Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator finally unseated The Avengers from atop of the UK Box Office standings this week after a barnstorming opening few days that was no doubt aided by plenty of surprisingly positive reviews. The Raid had an impressive showing too coming in 5th overall this past week which isn’t bad for an ultra-violent Indonesian martial-arts movie!
This weeks big release is the third outing for the Men In Black with Josh Brolin joining Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in the intergalactic fight against alien invasion. Sony will be expecting big things from the MIB and it’s undoubtedly one of their tent pole blockbusters of the summer. After the damp squib that was Men In Black 2 however, there was hardly a major public demand for a third installment so it remains to be seen whether there will be sufficient interest. Nevertheless, if Smith and Jones can rekindle some of the old magic and the plot is interesting enough, it just might prove to be a success.
Also out this week is pregnancy-related rom-com What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Wes Anderson’s latest offering Moonrise Kingdom and Finnish Nazi’s-on -the-moon epic Iron Sky.
If you want to check to see if any of these films are playing near you, you can visit Find Any Film and they’ll be able to help.
Moonrise Kingdom *Pick of the Week*
Like Tim Burton, Wes Anderson is a director with a very distinct and idiosyncratic sense of style. The difference between the two however is that while Burton peddles identikit Gothic blockbusters starring Johnny Depp and Helen Bonham Carter, Anderson makes smart, funny and endearing indie comedies with Bill Murray et al. I know which gets my vote. Anderson’s movies can be a little too quirky for their own good at times, but when he gets it right, which is most of the time, it can be a joy to behold.
This time out, with an ensemble cast including Murray, Bruce Willis, Ed Norton and Frances McDormand to name but a few, he tells the story of two young lovebirds who decide to run away from there New England town, prompting the local Sheriff (Willis) and the girl’s parents (Murray and McDorman) to lead a search party to try and find them. After opening the Cannes film festival last week, the movie has received very positive reviews and while undoubtedly very much your typical Wes Anderson style movie, that’s not always a bad thing.
Adam Lowes’ says:
Falls very much into that self-consciously kitsch aesthetic which has characterised all of Anderson’s previous work, but his lovingly obsessive attention to detail never fails to delight.
You can read Adam’s full review here.
Men in Black 3
The good guys dress in black, remember that. It’s 15 years ago now since the original MIB outing hit our cinema screens and became one of the archetypal 90′s blockbusters. Since then, there’s been one lacklustre sequel, a revolution in digital effects and a less than impressive career trajectory for Will Smith. The former Fresh Prince has had a few misfires in recent years with Hitch, Hancock and I Am Legend, to name but three, all failing to really ignite the way his movies did back in his late-90′s heyday. The galaxy defenders are back though and big Willie will be looking to rekindle the magic. Plot details are a little vague, though it’s clear from the trailer and various promotional materials that Smith’s J is forced to go back in time and work with a young version of Jones’ K. According the official site:
Agents J and K are back in time. J has seen some inexplicable things in his 15 years with the Men in Black, but nothing, not even aliens, perplexes him as much as his wry, reticent partner. But when K’s life and the fate of the planet are put at stake, Agent J will have to travel back in time to put things right. J discovers that there are secrets to the universe that K never told him – secrets that will reveal themselves as he teams up with the young agent K to save his partner, the agency, and the future of humankind.
Early reports seem to suggest two things, firstly, Josh Brolin does a mean Tommy Lee Jones’ impression, and secondly, MIB 3 is nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary, but its perfectly watchable popcorn cinema and a vast improvement on its immediate predecessor.
Adam Lowes says:
The more I read about MiB3, the more I’m becoming increasingly interested in seeing it. The time travel plot is usually a fun device in any fantasy film, and Brolin looks fantastic.
You can read Ben Mortimer’s review here.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Based on the book by the same name, it’s a star-studded rom-com looking at the various ups and down of the pregnancy process for 5 different couples. Starring a cavalcade of Hollywood favourites including *deep breath* Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Chace Crawford, Anna Kendrick, Brooklyn Decker, Matthew Morrison, Dennis Quaid and Chris Rock (amongst others). Now, of course, you should never judge a book by its cover, and never review a film you haven’t seen, but this definitely looks like amovie that won’t be to everybody’s comedic taste. Reviews have been fairly poor thus far and it appears the lessons of New Years Eve have not been heeded. Namely, simply throwing more and more star names into a film does not necessary equate to a winning formula.
