UK Cinema Releases: Friday 5th December 2008


Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (Paramount): The sequel to the enormously popular 2005 film from DreamWorks Animation sees Ben StillerChris RockJada Pinkett SmithDavid SchwimmerSacha Baron Cohen reprise their voice roles as a bunch of New York zoo animals stuck in Africa. The plot this time sees Alex The Lion and his gang return to his original lion colony and like the first film it has a good quota of laughs and funny characters. Paramount will be expecting very healthy business, particularly after the huge success of the paid previews last weekend which saw the film take a massive £2.4m on Saturday and Sunday from 513 cinemas. Although it isn’t quite in the same class as the best Pixar films the original film really clicked with audiences, especially on DVD where it was a huge seller in 2005. This film looks likely to repeat that success and it will be a major shock if it doesn’t take the number 1 slot. [Cert PG]

Lakeview Terrace (Sony Pictures): This contemporary drama about an LAPD officer (Samuel L. Jackson) who gets into a dispute with his new neighbours (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington) explores issues of class and racial tension in a striking way for most of its running time. Directed by Neil LaBute (a past master of exploring uncomfortable issues) it is an unusually thoughtful film from the Screen Gems division of Sony (better known for horror and more commercial genre films). Despite going off the rails in the final reel it might do well amongst adult audiences curious for more challenging fare but will need good word of mouth in a crowded week of releases. [Cert 15]

Transporter 3 (Icon): The third film in the Transporter franchise sees Jason Statham return as Frank Martin – a man who wears a suit, drives around in a car and beats the crap out of people. The plot here involves him transporting a mysterious woman (Natalya Rudakova) from Marseilles to Odessa under the guidance of a shady character named Johnson (Robert Knepper). Although these films aren’t exactly critical darlings, they do fairly solid business worldwide with the mindless action appealing to undemanding audiences. This one could do reasonable business as it is fairly obvious what you are going to get. [Cert 15]

The Express (Universal): A US sports movie based on the life of Syracuse University football player Ernie Davis (played by Rob Brown), the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy. The major challenge any film like this has is that there is a distinct lack of appetite on these shores for films about American sports. Directed by Gary Fleder, it didn’t exactly set the US box office alight back in October, so may struggle to do any real business here. [Cert PG]

The Secret Life Of Bees (Fox): Adapted from the novel of the same name, set in 1964 and tells the story of a 14 year-old girl (Dakota Fanning) who flees with Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson), her caregiver and only friend, to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, it has a solid cast that includes Queen LatifahSophie Okonedo and Alicia Keys, but it may find life hard at the UK box office with so many releases out this week. Fox will be hoping to attract discerning female audiences but the expected awards season buzz hasn’t really materialised so this will be relying on word of mouth. [Cert 15]



The Children (Vertigo Films): A British horror film directed by Tom Shankland about a relaxing Christmas hoiliday that goes wrong when children begin to turn on their parents. [Showing at selected cinemas in London & Nationwide / Cert 15]

The Girl In The Park (Unanimous Pictures): A drama about a New York woman (Sigourney Weaver) traumatized by the disappearance of her young daughter many years before, who meets a troubled young woman (Kate Bosworth) with a checkered past, triggering off old wounds. [Showing at the Apollo West End in London & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Julia (Chelsea Films): Drama starring Tilda Swinton as an alcoholic woman who ends up in a kidnap plot after meeting a mother (Kate del Castillo) at an AA meeting. Unusually, this is being released simultaneously released at selected cinemas and a TV platform, Sky Movies. [Showing at Chelsea Cinema, Curzons in Mayfair & Soho, Key Cities & Sky Box Office / Cert 15]

The Lost City (Lionsgate UK): This 2005 film directed by Andy Garcia explores a family in Havana, Cuba during the late 1950’s as the Batista regime gave way to the Marxist government of Fidel Castro. [Apollo West End only]

Patti Smith Dream Of Life (Verve Pictures): A documentary exploring the singer Patti Smith, directed by Steven Sebring. [Odeon Panton Street, Ritzy & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Rivals (Optimum Releasing): French film about two rival brothers, one a pimp and the other a cop, and how the former manages to be the family favorite. [Showing at Coronet, P’Houses Clapham & Greenwich, Odeon Swiss Cottge & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Summer (Vertigo Films): Low budget British film about two friends inseparable in childhood but have to face up to loss and disillusionment in middle age. Directed by Kenneth Glenaan, it stars Robert CarlyleRachael Blake and Steve Evets. [Showing at selected cinemas in London & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Trouble The Water (ICA Films): A documentary exploring an aspiring rap artist and her husband who filmed their struggle to survive when they were trapped in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. [ICA & Selected Key Cities / Cert 15]


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Check out our latest DVD picks for this week (From Monday 1st December 2008)