XMAS FILM REVIEWS: Ferrari, Next Goal Wins, Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom

With both Cineworld Broad Street and Odeon Luxe Broadway Plaza open on Christmas Day, GRAHAM YOUNG reviews Ferrari, Next Goal Wins and the brand new pre-Christmas release of DC Comics’ Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

Ferrari (15, 130 mins). Long before Westside became Birmingham’s nightlife capital, Broad Street’s ‘golden mile’ was home to various car dealers including PJ Evans (Jaguar) and Hanger Ford.

Today, you would head to Lee Longlands’ 1932 Art Deco furniture store for a chair, but for a Ferrari ride … well, that’s where Westside’s two multiplex cinemas now come in handy.

Directed by Michael Mann (Heat / Ali), this is a Sky Original biopic of the Italian supercar legend.

Adam Driver plays Enzo Ferrari, with Spanish great Penelope Cruz as his cheated wife, Laura. The film explores their fractured relationship via a child’s death as well as showing how Ferrari developed his car and drivers for racing, saying: “If you get into one of my cars, you get in to win.”

The verdict *** After an opening lacking in direction on both sides of the camera, Ferrari the film often looks like it is genuinely recreating the 1950s with period clothes and cars galore, but Mann fudges the balance between speed and drama.

Despite some spectacular crashes, this Ferrari feels stuck in third gear – perhaps because British TV writer Troy Kennedy Martin died in 2009. It’s not so much Z-Cars, which he created, but Zzzz Cars.

Next Goal Wins (12A, 104 mins). In 2001, American Samoa lost a World Cup qualifying match 31-0 to Australia. Would a new coach help them to even score a goal?

The verdict *** Good football films are especially hard to make but Next Goal Wins director and co-writer Taika Waititi’s (JoJo Rabbit, 2019) has a love of the absurd hence some Benny Hill-style scenes.

An awkward Dutch American coach (Michael Fassbender, main picture) is sent to manage the ‘world’s worst international team’ for his own sins. He’s genuinely acting but I spotted his identity much less readily than co-star Elisabeth Moss.

Rebooted from a 2014 documentary, Next Goal Wins offers old school fun, a sunshine break from our own mud and rain plus the story of the first transgender player in a World Cup qualifier. 

Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom (12A, 124 mins). The Justice League’s Aquaman (a fun Jason Momoa) puts aside his rivalry with brother Orm (Patrick Wilson, more lively than usual) to try to resist the Black Manta.

The verdict ** Returning horror director James Wan (Saw) follows his first Aquaman movie in 2018 with such a darker tone this film features a baby being threatened with a knife. That there’s somehow no jeopardy makes it all the more pointless in a movie aimed at families.

Nicole Kidman (Atlanna), Dolph Lundgren (King Nereus) and Amber Heard (Mera) all struggle for screen oxygen, while Aquaman’s marine life communication skills do not extend to him understanding it’s time he began to swim with the fishes.

Despite location units working in New York, Namibia, India, Italy, Greenland, Antarctica and Iceland, you are more likely to remember this bloated feast for its watery special effects, wooden dialogue, steals from other films, dizzying editing and a bombastic score which is at its best during the most welcome end credits. 

Not even IMAX and 4DX screenings at Cineworld or iSense and Dolby screenings at Odeon Luxe will be able to prevent most audiences from frothing at the gills.


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