Let Me In (Icon Home Entertainment): The US remake of the 2008 Swedish vampire film was surprisingly excellent, even surpassing the original in some respects, and relocates the action to New Mexico during the early 1980s. There a young boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) befriends a mysterious girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) who has moved in next door with an older man (Richard Jenkins).
Directed by Matt Reeves, it evokes the time period brilliantly and certain sequences are superbly orchestrated, especially one dazzling set-piece involving a car. Michael Giacchino’s wonderfully creepy score and the wintry location shooting helps create an effective atmosphere of dread. Although it bombed at the box office, appreciation for this film will grow over the years.
Gasland (Dogwoof Entertainment): A brilliant documentary written and directed by Josh Fox that explores US communities affected by natural gas drilling and the legislation that was passed during the Bush administration. Based on the director’s personal experiences, it is a diverting and powerful film about politics and the environment.
Fox travels around the country to interview various home owners about their experiences with gas companies engaging in reckless drilling and manages to capture some startling footage on camera. Nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar, it is one of the best non-fiction films of 2010.
71 – Into the Fire (Showbox Media Group) [Blu-ray / Normal] Altitude (Anchor Bay Entertainment UK) [Blu-ray / Normal] Jackass 3 (Paramount Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Normal] Legacy – Black Ops (Revolver Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Normal] Misfits: Series 1 and 2 (4DVD) [Blu-ray / Normal] My Bloody Valentine (3D) (Lionsgate UK) [Blu-ray / 3D Edition with 2D Edition] The Arbor (Verve Pictures) [Blu-ray / Normal] The Beyond (Arrow Video) [Blu-ray / Normal] This Is England ’86 (4DVD) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Due Date (Warner Bros.): The latest comedy from director Todd Phillips is about an odd couple travelling across the US: a highly strung expectant father to be (Robert Downey Jnr) and an aspiring actor (Zach Galifianakis) find themselves on a cross country road trip so the former can see his child’s birth.
It bears more than a few similarities to Philips last film (The Hangover) although after a week in the US doesn’t seem like it will be as successful. Reviews have been mixed-to-good so far in the US after one week, although the wide release over here will make it an attractive alternative for male and females not keen on the gross-out humour of Jackass. [Nationwide / 15]
Jackass 3D (Paramount): The latest instalment of the Jackass franchise has been resurrected with Jonny Knoxville and his cohorts performing all manner of pranks for 3D cameras.
As with the first two films, it is a hit and miss affair depending on the particular stunt. Some are funny (especially the ones that make use of the 3D perspective) whilst others are deliberately grotesque.
Like Knoxville, it has noticeably aged and the sound of the Jackass gang laughing at their own stunts grates with repetition. But it has some funny moments and arrives after a stunning opening weekend in the US two weeks ago, earning over $50 million.
Although the closing credits have an elegiac feel, Paramount will probably be keen to milk this insanely profitable franchise further. It opens on a competitive weekend here in the UK but I suspect this will be the film of choice for males aged 16-34. [Vue West End & Nationwide / 18]
Let Me In (Paramount/Icon): The US remake of the 2008 Swedish vampire film is not only surprisingly good, it is actually on par with the original and in some ways improves on it.
Relocated to New Mexico in the early 1980s, it is the story of a lonely young boy (Kodi-Smit McPhee) and his relationship with a mysterious girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) who has moved in next door with an older guardian (Richard Jenkins).
Director Matt Reeves (who made Cloverfield) has wisely stayed faithful to the source material, which includes the 2008 film and the original novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
From the opening sequence, a convincing sense of time and place is established and Michael Giacchino’s wonderfully creepy score sustains an ominous mood throughout.
Shooting mostly on location, Reeves and cinematographer Greig Fraser have crafted their own visual style which keeps things atmospheric and murky, whilst the performances all around are excellent.
Despite the quality on display, this has bombed at the US box office (perhaps a victim of distribution and marketing support) but should find a much more appreciative audience over time. [Odeon West End & Nationwide / 12A]
Another Year (Momentum Pictures): The latest film from Mike Leigh is one of his very best, a pitch-perfect ensemble piece revolving around the friends and family of an ageing married couple.
Nearing retirement age, Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen) live in North London and seem genuinely happy as they work, tend to their allotment and play host to an array of characters who come in and out of their lives.
These include: their son Joe (Oliver Maltman), who is still close to them; Mary (Lesley Manville), a needy divorcee with relationship problems; Ken (Peter Wight), an old friend with a taste for food and alcohol; and Katie (Karina Fernandez), a therapist who forms a relationship with Joe.
Each section of the film is titled with a season and as they change, so do the characters to varying degrees as they deal with the stuff of life: love, death, humour, despair, loneliness and friendship.
It follows the familiar Leigh formula of finding drama in lives of distinctive characters in a particular setting and relies heavily on the actors to make it work.
