IT should come as no surprise that Geri Horner can act – after all, she managed to convince millions of Spice Girls fans that she can sing.
But I was pleasantly surprised by Ginger Spice’s portrayal of the mother of a British PlayStation fanatic who becomes a real-life racing driver.
This drama tells the true story of Jann Mardenborough from Cardiff, played by talented newcomer Archie Madekwe, who won a competition to turn the best Gran Turismo video game players into actual racing drivers.
He discovers the hard way that while you can press reset on a console following a crash in a computer game, the consequences of losing control of a vehicle at 200mph are far more deadly.
Geri is required to summon her inner fears and tears when those dangers become a reality.
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The real star, though, is Stranger Things actor David Harbour.
He should be able to have the pick of any role following his performance as world-weary racer-turned-mechanic Jack Salter, who reluctantly becomes Jann’s mentor.
That’s not because this film is going to pick up any awards — it won’t — but because Harbour has an incredible ability to inject energy and authenticity into even the most pedestrian prose.
Jack’s put-downs are laced with so much ice that even the greatest drivers would skid on them.
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Harbour is a Ferrari in comparison to co-star Orlando Bloom, who is about as nimble as a milk float.
Bloom does, at least, play to his audience by taking his shirt off within minutes of appearing on screen.
To be fair to the Lord Of The Rings star, his main role is to explain what’s going on.
He plays a marketing whizz who not only comes up with the idea of putting PlayStation fanatics in racing cars, but also has to make the scheme work.
Many of the personal dramas are as predictable as the current Formula 1 championship.
That doesn’t matter too much when the edge-of-your seat on-track entertainment is never less than thrilling.
I’m no petrolhead or gamer, but Gran Turismo had me roaring from the stands.
THE latest Disney film inspired by one of its theme park attractions does little to encourage further ride-to-screen adaptations.
The spooky comedy follows Ben (LaKeith Stanfield), a grieving astro-physicist turned ghost tour guide who unwittingly joins a team of paranormal experts trying to exorcise the titular mansion of its supernatural residents.
With a 12A rating, you might expect a few jump scares and spine-tingling moments as the group face off against a menagerie of malevolent souls.
But Katie Dippold’s script is heavier on the comedy than the horror, with little in this plodding ghost story to raise any goosebumps.
Danny DeVito, Owen Wilson and Tiffany Haddish as an eccentric professor, priest and psychic respectively deserve a few well-earned chuckles thanks to some excellent line delivery and sight gags to boot.
Jamie Lee Curtis as Madame Leota adds some colourful theatricality too, but that vibrancy is lacking in the way director Justin Simien has built this world.
Gluttonous use of CGI fails to capture the ornate fun of the original attraction and it’s all a bit naff, really.
PENELOPE CRUZ proves once again why she is one of the most charismatic performers on screen.
In this 1970s-set Italian family drama she plays housewife Clara in a bourgeois world where a midlife crisis and a coming-of-age tale are taking place.
Director and co- writer Emanuele Crialese brings autobiographical depth and nuance to the intense relationship between Clara and her eldest daughter Adriana (Luana Giuliani).
Adri has short hair, wears boys’ clothes and would prefer to go by the name Andrew.
Mother and child both feel trapped by their circumstances and social expectations – Clara in a marriage with a philandering husband and Adri feeling like an alien in their own body.
Giuliani’s raw, heartfelt performance escaping into black and white musical fantasy brings a light touch when the going gets tough.
She holds her own against Cruz, who can disappear into marital despair as easily as she exudes carefree playfulness.
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The family’s ebbs and flows are sometimes witty, often tense, but most of all, wonderfully sincere.
- A SEQUEL to horror film, Talk To Me, is in the works, titled Talk 2 Me.
- PHOEBE Dynevor will star in erotic thriller, Fair Play.
- DIRECTOR Emerald Fennell’s drama, Saltburn, will open the BFI London Film Festival in October.
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