Now, Voyager (1942)
Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide
Re-released in cinemas nationwide this week, Now, Voyager is one of the apexes of the so-called ‘woman’s picture’ – those glossy entertainments with which Hollywood entertained the female populace during the war years. Queen bee of the form (along with her rival Joan Crawford) was Bette Davis. Here she plays Charlotte Vale, the mousey and repressed daughter of a domineering Boston socialite who finally begins to bloom after encountering Paul Henreid’s dashing architect during a restorative ocean cruise. The plot may be soapy but it’s transformed into something transcendent by the irresistible polish of the Warner Bros machine: the shimmering photography, plungingly romantic score and consummate grace of some of the studio’s finest contract stars – not least Claude Rains as psychiatrist Dr Jaquith.
The Fever (2019)
Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide and digital platforms, including BFI Player
This enigmatic debut from Brazilian director Maya Da-Rin centres on a security guard, Justino (an award-winning performance from debutant Regis Myrupu), working at a container port in Manaus in north-western Brazil. He’s a member of the indigenous Desau population, living with his grown-up daughter. But she’s due to go away to study in Brasília, an imminent change that may be behind the strange fever that Justino’s been experiencing, and which is running him into trouble with his employers. Perched between the concrete of modern Brazil and the tropical forest of Justino’s ancestry, Da-Rin’s drama shows some influence from the humid slow cinema of both Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Tsai Ming-liang. She shares their focus on mysterious maladies as symptoms of unease about the way we live now. It’s a dreamy but disquieting experience.
Blow Out (1981)
Where’s it on? Blu-ray
A California governor is killed in a car accident, or was it an assassination? John Travolta’s sound man is recording effects for a slasher movie at the time, and his tape inadvertently captures a gunshot heard just before the governor’s car comes off the road. Brian De Palma’s paranoid neo-noir was a late bloomer in the post-Watergate run of conspiracy thrillers, glancing back to fellow movie brat Francis Ford Coppola’s audio-based mystery The Conversation (1974) and beyond to Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup (1966). Travolta got one of his best roles as the technician getting in way out of his depth as he tries to find the edges of the intrigue – all of which comes to a head with a dizzying climactic sequence during a Liberty Day parade. Among De Palma’s undisputed masterpieces, it’s the latest film to get rolled out by Criterion in the UK.
High Society (1956)
Where’s it on? BBC2, Saturday, 3pm
BBC2 is remembering Grace Kelly on Saturday afternoon. We’ve got a documentary about her switch from Hollywood royalty to actual royalty as Princess of Monaco, then her final film before the switch: the suitably titled High Society. Her turn as Rhode Island socialite Tracey Lord proved a lovely swansong, giving her one last opportunity to display her radiant gifts as a romantic lead. Bing Crosby plays the ex-husband who’s still hung up on her, while Frank Sinatra is the tabloid reporter covering Lord’s upcoming remarriage. The plot is derived from the 1939 play The Philadelphia Story (and its classic 1940 film version), but here done with songs, Technicolor and all the gloss at MGM’s disposal in the 1950s. Crosby’s character is organising a jazz festival, which enables a supporting turn for Louis Armstrong and his band playing themselves.
All Hands on Deck (2020)
Where’s it on? Mubi
Over the last decade, French director Guillaume Brac has gradually been positioning himself as the new king of the summertime hangout movie. Moving between fiction and documentary, his films are something like Eric Rohmer’s in their breezy naturalism and fascination with young people at leisure. All Hands on Deck is the perfect vicarious holiday film in a summer when sunshine and getting abroad feel equally elusive. It begins with a romantic dalliance in Paris, before Félix decides to spring a surprise visit on Alma while she’s holidaying in the south of France. He persuades his best friend along for the trip, and he in turn strikes up a connection with a young mum who’s holidaying with her newborn. Precious little in the way of conflict or drama transpires, but Brac conveys a delicious, easygoing holiday atmosphere that feels ripe with possibility.