UK Cinema Releases: Friday 26th December 2008

National UK Cinema Releases 26-12-08


Australia (Fox): An epic story set in northern Australia before World War II, about an English aristocrat (Nicole Kidman) who inherits a ranch and teams up with a stock-man (Hugh Jackman) in order to protect her new property from a takeover plot. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, it is an ambitious project taking a variety of subjects including race, war and Australian history. However, despite the occasionally impressive sequence the film is a major disappointment that veers wildly between different styles. Although Luhrmann is an energetic and talented director here his manic style is counterproductive and deflates the serious aspects of the story.

The A-list Aussie cast (including David WenhamBryan Brown and David Gulpilil) are largely wasted in one dimensional roles and many of the impressive landscape set-pieces are undermined by excessive use of green screen. After landing with a thud at the US box office, Fox will do very well to squeeze foreign revenues out of this costly film, which had an estimated production budget of $130 million. Here in the UK, it could appeal audiences who enjoy period films but mixed reviews and lack of expected awards buzz will probably reduce its box office. [Cert 12A]   

Yes Man (Warner Bros): Loosely based on the memoir by British writer Danny Wallace, this comedy stars Jim Carrey as a man who decides to say ‘yes’ to everything in his life after attending a self help seminar. Directed by Peyton Reed, it also stars Terrence Stamp, Zooey Deschanel and Bradley Cooper. Although many details have been changed the essential concept of the book is intact and it is an engaging and amusing comedy. Deschanel is a good romantic foil and there are some good set pieces carved out from the ‘say yes’ premise. It isn’t in the same league as Carrey’s best work (like The Truman ShowEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) but it has an excellent chance of taking the top slot on one of the biggest days in the UK box office calendar.  [Cert 12A]

* Listen to our interview with Danny Wallace about Yes Man *

Bedtime Stories (Disney): A family themed comedy with Adam Sandler as a hotel handyman whose life is changed when the bedtime stories he tells his niece and nephew start to come true. Although the central premise has potential director Adam Shankman and screenwriters Matt Lopez and Tim Herlihy never really bring it to life. Instead it is a fairly run of the mill Sandler vehicle tailored for family audiences with heavy dollops of sentimentality and B-grade CGI. Despite the lack of quality, it is the only film out today that is directly aimed at family audiences so could do much better than it deserves to. [Cert PG]



Far North (Soda Pictures): Set during an unspecified time in the late-20th century, it tells of woman (Michelle Yeoh) and her adopted daughter (Michelle Krusiec), living in the arctic tundra who’s lives are affected by the unexpected arrival of a soldier (Sean Bean). [Cert 15 / London venues & Key Cities]

Gardens In Autumn (Artificial Eye): Director Otar Iosseliani’s film is about a French government minister (Séverin Blanchet) who is forced to resign and thebegins to live a simpler life outside the bourgeois mainstream. [Cert 15 / Renoir & Key Cities]

Mum and Dad (Revolver): Low budget British horror film about an unusual family starring Perry BensonDido MilesOlga Fedori and Ainsley Howard.   [Cert 15 / Curzon Soho, Ritzy, Screen on the Green & Key Cities]


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