UK Cinema Releases: Friday 19th December 2008

UK Cinema Releases 19-12-08


Twilight (E1 Films): The film adaptation of the novel by Stephenie Meyer has already triumphed at the US box office and looks set to do the same here. The book is an international bestseller which has been translated into over 20 languages worldwide and there are currently four novels: Twilight (2005), New Moon (2006), Eclipse (2007) and Breaking Dawn (2008). They have a combined sale of over 25 million copies and this film is the start of a lucrative franchise for Summit Entertainment. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke it stars Kristen Stewart as Bella, a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire, played by Robert Pattinson. The target audience for this movie is teenage girls and they are going to turn out in droves to see it, almost certainly making it the number 1 film in the UK this weekend. For those – like me – outside the fanbase it may come across as a slightly pedestrian tale of forbidden love, but the two leads are engaging and Hardwicke has kept faithful to the book. New UK distributor E1 Films will be delighted at acquiring such a lucrative film (and franchise) that was turned down by the major studios. [Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert 12A]

* Listen to our interview with Robert Pattinson about Twilight *

The Tale Of Despereaux (Universal): An animated tale based on the fantasy book by Kate DiCamillo, this is the tale of a misfit mouse (Matthew Broderick), an unhappy rat (Dustin Hoffman), a bumbling servant girl (Tracey Ullman) and a princess (Emma Watson). Although some of the animation looks good, the narrative is a little confused and – unlike the best Pixar or DreamWorks films – there isn’t a great deal here for adult audiences. Whilst it may do well with family audiences hungry for animated fare over the Christmas period, it probably won’t do the kind of business Universal were hoping. [Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert U]

A Bunch Of Amateurs (Entertainment): A British film about a Hollywood agent who tricks one of his clients, a faded action star (Burt Reynolds) into playing King Lear in an amateur charity production in London.This is one of those British films that appears to have little media recognition – apart from the odd trailer and articles about the Royal Variety Film Performance – but suddenly appears in your local multiplex. Given that it is one of those British productions that has been filmed in the Isle of Man, presuambly for cost purposes, I wouldn’t expect this to do any serious business and it’s best hopes lie on people discovering the DVD a few months from now. [Empire Leicester Square, Cineworld Shaftesbury Ave & Nationwide / Cert TBC]



Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (Optimum): The best of this week’s releases is this documentary about journalist and author Hunter S Thompson, who is most famous for writing Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, writing articles for Rolling Stone magazine and pioneering ‘gonzo’ journalism. Directed by Alex Gibney (who made the outstanding Taxi to the Darkside), it is a well researched and highly watchable documentary about an intriguing cultural figure. [Cineworld Haymarket, Odeons Camden & Covent Garden / Cert 15]

Bicycle Thieves (Park Circus): A re-release of the classic Italian neorealist film directed by Vittorio De Sica. It is the story of a poor man searching the streets of Rome for his stolen bicycle, which he needs to be able to work. [Barbican, Renoir, Filmhouse Edinburgh & Key Cities / Cert U] 

La Boheme (Axiom Films): Modern version of the famous opera from Austrian director Robert Dornhelm, starring Rolando Villazòn as Rudolfo the struggling poet and Anna Netrebko as Mimi, the young woman for whom he falls in love. [Apollo West End, Barbican and Key Cities / Cert PG]

Stone Of Destiny (Odeon Sky Filmworks): The story of Ian Hamilton, a dedicated nationalist who reignited Scottish national pride in the 1950s with his daring raid on the heart of England to bring the Stone of Scone back to Scotland. [Cert PG]


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Check out our latest DVD picks for this week (Releases from Monday 15th December 2008)