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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 7th November 2008

NATIONAL RELEASES

W. (Lionsgate): Oliver Stone’s quickly assembled biopic of George W Bush is a much more accomplished and thoughtful film than some UK reviews would have you believe. Starring Josh Brolin as Bush, it explores his life in flashback through the lens of the Iraq War in 2002-2004. An impressive cast includes¬†Elizabeth Banks¬†(Laura Bush),¬†James Cromwell¬†(George H. W. Bush),¬†Ellen Burstyn¬†(Barbara Bush),¬†Richard Dreyfuss¬†(Dick Cheney),¬†Thandie Newton¬†(Condoleezza Rice) and¬†Toby Jones¬†(Karl Rove) and the performances are generally very good, especially Brolin in what is a very tough role. The script by Stanley Weiser and Stone does a fine job at compressing Bush’s life through the lens of it’s defining episode. Stone deserves credit for attempting to get inside the head of the maligned president and not just indulging in a blunt hatchet job. However, the nuances of the film may be lost amongst liberals who hate him and the conservatives who still champion him and those in the middle trying to forget him. The plan for the film (independently financed with Chinese, German and Australian money) was for a timely release around the recent election. However, the election race itself has been more exciting than any script writer could have imagined whilst Bush has effectively been a ghost president for the last year. That will probably mean reduced box office here in the UK, especially with Quantum of Solace dominating the multiplexes, which is a shame as this is a brave attempt to chronicle the life and times¬†of the 43rd president. [Cert 15]

Pride and Glory (Entertainment): A contemporary police drama about¬†a multi-generational police family in New York whose morals are tested when one of two sons (Edward Norton) investigates a case involving his older brother (Noah Emmerich) and brother-in-law (Colin Farrell). Directed by Gavin Connor (who made Tumbleweeds and Miracle), it is a decent and commendably gritty look at modern urban policing and the tensions that ensue when families are added to the mix. For some reason New Line Cinema (before they were absorbed into Warner Bros) decided to sit on the film for several months and some – including Farrell -speculated that the failure of The Golden Compass left them without any real money to market it. However, although it isn’t a masterpiece it is an absorbing 70’s style cop drama with a commendably down and dirty tone. The decent cast and word of mouth might propel it towards some reasonable box office business but given the lack of heavy marketing and the Bond factor, it will do well to crack the top 5 at the UK box office. ¬†

Easy Virtue (Pathe): A¬†social comedy based on¬†Noel Coward‘s play of the same name which was itself ¬†made into a silent movie¬†by¬†Alfred Hitchcock¬†in 1928. This version has been reshaped by director by¬†Stephan Elliott¬†as a much frothier concoction. It stars¬†Jessica Biel¬†as an American socialite who marries a young Englishman¬†(Ben Barnes)¬†in the South of France before going to England to meet his stiff, uppercrust parents (Colin Firth, and¬†Kristin Scott Thomas). Whilst the setup might sound very familiar, the end result is actually a much more energetic affair with more laughs than you might expect. Biel in particular, impresses in her most substantial role to date and Elliott wisely doesn’t take things too seriously but at the same time also gets in some nice digs at the joyless nature of the British upper classes.¬†

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IN SELECTED RELEASE

Scar 3-D (The Works): Yet another horror film unleashed at the multiplexes around Halloween, this would appear to be a Saw rip-off, only with added bonus of being in 3D. The plot follows a woman (Angela Bettis) as she is tormented by a serial killer who had previously kidnapped and tortured her. [Cert 18]  

The Warlords (Metrodome): An Asian martial arts epic directed by Peter Chan and starring Jet Li, Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro as three blood brothers and their struggle in the midst of war and political upheaval. Set in the 1860s, during the Taiping Rebellion in the late Qing Dynasty in China it is the tale of how the brothers who are forced to turn against one another in harsh times. [Cert 15] 

Let’s Talk About The Rain (Artificial Eye): A French comedy from director¬†Agn√®s Jaoui, who also stars as a¬†writer with an eye to a political career. When she returns to the south of France to deal with the death of her mother she meets two film-makers (Jean-Pierre Bacri and Jamel Debbouze) who persuade her to be the subject of a documentary. [Cert 12A]

OSS 117: Cairo – Nest Of Spies (ICA Films): A run at the ICA in London for this spy spoof,¬†a French spin on their own secret agent franchise, based on the numerous OSS 117 novels of Jean Bruce, which actually pre-dated Fleming‚Äôs novels. Directed by¬†Michel Hazanavicius¬†it starts comedian¬†Jean Dujardin¬†as an agent who‚Äôs sent out to revolutionary Egypt in 1955 on a mission to ‚Äėmake the Middle East safe.‚Äô [Cert 12A]

EK Vivaah…. Aisa Bhi¬†(Eros): A Bollywood movie from director¬†Sooraj R. Barjatya¬†that features Sonu Sood and Eesha Koppikar as two lovers who are just about to get married before destiny has different plans for them.¬†

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If you have any questions about this week’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

> Get local showtimes for a cinema near you via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode)
> The rest of the UK cinema releases for November 2008
> Check out our latest DVD picks for this week (From Monday 3rd November 2008)

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 31st October 2008

NATIONAL RELEASES

Quantum of Solace (Sony): The latets Bond film arrives at UK cinemas on a huge wave of expectation and hype, not least because it’s predecessor Casino Royale was the highest grossing Bond movie ever, but because Daniel Craig helped re-establish the character for a new generation. The plot takes off just minutes after the last film and sees 007 investigate the mysterious Quantum¬†organisation, led by the enigmatic Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric). Along the way he hooks up with a vengeful woman named¬†Camille¬†(Olga Kurylenko) and regularly incurs the displeasure of his boss M (Judi Dench) by aggressively pursuing those responsible for the death of Vesper Lynd (his lover from the last film). Whilst Craig still impresses as a leaner and meaner spy, the problem here appears to be the choice of¬†Marc Forster¬†as director. Best known for character based films like Monster’s Ball and Finding Neverland, he handles the quieter scenes well but doesn’t have a grip on the multiple action sequences which have none of the adrenaline rush of the recent Bourne or Batman films. It has already received mixed reviews but this is going to absolutely kill at the UK box office this weekend – the only question will be if it can surpass the amazing gross of the last film. [Cert 12A]

Hunger (Pathe): The feature debut of Turner prize winning artist Steve McQueen is¬†a riveting look at the¬†1981 Irish hunger strike. The story explores a key episode of the Troubles, when IRA prisoners in the Maze led by¬†Bobby Sands¬†(Michael Fassbender), went on a protracted hunger strike in order to apply pressure against the British government, so that they could be classed as political prisoners. This isn’t a polemic for any side but does take the viewer inside the raw and brutal world of the Maze prison, as well as depicting the terror and violence outside. In the role of Sands, Fassbender gives an incredible performance, but there is also some fine work too by Liam Cunningham as the prison chaplain – one mesmerising sequence between them is shot in a 17 minute unbroken take. The widescreen lensing by Sean Bobbit and the radical direction by McQueen make for a brutal but astonishing film. Although this is one of the best films of the year, I think Pathe are taking a huge risk in opening the same week as Bond. Whilst counter-programming an art-house release against a blockbuster can be a canny move, Bond is one of those franchises with an enormously wide appeal across every demographic. It could be that Hunger just gets lost amidst all the 007 hype, which would be a shame because it has had some really good press and marks the arrival of a major new directing talent. [Cert 18]

