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Alex B Cann at the movies: Gassed up, All of us Strangers and Official Competition

A couple of huge new releases this week in the form of Madame Web and Bob Marley : One Love, and I'll have reviews on both of those in next week's column. Don't worry about a thing, as Bob said.

In the meantime, I watched Gassed Up this week, which I expected to be a bit run-of-the-mill, but actually turned out to be a really decent British film. We follow the story of teenager Ash (Stephen Odubola), who is drawn into a life of crime in a bid to earn money to raise his sister and send his mum to rehab. He ends up mingling in some very rum circles, and whilst we hear a lot about moped gangs in London on the news, this film invites us to look at its characters' complex and difficult lives from a different perspectiive. You almost understand how they get sucked into a life of crime, and then end up too deeply involved to drag themselves out of it.

The acting is strong, the footage filmed on mopeds zooming around London is really well done, the soundtrack is great, and it is one of the biggest surprise hits of the year so far for me. Definitely worth a watch, and Mae Muller (of Eurovision 'I Wrote A Song' fame) is decent as love interest Kelly too.

All Of Us Strangers didn't make me weep, as I was hoping it might, given my optician told me recently I have a blocked tear duct. However, it stayed with me for days afterwards, and given it's based on a Japanese ghost story, I'd say the word 'haunting' is appropriate to describe it. It's a film about grief, loss, and love, with all of its complexities. It's absolutely superb, and Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal are sensational. Jamie Bell and Claire Foy also excel, and the cinema was so quiet as the credits rolled that you could have heard a pin drop, to employ the old cliche.

A film about the power of love, the difficulty of moving on after loss, and also about relationships, life, and the power of human connection. Incredible acting, and definitely one I want to see again when it comes out on Blu-Ray. Don't watch if you're feeling fragile though.

One more to mention this week...Official Competition passed me by in 2021, but Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas are both at the top of their game as they are commissioned by an 80 year old millionaire to make a movie in a bid to leave a legacy to the world. There are some delicious plot twists along the way, and Cruz is brilliantly bananas in her role. If you don't mind subtitles, it's on Netflix I believe, although I watched on disc. Yes, I still get films sent by post, thanks to the wonderful Cinema Paradiso. If you remember Lovefilm by Post, it's the same, but has even more films. Long may it thrive, even if most people laugh at me when I mention it!

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