Rules Don’t Apply (12A) **
Dir: Warren Beatty
With: Warren Beatty, Lily Collins, Alden Ehrenreich
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Runtime: 127 minutes
MARTIN Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Candice Bergen … the list of Hollywood big names turning out to star in Warren Beatty’s drama about Howard Hughes is as long as the Sunset Strip. That doesn’t make the picture any good, alas. Beatty, writing, directing and taking the lead, reveals nothing that wasn’t known before about the reclusive billionaire, while playing out on the sidelines is a thin story about a starlet and her mother (Lily Collins and Annette Bening), and a young hustler (Alden Ehrenreich) trying to make it in Tinseltown. The kids are all right, but with a hammier-than-thou Beatty around no-one else gets much of a look-in.
The Transfiguration (15) ***
Dir: Michael O'Shea
With: Eric Ruffin, Chloe Levine
Runtime: 97 minutes
IF you reckon the last drop of blood has been sucked from the vampire genre, this Cannes-lauded drama might make you think again. Eric Ruffin plays Milo, an African-American teenager living in the New York projects. Orphaned and bullied, Milo seeks comfort in his vampire videos, later finding a friend, Sophie (Chloe Levine), who confides in him about her own woes. Will this friendship, and a thawing in relations with his ex-Army brother, be enough to see Milo through? With strong echoes of Let the Right One In, it is the setting that makes O’Shea’s picture distinctive, and when he is mining that his otherwise routine piece soars far above the average.