Miss Sloane, Alien: Covenant, Jawbone The Film Review

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Miss Sloane, Alien: Covenant, Jawbone

Mark Kermode joins Jane Hill for a look at the week's cinema releases, including Miss Sloane, Alien: Covenant and Jawbone.

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Hello and welcome to the film review on BBC News. So, we have a political


thriller called Miss Sloan. We have Alien: Covenant, the latest in the


ongoing alien franchise. And Jawbone, written by and starring


Johnny Harris. Miss Sloan and even you looking at the poster, I wanted


to like this, because you think it is Washington, it is the West Wing.


You are in with the intrigue. The story is that Jessica is a lobbyist


becomes embroiled in a battle between people who want controls on


guns and people who want to sell more guns. She is enlisted by people


who say we are trying to make guns seem more popular and we want to get


guns to appeal to women and she laughs out of the ring. The next


thing is she is approached by the other side fighting for restrictions


and she decides that she will throw in her lot with them and they want


her because of her very powerful, and that has to be said, cynical, we


have lobbying. It has to be said, cynical, we have lobbying. Here's a


clip. What is the best indicator of voting intention? Grassroots action


aimed squarely at soliciting donations. That means any petition,


not clicks in cyberspace. Nonprofits have to report on their findings.


While you are out there hustling, I was work influential senators who


can deliver votes. That is our second prong. Author is identifying


who held sway in target states. Employers, workers groups, do not


just waltz into an office and make your case. Find out who the senator


trusts. Convinced that person to make your case. That is how we win.


Does she take no prisoners? That is it exactly. As you have seen, a very


strong supporting cast is. I wouldn't have this feeling the same


you did. I like the subject matter, I liked the cast, like the director


and I came out thinking it is not as good as it should be. The whole is


less than the sum of the parts. There is something about it which


keeps you at a distance. I never completely believed in these


characters. One of the things about it is it has a plot which is full of


twists and turns and there is a certain point at which the twists


and turns start to defy credibility. That said, it is done with gusto and


Jessica Chastain is worth watching. The subject matter is interesting


and is timely and it ought to be more gripping than it is. Like you,


I wanted it to be great. I came out thinking, it is OK, but I wanted it


to be more than OK. However, it makes sense, which is more than can


be said for Alien: Covenant, which is the next instalment in the


ongoing alien franchise. A fan? No. I am a chicken. There is no way. The


first alien film is a horror movie, the second one is a war film. Alien


three was a mess. Then the prequels. Prometheus from having dialogue that


was different from alien. In alien space truckers, they are talking


about things you can relate to. In Prometheus they were talking about


the nature of God. This is a Prometheus sequel, rather than an


alien prequel. You have alien truckers in space, they get a


signal, they arrive at a new planet which looks like a new Eden. It is


actually a living hell. What they do all the time is to talk about


poetry, about art, about life, about God in a manner nobody talks. We


have a greatest hits reruns of the famous moments from alien, but don


speeded up in a way that means they make no sense. There is no question


that Ridley Scott is a visual stylist, but he is only as good as


his script. With Alien: Covenant, the script is very weak. There is a


famous story that when Vincent Ward was going to do alien three and he


wanted it to be the name of the rows in space, this is the da Vinci code


in space. As someone who loved the original movie, because it was


ruthless, stripped down and I loved this sequel because it is a war


movie, this is very much like a massive amount of pontificating and


holding forth and it makes no sense whatsoever. I know people don't


necessarily go to these movies for it to tie up the loose ends, but


there were moments when a character says so little of this makes sense,


I laughed out loud. You have made me laugh as well. I am a little more


hopeful about your third choice. You're right. Jawbone, it is a


boxing movie. I had nothing about boxing other than what I know from


the movies. This is a body struggling with alcoholism. He is on


the South bank in London and he is a drunk. He lives in his mother's


flood, he is in danger of being evicted. His life as a mess. He goes


to his old gem which is run by Ray Winston, he gives him a look that


tells you everything about the history. Ray Wilson says you can


train here, but no alcohol and no talk of unlicensed games. He needs


money and the next thing he is having a meeting with Ian McShane. I


think I can get you your money. I tell them I have an ex-champion with


Minjee Lee is looking for a fight. Jimmy, you were one of the bravest


kids I ever saw. The thing I don't know is what kind of Nicky are in


now. So, if you take this, it's on your back, whatever happens up


there, you're on your own. I know. I'm up for it. Right, I'll make the


phone call. Now, I thought this was really intriguing. I went in and not


knowing much about it other than it was a boxing movie. I thought what


it did was it really into the story. You believe in this character, a


belief in his dejection, his addiction and his struggle to redeem


himself. There is a moment when he first the gym and Ray Winston looks


at him in a way that tells you everything. There are wonderful


scenes with Michael Smiley who is a terrific actor. It is not about what


they say, it is about what they do not say. Cinematography has changed


in a long time since raging Bull and this pursuit on the receiving end of


punches. I have never been to a boxing match in my life. This had


the smack of authenticity and it had heart. It felt it was a story being


told by someone who really believed in all of this and it engages you.


It makes you care. It is not fantastically original, but it is


done in a way that seems very honest, very authentic, very moving.


As somebody who is not a boxing fan, I found it very gripping. Some great


British talent in there as well. Ray Winston walks on water for me. It is


an understated role and he plays beautifully. Michael Smiley, a


terrific actor, really brilliant screen presence, there are moments


between him and Johnny Harris in which it is to do with the weight


they look at each other. Everything is set in the eyes, in the gesture,


in the way they hold their heads. It was a real pleasure to see it,


because it was a textured film and it takes an idea we have seen it


done. Boxing is in movies a lot because it is a spectacular sport


anyway. This adds something to it. In the end it is not a boxing movie,


it is about someone overcoming their demons. About overcoming addiction


and dealing with alcoholism in a way that is honest and truthful very


engaging. Blessed are you, you have brought me Woody Allen. I love Woody


Allen. I love the Jazz, the new work, the banks, the neurosis. It is


all there. The way Manhattan looks, it is one of those films you should


see on a cinema screen. This is a new transfer from four K. You think


of the jokes, the characters, but this looks brilliant. The


combination of visuals and George Gershwin and from the beginning, he


is a writer trying to describe how he feels about the city. People talk


about the classic period Woody Allen. I am a huge fan of love and


death, but the idea of Manhattan back on the big screen, I haven't


seen it rejected since it first came out. 1979 when a Canadian. The idea


of Synod projected, it is a beautiful film. I didn't know it was


being rereleased. Speaking of big screens. I am interested in the DVD


this week because it is La La Land, which I enjoyed hugely. Doesn't it


needed to be seen on a big screen, the wonderful opening shot, the


dancing, the sunshine? I have seen it on the big screen and the small


screen. I have to say, it worked both times for me. In fact, oddly,


when I saw on the small screen I was in her comfortable conditions


because they were not people talking around me. I really like it. The


opening sequence which is so beautiful. I think Emma Stone is


terrific. Some people have complained and said there is not a


memorable June in that film. What are they talking about? It made me


happy. You leave with a song in your heart. I still love the ending. I


would spoil it, but it was spot on. They do it really very well. It is a


musical in the same way that Manhattan is kind of a musical as


well. Sort of. A film with music in it and it is glorious. Thank you


very much. A reminder that you can find much more from News and reviews


from across the BBC online. You can find all our previous programmes on


the BBC I play.