Cinema cinema releases

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 17th October 2008


Burn After Reading (Universal): After the Oscar winning triumph of No Country For Old Men, the Coen Brothers return to more comic ground with this tale of a demoted CIA agent (John Malkovich) who loses the manuscript to his memoirs and then gets blackmailed by two clueless gym workers (Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt). George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins and J.K. Simmons round out an impressive cast but this is actually a very quirky and mannered comedy. Critical reaction was mixed when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival and there is no doubt that some will find it a chilly, even condescending, film with its characters nearly all appearing to be either stupid, vain or clueless. I have to say that I found much of it a welcome satire on the unapologetic idiocy of the Bush era, with some excellent comic performances. Universal will be hoping for a repeat of the US box office performance, in which the starry cast helped sell what is actually quite an uncommercial film in many respects. [Cert 15 / Empire Leics Sq & Nationwide]

Eagle Eye (Paramount): Director D.J Caruso and Shia LeBeouf team up again after the success of Disturbia, which was essentially a teen version of Hitchcock’s Rear Window. I’m not sure if there is some kind of Hitchcock fetish at DreamWorks because this appears to be a reworking of North by Northwest. It also has elements of Enemy of the State and involves LeBeouf as a young man on the run from shady government forces after he gets framed for a crime. Although the pace and action are slickly handled it doesn’t help that most of the action is utterly preposterous. Although ’24’ creates a world in which computers can seemingly do anything at any given moment, this film takes that concept to new levels of incredulity. However Paramount can expect brisk business given the rising star of Shia LeBeouf and the slick, undemanding nature of the film.  [Cert 12A / Vue West End & Nationwide]

Igor (Momentum): This animated film about a lowly lab assistant named Igor (voiced by John Cusack) who dreams of becoming a scientist didn’t exactly hit the mark at the US box office last month. Directed by Anthony Leondis (the man behind straight-to-DVD animated sequels like The Emperor’s New Groove 2: Kronk’s New Groove and Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch) this doesn’t look like it will have much of an impact in the UK. Momentum will be hoping for the half term family crowd to check it out before recouping their money in DVD and ancillary markets. [Cert PG / Vue West End & Nationwide / Opened in Scotland on Friday 10th October]

The Rocker (Fox): This comedy about an unsuccessful drummer (Rainn Wilson) who is given a second chance at fame bombed at the US box office last month and looks like having similar prospects here. Directed by Peter Cattaneo, whose came to fame with The Full Monty in 1997, it also stars Christina Applegate and Will Arnett. Fox will be hoping that that their promotional activities for this might yield audiences hungry for a broad comedy (after all if The House Bunny can top the UK charts like it did last week, there is hope) but surely a film like this needs a clever concept (e.g. The 40 Year Old Virgin) or a big star? [Cert 12A / Odeon Leicester Square & Nationwide]



La Zona (Soda Pictures): A Mexican thriller from director Rodrigo Plá that explores the social divisions in modern Mexico. Soda Pictures will be pleased at the positive critical reviews and word of mouth and hoping for some decent art house action. [Cert 15 / Key Cities]

Young @ Heart (Yume Pictures): A documentary from director Stephen Walker about the Young@Heart Chorus, an elderly singing group in Massachusetts, who cover rock songs by The Clash, Nirvana and Coldplay. Yume Pictures will be hoping solid reviews and good word of mouth will get curious audiences in to see this. [Cert PG / Curzon Soho, Greenwich P/House & Key Cities / Opens in Scotland on Friday 24th October]

Afro Saxons (Chocolate Films): A new indie documentary that follows several hair stylists as they enter the Black Beauty and Hair awards – the biggest Afro hair competition in the UK. Chocolate Films will be aiming for word of mouth and a decent per-screen average. [Cert 15 / Peckham M/Plex, S/Case Wood Green, Ritzy & Tricycle]

Free Jimmy (Break Thru Films): A curious animated film about four stoners, five vegans, three mobsters, four hunters and a million reasons to free one junkie elephant. A cult hit in Norway (it is actually 2 years old) that has been revoiced and repackaged for the UK market. [Cert 15 / Showcase Newham & Selected Key Cities]

Sisterhood (Blue Dolphin) An indie film from director Richard Wellings-Thomas about a woman having an affair with someone in Chelsea. It would be fair to say commercial prospects for this release from Sisterhood Film and Blue Dolphin are limited. [Cert 15 / Odeon Panton Street & selected cinemas]

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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Check our latest DVD picks for this week (From Monday 13th October 2008)