Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda
With: Koki Maeda, Ryoga Hayashi
Runtime: 128 minutes
AFTER their parents separate, Koichi stays with his mother while his brother and dad go to live in another city. Old beyond his years, and fretful with it, Koichi just wants them everyone to be together again, and sets out to make it happen. Hirokazu Koreeda's beautifully observed coming-of-age story is full of heart and humour, and the youngsters' performances add an extra layer of magic.
DCA, Dundee, February 22-28
To the Wonder (12A)
Dir: Terrence Malick
With: Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko
Runtime: 112 minutes
AFTER exploring life, the universe and everything in Tree of Life, Terrence Malick turns to the infinitely more mundane business of relationships – be they with God or between lovers. Ben Affleck's American won't marry Olga Kurylenko's French miss, which might be due to an existential crisis on his part, or her unfortunate tendency to launch into dance at the drop of a silk scarf. Meanwhile, Javier Bardem is a gloomy priest trying to hang on to a faith that is fading. Exquisite visuals as always, but this is Malick at a low peep.
Dir: Cate Shortland
With: Saskia Rosendahl, Kai-Peter Malina
Runtime: 109 minutes
THIS powerful wartime drama from Australian director Cate Shortland had its UK premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival. Set in Germany as the Second World War ends and the Allies close in, it is the tale of a teenager, Lore (Saskia Rosendahl), who must flee across Germany with her younger siblings. Based on Rachel Seiffert's novel, The Dark Room, Lore is as gripping as it is moving, with an astonishingly mature performance from Rosendahl at its heart.
Cameo, Edinburgh, from February 22; Glasgow Film Theatre, February 25-March 7; DCA, March 1.
INTERVIEW, PAGE 23
Dir: Andres Muschietti
With: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Runtime: 100 minutes
THOUGH directed by Andres Muschetti, the influence of producer Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) can be seen in this wonderfully creepy babes in the woods tale. Jessica Chastain, rocking a Joan Jett look, is among those caring for two children who were missing in the wilderness for years but have now been found. While Mama doesn't escape horror movie cliches – flickering lights and all –this is a fresh blast of cold air down the back of the neck.
Song for Marion (PG)
Dir: Paul Andrew Williams
With: Vanessa Redgrave, Terence Stamp
Runtime: 93 minutes
TERENCE Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave play Arthur and Marion, two pensioners whom illness is trying to put asunder. While Marion keeps cheery by singing with the local choir, Arthur retreats further into himself. For the most part, Paul Andrew Williams (London to Brighton) does a near miraculous job of keeping the schmaltz at bay, aided by an A-list British cast that also includes Gemma Arterton as a choir mistress and Christopher Eccleston as Arthur and Marion's son, but the weight of sentimentality proves too much in the end.
Fire in the Blood (PG)
Dir: Dylan Mohan Gray
Runtime: 84 minutes
DYLAN Moran Gray's justifiably hard-hitting documentary unscrews the cap on a very modern scandal - the global divide between those who have access to the anti-retroviral drugs required to treat Aids, and those who do not. As one campaigner puts it: "The only reason we are dying is because we are poor." Bill Clinton is among the talking heads urging change as the film investigates how a price barrier is costing lives. The Cameo screening will be followed by a discussion led by Prof Gerald Porter, lecturer in medical law and ethics.
Cameo, Edinburgh, February 25; Robert Burns Film Theatre, Dumfries, March 7.