Out Now – 11th April 2014

Calvary

The Raid 2
I haven’t seen the original (I know, I know, I’ve been busy) but by all account it is an amazing action film relying on skilled stunt performers over CGI and is the best of its kind since forever and of all people it is directed by a Welshman and this sequel is even better and you should definitely go and see it right now.

The Quiet Ones
Hammer are back following the success of their mediocre but quite scary The Woman in Black with another ghost story about a professor investigating the paranormal. He discovers “unexpected forces” which frankly I think he should have expected.

Calvary
The team that brought us the wonder The Guard return with a comedy drama about an Irish priest. I know what you’re thinking and yes is does touch on THAT subject. With the words and direction of John Michael McDonagh and the acting of Brendan Gleeson this has to be a good film. Has to be.

Pioneer
Norwegian thriller about oil and such. Expect unusual vowels.

Khumba: A Zebra’s Tale
3D animated adventure made in South Africa about a zebra who is only half striped and so is rejected by his herd. In a search for acceptance he for some reason has to save all the animals because it takes that big an act for people to stop being so bloody prejudiced.

The Last Days on Mars
Liev Schreiber stars in a space horror we’ve all somehow not heard of in which things go bump on Mars. British film! Yay! Support local industry!

The King And The Mockingbird
French animation from the 80s. Isao Takahata from Studio Ghibli says “If I had not seen this film, I would have never imagined entering the world of animation” so there.

Half of a Yellow Sun
Chiwetel Ejiofor is no longer a slave but is now fighting to establish an independent republic in Nigeria. Ejiofor is quickly becoming one of those actors that we never see in simple contemporary roles… apart from in Love Actually of course.

The Lunchbox
A man and woman connect in Mumbai over notes left in a misdelivered lunchbox. Besides looking like a wonderful film this leaves me wanting to know why nobody is couriering me curry every lunchtime. AM I NOT LOVED?!

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
I saw this last year at the London Film Festival and found it to be an intense and unpleasant experience. I was completely unprepared for what I saw. A kind of sexual horror film that beat the audience into submission with loud noises and images I can’t quite shake. Be careful kids.

Out Now – 4th April 2014

The Double

Divergent
Shut up, I like the books. For backstory on this non-Hunger Games film that will inevitably be compared to Hunger Games read my introduction and then my defence of the franchise. See it if only because this will be the next big thing. Or don’t. Hipster.

Noah
I love director Darren Aronofsky (Darrenofsky) and we all know I love Emma Watson so the idea of the two of them working on a film together should be film heaven for me. And yet the biblical epic Noah makes me wary. Do I want to see Russell Crowe build an ark? I don’t think I do but know that I inevitably will.

Rio 2
Follow up to 2011′s animated adventure Rio in which some birds fell in love. This time the lovebirds (pun not intended but unavoidable) find themselves in the Amazon for some reason. All I know of this franchise is the irritating Orange ads they were featured in. Ads I refuse to link to.

The Double
I absolutely adored Richard Ayoade’s second film about a man who is so unremarkable that nobody notices when his exact double starts working in the same office. Slowly Jesse Eisenberg’s distraught character finds his life being overtaken in a hugely stylistic dystopian comedy that blew my tiny mind.

A Story of Children and Film
Mark Cousins follows up his epic The Story of Film with a more focused (and infinitely shorter) documentary about the role of children in film. Nobody knows their stuff quite like Cousins and his intonation is as unique as it is mesmerising. Watch. Learn. Enjoy.

Tom at the Farm
French Canadian film about a man who meets his deceased lovers family, a family unaware of their son’s sexual orientation.

Honour
Paddy Considine stars as an apparently racist bounty hunter. I will patiently wait for his follow-up to Tyrannosaur instead.

Visitors
“Director Godfrey Reggio reveals humanity’s trance-like relationship with technology, which, when commandeered by extreme emotional states, produces massive effects far beyond the human species.”

The Motel Life – London only
“A pair of working-class brothers flee their Reno Motel after getting involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident.”

Haunter – Hyde Park Picturehouse only
“The ghost of a teenager who died years ago reaches out to the land of the living in order to save someone from suffering her same fate.”

Out Now – 28th March 2014

Afternoon Delight

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
I’ll be honest with you, there are so many Avengers related films going about that I find it hard to consider any of them appointment viewing. In particular Captain American who is a boring sod at the best of times. Maybe I’ll watch Chris Evans in Scott Pilgrim instead. Much more fun.

Muppets Most Wanted
Ah, The Muppets. Last time there was a new Muppets film out I went a little crazy and joined in with blogalongamuppets. This time I don’t even have any firm plans to see the latest outing. There’s something about the involvement of Ricky Gervais and the rumour that he will be doing THAT dance AGAIN, in capital letters and everything, that has left me less than excited.

The Legend of Hercules
Live action retelling of the legend of Hercules. Not likely to be even remotely as good as the Disney film and with none of the songs. Stars someone from Twilight with their shirt off so there’s that.

20 Feet From Stardom
Documentary about the women (and a few men) who take on the thankless role of backup singers. It features, the highs, the lows, and made Vanessa Feltz do a little seat dance. I enjoyed it but am dithering over how worthy it is.

Afternoon Delight
Surprisingly good dark comedy, think pitch black, about a bored housewife who befriends a stripper/prostitute in an attempt to spice up her life. Stars the wonderful Kathryn Hahn, above par Josh Radnor, and the always impressive Juno Temple. I was greatly surprised by how good it was.

The Past
The Artist‘s Bérénice Bejo stars as the woman in the middle of a fraught love triangle in this Frenchy romantic drama.

The Fold
“Struggling with her grief, Anglican priest Rebecca Ashton tries to replace her deceased daughter with another girl.” This will not turn out well.

