Film reviews: Coherence | Selma | Love Is Strange

Emily Foxler and Lauren Maher star in cerebral indie sci-fi film Coherence. Picture: Contributed
Emily Foxler and Lauren Maher star in cerebral indie sci-fi film Coherence. Picture: Contributed
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DOPPELGANGERS, theoretical physics and astronomy come together in surprisingly entertaining ways in this cerebral, micro-budget indie sci-fi film that has echoes of The Twilight Zone, Another Earth and Primer, but also plenty of narrative tricks of its own to prevent it feeling like a copy of a copy of a copy.

Coherence (15)

****

Set over the course of a single evening, a dinner party going wrong is the simple but effective starting point for the brain-bending plot that ensues as a passing comet initiates strange occurrences which force a group of long-term friends to question just how well they really know each other – and themselves.

Love Is Strange (15)

****

This tender and timely tale of an ageing gay couple whose lives are suddenly straight-jacketed by their decision to get married subtly dismantles the notion of there being any such thing as a perfect union. Although they’ve been together for 40 years, New Yorkers Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) find themselves out on the street when their nuptials result in the latter losing his teaching job. What seems at first like a film about intolerance is really about the way love and happiness become inextricably bound up with economics, with Lithgow and Molina quietly heartbreaking playing characters forced to start again at an age when there’s no romance in being peripatetic and poor.

Selma (12A)

****

Copyright issues may have prevented David Oyelowo from delivering Martin Luther King’s famous speeches, but his performance as the civil rights leader in this searing drama about his 1965 campaign to secure voting rights for all Americans is perhaps the better for it, allowing him to play Dr King less as an icon and more as a flawed man with an innate understanding of what’s right for his time and place.

Shaun The Sheep (U)

****

Spun off from Wallace and Gromit’s A Close Shave, the title character of Aardman’s latest big screen adventure may not be especially familiar to grown-ups, but the Bristol-based animation studio’s signature style and wit is present and correct, alleviating any worries that a dialogue-free movie about a sheep might be a plasticine step too far. Boasting more grunting than Mr Turner, the film’s decision to reduce its human characters’ speech to approximations of the noises a sheep might hear reinforces the lovely way it manages to get inside its hero’s head.

The Wedding Ringer (15)

*

This dismal comedy casts Josh Gad (the voice of Olaf in Frozen) as a friendless loser forced to employ the services of Kevin Hart’s rent-a-pal agency when his fiancée (The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) pressures him to produce a best man for their impending nuptials. Unhinged set-pieces involving pensioner immolation and bestiality follow. Laughs do not.

Two Night Stand (15)

***

Revolving around a couple of 20-somethings forced to spend more time together than they’d like after a one night stand, this desperate-to-be-hip rom-com has potential. Sadly, one interesting plot contrivance and two unconventional leads – Miles Teller and Analeigh Tipton – can’t prevent it from conforming to genre clichés.

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