Nazi’s on the moon. Why didn’t they think of this sooner? A schlocky piece of Sci-Fi exploitation which seems to have been on the radar for months now. There’s been a lot of controversy over the movies’ UK Distributor Revolver deciding to release it only for one day at UK cinemas (which was Wednesday by the way…so….sorry about that), but such is the hype surrounding it, I imagine it will still do decent business given its relative size and budget. The plot, for those who need a bit more than ‘Nazi’s on the moon’, suggests that as the war slipped from Germany’s grasp in 1945, a group of Nazi’s were sent to the moon where to bide their time and plan their comeback. In 2018, the time is right for them to return and invade once again. Reviews haven’t been as kind as the filmmakers may have hoped for, but if you go in expecting a ridiculous piece of B-Movie entertainment, you can’t really go far wrong.
Adam Lowes adds:
There’s a fun satire fighting to get out somewhere, but the film is nowhere near as funny or subversive as it thinks its being.
You can read Adam’s full review here.
Tales of the Night
A French computer silhouette animation revolving around six allegorical folk stories. Now there’s a description I’ve never used before. A boy and a girl meet in an old run down cinema where the old technician shows them these dream like fantasies up on the screen. Sounds like a fairly unique animated offering! It certainly looks like an innovative and imaginative piece of cinema, courtesy of director Michel Ocelot, and could be well worth taking movie loving youngsters too.
A powerful French War drama set in Paris during World War 2 and starring Tahar Rahim, who shot to prominence with a captivating role in the excellent A Prophet.
According the official site:
1942, in Nazi-occupied Paris. Tahar Rahim (A Prophet) stars as Younes – a young Algerian rogue, living on the wrong side of the law selling goods to fellow North African immigrants on the black market.
In a time of oppression and radicalism, Younes is loyal only to himself and his family back home to whom he sends money regularly. His aim is simple – he plans to survive long enough to accumulate enough money to return home a rich man.
But his life changes when the police raid his apartment block, taking all of his contraband and arresting him. A deal is placed on the table: Become a spy at the local Mosque, or face an indefinite time in prison. At the Mosque, Younes meets the Algerian singer Salim Halali, and is moved by Salim’s beautiful voice and strong personality. A deep friendship develops, and soon after Younes discovers that Salim is Jewish.
As Younes goes deeper undercover into the Mosque, keeping a close eye on rector Si Kaddour Ben Ghabrit (Michael Lonsdale), he becomes drawn into a dangerous and morally complex situation – and must face a dilemma between serving his own best interests, or putting himself in mortal danger to save the lives of innocent people.
You can watch a clip from Free Men here.
This documentary looking at the rise of the legendary Klitschko brothers is a must-see for any boxing fans out there. Ukrainian brothers Wladimir and Vitali lived in Germany for many years and after glittering amateur careers went on to become dominant forces in heavyweight Boxing. This movie takes up up to the verge of Wladimir’s fight with David Haye which would see him clinch the WBA title and thus give the brothers all five titles between them. It’s an intimate look at the setback and triumphs which have made up their career to date with plenty of notable talking heads and hard-hitting in-ring action.
Another intriguing documentary out this week looks at the rise and fall of literary genius John Healy. Healy served in the army when he was younger and even experienced a successful boxing career before being dishonourably discharged for drunkenness and going AWOL. He then went into a downward spiral and spent around 15 years as a homeless alcoholic on London’s streets.
During his time in prison for one of several petty crimes, he took up chess and after showing a particular aptitude for the game, channeled a lot of his energies into playing and did so to quite a high level. He then went on to write a memoir of his eventful life called The Grass Arena which became a literary best seller. Healy’s publishing career took a turn for the worse however when he threatened the editors of his publishers Faber and Faber with an axe if they didn’t give him a second run. He was subsequently blacklisted across the publishing world and faded from prominence. Filmmaker Paul Duane offers a fascinating glimpse into the authors astonishing life and has interviews with both the man himself and the editor’s in question in an attempt to offer both sides of the story.