Many of Alexander Payne’s previous films have been road movies, such as Sideways, and some of them have been shot in his home state (About Schmidt), but now he has gone the whole hog and called his latest Nebraska (Cert 15),
Shot in monochrome it’s a witty and perceptive family saga and study of ordinary lives.
It starts out in Montana where cantankerous and forgetful patriarch Woody (Bruce Dern) is alarming his family by wandering off to claim the fortune he believes he has won after receiving a junk mail letter.
The problem is the address is faraway Nebraska and in desperation his younger son (Will Forte) decides the only solution is to drive him there and end the matter.
And so begins the road trip which will take them through Woody’s home town and some painful home truths.
It’s a peach of a part for Bruce Dern - which have been considerably lacking in his career since his Seventies heyday - and June Squibb contributes a fine comic turn as his exasperated wife and Forte is an amiable straight man caught in the middle of the madness.
Loosely based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, Frozen (Cert PG) is Disney at its best.
The animation is out of this world, not only in creating what we would otherwise call special effects of freezing ice and snow blizzards but also in the detail in the main characters.
You tend to think animation does animals better than humans but the expressions on the face of the heroine look like genuine acting. This is princess Anna, a fearless optimist (voiced by Kristen Bell) who sets off on an epic journey with rugged mountain man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his to find her sister Elsa ((Idina Menzel) whose icy powers have trapped their kingdom in eternal winter. The statutory comic sidekick materialises in the shape of snowman Olaf.
A little known scandal in the young lives of future giants of the Beat Generation Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs forms the centrepiece of John Krokidas’s Kill Your Darlings (Cert 15).
It is set in 1944 when Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) enrolls at Columbia University and falls hopelessly under the spell of charismatic classmate Lucian Carr (Dane DeHaan). He introduces him to aspiring writers William Burroughs (Ben Foster) and Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) who help Ginsberg cast off the conformity in his background, and the intellectual sparring forms the foundation of the Beat movement.
Meanwhile, an older outsider named David Krammerer (a scary and bearded Michael C Hall) becomes infatuated with Carr. Later, when Krammerer dies under mysterious circumstances, police arrest Kerouac, Burroughs, and Carr as potential suspects, paving the way for an investigation that would have a major impact on the lives of the future literary giants.