ANY DAY NOW
Alan Cumming, Garrett Dillahunt, Isaac Leyva
A struggling West Hollywood drag performer (Cumming), a closeted lawyer (Dillahunt) and a Down’s syndrome kid with a crack-whore mother (Leyva) make up the trinity of lost souls who find each other in Travis Fine’s compassionate drama, and then have to fight to stay together at a time when gay adoption was as likely as getting a decent coffee at Starbucks. For sure, Any Day Now is hampered by the earnestness that afflicts any social-topic melodrama, but it gains its sharp edges from Cumming, who is superb as the gay-rights warrior fighting a custody battle. As moving as he is funny, the actor gets to show off his full spectrum of skills, forming a convincing queer couple with Dillahunt and a genuinely emotive bond with Leyva’s abandoned teen. It’s a poignant, sensitive, heartfelt portrait of ‘70s LGBT struggle that, we’re not embarrassed to say, left us in floods.
Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl,Olivia Wilde
It gives us pause to recommend any film Jeremy Clarkson’s bound to gush about, but we’ll make an exception for director Ron Howard’s propulsive Formula 1 drama about the mid-‘70s rivalry between playboy Brit James Hunt (Hemsworth) and methodical Austrian Niki Lauda (Bruhl). Howard deftly illustrates the dangerous, edgy spirit that flourished in F1 back when drivers regularly crashed and died, while Hemsworth and Bruhl bring their A-game to the yin-and-yang duel between a shagging boozehound and a professional bore.
Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley
140 years in the future, Earth is a wretched dystopian slum, Matt Damon is a slaphead and Jodie Foster is the guardian of a space-station paradise for the super-rich and speaks either in a strange accent or French so you know she’s nasty. Like Damon’s working-man character, irradiated at work and desperate to reach Elysium, Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi thriller starts off a smart, timely vision of haves and havenots, before rapidly losing brain cells to become an increasingly redonkulous action flick.
THE WAY, WAY BACK
Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Sam Rockwell
Americans have a knack for growing-pain comedies and this one’s better than most. Set over one beachside summer, it follows glum teen Duncan (Liam James) as he bristles at his mother’s disagreeable new boyfriend (Carell) and secretly gets a job at an antiquated waterpark. Props to Rockwell and Allison Janney for unleashing a pair of comic typhoons as, respectively, an arrested-development park worker and a frisky neighbour fond of inappropriate banter.