* Listen to our interview with Liam Cunningham about Hunger *

The Midnight Meat Train (Lionsgate): Although Lionsgate haven’t exactly busted their marketing budget for this horror film they’ll be hoping horror fans will be checking it out this Halloween. Based¬†on¬†Clive Barker‘s 1984 short story of the same name, about¬†a photographer who tries to track down a¬†serial killer¬†(played by¬†Vinnie Jones) dubbed the ‘Subway Butcher’. It had an interesting release in the US with fans reportedly upset that Lionsgate were effectively dumping the film¬†before a quick DVD release. It is¬†directed by¬†Ryuhei Kitamura¬†and for this kind of material has an OK cast which includes¬†Bradley Cooper,¬†Leslie Bibb,¬†Vinnie Jones¬†and¬†Brooke Shields. Given the lack of awareness it would be surprising if this did any serious box office, but could become some kind of cult favourite. [Cert 18]

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IN SELECTED RELEASE

Of Time And The City¬†(BFI): A documentary by Terence Davies which recalls¬†his life growing up in¬†Liverpool¬†during the 1950’s and 1960’s, using archive¬†newsreel¬†and¬†documentary¬†footage along with his own voiceover. It premiered at Cannes back in May to very warm reviews and was the first film by Davies since¬†The House of Mirth, his¬†Edith Wharton adaptation,¬†in 2000. The BFI are giving it a limited release in key cities but with the strong reviews, it could do some healthy art-house business. [Cert 12A]

Golmaal Returns (Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision): A Bollywood release directed by Rohit Shetty. It is a sequel to the 2006 film, Golmaal with Ajay Devgan, Tusshar Kapoor and Arshad Warsi reprising their roles and Shreyas Talpade reprising the role originally played by Sharman Joshi. Kareena Kapoor, Anjana Sukhani, Amrita Arora and Celina Jaitley are new additions to the cast. 

Vaaranam Aayiram (Ayngaran International): A Tamil film directed by Gautham Menon, with Surya Sivakumar acting in dual lead roles, whilst Sameera Reddy, Divya Spandana and Simran Bagga co-star. 

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If you have any questions about this week’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

> Get local showtimes for a cinema near you via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode)
> Check out our latest DVD picks for this week (From Monday 27th October 2008)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 24th October 2008

NATIONAL RELEASES

High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Disney): The third part of the Disney TV movie behemoth is all set to storm the UK. If you are over the age of 15 you might not know that this musical is probably the biggest kids phenomenon since, well, the last thing that was really popular.¬†The first two High School Musicals were huge hits on The Disney Channel and became such a phenomenon that they have released this one in cinemas. The plot for all three films revolves around¬†about two¬†high school¬†kids¬†‚Äď Troy Bolton (Zac Efron), captain of the¬†basketball¬†team, and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens), a shy student who is good at maths and science. When they¬†try out for the lead parts in their high school¬†musical, it all kicks off. This one involves their final or ‘senior’ year (obviously).¬†The Mouse House have made so much money from this franchise already (with lucrative tours and album sales keeping the accountants happy) that a cinema release is a slam dunk. [Cert U]

* Listen to an interview I did with Zac Efron last year for the Hairspray movie * 

Saw V (Lionsgate): In some ways the Saw films are to horror fans what HSM is to younger kids – an emormously profitable franchise that has defied expectations. Only instead of cute people singing in a high school school, these films involve people getting tortured to death in ever more fiendish traps set by the diabolical Jigsaw (Tobin Bell). Although, this wasn’t press screened (as per usual since the second film) my sources inform me that the opening death is ‘a belter’ and that this is more of the same, prompting one to consider the fact that Lionsgate will just keep making these films until audiences get sick of them. Which could be quite some time. Expect this to do solid business. [Cert 18]

* Listen to an interview I did with Tobin Bell about the Saw films in 2006 *

Ghost Town (Paramount): The first proper leading man role for Ricky Gervais in a mainstream¬†Hollywood movie is a smartly written comedy about a grumpy English dentist in New York who starts seeing ghosts after an operation goes wrong. Written and directed by David Koepp (who made the overlooked ghost story Stir of Echoes in 1999, as well as penning blockbusters like Spider-Man and Jurassic Park), it has a neat comic setup, solid supporting performances from Greg Kinnear and Tia Leoni and some surprisingly touching moments. It has picked a tough week to come out though with the kids seeing HSM3 and the lads gearing up for Saw V, so it will be an interesting test of Ricky Gervais’ ability to open a movie like this. The fact that his persona in the film is very similar to the one in The Office and Extras may or may not be a hindrance. Good but not great box office could await. [Cert PG]

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IN SELECTED RELEASE

Incendiary (Optimum): An adulterous English mother (Michelle Williams) has her life torn apart when her husband and infant son are killed in a suicide bombing at a football stadium. Ewan MacGregor co-stars as a journalist, Matthew Macfadyen plays a dectective and it is directed by Sharon Maguire. [Selected cinemas nationwide / Cert 15]

Blessed¬†(Independent Distribution): This low budget drama stars¬†James Nesbitt, Natascha McElhone and Gary Lewis in a tale of a¬†city trader who’s life changes when he moves to a remote island. [Independently distributed at the Clapham Picutrehouse and the Rex Berkhamstead / Cert U]¬†

A Bloody Aria (ICA Films): A 2006 Korean film about opera student (Cha Ye-ryeon), who is riding in the passenger seat of a new car of a powerful older man (Lee Byeong-sun). After a serious altercation they find themselves in a remote location surrounded by hostile locals. [ICA Cinema & Key Cities / Cert TBC]

Chocolate (Showbox Entertainment): A drama¬†An autistic woman with powerful martial art skills looks to settle her ailing mother’s debts by seeking out the ruthless gangs that owe her family money.¬†[ICA Cinema / Cert¬†18]

Heroes (Eros): A Bollywood film directed by¬†Samir Karnik¬†and starring¬†Salman Khan. [C’Worlds Feltham, Ilford, Shaftesbury Ave, Vue O2, Odeon G’wich & Key Cities / Cert 12A]

Outlanders (Miracle Comms): A low budget drama about a young Pole joins his brother in London, only to be sucked in to covering up a crime. [Apollo West End / Cert 15]

