Out Now – 21st November 2014

The Hunger Games Mockingjay - Part 1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Oh my days. Katniss is back. The first half of the final third of the Hunger Games trilogy (plus one) is here and everyone is thoroughly excited. As for plot? Katniss becomes a symbol for the rebellion against the Capitol and tries to save Peeta from the grip of President Snow. If this doesn’t immediately make sense you might need to do some homework.

Get on Up
A music biopic about the life and rhymes of James Brown. Expect a real rock and roll lifestyle; sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, and swearing. But all in a nice 12A fashion.

The Homesman
Tommy Lee Jones directs and stars in a feminist western about a woman travelling across America. Her journey will take five weeks as transports three insane women to Iowa. I don’t necessarily understand the plot but reviews are good and a female lead in a western is a rare thing.

My Old Lady
An English/French comedy/drama so mediocre and harmless that my review bores me a little. Maggie Smith is mean and then sweet to some people if you need that gap filling now Downton is on a break.

What We Do in the Shadows
Finally a comedy to get properly excited about. Co-written and co-directed by one half of Flight of the Conchords (YAY) and the guy who directed the American remake of The Inbetweeners (BOO) we have a mockumentary about three vampires who share a flat. It might not sound like much but the reviews are almost embarrassingly positive and stars are being thrown around in a generous fashion. Let’s go!

No Good Deed
Idris Elba plays an unstable escaped convict who terrorises a woman and her children. Not a lot of laughs to be had here and a step down for the man who recently played Mandela and won none of the awards for his trouble.

Happy Ending
Bollywood romantic comedy about a writer trying to write a Bollywood script in a Hollywood style in Hollywood. Can’t wait for the sequel set in Dollywood.

Winter Sleep
On the plus side this Turkish drama about a former actor running a hotel during a snowstorm won the Palme d’Or this year so is guaranteed to have all manner of artistic merit. On the minus side the film is over three hours long and not everyone has the spare time or patience for that.

Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy
Thai drama based on a Twitter feed. Sounds terrible but is apparently a timeless coming of age story. For your consideration as an alternative to the mainstream and the fêted.

Out Now – 7th November 2014

The Skeleton Twins

Interstellar
Christopher Nolan flies Matthew McConaughey through a wormhole to look for a viable new home for the human race. Time bends and audiences gasp in this visual marvel that I really enjoyed.

Say When
Keira Knightley stars as a young woman having a quarter-life crisis who forms an unlikely friendship (patent pending) with Chloë Grace Moretz and her sexy father Sam Rockwell. Interestingly Anne Hathaway was originally set to star but had to leave because Nolan needed her for Interstellar. Knightley had no such problem.

Set Fire to the Stars
Stars are already on fire you maniac. Elijah Wood stars as a young poetic trying to save Dylan Thomas in a stylish drama. By stylish I mean black and white.

Playtime
1960s French comedy about a man who explores a high-tech version of Paris with American tourists. Imagine what was considered high-tech in 1967. Electric light?

The Possibilities Are Endless
“Imagine your mind has been wiped: memories, knowledge, experiences, language – every word you ever spoke, has vanished. If eventually you found the words, what would you say? For Edwyn Collins, ‘The Possibilities Are Endless’.” You have to admire a synopsis that neatly works in the title of the film.

The Case Against 8
This is not a campaign against the number eight, because that is a perfectly fine number, but rather against Proposition 8; the piece of legislation that defined marriage in California as being “between a man and a woman”. So essentially this is a case against homophobia which is a good thing.

Leviathan
People will not shut up about this film. Despite that I have no idea what it is about. “In a Russian coastal town, Dmitri is forced to fight the corrupt mayor when he is told that his house will be demolished. He recruits a lawyer friend to help, but the man’s arrival brings further misfortune for Dmitri and his family.” I see.

One Rogue Reporter
Former tabloid journalist Rich Peppiatt has made a documentary exposing the sweaty underbelly of tabloid journalism. According to Rich Peppiatt “Peppiatt hilariously exposes the hypocrisy at the heart of modern journalism.” Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.

The Skeleton Twins
The great Kristen Wiig and the great Bill Hader play estranged twins reunited by coincidentally coinciding suicide attempts. Can they fix their relationship!!?? Will this film be as charming, funny, and heartwarming as I want it to be??!! I damn well hope so.

Sacro GRA
No idea.

The Remaining
Ooooh, it’s a horror! The apocalypse arrives during a wedding and everyone would just rather watch Melancholia.

Algorithms
Documentary about blind chess.

The November Man
Former Bond Pierce Brosnan has a gun. Former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko has a short skirt. Ah, feminism.

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
This documentary about Hayao Miyazaki’s life and Studio Ghibli might be out today. Who can say?

Out Now – 31st October 2014

Horns

Multiple films worth seeing this week. I do love autumn and the overall improvement in film quality it brings.

Horns
Daniel Radcliffe plays a young man who starts to turn into the devil shortly after his girlfriend (Juno Temple) is found murdered. Reviews might be mixed but both Radcliffe and Temple make interesting film choices so I am still interested.

Nightcrawler
Jake Gyllenhaal had performed the dramatic weight loss now standard for an actor tackled something a little different to what they are known for. Here he is a hands on crime journalist; a professional rubbernecker with no moral compass. This looks fantastic.

Ouija
Young people play a board game and it all goes horribly wrong. The last time I played a board game and it went wrong we were playing Coronation Street Monopoly and I was drunkenly using a Northern accent throughout. Spooky stuff.

