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This week at the kino: I ain’t afraid of no dogs (or cows)

The Ghostbusters are back, two five-star films are out, and French Film Week beckons... Will you answer the call?

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Ghostbusters: Afterlife is out this week in kinos. (Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing)

You really can’t go far wrong with this week’s batch of releases, so let’s get down to business.

No one is more shocked than I am by how enjoyable Ghostbusters: Afterlife is. Caution was required, especially after Paul Feig’s insultingly naff 2016 reboot, but the 2021 vintage really holds up. Against all conceivable odds, co-writer/director Jason Reitman shows how to reanimate a franchise with charm and fun to spare. Read my full review if you’re still sceptical about who you gotta call…

Aside from this big-budget release, there are two 5-star films you shouldn’t miss at any cost.

The first is Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, the Kiwi director’s first film since 2009’s Bright Star. It’s getting a limited theatrical release before it hits Netflix next month, and catching it on the big screen is a must. Because this is one powerful pooch. Having premiered in Venice this year, where Campion won the Silver Lion for Best Director, it’s safe to assume that it’ll do very well in the upcoming awards season, and stands as a shoe-in for the Best Picture category at the 2022 Oscars.

The second is Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow, which is one of the best films you’ll see all year. It’s a unique Western that celebrates characters on the margins of society. Only instead of six-shooters, it’s buttermilk biscuits and cinnamon for arguably the gentlest heist movie imaginable. Reichardt’s previous films have delved into the nature of friendship, while in First Cow she beautifully explores the gentler facets of masculinity (the *cough* milk of human kindness, if you will) and subverts the way the frontier is portrayed on screen. Please seek it out.

Lastly, JFK Revisited is a perfectly serviceable documentary that sees Oliver Stone revisit the assassination of John F. Kennedy. When it premiered in Cannes earlier this year, the director described the doc as “an important bookend to (his) 1991 film”, and this is arguably the best depiction: it often feels like an extended DVD extra, adding layers to a knotty story. It’s not a priority watch over the previous three releases, but if you’re a fan of JFK, interested in the topic, and have a healthy penchant for conspiracy theories that actually hold up, then you could do a lot worse.

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Mongay are doing a special screening of the upcoming Ridley Scott film, House of Gucci. And they’re doing it on a Wednesday. 

If the Rollberg Rollback series isn’t on your radar, then it’s time to get on it. To celebrate their 25 years, Rollberg Kino are looking back at “young classics” from the last quarter century and bringing them to the big screen of Neukölln every Thursday and Sunday this month. After Virgin Suicides last week, they’re treating us to Anthony Minghella’s utterly stunning The Talented Mr. Ripley tonight (21:00) and Sunday afternoon (14:00). Don’t miss seeing it on the big screen, and as a head’s up for next week, Rollberg will be showing the swoon-worthy and essential first chapter in Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy, Before Sunrise (25/11 at 21:00 and 28/11 at 14:00). Book tickets, swoon, and go home to have a think about how precious love is and how we should all embrace life’s chance encounters.

For those unconvinced and seeking to explore life’s darker avenues, Rollberg is still the place to go. Creepy Crypt are showing Dario Argento’s subversive giallo horror classic Opera on Saturday at 22:30. Fetishistic murders in an opera house await you, as well as some brilliantly elaborate kills, including that pins-sellotaped-to-the-eyelids torture method that’ll haunt your nightmares. Buona fortuna.

Back to gentler waters with two premieres worth your time and pennies.

The first takes place on Tuesday 23rd at Kino in der KulturBrauerei for the French film Délicieux (A La Carte), with director Eric Besnard in attendance. The film comes out next week and I had the pleasure of interviewing Besnard, so go see it and let me know whether the upcoming review (and interview) meets your expectations.

The second is the Special Mongay screening of Ridley Scott’s upcoming House of Gucci, starring Lady “Our name, sweetie” Gaga and Adam Driver. Unconventionally, it takes place on Wednesday (the world’s gone mad) at 20:30 at Schöneberg Odeon. The trailer looks very promising (even if the accents are a tad dubious), so let us know what you think. Again, my review is pending, so no more shall be revealed here.

Last but certainly not least is the 21st edition of Französische Filmwoche Berlin, which starts next week (24/11 – 01/12). The festival has a very strong line-up of recent French productions, including Leos Carax’s Cannes-winning Annette, Bruno Dumont’s France and Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta. Check out my full festival preview to find out which hot tickets to buy.

That’s it for this week. Get booking tickets, enjoy your screenings, and let me know if Ghostbusters: Afterlife worked for you. I seem to be in the minority on this one…