Quiet Chaos (New Wave Films): A look at the strange bereavement behavior of an Italian executive, based on a novel by Sandro Veronesi and starring Nanni Moretti and Valeria Golino. [Apollo West End, Curzon Mayfair, Gate, Everyman & Key Cities / Cert TBC]

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If you have any questions about this week’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

> Get local showtimes for a cinema near you via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode)
> Check our latest DVD picks for this week (From Monday 20th October 2008)

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Cinema cinema releases

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 17th October 2008

NATIONAL RELEASES

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]

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IN SELECTED RELEASE

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 Рthe 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]
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If you have any questions about this week’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

> Get local showtimes for a cinema near you via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode)
> Check our latest DVD picks for this week (From Monday 13th October 2008)

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UK Cinema Releases: Friday 26th September 2008

NATIONAL RELEASES

Righteous Kill (Lionsgate UK): Although there will be considerable interest in seeing Robert De Niro and Al Pacino team up for the first time since Heat (1995), I would be surprised if this routine cop thriller does any real business outside of the opening weekend. The two stars play veteran New York cops on the trail of a killer but the hacky direction and plodding narrative make it a dull experience. This is all a great shame as the two screen icons at the centre of it all have only shared a few minutes together on screen in Heat and were in separate stories in The Godfather II. Here it is sad to see them wasted in such an average film and I expect it will only do moderate  box office numbers for Lionsgate once the negative reviews and word-of-mouth pile up. [Cert 15 / Nationwide]

Taken (Fox): Liam Neeson stars in this Luc Besson produced thriller as an ex-CIA agent who goes after his daughter when she is kidnapped in Paris. The fact that this came out in France back in February – and doesn’t come out in the US until next year – might have signalled problems but despite being an older version of Jason Bourne, Liam Neeson’s character is actually fun to watch as he wreaks havoc against all manner of sleazy types in Paris (who are presented in a massively un-PC light). There are some weak spots but this is a well paced, crowd-pleasing thriller that could earn a tidy sum for Fox. [Cert 15 / Nationwide]

Death Race (Universal): This loose remake of Roger Corman’s Death Race 2000 sees Jason Statham as a convict in a futuristic prison forced by the warden (Joan Allen) to participate in a death race involving souped up armed cars. Although, a lot of it is fairly mindless, the actual death races themselves are well done and there is a certain gritty charm to the look of the film. However, things like plot and character are not the strong points here. Universal will be hoping the car/action angle will entice male audiences away from Taken, so it will be interesting to see how they fare against one another. [Cert 15 / Nationwide]

Swing Vote (Delanic Films): This political comedy stars Kevin Costner as an Average Joe single father in New Mexico, who by an improbable series of events, comes to be the swing voter in the US general election. With an impressive cast including Paula Patton, Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Hopper and Nathan Lane this is actually not that bad, with some intelligent digs at the US political process. The problem it has is twofold: 1) It died at the US box office, which suggests the same will be true here, and 2) The real US election is far more entertaining. The marketing and awareness factor for this film appears close to zero, which is eerily reminiscent of it’s US release, which appears to suggest it will get voted out of cinemas rather quickly. [Cert 12A / Nationwide]

Appaloosa (Entertainment): Based on the 2005 novel by Robert B. Parker, this western centres around a  lawman (Ed Harris) and his sidekick (Viggo Mortensen), who are hired to defend a lawless town from a murderous rancher (Jeremy Irons). Renée Zellweger rounds out an impressive cast but given the lack of awareness and the poor track record of Westerns at the UK box office, this faces an uphill task to make decent box office for Entertainment.  [Cert 15 / Entertainment]

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IN SELECTED RELEASE

I’ve Loved You So Long (Lionsgate UK): Although it will be getting a selected opening around the country, this is easily the pick of the week’s cinema releases. Kristin Scott Thomas and Elsa Zylberstein play two sisters who reconnect with one another after a prolonged absence and the result is a rich and deeply satisfying emotional drama. Scott Thomas is almost certainly a contender for end of year awards and Zylberstein is almost as good. Try to avoid reviews which give too much of the plot away and experience this gem with as little plot information as possible.¬† [Cert 12A / Key Cities]

Redbelt (Sony Pictures): David Mamet wrote and directed this drama starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert who comes across a popular actor (Tim Allen) and a legion of Hollywood folk before realising he has been the victim of a con. [Cert 15]

Alexandra (Artificial Eye): This story about a mother who goes to see her son at a military outpost during the Second Chechen War, was written and directed by Alexander Sokurov (who made the one-take 2004 film  Russian Ark). [Cert PG / Key Cities / Opens in Ireland on October 3rd)

The Foot Fist Way (Momentum Pictures): Made for just $70,000, this cult comedy sees Danny R. McBride play a deluded martial arts instructor. Well done for the budget in which it was made, it seems likely to find more of an audience on DVD. [Cert 12A / Key Cities]

Steep (Metrodome): An IMAX run for this documentary which traces the legacy of extreme skiing from its early pioneers to the daredevils of today. [Cert PG / BFI Imax]

A Matter Of Life And Death (bfi Distribution): A BFI re-release for this classic from the writer-director-producer team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger which sees David Niven as a British World War II Royal Air Force pilot who forms an unlikely relationship with an American radio operator (Kim Hunter) based in England. [Cert U / BFI Southbank & Key Cities]

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If you have any questions about this week’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

> Get local showtimes via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode)
> Find out about films showing near you at MyFilms

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UK Cinema Releases: Friday 19th September 2008

NATIONAL RELEASES

Tropic Thunder (Paramount): With an impressive US gross already in the bag, a high profile London premiere this week and a distinct lack of direct competition, Paramount have every right to be bullish about this Hollywood satire taking the UK Number 1 slot. Ben Stiller directs and stars alongside Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. as a group of prima donna actors making a Vietnam War film who annoy their director (Steve Coogan) so much that he abandons them in the jungle amidst a real war zone. Although not quite as hilarious as it might have been, there are a lot of good laughs to be had and Downey Jnr is remarkable as a white method actor playing a black character. [Cert 15 / Nationwide]

Linha¬†De Passe¬†(Pathe): The latest film from director¬†Walter¬†Salles¬†(who’s previous films include¬†Central Station¬†and¬†The Motorcycle Diaries) is the tale of¬†four poverty-stricken brothers who live in a¬†favela¬†neighborhood in¬†S√£o¬†Paulo.¬†Although not quite as good as his previous work it is still an absorbing slice of modern Brazilian life. It premiered at Cannes back in May to¬†generally positive reviews¬†and¬†SandraCorveloni¬†scooped¬†the Best Actress award.¬†Pathe¬†will be hoping the¬†arthouse¬†crowd turn out in force for one of South¬†America’s best directors.¬†[Cert 15 / Key Cities]

