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Film round-up: August 5 2022

Maria Duarte reviews Maisie, Bullet Train, Luck and Hot Seat

Maisie (15)
Directed by Lee Cooper

★★★★

MAISIE tells the inspirational story of Britain’s oldest working drag artiste, who in under two weeks’ time is about to celebrate turning 89.

In this film writer-director Lee Cooper was given unique access to the colourful life and world of both David Raven and “Maisie Trollette” over the course of three years as he prepared for his 85th birthday.

The documentary paints an intimate yet captivating portrait of the beauty of ageing and friendship, with David recounting 50 years in the business, highlighted by archive filmed footage as his friends and colleagues share their thoughts.

He does not take any prisoners as he insists he is a drag artiste, and not a drag queen. He also talks lovingly about the greatest loss of his life, his soulmate Don, who died many years earlier.

The film captures his first-ever meeting with Walter Cole who, at 87, is in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest performing drag queen in the world, and who flies in from Portland in the US for David’s special birthday.

Sparks fly with their professional rivalry, which is hilarious to see as David as Maisie sings live while Walter lip-synchs as Darcelle XV.

David can still belt out a tune word-perfect. His rendition of Matt Monro’s If I Never Sing Another Song at the end of the film is truly impressive.

Maisie is a wonderful homage to Britain’s oldest working drag artiste.

In cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema, BFI Player and Bohemia Euphoria

Bullet Train (15)
Directed by David Leitch

★★★

FROM the director of Deadpool 2, David Leitch, comes an exhilarating yet totally bonkers action-packed high-speed ride, with Brad Pitt at his most charming and comic best as an assassin plagued by bad luck.

Based on acclaimed Japanese novelist Kotaro Isaka’s book, the film explores the power of fate (good luck versus bad) as it follows the troubled Lady Bug (Pitt) on the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto on a last-minute job where he encounters some of the world’s most elite hit-men on connected but conflicting missions.

Depicting a stylised vision of Japan, all the action unfolds on three carriages: the quiet car, the lounge and a Momomon-themed car involving intricate yet insane fight scenes.

Pitt heads an eclectic and inclusive cast who seem to be relishing their chance to portray killer bombastic characters, including one that is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine — a running joke which begins to lose steam quickly.

There are some fun cameo, including Sandra Bullock returning the favour for Pitt appearing in The Lost City.

Leitch, who was Pitt’s stunt-double in five of his films, delivers a mad-capped, visually stunning entertaining thriller which he manages to reign in before it goes off the rails.

Though, if you have a snake phobia best to give this one a miss.

In cinemas

Luck (PG)
Directed by Peggy Holmes

★★★

THE idea of good luck versus bad luck and how that manifests itself in life is again explored to insightful effect, this time in this sweet and charming animated feature.

The film follows 18-year-old Sam Greenfield (Eva Noblezada), who has been unlucky all her life — from not finding an adopted family to being constantly accident-prone — until she meets the luckiest black cat in the world, Bob (Simon Pegg), whose good fortune rubs off on her.

The two embark on a thrilling adventure as she follows him into his own realm, full of leprechauns, where she discovers the truth about how good and back luck are made before mayhem ensues.

Featuring a star-studded voice cast including Jane Fonda and Whoopi Goldberg, this is a wonderfully entertaining film for all the family, full of colourful and enchanting characters. It will appeal to both young and old alike.
 

Out in select cinemas and on Apple TV+

Hot Seat
Directed by James Cullen Bressack

★★

DOUBLE Oscar-winner Mel Gibson plays a veteran bomb squad officer in a race against the clock to save an IT technician from being blown up in this ludicrous and predictable thriller-by-numbers.

The victim, Orlando Friar (Kevin Dillon, Entourage), an ex-hacker, is the guy in the chair, the hot seat, which is rigged to explode if he stands up and/or if he fails to break into and empty a series of Wall Street bank accounts on the orders of a faceless terrorist mastermind.

Gibson and Dillon give their all, but they can't work miracles with the derisory script and dialogue, though director James Cullen Bressack does keep the tension mounting nicely.

Sadly, it is a waste of good talent.
 

On digital platforms

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