FILM REVIEWS: The Fall Guy, Love Lies Bleeding, Tarot and … unique chance to get sniffy about Star Wars!

This week’s long-awaited big release at both Cineworld Broad Street and Odeon Luxe Broadway Plaza is a tribute to the stunt teams who bring the biggest movies to thrilling life.

But after watching The Fall Guy’s opening scene, don’t forget to look up for our very own ‘stuntmen’ relying on wires and baskets to clean Broad Street’s high-rise towers and hotels. If you spot them, you’ll appreciate their head for heights even more!

THE FALL GUY (12A, 126 mins). A serious injury threatens the career of stuntman Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling, fresh from playing Ken in Barbie). Once back at work in Australia, though, what will he learn about his mishap – and will first-time movie director Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt / Oppenheimer) fancy him? The verdict: ***

The Fall Guy reworks the 1981-86 TV series starring former Six Million Dollar man Lee Majors, now 85! Although you’ll go in wanting to love it like a Raiders of the Lost Ark classic or to re-appreciate Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, it’s actually more like Fast & Furious – Again!

With former stuntman turned director David Leitch’s CV including Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019), one towing scene borrows heavily from the earlier Fast Five (2011) and the script gleefully references many other action-led franchises from Miami Vice to Jason Bourne and 007.

As Gosling and Blunt’s chemistry heats up, the film’s threads knit together ready for a full-scale grandstand climax and even the repeated use of the brilliant Kiss song “You Were Made For Lovin’ Me” never tires. The end credits include a golden cameo as well as a secrets-revealed showcase of how the stunts within the stunts were filmed.

The Fall Guy is in both standard screens and premium formats including IMAX at Cineworld and in the iSense and Dolby screens at Odeon Luxe – where the heightened intensity makes it feel more like a 15 certificate movie.

LOVE LIES BLEEDING (15, 104 mins). Apart from already having an oddball brother-in-law JJ and estranged father Lou Sr (Ed Harris), gym manager Lou (Kirsten Stewart) begins what could be a heady but toxic relationship with seemingly Vegas-bound competitive bodybuilder Jackie (Katie O’Brian). The verdict: ****

The #MeToo era somehow hasn’t prevented these two actresses from bravely pushing Tarantino-style boundaries in a 1989-set film that makes Thelma and Louise (1991) look about as menacing as Ant and Dec.

Love Lies Bleeding is a giddy, rock ’n’ roll mixture of same-sex action, smoking, drug injections, bodybuilding, gunplay and whip-smart dialogue curated with a good use of colour and an increasingly convoluted sense of foreboding.

Best known as Bella Swan in Twilight and still only 34 – but looking much younger – the elfin-like Kristen Stewart gives her most daring performance yet. Actress and martial artist Katy O’Brian excels as Jackie, a character with an almost Stallone-esque physique (for a woman) but with plenty of femininity, too.

Given the most unflattering look for a major star in memory, Apollo 13 star Ed Harris remains a class act with a gravelly voice fuelling his menace.

London-born director Rose Glass (Saint Maud) is an emerging major talent in her early 30s – after this second feature, may she long stay away from dull movie ‘franchises’ to follow a more Scorsese-influenced path. As two the film’s wall posters say: ‘Destiny is a decision’ and ‘The body achieves what the mind believes’. Go, girl!

TAROT (15, 92 mins). When a group of friends find a box of tarot cards, one member reveals a knowledge of horoscopes, too. The verdict: *

Tarot offers more proof that Hollywood is almost devoid of any new ideas for horror. It spares us the chore of sitting around a table for hours on end and doesn’t go overboard with sound-driven ‘jump scares’. But bumping cast members off in semi-darkness elsewhere reeks of sub-Final Destination desperation.

THE PHANTOM MENACE (PG, 136 mins). It’s hard to believe that this 1999 prequel reboot by Star Wars’ series creator turned Episode One director George Lucas is 25 years old. But to celebrate, it’s back on the silver screen at Odeon Luxe and Cineworld, which are both showing all of this week’s releases.

For a unique viewer experience, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) are making their collective debut in Cineworld’s 4DX screen where the seats roll with the action and there are wind, rain and whistling bullet-style effects included.

The 4DX trickery also means that you will be able to SMELL The Phantom Menace for the first time, too. Oooh, er! The next nearest 4DX screen for this kind of experience is in Milton Keynes.

PICTURE CAPTIONS: Love Lies Bleeding, Lionsgate; The Fall Guy, Universal; Tarot, Sony Pictures.

ENDS

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