* Listen to our interview with Walter  Salles about Linha De Passe *

Then She Found Me¬†(Chelsea Films):¬†Helen Hunt¬†directs and stars in this tale of a¬†New York teacher (Hunt) who hits a midlife crisis when her husband¬†(Matthew Broderick) leaves, her adoptive mother dies, her biological mother¬†(Bette¬†Midler) turns up unexpected and she begins a relationship with the father (Colin Firth) of one of her students. Although this low budget comedy/drama didn’t exactly make waves at the US box office, it may hit the sweet spot for female¬†uadiences¬†who don’t want to see¬†Mamma¬†Mia for the 8thtime. [Cert 15 / Key Cities]

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IN SELECTED RELEASE

The Chaser¬†(Metrodome): A Korean crime drama directed by¬†Hong-jin¬†Na¬†about¬†a detective turned pimp in financial trouble as several of his girls have recently disappeared without clearing their debts.¬†[Cert 18 /¬†C’World¬†Shaftesbury¬†Ave,¬†Vues¬†Islington, Shepherds Bush & Key Cities]

The Wave¬†(Momentum): This German drama explores a¬†high school teacher’s unusual experiment to demonstrate to his students what life is like under a dictatorship spins horribly out of control.¬†¬†It proved a big hit in Germany earlier this year. [Cert 15 /¬†C’World¬†Fulham¬†Rd,¬†Odeon¬†Covent¬†Gdn,¬†Ritzy,¬†P’House Greenwich & Key Cities]

Unrelated¬†(New Wave Films):¬†A woman escaping an unhappy marriage takes refuge with a friend’s family on holiday, where events force her to confront the reality of never having her own children. Directed by¬†Joanna Hogg.¬†[Cert 15 / Key Cities – Click here for a full list of cinemas showing it]

Live! (Lionsgate UK): A mockumentary following an ambitious TV network executive (Eva Mendes) trying to produce a controversial reality show where contestants play Russian Roulette. [Cert 15 / Showing at Empire Leicester Square in London]

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Manga Entertainment): The 2006 Japanese animated film which is an adaptation of a Japanese novel written by Yasutaka Tsutsui. [Showing the ICA Cinema in London]

Love Letters and Live Wires: Highlights from the GPO Film Unit (bfi Distribution): Programme showcasing the sheer range of films made in the 1930s by the General Post Office Film Unit, from quintessential documentary to avant-garde animation and even musical comedy. [Cert U / BFI Southbank & Key Cities]

Saas Bahu Aur Sensex (Warner Bros): A Bollywood film set against the backdrop of the money markets  and the masala and kitty parties of modern day Mumbai. [Selected cinemas Nationwide]

Zombie Strippers (Sony Pictures): A comedy horror film, written and directed by Jay Lee, starring Robert Englund, Jenna Jameson, and Tito Ortiz.  [Cert 18 / Prince Charles Cinema in London only]

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If you have any questions about this week’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

> Get local showtimes via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode)
> Find out about films showing near you at MyFilms
> Check out the DVD releases for this week (W/C Monday 15th September)

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Cinema cinema releases

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 12th September 2008

NATIONAL RELEASES

Pineapple Express (Sony): After doing impressive late summer business at the US box office, this comedy about two pot-smoking slackers (Seth Rogen and James Franco) who go on the run, Sony should be confident of similar success over here. Directed by David Gordon Green (a big change of pace for him after films like George Washington and All The Real Girls), co-written by Rogen and produced by Judd Apatow it is an amusing caper. It isn’t quite as laugh out loud funny as previous Apatow productions like Superbad and Knocked Up, but there is enough action and gags to create good word of mouth and a decent chance of the Number 1 slot this weekend. [Cert 15]

* Listen to our interview with Seth Rogen and James Franco about Pineapple Express *

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (Disney): This brave and moving adaptation of John Boyne’s best selling novel about the friendship between two boys during the Holocaust is a really difficult sell for Disney. Although readers of the book will be keen to see it, the dark subject matter and the centrality of children to the story might put audiences off. But it is a film sure to provoke discussion as the direction by¬†Mark Herman (who also made Brassed Off and Little Voice) is both thoughtful and sensitive, plus there are fine performances from¬†David Thewlis and¬†Vera Farmiga. Special praise should also go to¬†Asa Butterfield and¬†Jack Scanlon,¬†the two young actors in the lead roles. [Cert 12A]

* Listen to our interview with Mark Herman and John Boyne about The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas *

Eden Lake (Optimum): A British horror movie about a young couple (Kelly Reilly and¬†Michael Fassbender) on a romantic break¬†at a remote lake¬†who are terrorised by a gang of violent youths. Given the spate of gory horrors in recent years, the genre may be reaching the burnt out point sometime soon (Saw V is out next month) but there still seems to be an appetite for fare like this. Directed by James Watkins, who co-wrote My Little Eye, it’s real success may lie on DVD and ancillary markets rather than the initial cinema run. [Cert 18]

The Women (Entertainment): A remake the 1939 George Cukor film (which was based on the 1936 play by Clare Boothe Luce) about a New York clothing designer (Meg Ryan) who leaves her cheating husband and bonds with other society women at a resort. Co-starring Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing and Jada Pinkett Smith, Entertainment will be hoping for the Sex and the City crowd to dutifully turn up for more consumerist chick-flick action. Although the marketing of this film has felt a little muted, it should still do respectable box office numbers. [Cert 12]

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IN SELECTED RELEASE

Ashes Of Time Redux (Artificial Eye): A re-release of the 1994 film directed by Wong Kar-wai, based loosely on four characters from the Louis Cha novel The Legend of the Condor Heroes.  [Cert 15 / Showing at Curzon Soho, Renoir Cinema & selected Key Cities]

Eraserhead (Scanbox Entertainment):¬†Director David Lynch‘s startling 1977¬†surrealisthorror film starring¬†Jack Nance and¬†Charlotte Stewart gets a re-release at the ICA in London.¬†[Cert 18 /Showing at the¬†ICA Cinema in London]

Heavy Metal In Baghdad (Slingshot Studios): Filmed in the¬†summer of 2006, this documentary by Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi tells the story of Acrassicauda –¬†the only heavy metal band in Iraq and explores thelives of the band¬†members have been affected by¬†years of continual warfare. [Cert 15 / Showing at the¬†ICA Cinema & Key Cities]

Jar City (The Works): A¬†police-procedural thriller from Iceland directed by¬†Baltasar Korm√°kur, about a detective (Ingvar Eggert Sigur√įsson)¬†investigating the brutal murder of a sinister loner. [Cert 15 / Showing at Curzon Soho, Odeon Covent Gdn, Ritzy & Key Cities]

Partition (Soda Pictures): Vic Sarin directs this tale of forbidden love set in 1947 against the backdrop of the partition of India. Stars starring Jimi Mistry, Neve Campbell and Kristin Kreuk [Showing in Key Cities]

