Fading Gigolo

Just in case you were thinking that Woody Allen’s acclaimed recent flourish of quality with his European films and Blue Valentine may mean that he is no longer willing to partake in lighter fare, along comes this, from writer/director John Turturro. Here Allen’s elderly New York bookstore owner turns pimp and transforms his middle-aged friend (Turturro) into an unlikely gigolo; all in the hope that they can raise enough cash when it looks like their store is going to have to shut its doors. Nonetheless, soon they are raking in more dough than they could possibly have ever expected. While the recent brouhaha regarding Allen’s alleged discretions with his adopted daughter seems to have died down for the time being, the jury is still out on the issue. Regardless, in cinematic terms, his stock has rarely been higher.

Premieres 25 April

THere’s no denying that 20 years is a long time, but for the local soul, funk, hip-hop, jazz, reggae, Afrobeat and world music scenes in Finland it might as well be a lifetime when looking at its evolution. Setting the trends and slowly garnering influence over this time, the Funky Elephant Festival celebrates the arrival of the end of its second decade with a suitable decked out extravaganza from 3-6 April at Helsinki’s The Circus and mbar.

The Railway Man

Trainspotting this aint as Colin Firth stars as a British Army officer who was tormented as a prisoner of war at a Japanese labour camp during World War II. Decades down the track, he discovers that the Japanese interpreter he holds responsible for much of his harrowing treatment is still alive and kicking. Setting out to confront him, and come to terms with his haunting past, the film is based on Eric Lomax’s best-selling memoir. Firth is supported by the likes of Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgård and Jeremy Irvine in the thespianage department.

ONCE again the European Film Weeks are being staged in Helsinki. With 2014 seeing European Elections being held, this year’s theme is “Act.React.Impact”.

Here 29 inspirational and courageous films from around Europe showcase various examples of the collective and individual actions of people seeking to make a difference. The subject matter reflects the sheer variety of cinema being currently produced in Europe today. Everything from Sweden’s The Pirate Bay, to the Troubles in Ireland and African refugees in the Canary Islands shares the spotlight.

Inside Llewyn Davis (K12)

Time for another dose of the Coen brothers, after the brilliance of 2010’s western True Grit. Here, idealistic young folk singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) struggles to make a name for himself in the Big Apple’s Greenwich Village folk scene of the early 1960s. Punctuated with folk tunes crafted with regular cohort T. Bone Burnett, once again the brothers have assembled an intriguing cast. Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, F. Murray Abraham and even a bearded Justin Timberlake take a bow for this outing.