In our latest Cinema Belgium article Liz Newmark looks at three top movies showing in cinemas this month.
If you are looking for a fun, lively film to take children to, Bad Guys is a perfect choice. Based on Aaron Blabey’s book, this DreamWorks production directed by Pierre Perifet recounts the escapades of a happy band of do-badders – Mr Wolf, Mr Piranha, Mr Snake, Mr Shark, and Ms Tarantula. In a world where humans and animals coexist without question,after a lifetime of heists, the animal outlaws are finally caught. To avoid prison, they must pull off their most challenging con yet — becoming model citizens. To an exuberant soundtrack that does not actually include Billie Eilish’s famous number, highlights include Mr Wolf’s comic lightbulb moments when he feels good after not robbing an old lady and rescuing a cat from a tree, the realisation from cabinet-loads of spoils that stylish love interest Miss Foxington was once a criminal herself, and the antics of the real ‘bad guy’ Mr Marmalade, a guinea pig philanthropist. Ultimately, the ‘do good’ message is not forced down your throat. The main fuzzy feeling comes from seeing the band stick together, even when Snake turns betrayer. So – fiction aside – you wish the best for these characters as they leave prison, released early for good behaviour, to start their new life as crime fighters.
Reviews: IMDb 7/10, AlloCiné 3.8/5, Rotten Tomatoes 86%
Running time: 100 minutes
Nobody Has to Know
Co-director (with Tim Mielants) and main actor Bouli Lanners creates an intriguing, slow burning piece about late love in a remote Scottish island. Lanners’ first English-language film tells the story of Phil, a robust, middle-aged farmworker who loses his memory after a stroke. Distant, secretive estate agent Millie (beautifully played by Michelle Fairley), who takes care of him, tells him falsely that they were secretly in love before his accident. There is real chemistry between the two stars. Love scenes are convincing and authentic – whether making tea at home or walking by the sea. It is delightful to see the woman unkindly dubbed the ‘Ice Queen’ soften and blossom as the secret romance progresses between her and her chosen suitor. Lanners has made no secret of his love for Scotland and desire to make a film there – and the wild, windswept beauty of the islands of Lewis and Harris are a perfect backdrop for the burgeoning romance. Nobody Has to Know is not only a compellingly optimistic portrayal of love in later life. The film also gives fascinating insights into remote village God-fearing life where everyone knows everyone else and big events are reduced to Sunday worship and nights at the pub.
English and French with Dutch subtitles. Reviews: IMDb 6.8/10, Rotten Tomatoes 78%
Running time: 178 minutes
Rien à Foutre (Nothing to Lose)
This fascinating dual-subject film details life at a low-cost airline (the resemblance of ‘Wings’ Airlines, and its drive to get as much money from in-flight sales as possible, to RyanAir is palpable) and a young woman’s attempt to deal with her mother’s death. Adèle Exarchopoulos excels as Cassandre – a girl only too happy to hide her feelings behind her job. She travels from country to country, date to date, in an existence as weightless as the air she flies in. “I like people for two hours and then it’s gone,” Cassandre says, also telling airport union campaigners there is no point in her signing a ‘better pay’ petition as she does not know if she will be alive tomorrow. Directors Julie Lecoustre and Emmanuel Marre’s debut feature shines out for its authenticity. Non-professional actors were used including real flight attendants, while producer Alexandre Perrier beautifully plays Cassandre’s grieving father. We feel for the desperate girl forbidden to board the flight as she has a non-regulation-sized bag and for Cassandre when she visits the site of her mother’s car crash – a roundabout topped with waving flower sculptures – near her home of Huy. Resolutely Belgian, the film also gives an insight into life in a provincial, seemingly always rainy, Wallonian town.
French with Dutch subtitles. Reviews: IMDb 6.4/10, AlloCiné 3/5, Rotten Tomatoes 92%
Running time: 112 minutes