Cinema cinema releases

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 26th September 2008


Righteous Kill (Lionsgate UK): Although there will be considerable interest in seeing Robert De Niro and Al Pacino team up for the first time since Heat (1995), I would be surprised if this routine cop thriller does any real business outside of the opening weekend. The two stars play veteran New York cops on the trail of a killer but the hacky direction and plodding narrative make it a dull experience. This is all a great shame as the two screen icons at the centre of it all have only shared a few minutes together on screen in Heat and were in separate stories in The Godfather II. Here it is sad to see them wasted in such an average film and I expect it will only do moderate  box office numbers for Lionsgate once the negative reviews and word-of-mouth pile up. [Cert 15 / Nationwide]

Taken (Fox): Liam Neeson stars in this Luc Besson produced thriller as an ex-CIA agent who goes after his daughter when she is kidnapped in Paris. The fact that this came out in France back in February – and doesn’t come out in the US until next year – might have signalled problems but despite being an older version of Jason Bourne, Liam Neeson’s character is actually fun to watch as he wreaks havoc against all manner of sleazy types in Paris (who are presented in a massively un-PC light). There are some weak spots but this is a well paced, crowd-pleasing thriller that could earn a tidy sum for Fox. [Cert 15 / Nationwide]

Death Race (Universal): This loose remake of Roger Corman’s Death Race 2000 sees Jason Statham as a convict in a futuristic prison forced by the warden (Joan Allen) to participate in a death race involving souped up armed cars. Although, a lot of it is fairly mindless, the actual death races themselves are well done and there is a certain gritty charm to the look of the film. However, things like plot and character are not the strong points here. Universal will be hoping the car/action angle will entice male audiences away from Taken, so it will be interesting to see how they fare against one another. [Cert 15 / Nationwide]

Swing Vote (Delanic Films): This political comedy stars Kevin Costner as an Average Joe single father in New Mexico, who by an improbable series of events, comes to be the swing voter in the US general election. With an impressive cast including Paula Patton, Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Hopper and Nathan Lane this is actually not that bad, with some intelligent digs at the US political process. The problem it has is twofold: 1) It died at the US box office, which suggests the same will be true here, and 2) The real US election is far more entertaining. The marketing and awareness factor for this film appears close to zero, which is eerily reminiscent of it’s US release, which appears to suggest it will get voted out of cinemas rather quickly. [Cert 12A / Nationwide]

Appaloosa (Entertainment): Based on the 2005 novel by Robert B. Parker, this western centres around a  lawman (Ed Harris) and his sidekick (Viggo Mortensen), who are hired to defend a lawless town from a murderous rancher (Jeremy Irons). Renée Zellweger rounds out an impressive cast but given the lack of awareness and the poor track record of Westerns at the UK box office, this faces an uphill task to make decent box office for Entertainment.  [Cert 15 / Entertainment]



I’ve Loved You So Long (Lionsgate UK): Although it will be getting a selected opening around the country, this is easily the pick of the week’s cinema releases. Kristin Scott Thomas and Elsa Zylberstein play two sisters who reconnect with one another after a prolonged absence and the result is a rich and deeply satisfying emotional drama. Scott Thomas is almost certainly a contender for end of year awards and Zylberstein is almost as good. Try to avoid reviews which give too much of the plot away and experience this gem with as little plot information as possible.  [Cert 12A / Key Cities]

Redbelt (Sony Pictures): David Mamet wrote and directed this drama starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert who comes across a popular actor (Tim Allen) and a legion of Hollywood folk before realising he has been the victim of a con. [Cert 15]

Alexandra (Artificial Eye): This story about a mother who goes to see her son at a military outpost during the Second Chechen War, was written and directed by Alexander Sokurov (who made the one-take 2004 film  Russian Ark). [Cert PG / Key Cities / Opens in Ireland on October 3rd)

The Foot Fist Way (Momentum Pictures): Made for just $70,000, this cult comedy sees Danny R. McBride play a deluded martial arts instructor. Well done for the budget in which it was made, it seems likely to find more of an audience on DVD. [Cert 12A / Key Cities]

Steep (Metrodome): An IMAX run for this documentary which traces the legacy of extreme skiing from its early pioneers to the daredevils of today. [Cert PG / BFI Imax]

A Matter Of Life And Death (bfi Distribution): A BFI re-release for this classic from the writer-director-producer team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger which sees David Niven as a British World War II Royal Air Force pilot who forms an unlikely relationship with an American radio operator (Kim Hunter) based in England. [Cert U / BFI Southbank & Key Cities]


If you have any questions about this week’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

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