Sixteen years after Roland Emmerich’s execrable attempt at fashioning a US franchise from the iconic Japanese monster, Hollywood takes another stab with a new Godzilla. Grappling the beast this time round, in only his second feature, is British director Gareth Edwards, whose low-key indie creature-feature Monsters of four years ago stomped similar ground and brought him to the attention of studio execs. Conjuring up some eye-catching imagery, he strives to add substance to the effects with a cast more at home in intimate indie fare, notably French star Juliette Binoche, Mike Leigh favorite Sally Hawkins and a post-Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston, not to mention Kick-Ass’s Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Japanese actor Ken Watanabe and Elizabeth Olsen of Martha Marcy May Marlene.
A remake of a cult 1980 slasher, Maniac stars Elijah Wood as an mannequin shop manager and serial killer stalking and scalping women in Los Angeles. The gimmick is it’s almost entirely filmed from his point of view as he seeks to control his psychopathic impulses while developing a friendship with artist Nora Arnezeder.
The winner of the Best Film prize at this year’s Málaga Film Festival, Carlos Marques-Marcet’s feature debut 10.000KM aims to be a realistic and touching portrait of relationships in our connected, globalized world. British-Spanish actress Natalia Tena (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones) and David Verdaguer are a Barcelona couple struggling to keep their love alive via video chats when she is accepted for a dream year-long artist’s residency in Los Angeles.
There’s a clutch of other homegrown movies also out this week. Director David Menkes’ Por un puñado de besos is a romantic drama based on a book by Jordi Sierra i Fabra and starring Ana de Armas and Martiño Rivas.
Documentary Antonio Vega. Tu voz entre otras mil is an intimate portrait of the late singer in 1980s Spanish group Nacho Pop, painted in his own words and those of the people who knew him best.
Lastly, produced by Mexican Cannes winner Carlos Reygadas and Catalan auteur Jaime Rosales, Carlos Serrano Azcona’s El árbol follows the troubled Santiago as he seeks to lose himself by aimlessly roaming the streets of Madrid’s Malasaña neighbourhood.