A STAR IS BORN. Directed by Bradley Cooper, with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.

This movie is Bradley Cooper’s passion project. He brings all of him to all of it. His performance is masterful and magnificent. But it’s Lady Gaga who is the total revelation. She gives the most extraordinary, complex, emotionally complete performance and I was riveted by her. She is in turns, diva, coquette, child, mother, partner, friend and companion. I sobbed my way through this most beautiful and amazing movie. It is close to being the perfect love story.

The music is amazing. I love the country and rock sounds, and Lady Gaga slips into genres like she slips into costumes. EXTRAS: Music Videos  (Shallow, I Will Always Remember Us This Way), Musical Moments (Black Eyes, La Vie en Rose, Maybe It’s Time, Shallow Dialogue, Alibi) Megan Furniss

 A SIMPLE FAVOR. Directed by Paul Feig, with Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively and Henry Golding.

At first Kendrick (as mommy vlogger Stephanie) feels like an odd fit for this story, but eventually her wide-eyed earnestness is what ends up making A Simple Favor slightly different. Mostly so because of the double-layering of what seems like a super-ordinary trudger who develops into a more interesting character and breaks her goodie two-shoes persona.

Lively is a real looker and is perfectly cast as a stylish, worldly, enigmatic character that seemingly has the world at her feet. It’s a kind of mystery drama, that’s not edge of your seat material, but delivers with twists and betrayals. Jane Mayne

FINDING YOUR FEET. Directed by Richard Loncraine, with Imelda Staunton, Celia Imrie, Timothy Spall, and Joanna Lumley.

For the most part it’s often a relief to find a movie not propped up by good-looking A-listers. Finding Your Feet may not have the same gratifying depth such as Irish comedy drama Waking Ned, but this seniors rom-com about moving on and finding love in the creaky years has heart at its core.

Staunton, Imrie and Spall (my favourite in his battered old van) pool their formidable talents and bring to life this tale of a spurned woman who takes refuge with her bohemian sister after she discovers her husband’s infidelity. Of course the cameo by Joanna Lumley adds more ‘feel-good’ to the show, but ultimately Finding Your Feet is a group effort and the cast makes it easy for you to root for these undemanding characters. Jane Mayne

THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS. Directed by Eli Roth, with Jack Black, Cate Blanchett and Owen Vaccaro.

Roth is known for the horror genre, but The House with a Clock in its Walls is kid-friendly and tagged as comedy, family and fantasy. I was expecting a good dose of slightly scary, very magical and tons of fabulous fun and styling, but this film about an orphan who goes to live with his strange uncle (Black) in an even stranger house is the least exciting movie I have seen in a while.

The set and styling are gorgeous, but nothing really happens. Jack Black has never ever been this unfunny, and while Cate Blanchett is probably the most interesting person, her insertion into the plot is a clumsy add on.

This movie borrows horribly from others – magic from Harry Potter, bits of story and character from Lemony Snicket, the house from Haunted House, and styling from Tim Burton. The House with a Clock in its Walls has had all the life and naughtiness, silliness, fun and magic sucked out of it. – Megan Furniss

MILE 22. Directed by Peter Berg, with Mark Wahlberg, John Malkovich,

Not one of Wahlberg’s most stellar roles, but at least it’s not Ted. This is a tedious Special Ops manoeuvre that sees the action hero leading a team to transport a highly prized asset. Of course it ends up being a tactical nightmare with nonstop shootouts as the boys exhaust themselves with silly war games. Mile 22 is punted as “an addictively slick paramilitary thriller”, but geopolitics aside, the relentless macho mayhem offers no redemption points and cements into a strangely pointless viewing experience. Jane Mayne

 HURRICANE HEIST. Directed by Rob Cohen, with Toby Kebbell, Maggie Grace, Ryan Kwanten.

Clearly good timing to plan a job during a twister, but this whole project just can’t seem to jack up the tension – despite the blustery CGI effects. This attempt at an action flick by Cohen hooks around a gang of robbers who’re aiming for the big bucks with a heist of US Treasury stash at a Mint facility – the angle being to strike during a Category 5 hurricane. Sadly the cast doesn’t have the gravitas to elevate this above the banal, and despite the bells and whistles, it’s a complete non-event. Jane Mayne

What: Next Entertainment DVDS
DVD Home Entertainment: Reviews Megan Furniss Jane Mayne
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