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Directed by David Fairhead & Ant Palmer
THE role of the Lancaster bomber in helping to turn the tide in World War II is told through the words of the last surviving crew members in this extraordinary and gripping historical account.
You cannot help but be in awe of these men, now well into their nineties, as they describe their time aboard the Lancaster and the perilous missions they took part in when only in their late teens and early twenties, including the famous Dambuster raids and the (infamous) bombing of Dresden.
One veteran of Operation Chastise, in which apparently eight aircraft were lost, 53 aircrew were killed and three others were taken prisoner, asks: was it worth it?
Using remastered archive material and breathtaking aerial footage of one of the RAF’s two remaining airworthy Lancasters, the film brings to life this epic story of courage, friendship and the moral ambiguities of war.
It is also a stark reminder of its deadly cost: 55,000 young airmen died over Nazi-occupied Europe, not to mention the thousands of civilians killed in German cities. To hear the survivors recount the loss of their comrades is chilling and heartbreaking.
Co-directors David Fairhead and Ant Palmer interviewed a total of 38 veterans who form the heart of this film; their priceless testimonies giving a front-seat view and a taste of what it was like going out on missions, not knowing if you were going to return alive.
A fascinating and vital film that should be seen by all.
Top Gun: Maverick (12A)
Directed by Joseph Kosinski
IT HAS taken 36 years and a series of Covid delays, but the long-awaited sequel to Top Gun has made it to the big screen, with Tom Cruise back in the cockpit and delivering on all thrusters, with stunning aerial sequences which will take your breath away.
Cruise returns as a much older and jaded Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in a follow-up devoid of the original’s homo-eroticism and gung-ho propaganda.
This one centres on nostalgia, featuring wonderful endless nods to its predecessor (including the infamous volleyball scene), with Maverick facing his demons and his troubled relationship with his late friend and aerial partner Goose’s son “Rooster” (an impressive Miles Teller), now an ace fighter pilot himself.
Maverick has been called in to train a new bunch of recruits, including the base’s first female pilot (Monica Barbaro), for a deadly mission involving an anonymous enemy.
With all the actors playing pilots going up in real F18s and pulling seven-and-a-half Gs for real — following a rigorous training programme devised by Cruise himself — the flight scenes are the most thrilling highlight of this sequel directed by Joseph Kosinski.
It is a shame they didn’t invest more effort in the female roles as Jennifer Connelly seems wasted as Maverick’s love interest Penny, who was mentioned in the first film.
You don’t need to have seen Top Gun to appreciate Maverick as it is self-explanatory, but there are plenty of Easter eggs for the staunch fans.
This rip-roaring cinematic extravaganza really needs to be seen on the biggest screen possible.
Directed by Alex Camilleri
A MALTESE fisherman finds himself risking everything to provide for his wife and his newborn son by entering the country’s black-market fishing industry in this heartbreaking debut feature by Alex Camilleri.
Camilleri’s beautiful and haunting film explores the struggles faced by fishermen trying to scrape a meagre living as fish stocks are decimated by this sinister operation.
Jesmark (Jesmark Scicluna), who is being made to feel a failure by his wife’s well-off and domineering mother, is faced with decommissioning his beloved leaky boat, in his family for generations, in exchange for a substantial EU payout.
A montage scene of decommissioned, colourful boats with mournful-looking eyes in a demolition yard is sad beyond belief and will haunt you long after the end credits have rolled.
This is an exquisite but exceedingly heart-wrenching drama.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie
Directed by Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman
FANS of the animated comedy TV series Bob’s Burgers are in for a treat: this big-screen debut feature captures its quirkiness and left-field charm in a seamless transition which — unlike some feature-length cartoons — doesn’t feel like two episodes strung together.
Bob (H Jon Benjamin) and his dysfunctional family are back, each fighting their own individual demons in this comedic musical-mystery adventure.
While Bob and his wife Linda (John Roberts) are trying to save their restaurant from closure after a sinkhole forms in front of it, the kids are attempting to solve a mysterious murder which could help in turn salvage the family business.
I could have done without the musical numbers, but Bob’s Burgers has not lost any of its dry and surreal humour. It is great fun, and Bob’s youngest daughter Louise (Kristen Schaal), with her brutal honesty, steals the show once more.
Staunch fans won’t be disappointed.
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