It really goes without saying but the main event this week is of course the new Bond movie, Skyfall. There’s not even a crappy looking Rom-Com or third-rate animation out this week I can hilariously pretend is ‘the one we’ve all being waiting for’, like I have done so many times before.
The studios have quite wisely decided not to risk putting any other major releases up against Sam Mendes’ 007 and considering it’s one of the most hyped films of the year and is buoyed by universally glowing reviews, it looks set to be all-conquering at the box office over the weekend.
Of last week’s offerings it was, as expected, Madagascar 3 : Europe’s Most Wanted which stormed to the top of the pile, taking in a whopping £6million in its opening weekend. With half term approaching, it will likely experience another boost in sales next week but even the all-star cartoon colossus may get dwarfed by Skyfall.
Paranormal Activity 4 also had a good opening weekend, taking in around $2.5million and overtaking Taken 2 into second place. Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie had a solid if not particularly remarkable opening weekend, taking in around £800,000 and ranking sixth. Much like Hotel Transylvania and Madagascar 3 though, I imagine this will have a strong few weeks to come with half term approaching.
Special mention must also go to Beasts of the Southern Wild which, despite only being released at around 28 cinemas nationwide (compared say to Ruby Sparks’ 201, a film which has this week dropped down to 13th place) entered the UK box office top ten at an extremely impressive ninth place. It’s unlikely that it will be able to sustain this level of sales for many weeks to come but for a small art house movie playing at just a relative handful of theatres, it’s a fantastic achievement and speaks volumes of its word-of-mouth appeal.
As well as Skyfall, also out this week are shark related thriller Dark Tide, The Shining documentary Room 237 and bonkers looking UK clown horror Stitches.
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.
The twenty-third Bond movie is finally released this Friday and it would appear hardly anybody has a bad word to say about it thus far. While Daniel Craig’s casting as Britain’s finest secret agent wasn’t met with resounding support at the time, he soon proved he was the perfect match for the role and an ideal actor to bring Jimmy B (as nobody calls him) into the 21st Century.
After the resounding return to form that was Casino Royale there was of course the lacklustre snorefest that was Quantum of Solace, a film which was not exactly one of the better Bonds, but nevertheless featured another commendable performance from Craig. There then followed a prolonged gap in all things Bond due to MGM studios’ much publicised financial meltdown and for a while the very future of the series was up in the air. Luckily though, after MGM finally sorted it’s stall out, in early 2011 the studio confirmed Craig would once again be throwing on his tux and returning to the role.
The Studio then grabbed the public’s attention even more by announcing Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes was taking the reins. It’s surprising in a way that Bond movies have rarely attracted big name directors. I mean could you in all honesty name the director of Dr. No or The Spy Who Loved Me without checking first? Mendes however was a clear statement of intent by the studio, this new Bond wasn’t just going to be a generic action romp, this would be a top draw thriller with true emotional heart.
Plot-wise, the official site tells us:
In Skyfall, Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.
Personally, like many of you I’m sure, I’ve chosen to avoid reading too much about the plot so as to leave it as much of a surprise as possible. The trailer gives plenty of hints though, we know M plays a pivotal role, we know Bond may well be back from the dead, and we know that Javier Bardem has yet another god awful hair cut. Reviews have praised the film’s cast, its action sequences and its character development too, the latter a rarity in a great number of Bond movie’s to date.
Jon Lyus says:
Reboot is a hideous word, and is usually what film franchises undergo before the cameras roll. What happens here is a reinvigoration of the Bond series, and it happens within the film. Mendes has delivered a very new, very different Bond film, one which is thrilling, heartfelt and intensely satisfying. It is both a return to form and a re-writing of that form. One of the best films of the year.
Dave Sztypuljak says:
Proper return to classic Bond although this is a storyline like nothing we’ve seen before very much focusing on people rather than the bigger picture.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
You can read Jon Lyus’s Skyfall review here.
Wow. I literally just read the synopsis for this movie and at first I thought it was a joke. It would appear it isn’t. Halle Berry, former Oscar Winner Halle Berry that is, stars as a shark expert whose shark related business has been on the slide since someone got eaten by a shark on her watch. If you didn’t guess yet, it’s a very shark heavy movie. Haunted by the memory and too nervous to get back in the water, she faces mounting debts and the bank threatens to take her boat away. Then, her ex boyfriend offers her an apparent way out should she be willing to lead a thrill-seeking millionaire on a dangerous shark dive. She vows to overcome her fear and sets a course for a deadly shark feeding ground…….seemingly called Shark Alley.