The Romance Of Astrea And Celadon (Artificial Eye): Veteran director¬†Eric Rohmer‘s¬†adaptation of the 1607 pastoral fantasy by Honor√© d’Urfe about a lovelorn shepherd in fifth-century Gaul.¬†¬†[Cert 12A /Showing at¬†BFI Southbank & selected Key Cities]

Sydney White (Universal): Amanda Bynes, Sara Paxton, and Matt Long star in this modern day update of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. [Showing at Vues Cheshire Oaks, Edinburgh, Plymouth, Portsmouth & Romford]

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If you have any questions about this week’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

> Get local showtimes via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode)
> Find out about films showing near you at MyFilms
> Check out the DVD releases for this week (W/C Monday 8th September)

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UK Cinema Releases: Friday 5th September 2008

NATIONAL RELEASES

Rocknrolla (15) Although director Guy Ritchie plumbed the depths with his last two movies (Revolver and Swept Away ), Warner Bros will be aiming for this London-set gangster caper to signal redemption for the British director. Despite a spaghetti-shaped narrative and too many cockney gangsterisms, this is a deliberate throwback to the subject and style of Ritchie’s earlier work like Lock, Stock… and Snatch. Some of it feels strangely dated but for the most part it is watchable, has an impressive cast (including Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Toby Kebbell, Thandie Newton & Mark Strong) and goes into the weekend as the box office favourite.

The Duchess (12A): Pathe will be hoping that a period costume drama starring Kiera Knightley as an unhappy 18th century aristocrat (Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire) will tempt the female and highbrow audiences. The recent faux-controversy about Princess Diana being used to market the film (the main character is distantly related to her) seems a little stage managed, but the main problem this film has is that, despite some decent production values and competent performances, it is essentially a TV costume drama with a more handsome budget. Although Knightley has become a big star (mainly down to the Pirates franchise), she has yet to really prove herself as someone who can open a movie. Despite the presence of Ralph Fiennes in a key supporting role, this will be an interesting test of a film heavily marketed on her pulling power alone.

Bangkok Dangerous (18): The Pang Brothers remake their own 1998 thriller stars Nicolas Cage as a hit man in Bangkok. Entertainment will be hoping action fans will turn out for this one, but given the lack of buzz, a key change to the original film and wildly erratic career of Cage it is difficult to gauge how this one will do. I imagine the target audience at the multiplex will opt to choose Rocknrolla, if their girlfriends haven’t already dragged them to The Duchess. It opens in the US today as well, although I suspect if it does any real box office it will be in foreign and ancillary markets.

Disaster Movie (12A): One can only hope that the US box office failure of this spoof will signal justice for the cinematic crimes Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer have inflicted upon audiences. In case you are unaware, they are the team behind a series of wildy unfunny – but bafflingly successful – comedies such as Date Movie, Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans. The formula is to just spoof recent hits at the box office along a certain theme. However, the cycle now looks in trouble as last week potential viewers might have found the release of this film on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to be a little too much. Momentum will be hoping less discerning viewers see it or at least buy the DVD in the near future.

IN SELECTED RELEASE

El Cantante (15): Revelation Films are the UK distributor for this film based on the life story of salsa singer Héctor Lavoe (who is played in the film by Marc Anthony). The main point of interest from a commercial viewpoint is that Jennifer Lopez starred and produced in it, but it gets a release two years after premiering at the Toronto Film Festival and a full year after bombing at the US box office to mixed reviews. Given the dramatic decline of Lopez as a box office star and the niche appeal of the story, it is hard to see this doing any real business. [Opens in Select Key Cities]

Never Apologise (15): Verve Pictures give a limited release for this documentary about director Lindsay Anderson, who made such films as This Sporting Life (1963), If…. (1968) and O Lucky Man! (1973). It is narrated by Malcolm McDowell, who was a friend and collaborator. [Opens at the Curzon Soho & selected Key Cities]

Sweet Land (PG): Revelation Films release this 2005 independent film about a woman who travels from Germany to Minnesota in order to meet the man destined to be her husband. [Opens in Select Key Cities]

Mera Pind – My Home (U): Adlabs release this film centered around a Punjabi village, starring Navjot Singh Sidhu and Harbhajan Mann. [Opens at C’Worlds Feltham, Ilford, Staples Corner, Wood Green & Nationwide]

> Get local showtimes via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode)
> Find out about films showing near you at MyFilms
> Check out the full UK release schedule for cinemas this month
> DVD releases for this week (W/C Monday 1st September)

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Cinema cinema releases

UK Cinema Releases: September 2008

Here are the films coming out at UK cinemas this month.

FRIDAY 5th SEPTEMBER 2008
Bangkok Dangerous (18) Entertainment [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide]
Disaster Movie (TBC) Momentum Pictures [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide]
The Duchess (12A) Pathe [Odeon Leicester Square & Nationwide]
El Cantante (15) Revelation Films [Select Key Cities]
Mera Pind My Home (TBC) Adlabs Films [C’Worlds Feltham, Ilford, Staples Corner, Wood Green & Nationwide]
Never Apologise (15) Verve Pictures [Curzon Soho & Selected Key Cities]
Rocknrolla (15) Warner Bros. [Odeon West End & Nationwide]
Sweet Land (PG) Revelation Films [Select Key Cities]

FRIDAY 12th SEPTEMBER 2008
Aashayein (TBC) Adlabs Films [C’Worlds Feltham, Ilford, Staples Corner, Wood Green & Nationwide]
Ashes Of Time Redux (TBC) Artificial Eye [Curzon Soho, Renoir Cinema & Selected Key Cities]
The Boy In Striped Pyjamas (12A) Walt Disney [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide]
Eden Lake (18) Optimum [C’World Shaftesbury Ave, Vue West End & Nationwide]
Eraserhead (18) Scanbox Entertainment [ICA Cinema]
Heavy Metal In Baghdad (15) Slingshot Studios [ICA Cinema & Key Cities]
Jar City (15) The Works [Curzon Soho, Odeon Covent Gdn, Ritzy & Key Cities]
Partition (TBC)  Soda Pictures [London & Key Cities]
Pineapple Express (15) Sony Pictures [Nationwide]
The Romance Of Astrea And Celadon (12A) Artificial Eye [BFI Southbank & Selected Key Cities]
The Women (12A) Entertainment [Vue West End & Nationwide]

FRIDAY 19th SEPTEMBER 2008
The Chaser (18) Metrodome [C’World Shaftesbury Ave, Vues Islington, Shepherds Bush & Key Cities]
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (TBC) Manga Entertainment [ICA Cinema in London Only]
Linha De Passe (15) Pathe [Odeon Covent Garden & Key Cities]
Live! (15) Lionsgate UK [Empire Leicester Square & Selected Key Cities]
Love Letters and Live Wires: Highlights from the GPO Film Unit (U) BFI Distribution [BFI Southbank & Key Cities – Previews 18th Sept]
Saas Bahu Aur Sensex (TBC) Warner Bros. [Nationwide]
Then She Found Me (15) Chelsea Films [Select Key Cities]
Tropic Thunder (15) Paramount [Odeon Leicester Square & Nationwide – Previews 17 & 18 Sept]
Unrelated (15) New Wave Films [Apollo West End, Barbican, Everyman & Key Cities]
The Wave (15) Momentum Pictures [C’World Fulham Rd, Odeon Covent Gdn, Ritzy, P’House Greenwich & Key Cities]
Zombie Strippers (18) Sony Pictures [Prince Charles Cinema in London only]