Extraterrestrial
Canadian horror in which friends in a cabin in the woods find themselves attacked by aliens. Gore, violence, and swears abound.

The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman
Shia LaBeouf stars. I’m not sure I can handle that.

Mr. Turner
Everyone with an opinion is agreed that Mike Leigh’s biopic starring Timothy Spall as the great painter is absolutely tops. This will be going in my eyes and ears this week.

The Overnighters
Documentary about workers in North Dakota oil fields. Migrants swarm into a small town during a small oil boom and are forced to sleep in the local church to the disapproval of nearby residents.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Not the 1978 version I know and love starring Sutherland, Goldblum, and Nimoy but the 1956 original. A more black and white PG affair but still involving aliens replacing humans with identical copies.

The Guarantee
“On the night of September 29, 2008, the Irish government decided to guarantee the entire domestic banking system. The Guarantee tells the story of that night, and what led to it.”

Out Now – 24th October 2014

The Book of Life

Fury
Fury certainly passes the time and provides plenty of spectacle though not on a scale we haven’t already seen before. It’s hard to know what the film is trying to say and what it has to offer that is not just treading old ground. If we can all agree that war is unpleasant then you can probably give this one a miss.” So says I.

Love, Rosie
Can a pair who have been best friends since they were five fall in love? Probably. Romantic comedy with enough swear to warrant a 15 certificate.

The Book of Life
Gorgeous looking family animated film about the Mexican Day of the Dead. Call me crazy but this looks absolutely charming.

This Is Where I Leave You
Here at the cinema. Moderately OK looking adult comedy drama with an ensemble cast including Bateman, Fonda, Fey, Driver, and Byrne. Expect to chuckle and then feel emotions.

The Babadook
“The Babadook is a well crafted, lovingly designed, and properly acted horror film that will have you checking out the shadows on your way home. With Hollywood failing to bring much to the horror table it took an Australian film to remind everyone why they are scared of the dark again.” So says I.

Serena
Period drama starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper more likely to win Razzies than Oscars. Dare you go to see how bad it really is? I’m not sure I will.

Jimi: All Is By My Side
André Benjamin (née 3000) stars as Jimi Hendrix in a biopic covering his time in London. FUN FACT: The film failed to get the music rights to any of Hendrix’s songs.

Night Train to Lisbon
Jeremy Irons goes on a night train to Lisbon.

Time Is Illmatic
If you have heard of the artist Nas and his album Illmatic then you are far better suited to see this film than me.

The Way He Looks
Brazilian drama about a gay blind teenager falling in love. Prepare to swoon.

The Knife That Killed Me
“For something completely different and to support a pioneering piece of British filmmaking then The Knife That Killed Me is worth checking out. Directors (and co-writers) Kit Monkman and Marcus Romer have made a carefully crafted film with a fresh approach. It might take you as little while to get settled in but your effort will be rewarded.” So says I.

Zabriskie Point
Sexy 70s drama about America in the 60s.

Bogowie
“The biopic focuses on the early career of cardio surgeon Zbigniew Religa”. Since you asked.

Out Now – 17th October 2014

Palo Alto

The Best of Me
Two hour long contemporary American romantic drama. Yes it is another Nicholas Sparks adaptation. RUUUUUNNNN!!!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Childhood memories are there for a reason. Because you’ll never get round to rewatching the shows you loved as a child and any modern-day version will fail to recapture the magic. Don’t go see this in the cinemas, just sit at home with your memories instead.

The Judge
Robert Downey Jr. does some of that Robert Downey Jr. magic in this film starring Robert Downey Jr. as a lawyer returning home to defend his father, a judge who has been accused of murder. Robert Downey Jr. Also, Robert Duvall.

Northern Soul
“Set in 1974, an authentic and uplifting tale of two friends whose horizons are opened up by the discovery of black American soul music.” Sounds a lot like the 2010 Felicity Jones film SoulBoy right? Or did only Kat and I see that one? I swear there were at least 6 of us in the screening…

Citizenfour
Documentary featuring brand spanking new interviews with Edward Snowden! Edward Snowden leaked all that information about how US and UK governments are spying on what we do and say online. I do not endorse Edward Snowden. Just in case anybody at MI5 is reading this.

Palo Alto
Indie drama adapted from a collection of short stories by James Franco and directed by a Coppola. Think sexy hipster fables; lots of American Apparel and cigarettes.

My Name Is Hmmm
French drama with interweaving stories including an 11-year-old runaway, an absent mother, an abusive father, a field trip, an initiatory journey, a chance meeting, new encounters, and a Scottish truck driver. No idea.

United We Fall
“A mockumentary about five arrogant overpaid homophobic racist ex-Manchester United players who had the chance to become heroes in 2010 – and failed spectacularly.” Maybe it is because I am currently at the film festival and knee-deep in quality films but this week’s releases just don’t seem to be trying.

The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands
1927 war drama about some stuff that happened 100 years ago in 1914. (I gave the year for those of you unable to do simple maths.) You’ll never guess what events The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands is about.

Black Butler
Cinematic adaptation of what I am told is a popular manga series. “An orphaned aristocrat summons a demonic butler to aid her, at the price of her soul.” Honestly I think she could have worked out a more reasonable fee. She is an orphaned aristocrat after all.

Björk: Biophilia Live
Another quite self-explanatory title here. If you need more specifics then you will be watching Björk perform songs from her eighth album. She will not be performing live. You will be watching a recording of when she at some point sang those songs. She will not be able to hear you if you clap at the end. You have been warned.