The last decade of Vegas performer Liberace’s life, from the perspective of his lover Scott Thorsen. A well-played and effective biopic, made with Soderbergh’s customary deftness, getting beyond the camp and rhinestones to explore the frailties of two people drawn to each other out of lack.
No-hoper Icelandic childhood best friends dream of winning Eurovision. Ferrell adapts his sports comedy template to fit, with generally appealing results. While it’s overlong and needs more jokes, everyone’s having fun, the musical parodies are good, and there are plenty of in-jokes and guest appearances for the faithful.
An identity mix-up complicates the lives of a dancer and a couturier’s muse, both visiting London. Charming and witty musical comedy with elements of screwball farce and a keen sense of knowing camp, with several dance sequences that have become iconic. A Depression-era fantasy, still effective as escapist nonsense of the highest order.
A street thief falls for a princess; a magic lamp offers the opportunity to win her hand. Okay-as-far-as-it-goes live-action/CG remake of the 1992 Disney animation. A couple of new songs, Will Smith brings some pizazz as the genie, and a nice magic carpet gag; otherwise this is a product rather than a movie, and feels it at times too.
In 1979, a student has romantic adventures in the Med; this links with the present. Both sequel and prequel to Mamma Mia!, this ABBA-based jukebox musical is part-reprise, part deconstruction. More fun than the first, and as impermeable to criticism as its predecessor. You’ll either love it, or be baffled.
A free-spirited woman compels a once-clean-cut GI to go AWOL. A World War II-era retelling of Bizet’s Carmen with an all-black cast, retaining the music but with updated lyrics. A film version of a famous stage adaptation; this sacrifices drama for a lighter touch until the third act, but is nevertheless an engaging oddity.
A US expat nightclub owner has his neutrality threatened in wartime Morocco when confronted by his ex-lover. Splendid wartime romance/film noir/political allegory balancing cynicism, comedy and menace in equal measure. Loads of fun.
Two otherwise-married people consider an affair. Deft romantic drama with its tongue partially in cheek in places; flirtations with film noir and German expressionism as well as with slice-of-life across-the-classes melodramatics.
A grizzled baseball scout takes a road trip with his ambitious lawyer daughter. There’s nothing original in this sports/family/romance hybrid, but everything works fine; a professional job all around. Another Eastwood meditation on ageing, with a fine supporting cast.
A widowed father buys a run-down zoo, and battles to have it open in time for the summer. Sunny-enough feelgood comedy/drama/romance with absolutely no surprises but some neat moments and an impeccable – if over-used – soundtrack.