WEDNESDAY 24th SEPTEMBER 2008
Grease (PG) (R/I) Park Circus [Cineworld Shaftesbury Ave. & Nationwide – One Day Only]

THURSDAY 25th SEPTEMBER 2008
A Matter Of Life And Death (U) (R/I) [BFI Distribution BFI Southbank & Selected Key Cities]

FRIDAY 26th SEPTEMBER 2008
Alexandra (PG) Artificial Eye [Selected Cinemas]
Death Race (15) Universal [Nationwide]
The Foot Fist Way (TBC) Momentum Pictures [Nationwide]
I’ve Loved You So Long (12A) Lionsgate UK [Selected Key Cities]
Redbelt (TBC) Sony Pictures [Nationwide]
Righteous Kill (TBC) Lionsgate UK [Nationwide]
Steep (PG) Metrodome [Key Cities]
Swing Vote (12A) Delanic Films [Nationwide]
Taken (15) 20th Century Fox [Nationwide]

We’ll continue to post a breakdown of the weekly releases every Friday with more detail on each film.

If you have any questions about this month’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

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> Get local showtimes via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode)
> Find out about films showing near you at MyFilms
> Check out this week’s cinema releases (W/C Friday 29th August)

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Cinema Releases: Friday 29th August 2008

NATIONAL RELEASES

Step Brothers (15): Will Ferrell and John C Reilly play two step brothers who have been living at home with their parents for too long and the result is a broad but funny comedy from director Adam McKay who also made Anchorman and Talledega Nights. Sony will be hoping for the same kind of solid business that this did in the US, which was overlooked amidst all the fuss over The Dark Knight back in July. Although it’s a busy weekend here in the UK, this looks to be the favourite to top the box office given the marketing and continuing popularity of Will Ferrell. [Opens Nationwide]

* Listen to our interview with Will Ferrell and John C Reilly about Step Brothers *

Babylon A.D. (12A): Vin Diesel stars in this pedestrian post-apocalyptic thriller as a mercenary who has to escort a woman from Eastern Europe to New York. Interestingly, director Mathieu Kassovitz has practically disowned the film, complaining that the studio forced cuts on him during the editing process. Although the film is fairly middling, Fox might expect better than average box office given the marketing and appetite for this kind of action material. [Opens Nationwide]

The Wackness (15): An engaging US indie film set in the summer of 1994 about a teenage pot dealer (Josh Peck) and his psychiatrist (Ben Kingsley). Since premiering at Sundance earlier this year to considerable buzz and acclaim, the US release was something of a box office disappointment for Sony Pictures Classics (as some bloggers had predicted). Here though things might well be different and Revolver (the UK distributor) might expect a decent per-screen-average due to word of mouth and the fact that it is coming out at the tail end of the summer movie season. [Opens Nationwide]

* Listen to our interview with Jonathan Levine about The Wackness *

The Strangers (15): A horror movie starring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman as a couple terrorised in their home by strangers. For some reason I wasn’t allowed to see it, but it looks a lot like a US version of the 2006 French film Them. Universal will presumably be hoping the cinema release does well enough to help the DVD sales in a few months. [Opens Nationwide]

IN SELECTED RELEASE

Angel (15): Francois Ozon‘s latest film is an adaptation of Elizabeth Taylor‘s 1957 novel about Angelica “Angel” Deverell (Romola Garai), a romantic writer in Edwardian England. Although Ozon is one of France’s best contemporary directors, this film has met with rather mixed reviews since it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year. Lionsgate will be hoping that the art house crowd embrace it, but given the importance of critical support that will be very difficult given some of the pans this film has received. [Opens at Curzon Mayfair, ICA Cinema & in Key Cities]

Ben X (15): This Belgian drama about an autistic teenager (Greg Timmermans) who retreats into the world of online role-playing games has an intriguing premise and has already garnered some positive reviews. However, Momentum will do well to   [Opens at Odeon Panton St., Richmix, Coronet & in Key Cities]

Badlands (15): A BFI re-rerelease for Terence Malick‘s stunning debut film from 1973 with Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek as two young lovers who go on the run in the badlands of North Dakota in the late 1950s. Although it is only showing on two screens, it is worth making the effort to see one of the truly great films of the 1970s with its pitch perfect performances, gorgeous visuals and haunting score. [Opens at BFI Southbank & Edinburgh Filmhouse]

Times And Winds (BeŇü Vakit) (15): Artificial Eye give a limited release for this acclaimed drama directed by Reha Erdem set in the mountainous region of north-eastern Turkey. It explores the lives of three children in their early teens as they struggle with the day-to-day reality of their lives and has already garnered some rave reviews despite the delay in getting it to UK cinemas (it is already two years old and is available on Region 1 DVD). [Showing at Curzon Mayfair, Renoir & selected Key Cities / Opens in Scotland on 3rd October]

Daylight Robbery (15): Liberation Entertainment release this film at one venue only release for this film about a group of England football supporters who steal millions of pounds from a London bank. [Opens at the Apollo West End, London]

Hijack: Eros release this Indian thriller directed by Kunal Shivdasani and starring Shiney Ahuja and Esha Deol about a [Showing at C’worlds Ilford, Feltham, Odeon Greenwich, Vue O2 & in Key Cities]

Rock On!!: Adlabs Films release this Hindi film starring Arjun Rampal and Farhan Akhtar and Prachi Desai in the lead roles. [Showing at C’worlds Ilford, Wood Green, Staples Corner & selected cinemas nationwide]

Sakuran (15): ICA Films release this live-action film adaptation of the Japanese Manga series about a girl named Kiyoha who becomes an oiran courtesan. [Showing at the ICA Cinema in London & in Key Cities]

Triangle: Manga Entertainment release this Hong Kong crimethriller film produced and directed by a trio of ‘tag team’ filmmakers: Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam, and Johnnie To. [Showing at the ICA Cinema in London]

If you have any questions about this week’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

> Get local showtimes via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode)
> Find out about films showing near you at MyFilms
> Check out the DVD releases for this week (W/C Monday 25th August)

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Cinema Releases: Friday 22nd August 2008

Here is our weekly rundown of the UK cinema releases.

