New movies: The Disaster Artist and Happy End
THE DISASTER ARTIST (15, 103 mins)
Independently financed to the reported tune of $6 million, romantic drama The Room premiered in 2003 and has subsequently gained a cult following as one of the worst films of all time. Many screenings actively encourage audience participation, including shouting lines of clumsy dialogue and throwing spoons at the screen in tribute to a rogue prop.
In dual roles as director and actor, James Franco pays tribute to The Room with this comedic dramatisation of the making of the film, based on the memoir of the same title penned by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell.
Greg (Dave Franco) is an aspiring performer, who fails to impress his tutor Jean Shelton (Melanie Griffith) or the other students in his acting class. He is mesmerised by fellow student Tommy Wiseau (James Franco), who is utterly fearless in the spotlight.
The two men bond and Tommy invites Greg to accompany him to Hollywood to seek their fortune. Almost immediately, Greg lands an agent, Iris Burton (Sharon Stone), but she fails to secure him sufficient work to pay the bills. Meanwhile, Tommy's thick accent and unconventional acting style results in endless rejections.
Unperturbed by Hollywood's reluctance to open its doors to them, Tommy and Greg agree to make their own film, working from a ramshackle script that Tommy thrashed out on his typewriter.
They hire an experienced crew including script supervisor Sandy Schklair (Seth Rogen). Tommy nabs the lead role for himself and casts Greg in another plum role.
After a stirring speech on the first day of shooting, Tommy prepares to direct his first scene and it becomes apparent to the most experienced people on set that the project is being captained by an emotionally volatile egotist.
:: In selected cinemas from today; showing at QFT Belfast December 6 and 7 and December 29 to January 4.
HAPPY END (15, 108 mins)
Oscar-winning German film-maker Michael Haneke crafts another impeccable portrait of a dysfunctional family in Happy End, which is scripted in French and English.
Anne Laurent (Isabelle Huppert) is the glamorous owner of a construction firm in Calais, who must juggle business pressures with responsibilities to her family. She lives in an opulent mansion with her ailing father Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant), a heavy-drinking son Pierre (Franz Rogowski), her brother Thomas (Mathieu Kassovitz) and his wife Anais (Laura Verlinden).
The collapse of a wall at one of Anne's construction sites results in severe injuries to one of the crew. The company faces a potential lawsuit and Anne liaises with lawyer Lawrence Bradshaw (Toby Jones) to minimise the damage.
In the midst of this upheaval, Thomas agrees to care for his estranged teenage daughter, Eve (Fantine Harduin), whose mother has recently attempted suicide, and Pierre is physically assaulted by an angry relative of the injured workman.
:: In selected cinemas including QFT Belfast from today.