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Director: James Franco, Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco Running Time: 105 minutes


To know exactly how The Disaster Artist approaches its subject, know this. The film opens with a slew of Hollywood celebrities earnestly describing their love of The Room, the titular disaster, and closes with praise for the phenomenon that the film and its artist, Tommy Wiseau have become. Captions and real footage show Wiseau in attendance at some of the many midnight screenings that have transformed his terrible film from being an LA inside joke to the central story of a genuine Oscar contender, a feel-good wrap-up of an unlikely success story. It’s hard not to see a bit of self-back-patting at the heart of this endeavour. King of the so-bad-its-good films, the appeal of The Room is that it’s a genuine attempt at creating art and exploring human emotions from a man who seemingly understands neither art nor human emotions, nor human anything for that matter. A film that is just off in every way imaginable, provoking equal parts hilarity, revulsion and perverse curiosity. The appeal of The Disaster Artist is The Room. James Franco’s love of the cult film comes through and is sure to get laughs from fellow fans, inspiring a few more along the way, as he takes on the Tommy persona impressively and recreates the best-worst scenes. However, there are depths to this bottom-of-the-barrel that he is not so interested in delving into, preferring a level of insight that never reaches much higher than sketch comedy.

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Director: Michael Showalter Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, Holly Hunter, Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant Producer: Judd Apatow Runtime: 124 minutes


The whole ‘Boy meets Girl’ shtick seems to have become a staple of Judd Apatow’s career. Usually concerning themselves with a funny American layabout and his/her sudden brush with romance, these films mix situational comedy with some dramatic elements in order to offer a modern spin on the ‘Rom-Com’ experience. However, while Apatow’s name is attached, this is very much Kumail Nanjiani’s film. As such, The Big Sick doesn’t just follow this formula, it improves on it as it demonstrates a high-standard of comedy mixed with some impressive writing to boot, making this Rom-Com one of the funniest and best films of the year.

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Director: Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone Starring: Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone Runtime: 87 minutes

Its almost impossible for Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping to avoid comparisons with This Is Spinal Tap, the benchmark of musical mockumentary. When Spinal Tap was shown to the kind of rock stars it was lampooning, they sat stone-faced, with the likes of Steven Tyler saying “everything that happened in that movie happened to me.” Its hard to say whether the vacuous pop stars sent up by Lonely Island crew Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone would have the same reaction, either because the events of Popstar are so cartoony or because the real life antics of Bieber and co are even cartoonier. Still, Popstar comes closer to Spinal Tap’s level (eleven of course) than most.

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