The critics have been truly scathing so far, with at least one or two using the expected ‘toothless’ gag to describe this lacklustre effort. Another wag suggests only the sharks emerge from the event with any credit and one even goes so far as to suggest it makes Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus look likes Jaws! I can’t seem to find a good word to say about it anywhere. Long story short, it’s probably not worth your time.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 0% (that’s zero, zilch, nada…..feck all)
A macabre horror with lashing of black comedy starring Ross Noble as a demented clown hell-bent on revenge. From that sentence alone, you will have probably decided whether or not this is a movie for you. Looking like a mix between a Psychoville episode and Stephen King’s IT, it’s certainly not one for Coulrophobics (fear of clowns, I do the research for this article people) and looks suitably grisly and trashy. Ross Noble stars as the titular children’s entertainer who returns from the dead to wreak his revenge on a group of 16-year-olds who six years previously accidentally caused his own gruesome death. There are lots of elaborately gory deaths on show and Noble looks suitably bonkers judging from the trailer. Reviews have been fairly average thus far, with several suggesting it’s neither scary or funny enough to be one thing or the other, but fans of ghastly killer clowns can’t go far wrong.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 45%
You can read Bill Langsworthy’s review here.
This looks like a truly fascinating documentary and a must-see for Kubrick fans. The film looks at the various theories and hidden meanings associated with Kubrick’s masterpiece The Shining. The Shining has always prompted a lot of debate and conspiracy theories, and Room 237 takes several of these and seeks to explain and unravel them as much as possible. Kubrick himself was known to be an obsessive when it came to even the most minute detail, which only adds to the mystery as the various theories are put forward. The fans and scholars on show explain their arguments as coherently as possible and utilise footage from the film in order to try to convince the viewer. You may not agree with any or all of them, but it’s hard not to be intrigued as to what these film fanatics can put forward. Film buffs will find so much to enjoy here as Room 237 forces us to look at the motives driving filmmakers and the presence of hidden subtext in film. It’s looks like not only an extremely entertaining documentary movie to watch, but a thought-provoking one as well.
Jon Lyus says:
With the BFI’s re-release of the uncut version of The Shining you’d do well to save your money and see that in a couple of weeks as this documentary of various theories of what was really going on in Kubrick’s mind is a fascinating but light affair, there’s little deconstruction and more warping of the film and its elements to fit theories which are either nonsensical and airtight or outlandish and capable of finding evidence everywhere. It’s fun, but better seen after The Shining on the big screen, which is a rare treat indeed.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating : 97%
You can read Ian Gilchrist’s review here.
This Russian drama has received plenty of critical praise and won the Special Jury Prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. According to the official site:
Elena is a gripping, modern twist on the classic noir thriller. Sixty-ish spouses Vladimir and Elena uneasily share his palatial Moscow apartment. He’s a still-virile, wealthy businessman; she’s his dowdy former nurse who has clearly “married up.” Estranged from his own wild-child daughter, Vladimir openly despises his wife’s freeloading son and family. But when a sudden illness and an unexpected reunion threaten the dutiful housewife’s potential inheritance, she must hatch a desperate plan.
Critics have praised its noirish sensibilities and a few have even thrown around the magical ‘H’ word, that’s right folks, Hitchcockian. The tensions within family relationships are exposed and then explored by the award-winning director Andrey Zvyaginstev and the two lead performances have both been singled out for special praise. This looks to be well worth seeking out if you are a fan of World Cinema.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating : 92%
A Swiss drama set at a Ski resort about a 12-year-old boy who steals from the resort’s wealthy visitors in order to resell the items to the local kids in the nearby village and thus provide for himself and his older sister. However when he teams up with a far more criminally minded British worker, he starts getting further into danger and his relationship with his sister becomes threatened. It’s another film out this week with some really positive reviews. Critics have praised the young leads’ chemistry, the film’s emotional heart and its compelling story. Looks to be another smaller release well worth seeking out this week.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating : 95%
You can read Jamie Neish’s review here.
128 millions album sales on and the Quo are finally making the switch to the big screen. While their particular brand of riff-tastic rock may not be to everybody’s tastes, one can’t fault the longevity and work ethic of a band that can trace its roots way back to 1962. This documentary combines archive footage with talking head interviews to look back at the band’s extensive 50 year career. By all accounts it’s a well made and entertaining look at the band and the changing face of rock and roll over five decades. A must see for Quo fans, and perhaps for music documentary fans in general.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating : 100% !!!! (granted only from five reviews so far)