A FALL FROM GRACE
Writer-director Tyler Perry (Madea’s Family Reunion) makes his Netflix movie debut with this thriller about a woman, Grace (Crystal Fox from Big Little Lies), who’s facing life imprisonment for murdering her husband, Shannon (Supergirl’s Mehcad Brooks).
Through flashbacks we learn that Shannon was her second husband after she’d left her first, abusive marriage, but the mystery is why Grace would kill this seemingly good man who helped her love again?
The cast includes acting legends Phylicia Rashad and Cicely Tyson, and Fox is good as the wounded woman with a grim past, but much of the story is too much like a soap opera and not a movie. – DENNIS CAVERNELIS
2020. 120 MIN. 16VL.
FORD V FERRARI
True-life sport drama.
You might think a film about Ford developing a race car to beat Ferrari at the 24- hour Le Mans race would be strictly for petrolheads, but you’d be wrong. No prior knowledge or love of cars or motor sport is needed to enjoy this well-crafted, often exhilarating, feel-good film, which was nominated for four Oscars, including best picture.
Set in the early ’60s, Ford v Ferrari (or Le Mans ’66 as it’s also known) is centred on two maverick car-racing experts. Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), an American race-car driver-turned-designer who won Le Mans in 1959, is tasked by US car manufacturer Ford – known for its reliability and durability – to build a car that can outdo the sleek and sexy Italian Ferrari at the world’s most extreme car race.
He turns to the best driver he knows, Ken Miles (Golden Globe nominee Christian Bale), a British mechanic who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. But slick Ford executive Leo Beebe (Sweet Home Alabama’s Josh Lucas) tries to interfere and control every decision. Will Shelby and Miles be able to win the race despite the bureaucracy hampering them?
The chameleon-like Bale once again transforms himself into his character, an irascible rebel you can’t help but admire for his refusal to kowtow to the bigwigs. Damon’s acting is less showy, but he gives the genial Shelby a core of steel, and the two stars have great chemistry.
Powered by these two terrific lead performances, the movie also delivers plenty of nail-biting suspense thanks to well-edited racing sequences – for which it won Oscars for best film editing and sound editing – which make you feel as if you’re in the driver’s seat. Ford v Ferrari doesn’t escape sports-movie clichés but the witty dialogue, convincing period detail and charismatic stars should be enough to make you to root for these talented underdogs.
2019. 146 MIN. 13L.