Our Ladies Cert: 15, 1hr 46mins
The Nest Cert: 15, 1hr 47mins
Candyman Cert: 15, 1hr 31mins
The Last Bus Cert: 12A, 1hr 26mins
Many films have had their release plans affected by the Covid-19 pandemic but few as badly as Our Ladies, a delightful Scottish coming-of-age comedy that premiered at the London Film Festival of 2019 to largely warm reviews.
A commercial release was confidently planned for March 2020…
Two postponements and endless delays later, it finally arrives in cinemas, and the good news is that it’s still an awful lot of beautifully acted, freewheeling fun.
Set in 1996, it’s the story of six spirited Catholic schoolgirls (above) who travel from the Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour High School in Fort William to Edinburgh for a choir competition
Set in 1996 and adapted from Alan Warner’s novel The Sopranos (it’s also been an Olivier award-winning play), it’s the story of six spirited Catholic schoolgirls who travel from the Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour High School in Fort William to Edinburgh for a choir competition.
Singing, however, is far from uppermost in their adolescent minds. With most of them in Edinburgh for the first time – ‘a beautiful city but full of sin and wantonness’, warns their accompanying nun – they dream of filling the long afternoon between rehearsal and performance with shopping, drinking and meeting boys.
Well, most of them anyway.
Scottish-born Michael Caton-Jones writes and directs, with the camera following the small groups the girls break into after they nip into the ladies and swap their demure school uniforms for mini-skirts and platform shoes.
With brief flashbacks further fleshing out their characters, we begin to understand more about each of them and what makes them such a strong, almost terrifying gang when they’re together.
Amid the mounting chaos, what ensues is rude, funny and occasionally rather sweet. Our Ladies is not a film just for teenage girls but for anyone who’s ever been a teenage girl or known one. And likes Scotland, of course.
Look out for Kate Dickie as the accompanying nun; a belting karaoke version of Tainted Love; and Abigail Lawrie, as the sexually confused Finnoula, and Tallulah Greive, as Orla, who both stand out from the fine ensemble cast.
Almost as badly hit by the pandemic is The Nest, which had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January last year. Now it’s finally here and we duly discover that it’s not the horror film it sounds like – an expectation that writer-director Sean Durkin clearly intended and makes use of – but a psychological drama about the ‘get rich quick’ attitude of the 1980s and the damage it caused.
Jude Law is on top form as the too-good-to-be-true commodities broker who moves his family back to England from America to take full advantage of the Big Bang
Jude Law is on top form as the too-good-to-be-true commodities broker who moves his family back to England from America to take full advantage of the Big Bang. But that involves a big house, expensive schools for the children, a horse for his wife… Carrie Coon impresses, too, as the wife battling both her own suspicions and the ingrained sexism of the day.
Its only real negative is that it all may be a little too unresolved for its own commercial good.
Fresh from his triumphs with Get Out and Us, Jordan Peele turns his attention to Candyman, the iconic 1992 horror picture, albeit ‘only’ as producer and co-writer of a new sequel.
But with Nia DaCosta directing, they both do a hugely impressive job of breathing new life – and, of course, many nasty deaths – into the franchise based around the urban myth about a hook-handed killer.
Say his name five times into the mirror and you’re in trouble.
With the Chicago ghettos of Cabrini-Green – setting of the original – now gentrified and the name Anthony ringing all sorts of bells, the pick-up, screenplay and execution are things of carefully crafted, racially recalibrated joy.
If you saw and enjoyed the original, you’ll definitely want to see this.
In The Last Bus, 64-year-old Timothy Spall plays Tom, a character some two decades older, a widower travelling by bus from John O’Groats to Land’s End to keep a promise he made to his late wife (Phyllis Logan).
In The Last Bus, 64-year-old Timothy Spall (above) plays Tom, a character some two decades older, a widower travelling by bus from John O’Groats to Land’s End
Spall overacts, the screenplay is underwritten, and any touching moments in Gillies MacKinnon’s film come way too late.
You won’t want to stick out your hand for this one.