Film picks: Marcel The Shell With Shoes On, Cinema Reclaimed, Joyland

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Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (PG13)

89 minutes, available on Apple TV+, 4 stars

Marcel is an adorable, single-eyed, one-inch-tall (2.5cm) seashell who wears shoes and lives with his grandmother Nana Connie in a Los Angeles house, sleeping on a slice of bread. A film-maker begins posting his everyday adventures and turns the mollusc into an Internet sensation with tens of millions of fans.

The film is as quirky as it sounds, yet wholly believable, thanks to the naturalistic integration of stop-motion and live-action footage that reaped best animation nominations at the 2023 Academy Awards, British Film Academy Awards and Golden Globes.

The comedic mockumentary is an expansion of the same-titled YouTube series created by Dean Fleischer Camp and Jenny Slate in 2010.

Camp writes, directs and appears in a thinly fictionalisation of himself as the film-maker here.

Actress-comedienne Slate voices Marcel in a baby-like pitch, and whenever Marcel threatens to become cloyingly cutesy, he charms with his innocent humour and surprises with his insights: an “audience” is not a “community”, he observes of his social media fans overrunning his front lawn to snap selfies.

Camp and Slate debuted their original shorts while a married couple. Their divorce by the time they made the movie – a shared labour of love – adds to Marcel’s heartfelt ruminations on grief, separation and loneliness.

Joyland (R21)

127 minutes, limited screenings at Projector X: Picturehouse

Included as part of indie cinema The Projector’s Pink Screen festival of LGBTQ+ films, the Pakistani drama Joyland has been praised by critic Glenn Kenny on the rogerebert.com website as being “a picture of considerable integrity, passion and bravery”.

Haider (Ali Junejo) lives in Lahore with his wife and other members of his family. Through a friend, he finds a job as a backup dancer at a racy cabaret. There, he becomes drawn to transgender woman Biba (A...

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