The good news is that nearly all the cast bring something distinctive to their roles, creating a rich tapestry of emotions and memorable situations, with Manville especially outstanding.
Buoyed by great buzz on the festival circuit and glowing reviews, this will dominate the art house box office this week and may do decent multiplex business amongst more discerning audiences. [Cineworld Haymarket, Curzon Soho, Everyman, Screen On Baker St. & Nationwide / 12A]
Mammoth (Soda Pictures): Swedish director Lucas Moodysson returns with a drama about a successful New York couple (Gael García Bernal and Michelle Williams) struggling to maintain a long distance relationship. Tepid reactions from the festival circuit mean this will probably come and go, despite the notable lead actors and director. [Odeon Panton Street & Key Cities / 15]
Fit (Peccadillo Pictures): A drama about ‘gay and straight millennials’ directed by Rikki Beadle Blair. [Shortwave, Tricycle & Key Cities]
Golmaal 3 (Eros): A Hindi comedy directed by Rohit Shetty, which is the sequel to Golmaal Returns. [C’Worlds Feltham, Ilford, Wood Green, Vue Acton & Key Cities / 12A]
Red & White (Kaleidoscope Entertainment): A war film about Indonesia’s history and the country’s struggle for independence, directed by Yadi Sugandi and starring Doni Alamsyah, Joe Sims and Lukman Sardi. [Key Cities / 15]
Another Year (12A) / Momentum Pictures [Cineworld Haymarket, Curzon Soho, Everyman, Screen On Baker St. & N’wide] Due Date (15) / Warner Bros. [Nationwide] Fit / Peccadillo Pictures [Shortwave, Tricycle & Key Cities] Golmaal 3 (Eros) [C’Worlds Feltham, Ilford, Wood Green, Vue Acton & Key Cities] Jackass 3D (18) / Paramount [Vue West End & Nationwide] Let Me In (12A) / Paramount/Icon [Odeon West End & Nationwide] Mammoth (15) / Soda Pictures [Odeon Panton Street & Key Cities] Red & White (Kaleidoscope Entertainment) [Key Cities]
FRIDAY 12th NOVEMBER
Aftershock / Metrodome Distribution [Apollo Piccadilly Circus] brilliantlove / Soda Pictures [Curzon Renoir & Key Cities] A Day In the Life – Four Portraits Of Post-War Britain (U) / bfi Distribution [BFI Southbank & Key Cities] The Edge Of Dreaming / Cinefile Into Eternity / Dogwoof [ICA Cinema & Key Cities] My Afternoons With Margueritte (15) / Picturehouse Entertainment [Cine Lumiere, Curzon Mayfair, Everyman, Gate & Nationwide] Skyline / Paramount/Momentum [Cineworld Shaftesbury Ave., Vue West End & Nationwide] We Are What We Are (15) / Artificial Eye [Curzon Soho, Odeon Covent Gdn., Screen On The Green, Vue Islington & Nationwide] You Again (U) / Walt Disney [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide]
FRIDAY 19th NOVEMBER
Adrift (12A) / Revolver Entertainment [Key Cities] Broken Sun (15) / Metrodome Distribution [Selected Key Cities] Chico And Rita (15) / CinemaNX [Picurehouse Clapham, Gate, Greenwich, Ritzy & Key Cities] Dream Home (18) / Network Releasing [Cineworld Shaftesbury Ave., Showcase Newham, Vue Shepherds Bush & Key Cities] Fathers Of Girls / Soda Pictures [Empire Leicester Square, Genesis Mile End & Key Cities] Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part I (12A) / Warner Bros. [Empire Leicester Square, Vue West End & Nationwide] Peeping Tom: 50th Anniversary (15) / Optimum Releasing [Curzon Mayfair & Key Cities] Robinson In Ruins (U) / bfi Distribution [BFI Southbank & Key Cities] Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (12A) / New Wave Films [Key Cities]
FRIDAY 26th NOVEMBER
Unstoppable (12A) / 20th Century Fox [Vue West End & Nationwide] The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest (15) / Momentum Pictures The American (15) / Universal [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide] Break Ke Baad / Reliance Big Entertainment [Cineworlds Feltham, Ilford, Wandsworth, Woodgreen & Nationwide] Leap Year / Axiom Films [Key Cities] London Boulevard / Entertainment [Nationwide] Machete (18) / Sony Pictures [Nationwide] An Ordinary Execution / Arrow Films [Cine Lumiere, Clapham Picturehouse & Nationwide] The Scar Crow (18) / Metrodome Distribution [Selected Key Cities] Tere Ishq Nachaya / Eros [Cineworlds Feltham, Ilford, Wood Green & Key Cities] Waiting For Superman (PG) / Paramount/Vantage [Curzon Soho & Picturehouse Clapham]