NATIONAL RELEASES

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (12A): The sequel to the 2004 film about a demonic superagent (Ron Perlman) is a splendidly entertaining affair with director Guillermo del Toro bringing his imagination and skills to a more mainstream movie. After the success of Pan’s Labyrinth and his upcoming adaptation of The Hobbit, this could have strong appeal to a wide audience. In the US it had a good opening the week before The Dark Knight phenomenon took hold. Here in the UK, Universal will be glad that the Batman sequel has already been out for a month (although it is still Number 1) and even went early with this by releasing it on Wednesday. With younger audiences still on summer holiday, it should have the desired effect of bumping up the opening week’s gross but it will be interesting to see how it fares against more family orientated competition. [Opens Nationwide]

Get Smart (12A): With Warner Bros executives still giddy from the huge success of The Dark Knight, one of their lesser summer tentpoles gets its UK release. It is a fairly middling adaptation of the 60s TV show of the same name, with Steve Carell as secret agent Maxwell Smart and Anne Hathaway as his partner, Agent 99. British audiences may not have the same awareness of the original show as their US counterparts, but Carell has become a big comedy star and the breezy nature of the plot might appeal to those put off by the more gothic appeal of Hellboy.  [Opens Nationwide]

College Road Trip (U): Disney’s family comedy, which stars Martin Lawrence, Raven-Symon√© and Donny Osmond, revolves around a family college road trip to different colleges in the US. It got a US release back in March grossing a middling $45 million and it is hard to see it doing major business over here with it’s lack of star power and the general air of naffness that appears to surround it. But given that it’s the summer holiday, suprises can happen. [Opens Nationwide]

Somers Town (12A): Given the success of This is England, the new film from Shane Meadows has garnered a fair amount of press and Optimum have given it a fairly big national release for a film of this scale. A low key study of unlikely friendship in an area of North London, it has undeniable charm – and some fine acting from Thomas Turgoose and Piotr Jagiello – but lacks the sheer weight and class of Meadow’s last two movies. However, it’s unusually short running time of 74 minutes could help cinemas do more showings and bump up the gross. [Opens in London at Cineworld Haymarket, Curzon Soho, Odeon Covent Gdn. & at cinemas nationwide]

IN SELECTED RELEASE

Zero: An Investigation Into 9/11 (12A) Mercury Media give a limited theatrical release to this documentary exploring the events of September 11th 2001. It is already available on DVD via the Internet. [Opens in London on Tuesday 26th at The Gate, Ritzy, Screen On The Green and in Scotland 25th August)

Face Addict: Blue Dolphin give a staggered arthouse release for this 2005 documentary about photographer Edo Bertoglio Рthe man responsible for immortalising the scene Andy Warhol and the group of of friends and  and artists that surrounded him, including the likes of Basquiat and Debbie Harry. [Opens at the ICA Cinema in London & selected ky cities from September)

If you have any questions about this week’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

> Get local showtimes via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode)
> Find out about films showing near you at MyFilms
> Check out the DVD releases for this week (W/C Monday 18th August)

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Cinema cinema releases

Cinema Releases: Friday 15th August 2008

Here is the rundown of the UK cinema releases this week.

NATIONAL RELEASES

You Don’t Mess With The Zohan (12A): Sony will be hoping this Adam Sandler comedy will takes a significant bite into The Dark Knight and The Mummy 3’s box office. Although Sandler’s comedies tend to do better in the US than over here, the fact that this was co-written and produced by Judd Apatow (who Sandler has known for a long time) might help it’s prospects. Despite a tepid reaction from sniffier UK critics, heavy marketing and audience word of mouth could help it crack the top 3 slot.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (PG): Although Star Wars usually signals box office gold, this animated feature (dealing with events between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith) is something of a curiosity. It wasn’t initially planned to be a feature, but George Lucas thought it would be a good launch pad for the upcoming animated series. Only three of the actors from the prequels (Christopher Lee, Samuel L Jackson, Anthony Daniels) reprise their roles and although Star Wars has a huge fanbase, it will have to overcome some bad early buzz to make a dent on the top three. Interestingly Warner Bros are distributing this rather than Fox, who up to now have released all the Star Wars movies.

Wild Child (12A): Working Title (and their distributor Universal) venture into the tween market with this film about an LA girl (Emma Roberts – best known for her role in the Nickelodeon show Unfabulous) shipped off to an English boarding school. Given that it is the summer holidays, the target audience for this kind of material is plentiful but a lack of genuine star names and plenty of box office competition may hinder its chances.

IN SELECTED RELEASE

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (PG): This World War 2 period comedy with Frances McDormand and Amy Adams, based on the 1938 novel by British author Winifred Watson, didn’t exactly light up the US box office back in March. But given that it was filmed here in the UK, Momentum will be hoping it will appeal to an older audience with it’s cosy retro vibe. Directed by Bharat Nalluri (best known for TV work such as Life on Mars and Hustle) it seems more likely to find an audience on DVD. (Showing in key cities)

The Banishment (Izgnanie) (12A): Artificial Eye give a limited release to the second film from director Andrey Zvyagintsev (who made The Return in 2003) which deals with a family moving to an old house in the Russian countryside.  (Showing in London at the Curzon Soho , The Gate, Renoir, Richmond Filmhouse & other key cities)

God Tussi Great Ho (12A): Eros release this Bollywood remake of Bruce Almighty, which stars Salman Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra in the lead roles. (Showing at Cineworld Cinemas in Feltham and Ilford, Shaftesbury Ave, Vue 02 & Key Cities)

Jimmy Carter Man From Plains: The BFI are giving a limited run to this Jonathan Demme documentary about former US president Jimmy Carter at the BFI Southbank in London.

Little Box Of Sweets: An Indian film about a village girl named Asha who falls in love with her childhood friend Seth (Joe Anderson), the half-English son of a local commissioner. Oceansonic Pictures will give it a limted run at the ICA Cinema in London & selected key cities.

Black White & Gray : Revolver release this documentary (directed by James Crump) about the relationship between curator Sam Wagstaff, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and musician/poet Patti Smith in a limted run at the ICA Cinema in London.

If you have any questions about this week’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

> Get local showtimes via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode)
> Find out about films showing near you at MyFilms
> Check out the DVD releases for this week (W/C Monday 11th August)

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Cinema releases

Cinema Releases: Friday 8th August 2008

Here are the films out in UK cinemas this week.

