The Big Issue : Edition 546
FILM 38 THEBIGISSUE22SEP–5OCT2017 Gleefully juvenile, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is an energetic jumble of creativity and poop jokes. Following two prankster fourth-graders (Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch) who hypnotise their autocratic principal (Ed Helms) and turn him into the titular hero from their home-made comics, David Soren’s proudly dumb animated feature honours Dav Pilkey’s original children’s novels by making fun its first priority. The humour is directed squarely at the primary school crowd, but the clear joy behind the camera is infectious for all ages: I laughed more during this movie than in anything else this year. Though its attempts at kids-movie moralising are decidedly half-arsed – something the screenplay acknowledges without fixing – no-one should walk into a movie with a name like this expecting weighty life lessons. Rather, they should come for a character named Professor Pee Pee Diarrhoeastein Poopypants Esquire and be ready to giggle shamelessly. KAI PERRIGNON THE DANCER Beatriz (Salma Hayek) is a massage therapist with a firm grasp of New Age techniques and a deep connection with nature. (She even keeps goats at home.) So she’s not the ideal guest at a party celebrating legislation allowing a hotel developer to trash a patch of wilderness. But when her car breaks down after a session with long-time client Kathy (Connie Britton), she’s asked to stay for a dinner in honour of smirking mogul Doug (John Lithgow). What initially seems like another awkward dinner party comedy – and this one has plenty of awkward moments – becomes a more personal look at the struggle to maintain higher beliefs against society’s grain. Screenwriter Mike White’s T V series Enlightened explored similar territory, but here the comedy is more gentle, the tone a little sadder. The whole cast is excellent as characters not quite as evil as you’d expect, but Hayek’s mix of optimism and world-weariness stands out. She’s trying to be a good person in a trying world. ANTHONY MORRIS BEATRIZ AT DINNER CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS DIRECTOR DAVID LYNCH has aptly described Twin Peaks: The Return – the latest iteration of his cult series – as an 18-hour film, rather than a TV series. It was truly cinematic, and nothing short of batshit sublime. But what now? The final episode aired earlier this month and abandoned us Peaks Geeks within a forest of loose ends. We face the depressing but very probable event that Showtime will refuse Lynch another bottomless budget from which to realise his every fancy – thus dashing our hopes for narrative resolution. Even if we are all just living inside Monica Bellucci’s dream, where do we turn in the wake of such a work? For fans in need, the post-finale comedown can be best treated with a return to Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Lynch’s prequel feature made after season two. Savaged at Cannes upon release in 1992 and deemed an embarrassing misstep by almost all involved, the film is now enjoying a cultural re-appraisal and being hailed as the missing link among the bizarro fog that is Peaks mythology. (Also: David Bowie before he became an oversized kettle!) For those still not ready to let go, Metrograph cinema in NYC recently dedicated a night of screenings to the cinematic influences one can tease from a single episode of the new series, programming Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly (1955), Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and sublime, non-narrative shorts by experimental filmmakers like Ken Jacobs, Paul Sharits and Bruce Conner. Cue them up at home, as we collectively weep into our cherry pie. ANNABEL BRADY-BROWN > Film Editor Why would you take a fascinating historical character like dancer, businesswoman and inventor Loïe Fuller, and place her at the centre of an unconvincing and largely fictionalised narrative? This question plagues first-time writer-director Stéphanie Di Giusto’s The Dancer, a puzzling, poorly scripted film with just enough sublime turn-of- the-century, free-dance sequences to send you searching for the real woman whose innovations continue to influence choreography and stagecraft. French singer and actress SoKo does her best to portray Fuller as the driven but curiously shy performer who creates her famous Serpentine Dance. Stunningly captured by Benoît Debie and staged here to Vivaldi, the original spectacle wowed fans like Toulouse-Lautrec, Rodin and the Lumière brothers. But the film chooses instead to focus on an imagined lesbian attraction between Fuller and her protégée, the young Isadora Duncan (a graceful but manipulative Lily-Rose Depp). It’s enough to make you long for a proper biopic. ROCHELLE SIEMIENOWICZ CINEMA RELEASE STREAMING WAS DAVID BOWIE A PEAKS GEEK?