Cinema Roundup 20th June

The Fault in our StarsBased on a hugely popular novel, The Fault in our Stars is the story of a romance between a pair of teenage cancer survivors, played with great chemistry by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, recently seen together as brother and sister in sci-fi romp Divergent. Despite being marketed as a weepie (boxes of tissues are selling like hot cakes in US movie theatres where the film is screening) the film avoids, and even slyly mocks, the conventions of the doomed romance genre. It’s a commendable non-exploitative approach, celebrating its characters’ strength rather than asking for sympathy.

Jersey Boys is Clint Eastwood’s big screen adaptation of the smash hit Broadway and West End musical, based on the life of singer Frankie Valli and his band, The Four Season. Bizarrely, Eastwood has decided to excise the musical numbers (save for a closing credits scene), leaving us with a bog standard music biopic that plays like a bad Sopranos spoof. Broadway star John Lloyd Young is impressive as Valli, and has quite the voice, but sadly we don’t get to hear much of it.

Once Hollywood’s hottest star, Kevin Costner’s career has been in the wilderness for the past two decades. Three Days to Kill is the latest indignity for an actor who should be landing much better roles. In this one he’s a CIA hitman given months to live by doctors, but when a mysterious woman promises to cure him in return for performing a series of hits, Costner struggles to balance reconnecting with his estranged wife and daughter and saving his life. That makes it sound a lot more interesting than it actually is.

Two of the year’s grimmest movies hit cinemas this week; Camille Claudel 1915, an account of the French sculptor’s time in an asylum, and Miss Violence, a Greek drama that opens with the suicide of a girl on her 11th birthday and proceeds to explore some very dark territory. Both films are technically accomplished but the tough subject matter makes them a difficult recommend.

By Eric Hillis

Image: Movie of the Week, The Fault in our Stars