Diego Maradona – new films coming to Portsmouth cinemas

Grab the popcorn for these new releases.

Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 11:49 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 10:43 am
Diego Maradona on his presentation day in Naples. Picture: PA.

Diego Maradona (12A)

London-born filmmaker Asif Kapadia collected numerous awards including two Baftas for his turbo-charged documentary Senna, which constructed a multi-faceted portrait of sporting genius from hours of race footage, photographs, interviews and archive material. Three years later, he collected another Bafta and an Academy Award for his deeply moving and provocative account of the rise and fall of Amy Winehouse, which candidly addressed the singer's bruising battle with drug and alcohol addiction.

In his impeccably-constructed new documentary, Kapadia focuses on a deeply divisive figure, who emerged from the rubble of his spectacular self-destruction and has continued to make headlines off the football pitch.

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Diego Maradona begins on July 5, 1984, with grainy footage of cars slaloming at speed through the winding streets of Naples bound for the Stadio San Paolo.

Twenty-three year-old Diego Armando Maradona is about to be unveiled to more than 75,000 frenzied fans of ailing Serie A side SSC Napoli.

Club president Corrado Ferlaino has paid a record-breaking £6.9 million to Barcelona, hoping that the Argentinian striker can loosen the stranglehold of clubs in northern Italy over the league.

Archive footage and home videos chart those early years with the club, leading to the 1986 World Cup when Maradona's left hand controversially helped secure victory over England in the quarter-finals en route to lifting the trophy as captain of Argentina.

The following season in Italy, Napoli wins the Serie A title and the coveted Coppa Italia. This historic double sparks two months of celebrations in the city and in amusing images from the era, we see a banner draped across one cemetery which reads: ‘You don't know what you missed.’

At the same time, Maradona begins to fraternise with the organised criminal underworld and takes his first snort of cocaine.

Kapadia's film spares few blushes as it chronicles the souring relationship between Maradona and fans until he gains a reputation as the most hated person in Italy.

The intriguing dilemma of Maradona's divided loyalty, exemplified by his captaincy of Argentina against Italy at the 1990 World Cup, isn't fully addressed on screen and remains a tantalising loose thread.

Men In Black: International (12A)

Seven years after Barry Sonnenfeld masterminded a lacklustre third instalment of the Men In Black series, F Gary Gray replaces him in the director's chair for Men In Black: International, which is the first film in the franchise not to feature Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

Instead, Liam Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson – Thor and Valkyrie in Avengers: Endgame, respectively – take up the mantle opposite Liam Neeson and Dame Emma Thompson.

A mysterious woman (Tessa Thompson) stumbles into the New York branch of MIB overseen by Agent O (Emma Thompson).

The new arrival, christened Agent M, receives expert training to ensure that she can operate unseen by the human population, maintaining a delicate balance between mankind and aliens who visit the planet.

Agent M is posted to the London office run by High T (Neeson), who partners the inexperienced American operative with his best man: Agent H (Hemsworth).

They pool resources to neutralise an otherworldly threat to global harmony.

Late Night (15)

All's fair in love and the war for TV ratings in director Nisha Ganatra's spiky comedy of modern manners, which provides Dame Emma Thompson with a plum role as a veteran talk show host who has grown complacent and lost touch with her viewers.

It's a lip-smacking delight to see the two-time Oscar winner in full comic flow, tossing out polished one-liners or rejecting one male staff member's request for a pay rise following the birth of his second child because it represents ‘the classic sexist argument for the advancement of men in the workplace’.

Scripted with a deft touch by co-star Mindy Kaling, Late Night takes aim at gender equality and diversity in the workplace and occasionally draws blood from well-placed barbs at the expense of mainstream media's obsession with beauty and youth.

Some aspects of the writing are undernourished – one romantic subplot blossoms with almost no on-screen propagation and the emotional fallout of marital betrayal is too neatly contained.

However, chemistry between the lead actors fizzes and there is a delightful rapport between Thompson and John Lithgow as the host's scholarly husband, whose brilliant mind is being unravelled by Parkinson's disease.