UK Cinema Releases: Friday 12th June 2009

Including The Hangover, Looking For Eric, The Last House on the Left and Red Cliff.

UK Cinema Releases 12-06-09


The Hangover (Warner Bros): A comedy directed by Todd Phillips which follows four friends who travel to Las Vegas for a bachelor party, only to wake up the next morning unable to remember a thing and discover that the groom has gone missing. a thing and missing the groom, whose wedding is to occur mere hours away. Although on the surface it might seem like yet another formulaic US comedy, this is actually really rather funny, not least because of a refreshing narrative that doesn’t play its hand too early, the chemistry between its stars and some highly amusing set pieces. Given the lack of stars and relatively low budget (it was shot for around $35 million) execs at Warner Bros will be thrilled that it topped the US box office last week (narrowly beating Pixar’s Up in its second week) and must be confident that it will do similar business over here. Although it has received less media coverage than Looking For Eric, word of mouth will be very strong and it could easily claim the top spot. [Cert 15 / Vue West End & Nationwide] (Previews 11 June)

Looking For Eric (Icon): The unlikely pairing of French footballer Eric Cantona and English director Ken Loach is the tale of a Manchester postman (Steve Evets) undergoing a midlife crisis. When his idol Cantona appears to him in a series of visions, he manages to inspire him with his distinctive brand of philosophy. Although much of the publicity surrounding the film has focused on ‘King Eric’, the two real stars are Steve Evets and Stephanie Bishop who deliver excellent performances. It also features the hallmarks of Loach’s best work: sensitive treatment of social issues; well rounded characters with believable flaws; and a lack of cheap sentiment. The script by Paul Laverty deserves a lot of credit for working in social issues (gun crime, football ownership) alongside some of Cantona’s reflections on life and existence in a way that isn’t forced or cheesy. Whilst some of the reactions at the Cannes film festival were correct in observing that it is lighter than usual for a Loach film, that is no bad thing as it contains some marvellous feel good scenes (especially the climax) which make it more likely to reach a wider audience. Icon are giving this a national release, providing the unusal – but welcome – scenario of a Ken Loach film in UK multiplexes, but they will be hoping that it fares better than The Damned United, another football related film which underperformed earlier this year despite a lot of publicty.[Cert 15 / Curzon Soho, Odeon Covent Gdn, Vue West End & Nationwide]

The Last House On The Left (Universal): I have almost worn out the keys on my keyboard typing out the letters that spell ‘yet another US horror remake’ but they are getting pressed again because Wes Craven’ 1972 film has been updated for modern audiences. The premise sees a married couple (Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter) who unwittingly give refuge to a group of criminals (Garret Dillahunt, Aaron Paul and Riki Lindhome) that have attacked and left their daughter (Sara Paxton) for dead. Although a cut above most of its kind, it suffers from not having the same atmosphere of the original, with less atmosphere and more manufactured gore and terror. [cert 18 / Vue West End & Nationwide]

Red Cliff (Entertainment): A Chinese epic about the Battle of Red Cliffs, based on events during the end of the Han Dynasty and immediately prior to the period of the Three Kingdoms in ancient China. Directed by John Woo, it stars Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Zhang Fengyi, Chang Chen, Hu Jun, Lin Chi-ling and Zhao Wei. It is being released here in a truncated 2ยฝ hour version unlike in China, where it was shown in two parts (both of which were massively popular at the box office). With an estimated budget of $80 million, it is the most expensive Asian-financed film to date and although it is unlikely to prove a massive hit here, Entertainment will be hoping for good reviews and word of mouth to give it a decent shelf-life on DVD. [Cert 15 / Vue West End & Nationwide]



Doghouse (Vertigo Films): A British zombie-themed comedy film about a group of men who travel to a remote village in England to help one of their friends get over his divorce. Directed by Jake West and starring Danny Dyer, Stephen Graham, Terry Stone, Lee Ingleby and Noel Clarke. [Cert 15]

New Town Killers (High Fliers Films): A British film which follows two business men (played by Dougray Scott and Alastair Mackenzie) who play macabre cat and mouse games with people from the fringes of society. Written and directed by Richard Jobson. [Cert 15 / Key Cities]

Soi Cowboy (Network Releasing): The relationship between a Danish film-maker and his Thai girlfriend is explored in the second film by director Thomas Clay. [ICA Cinema & Key Cities]

The End Of The Line (Dogwoof): A documentary that explores explores the devastating effect that overfishing is having on fish stocks and the health of the world’s oceans. Directed by Rupert Murray. [Cert / Odeon Panton Street & Nationwide] (Previews 8 June)

> UK cinema releases for June 2009
> DVD Picks for this week including The Curious Case of Banjamin Button and Milk (W/C Monday 8st June)