Adapted from the 1986 memoir by British actor Peter Turner, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is based on the true-life romance between Oscar-winning screen siren Gloria Grahame and Turner, some three decades her junior. The two met in a Liverpool, England, boarding house and entered a dalliance which began with movies, dinner and the like as their budding romance took hold and flourished. The film follows their relationship from its unconventional beginning to Grahame’s death after a long illness in 1981.
Film Stars is a treasure trove of acting talent headed by Jamie Bell as Turner and Annette Bening as Grahame. Vanessa Redgrave and Julie Walters co-star in this Paul McGuigan-directed production. RottenTomatoes gives this one a score of 81. The film has a running time of 45 minutes and is rated R.
Domestic terrorism is visited upon a Hamburg family with tragic effect in the German offering, Into the Fade (Aus dem Nicht). Diane Kruger stars as a wife and mother who seeks revenge against the neo-Nazi sympathizers who kill her Kurdish husband and their young son in a bomb blast. The film is directed by Fatih Akin from his screenplay with Mark Bohm. Kruger’s co-stars include Denis Moschitto, Numan Acar, and Johannes Krisch. RottenTomatoes scores the film a so-so 64, but Variety calls it “a well-constructed, at times moving story” and credits Kruger with a “powerhouse performance.” Into the Fade has a running time of 1 hour 46 minutes and is rated R.
Public discontent with the ruling government regime in South Korea sparked political unrest in the summer of 1987 which came to be known as the June Struggle or the June Democrocy Movement. Massive demonstrations pushed the government to hold elections which instituted widespread democratic reforms. The process was of particular interest worldwide in that the 1988 Olympics were on schedule to be held in Seoul. Change came quickly, and direct election of the president was part of the process. That societal upheaval underscores 1987: When the Day Comes, a political thriller from director Joon-hwan Jang. In Kyung-chan Kim’s script, the plot begins with the death of a student activist who dies in questionable circumstances which officials are eager to whitewash, but a rebellious prosecutor thinks otherwise. A host of characters inhabit Kyung-chan Kim’s intricate plot including a prison guard, a female student and a reporter, all in the various ways demanding the truth. The acting ensemble includes Yun-seok Kim, Jung-woo Ha, and Hae-jin Yoo. The Los Angeles Times calls it a “fast-paced, multi-character epic.” When the Day Comes has a running time of 2 hours 9 minutes.
From the Chinese cinema comes The Liquidator, based on the novel by the same name by Lei-Mi, in which a criminal profiler is fast on the trail of a serial killer who goes after persons acquitted in sensational trials. Directed by Xu Jiz-hou, the film stars Chinese favorite Deng Chao, along with Ethan Juan, and Shi Shi Liu. ScreenDaily calls it “a thriller that toes the line in every respect.” The Liquidator has a running time of 2 hours 4 minutes and is unrated.