motion a series of tragic events that destroys the Lammermoor clan.

EXHIBITION ON SCREEN: PISSARRO: FATHER OF IMPRESSIONISM (U, 94 mins)

Released: May 24 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas)

Born on St Thomas, part of the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea, Camille Pissarro became one of the most celebrated artists of 19th-century France.

He gathered a collective of enthusiastic young artists around him in Paris and nurtured a reputation as the father of Impressionism.

In February, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford opened a major retrospective, Pissarro: Father Of Impressionism, featuring 80 works by the artist including eight paintings on display for the first time in this country.

This documentary directed by David Biggerstaff draws extensively on intimate and revealing letters written by Pissarro to his family to chart his life and output.

The film provides cinema audiences with a front row seat to some of the canvasses in the exhibition and other treasures from the museum’s archive.

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