NATIONAL RELEASES

The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor (12A): One of Universal’s tent pole releases for this summer got released on Wednesday to capitalise on the summer holiday. The third film in the action-adventure franchise pits Brendan Fraser against an ancient Chinese warrior, but all the special effects and epic scale of the film can’t hide Rob Cohen‘s sloppy direction and the fact that this franchise feels as dead as the title character. The waste of Asian icons like Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh, plus the miscasting of Maria Bello (replacing Rachel Weisz) only adds to the sense of woe. [Opens nationwide]

The Fox And The Child (U): Director Luc Jacquet scored a surprise hit documentary in 2005 with March of the Penguins and his latest film is a simple but charming tale (narrated by Kate Winslet) of the relationship between a young French girl and the fox she befriends. Pathe have marketed this like a traditional children’s film and will be hoping for family audiences eager for something other than Kung Fu Panda or WALL-E. However, adults taking their kids may be pleasantly surprised at the thought and craft that has gone into making it.¬† [Opens nationwide]

* Listen to our interview with Luc Jacquet about The Fox and the Child *

Make It Happen (PG) Another dance film in the mould of Flashdance and Save the Last Dance which sees Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a young dancer trying to make the big time in Chicago. Optimum will be hoping that this attracts the Bebo demographic (the official UK site is hosted there) and follow in the footsteps of recent dance films that have done decent box office. [Opens nationwide]

IN SELECTED RELEASE

Elegy (15): The latest adaptation of a Philip Roth novel hits the big screen with Ben Kingsley playing a cultural critic afraid of committing to a relationship with a younger woman (Penélope Cruz). Altough Roth has often been poorly served on the big screen, the choice of Isabel Coixet to direct proved an inspired one as she coaxes out fine performances from an impressive cast that also includes Dennis Hopper, Patricia Clarkson, Peter Sarsgaard and Debbie Harry. Entertainment will be hoping the solid name cast leads to decent business amongst more discerning audiences. [Opens in key cities]

* Listen to our interview with Ben Kingsley about Elegy *

Death Defying Acts (PG): This supernatural romantic thriller directed by Gillian Armstrong stars Guy Pearce as escapologist Harry Houdini in the height of his career in the 1920s. Despite the presence of co-star Catherine Zeta Jones this got released last month in the US by The Weinstein Company to mixed reviews and a distinct lack of fanfare. Lionsgate are releasing it over here (where it was largely filmed) but it’s prospects for making much cash look slim given the lack of marketing and awareness for it. (Opens in key cities]

Elite Squad (18): The winner of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival is a semi-fictional look at the BOPE (the Special Police Operations section of the Rio de Janeiro Military Police). It is the feature debut of director Jos√© Padilha, who had previously made the documentary Bus 174. Optimum will be looking for decent art house buzz and audiences hungry for another brutal slice of Brazilian realism. [Opens in key cities]

Blindsight (PG): Set against the backdrop of the Himalayas, this documentary directed by Lucy Walker follows six blind Tibetan teenagers as they climb a mountain in the shadow of Mount Everest. Spark Entertainment will be hoping this award winning and critically acclaimed documentary can generate good word of mouth in a limited release. [Opens at the ICA in London & selected key cities]

CJ7 (PG): A science fiction/comedy from Hong Kong co-written, co-produced and directed by Stephen Chow, who also stars in the film. [In limited release at London’s BFI Southbank]

Singh Is Kinng (PG): A Hindi film starring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif that was mostly shot in Australia. The UK distribuotr is Studio 18. [Opens at the Cineworld in Ilford, Wood Green, Wandsworth & selected cinemas nationwide].

If you have any questions about this week’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

> Get local showtimes via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode and search)
> Find out about films showing near you at MyFilms
> Check out the DVD releases for this week (W/C Monday 4th August)

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cinema releases

Cinema Releases: Friday 1st August 2008

NATIONAL RELEASES

The X-Files: I Want to Believe (15): Although the last X-Files movie was 10 years ago and the TV show ended in 2002, agents Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) are back, although no longer at the FBI. However, when a missing person’s case baffles the bureau they – along with a mysterious priest (Billy Connolly) – are recruited to solve the mystery. It is hard to discuss a lot of specifics about the plot (which has been kept tightly under wraps) but this is a grittier than some might expect, eschewing the alien conspiracy plot that dominated the TV show. Although there may be fans curious to see it, a disappointing US opening combined with Batman dominating the box office doesn’t bode well for Fox. (At multiplexes everywhere)

The Love Guru (12A): Mike Myers has had a tough time since the last Austin Powers movie with misfires like¬† The Cat in the Hat and the last Shrek movie (easily the worst of the three). His latest comedy is about a US/Indian guru helping out a Canadian hockey team on a losing streak. Sadly it doesn’t work and although there are a couple of laughs here and there, the central character and over reliance on stupid humour only confirms the US critical reaction, which was mostly hostile. Paramount will be hoping it will offer an alternative to the darkness of Batman (and the X-Files) but I don’t see this dumb comedy attracting many converts. (At multiplexes everywhere)

Space Chimps (U): A lighthearted animated film who’s title gives you some idea of what to expect – when a NASA probe goes missing in space, a bunch of chimps are recruited to retrieve it. Given the poor critical and commercial response in the US, Entertainment will be hoping that family audiences who are put off by the violence in The Dark Knight – and have already seen WALL-E – might go and see this. (At multiplexes nationwide)

IN SELCECTED CINEMAS

Man on Wire (15): The film of the week is this thrilling and fascinating documentary about Philippe Petit, the man who did a spectacular wire walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. Directed by James Marsh (who made Wisconsin Death Trip) it explores Petit’s extensive preparations and the actual incredible act itself. With good word of mouth, critical acclaim and a decent smattering of publicity, Icon have every right to think that this could do very well in selected release. (Key cities and Curzon Soho in London)

* Listen to our interview with Philippe Petit about Man on Wire *

Cass (18): Another British film about football violence deals with Cass Pennant, who became a football hooligan who led West Ham’s Inter City Firm in the 80s. It stars newcomer Nonso Anozie in the lead role and  director Jon S Baird has been touted as a filmmaker to watch. As with a film like The Football Factory, it may find a better audience on DVD but Optimum will be hoping it gets a good lift off in limited release. (London & Key Cities)

El Bano Del Papa (The Pope’s Toilet) (15): A story about a poor Uruguayan family in 1988, who try to capitalise on the visit of the Pope to their their village by building a toilet. Some positive reviews and the fact that it was directed by Fernando Meirelles‚Äôs regular cinematographer C√©sar Charlone alongside debutant Enrique Fern√°ndez, this could do well in limited art-house release.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (15): A welcome re-issue from Park Circus for Sergio Leone‘s classic 1966 spaghetti western. The third in the ‘dollar trilogy‘ starring Clint Eastwood as the ‘Man With No Name‘, a bounty hunter drawn into a search for hidden loot during the American Civil War. it also stars Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach. (BFI Southbank & Key Cities)

Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic (15): A belated and limited release for this 2005 comedy film with Sarah Silverman from Warner Music Entertainment. Is this being re-released now dud to the success of that Matt Damon viral video? (Apollo West End & Scotland)

Married Life (PG): Verve Pictures release this adaptation of John Bingham’s novel which despite it’s impressive cast (Chris Cooper, Pierce Brosnan, Patricia Clarkson and Rachel McAdams) is only getting a smallish release. (Cineworld Shaftesbury Avenue in London & Key Cities from 8th August)

A Letter to True (PG): Metrodome re-release this 2004 documentary by photographer Bruce Weber about his and other people’s dogs. (Curzon Soho in London)

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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