Leave The World Behind
Tour documentary following Swedish House Mafia in 2012/2013. I am not aware of this band or any other band ever. What is music?

Dangerous Acts
“Creating provocative theater carries great personal risks: emotional, financial and artistic. For the members of the Belarus Free Theatre, there are additional risks: censorship, imprisonment, and worse. Director Madeleine Sackler goes behind the scenes with the acclaimed troupe of imaginative and subversive performers who, in a desolate country choked by censorship and repression, defy Europe’s last remaining dictatorship.”

My Stuff
Documentary in which comedian Petri Luukkainen puts everything he owns (including clothing) into storage and allows himself to reclaim one item each day. Item #1: My laptop.

The Borderlands
“Follows a team of Vatican investigators sent to the British West Country to investigate reports of paranormal activity at a remote church.” Well reviewed British horror.

Almost Married
“When Kyle returns from his stag-do with a sexually transmitted disease, he’s left unable to have sex with his fiancée Lydia in the run-up to their wedding.” Poorly reviewed British comedy.

Out Now – 21st March 2014

Labor Day

Labor Day
Jason Reitman has directed five great films… and he’s directed Labor Day. Silly romantic drama about Stockholm Syndrome setting in over a long weekend when Josh Brolin’s brooding escapee takes refuge in Kate Winslet’s sad widow’s house. There are pies and sexual tension in a film I described as “a good film if a little too laboured (HA!) to be believable.” That joke never gets old.

Starred Up
Jack O’Connell plays the character he usually plays; a terrifying angry young man that fails to get my sympathy because I can imagine looking at him in the wrong way and getting a black eye. This is gritty British prison drama at its best but this isn’t a genre that I particularly enjoy. My second three star film out this week.

A Long Way Down
A saccharin-seeming Nick Hornby adaptation about four people who form an unlikely friendship (take a shot) when they meet on a rooftop while attempting to commit suicide. Reviews are mixed at best but for some reason I wouldn’t mind giving the film a try.

About Last Night
“Follow two couples as they journey from the bar to the bedroom and are eventually put to the test in the real world.” I advise you follow these couples only through watching this film rather than in real life. Following a couple from the bar to the bedroom could lead you to dangerous sexual situations.

Salvo
Italian film about a bodyguard and hitman called Salvo. Upon meeting the blind sister of one of his targets Salvo is made “to question himself and his existence”. Expect lots of violence followed by quiet contemplation.

The Machine
UK sci-fi thriller in which robots are used for evil! I will be reviewing this film next week when I return from my accidental blog strike. A strike I am apparently holding against myself. What an idiot.

The Robber
I should probably focus on the fact that this German film focusses on the true story of a marathon runner turned bank robber but I am too distracted by how childish sounding the word “robber” suddenly feels.

Svengali
British comedy about a postman who enters the music industry. Interestingly enough the Postman Pat film has a similar plot but Svengali is infinitely less likely to tarnish the memory of a childhood favourite. Damn you Pat!

G.B.F.
“What happens after Tanner is outed by his classmates and becomes the title “gay best friend” for three high school queen bees?” A teen comedy centred around a gay character has the potential to be progressive or horribly exploitative. People I respect have given differing reviews; the good and the bad/ugly.

Yves Saint Laurent
Biopic looking at the life of Yves Saint Laurent. The poster uses the same logo as the brand which caused me more confusion than you’d expect.

The Unknown Known
“Former United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, discusses his career in Washington D.C. from his days as a congressman in the early 1960s to planning the invasion of Iraq in 2003.”

Out Now – 14th March 2014

Veronica Mars

Need for Speed
Aaron Paul leaves the epic small screen hit Breaking Bad to star in a film adapted from a computer game that, when I used to play at least, had no real plot beyond driving cars. Still, they promise to have not used any CGI so the stunts should be pretty.

The Zero Theorem
A mediocre offering from Terry Gilliam in which Christoph Waltz is suitably eccentric but not a lot actually happens. Read my attempt at a review here. “A great big shrug from me.”

Veronica Mars
Veronica Mars has crawled her way onto the big screen thanks to her fans shelling out to get a film made. We all know that I am excited, and enjoyed the cinematic outing, but will the film have an impact? With a UK cinema release numbering just 10 venues lets hope for a breakout success and expanded release. (Also out on Video on Demand today should you not be near one of the ten cinemas.)

Under the Skin
Scarlett Johansson is an extraterrestrial prowling Glasgow in a transit van searching for male prey that mostly consist of unsuspecting members of the public. This is art house science fiction that I have been known to claim “prioritises atmosphere and visuals (not just visual effects)”. The film is dead good and if you don’t like it then I reserve the right to peer down my nose at you over the top of my glasses.

The Stag
Irish bachelor party based comedy set in the great outdoors and starring loveable Jim Moriarty from Sherlock. I’m taking bets as to whether an actual stag (you know, one with antlers) shows up at some point.

The Rocket
A boy seeks to prove that he is not a bad luck charm by entering an ominous sounding Rocket Festival. I hope someone is there to advise him not to approach the rocket after it is lit and to put sparklers in a bucket of water like we all do… right guys?

Ironclad: Battle for Blood
Turns out that Ironclad was not only a film that existed but also a film that enough people saw for it to warrant a sequel. You learn so much writing these things.

Suzanne
“The story of a family and a love affair told through the journey of a young woman called Suzanne.”

Back to the Garden
“It is a year since the death of an inspirational theatre director and teacher, and his widow is struggling to come to terms with her loss. The film is both a meditation on love and loss and an evocation of the joys and sadnesses of later life.”

Plot for Peace
“A documentary that reveals the untold story of apartheid’s fall, and the mysterious French businessman who was instrumental in Nelson Mandela’s release from jail.”