In Claire in Motion, the titular character finds her orderly world turned upside down when her husband disappears. What follows – at least as far as the trailer goes – is a search that takes some unexpected twists and turns, and which further undermines Claire’s sense of her marriage and her life. Featuring a breakout performance from Breaking Bad‘s Betsy Brandt, Claire in Motion is the creation of writing and directing team Annie J. Howell and Lisa Robinson, and looks like a strong, compelling mix of mystery thriller and a woman’s emotional struggle to make sense of what’s happened, that takes a well-worn storyline and does something unexpected with it. Will the husband be missing out of choice, or will there be a more sinister reason for his disappearance? What looks certain is that the answer won’t be as straightforward as might be expected.
De Niro’s third movie of 2016 – after Dirty Grandpa and Hands of Stone – The Comedian sees him playing Jackie Burke, an aging comic who’s performance style is somewhat “confrontational”. A burgeoning relationship with Leslie Mann’s charity worker sets the character off on a journey of personal reassessment, but along the way he still finds time to be obnoxious and insulting – which isn’t surprising as his stand-up routines were written by Jeffrey Ross. The movie has had several ups and downs on its way to our screens (director Taylor Hackford was preceeded by Martin Scorsese, Sean Penn, and Mike Newell, while Mann was third choice after Kristen Wiig and Jennifer Aniston), so it remains to be seen if it can maintain a “straight face” away from the moments where Burke indulges in his penchant for derogatory remarks and non-PC attitude.
Based on a true tale of wartime heroism, The Zookeeper’s Wife tells the story of Antonina Zabinska and her husband Jan Zabinski (Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh) who not only saved hundreds of animals from the Warsaw Zoo – where they lived and worked – but also hundreds of people fleeing from Nazi persecution. It’s a movie with some arresting imagery (wild animals prowling the streets of ghetto-ised Warsaw), a script adapted from the book by Diane Ackerman (itself based on the unpublished diaries of Antonina Zabinska), and all overseen by Niki Caro, the director of Whale Rider (2002) and North Country (2005). It all looks promising enough then, and with Daniel Brühl’s Nazi officer no doubt making things difficult, it remains to be seen if the movie adopts a typically polished approach to the Zabinskis’ story, or aims to be more gritty and realistic.