Acclaimed British filmmaker Ken Loach is known for his realistic kitchen sink dramas that focus on disparities and injustices in contemporary British society. His latest, “I, Daniel Blake” is no exception. It won the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival. Dave Johns plays Daniel, a 59-year-old carpenter who has been sidelined by the death of his wife and his own heart disease. He has to fight the system when the medical pros refuse to allow him to work but the government bureaucrats won’t give him benefits unless he proves he’s seeking employment. It’s powerfully acted, believable and heartbreaking.
Oscar winner Rachel Weiss carries the day with her sly performance in a new adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s classic gothic novel, “My Cousin Rachel.” Is she an innocent widow or a manipulating murderer? Sam Claflin, a naïve but wealthy young heir, can’t tell because he’s fallen in love with her. Although handsomely mounted and respectably done, this intriguing mystery isn’t quite as riveting as it should have been.
Kate Mara stars in “Megan Leavey,” the true story of a Marine corporal, her combat dog and their heroic exploits serving in Iraq. While it covers familiar territory, this likable drama should appeal to both dog lovers and fans of military films.
Also opening this week, Tom Cruise stars in the “The Mummy,” which Universal Studios hopes to be the first in a series called The Dark Universe that revives their classic horror titles. “It Comes at Night” is a horror drama starring Joel Edgerton about two families that come into conflict in a post-apocalyptic world. “The Hunter’s Prayer” is about an assassin, played by Sam Worthington, who decides to work alongside one of his intended targets. “I Love You Both” is a comic drama about twins, a young man and his sister, who begin dating the same guy.