Shallows, The (2016; USA; Colour; 86m) ***½ d. Jaume Collet-Serra; w. Anthony Jaswinski; ph. Flavio Martínez Labiano; m. Marco Beltrami. Cast: Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Brett Cullen, Sedona Legge, Janelle Bailey, Angelo Josue Lozano Corzo, José Manuel Trujillo Salas, Diego Espejel, Pablo Calva. A young surfer becomes trapped off shore when a great white shark strays into the waters. Tense, bare bones thriller with an excellent performance from Lively in a demanding role. Avoids most of the conventions of the deadly shark attack genre for the majority of its nerve-jangling running time until the very end, when Hollywood conventions kick in. 
Café Society (2016; USA; Colour; 96m) ∗∗∗ d. Woody Allen; w. Woody Allen; ph. Vittorio Storaro; m. Stewart Lerman (supervisor). Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Corey Stoll, Jeannie Berlin, Ken Stott, Anna Camp, Gregg Binkley, Paul Schneider, Sari Lennick, Stephen Kunken, Sheryl Lee. A young man from the Bronx falls in love with his Uncle’s secretary in Hollywood. He then returns to New York and runs a high society night club. Allen revisits familiar themes of happenstance, misguided relationships and regrets in this sumptuous period piece. There are no surprises in Allen’s screenplay, but it does have its humorous and poignant moments and is not lacking in charm. First-rate production design and gorgeous use of colour, to accentuate the glitz of Hollywood, are real standouts. First time that Allen has narrated a film without appearing on screen since RADIO DAYS (1987).