UK Cinema Releases: Friday 13th February 2009

UK Cinema Releases 13-02-09


Notorious (Fox): A biopic about the life of hip hop star Biggie Smalls aka The Notorious B.I.G, sees him played played by newcomer Jamal Woolard. It has a supporting  film that includes Angela Bassett as his mother Voletta WallaceDerek Luke as Sean CombsAnthony Mackie as Tupac Shakur, Naturi Naughton as Lil’ Kim and Antonique Smith as Faith Evans. Despite mixed reviews in the US, it earned a respectable gross and looks like it will easily earn back its modest budget in foreign and ancillary markets. [Cert 15 / Vue West End & Nationwide]

Hotel For Dogs (Paramount): Dogs are big business at the box office these days with Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Marley and Me and Bolt proving to be big hits in the States. The latest dog themed film is this adaptation of the Lois Duncan novel about two orphans who take in stray dogs at an empty house. Directed by Thor Freudenthal, it stars Emma RobertsJake T. AustinLisa KudrowKevin DillonKyla Pratt and Don Cheadle. Paramount will be hoping that it eats into Bolt’s box office, but that could be a big ask given the lack of stars and buzz. [Cert U / London & Nationwide]

The Pink Panther 2 (Sony Pictures): Soon to be an entry in the dictionary of unnecessary sequels is this follow up to the 2006 reboot of The Pink Panther with Steve Martin as Inspector ClouseauBollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan appears in the female lead as criminology expert, Sonia, whilst John Cleese replaces Kevin Kline as Chief Inspector DreyfusJean Reno and Emily Mortimer reprising their roles as his partner Ponton and his girlfriend Nicole whilst Andy García and Alfred Molina round out the cast as two detectives. Given that the 2006 film netted Sony an inexplicable $158 million worldwide gross, Sony can expect decent box office from undiscerning audiences. [Cert PG / London & Nationwide]

Friday The 13th (Paramount): Another unnecessary remake (a theme this week) of a famous horror film that looks like it was partly green-lit just so distributors could get a kick out of releasing it on [cue scary music] …Friday the 13th. Directed by Marcus Nispel (who remade the 2003 version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) it is a reboot of the Friday the 13th film series, whose last film was the 2003 crossover film Freddy vs. Jason. The film stars Derek Mears as Jason Voorhees, with Jared Padalecki and Amanda Righetti portraying the male and female leads. Apparently this one will use elements from the first four film and will involve similar levels of dismemberment. [Cert 18 / Nationwide]



Billu Barber (Eros): A  Bollywoodfilm directed by Priyadarshan, which stars Irrfan Khan and Lara Dutta in the lead roles and Om PuriRajpal Yadav and Asrani in supporting roles with guest appearances by actresses Kareena KapoorDeepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra. [C’Worlds Feltham, Ilford, Shaftesbury Ave, Odeon Greenwich & Key Cities]

Under The Sea 3D (Imax Corporation): A 3D IMAX documentary that looks at the diverse coastal regions of Southern Australia, New Guinea and the Indo-Pacific areas and the impact of global warming on the oceans. [BFI Imax, Imax Cinemas Greenwich & Wimbledon]

Three Monkeys (New Wave Films): Am acclaimed Turkish film directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan about a driver and his family who are drawn into a web of lies when his employer offers a large monetary reward, on condition that he takes the blame for a hit-and-run.  [Cert 15 / Apollo Piccadilly Circus, NFT, Renoir & Key Cities]

King Of The Hill (El Rey de la montaña) (Optimum Releasing): A Spanish thriller from director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego about two people trying to avoid snipers in a forest.  [Cert 15 / ICA Cinema only]

Fuck (ICA Films): A 2005 documentary on the expletive’s origin, why it offends some people so deeply, and what can be gained from its use. [ICA Cinema / Key Cities from March]

UK Cinema Releases for February 2009
Get the latest showtimes for your local cinema via Google Movies
Check out our latest DVD picks (W/C Monday 9th February)

Cinema Interviews Podcast

Interview: Liam Cunningham on Hunger

Liam Cunningham is one of the actors in the new film Hunger, which deals with the 1981 IRA hunger strike and marks the feature film debut for director Steve McQueen.

Although he only appears in one scene, it is an extraordinary unbroken sequence in which plays a priest who questions Sands about the wisdom of his actions.

The film premiered to great acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival and recently screened at the London Film Festival, which was when I spoke to Liam.

You can listen to it here:


Download it as a podcast via iTunes by clicking here.

Hunger opens at selected UK cinemas on Friday 31st October

> Download the interview as an MP3 file
Official UK site for Hunger
Liam Cunningham at the IMDb
> Read our recent LFF piece on Hunger and a longer review from last month
Green Cine Daily with the reactions to Hunger at Cannes earlier this year
Find out more about the 1981 Hunger Strike at Wikipedia


UK Cinema Releases: Friday 24th October 2008


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 – 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]



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]


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)

Cinema cinema releases

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 17th October 2008


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]



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 [email protected] 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 – the 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]

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)

Cinema cinema releases

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 10th October 2008


City Of Ember: With the half term holidays upon us this fantasy movie is being positioned as the family film to go and see. Adapted from a 2003 novel by Jeanne Duprau, it is the story of two children (Saoirse Ronan and Harry Treadaway) battling to save the underground city they live in. Directed by Gil Kenan, it was also produced by Tom HanksEntertainment will be hoping a stellar supporting cast, which includes Bill MurrayToby Jones and Tim Robbins, plus the family appeal at half-term will propel this to the Number 1 slot. [Nationwide / Cert PG]

The House Bunny: This comedy starring Anna Faris as a Playboy bunny girl who gets kicked out of the Playboy Mansion did fairly good business in the US but might have more limited appeal here. Despite Faris having an engaging presence the absence of laughs and the US-centric setting of university life (does anyone in UK know what sorority girls are? Directed by Fred Wolf and written by Legally Blonde screenwriters Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz it may have more of a shelf life on DVD. Sony will be hoping for teen girls and ‘curious’ males, plus the light appeal of this film to get it into the top three. [West End & Nationwide / Cert 12A]

Mirrors: This horror film about a night watchman (Kiefer Sutherland) who is haunted by erm…, mirrors co stars Paula Patton and is directed by Alexandre Aja, the Frenchman behind Switchblade Romance and the recent The Hills Have Eyes remake. Fox will hope that horror fans will turn out for this despite a critical mauling in the US, the absence of any big stars and a general aura of fatigue surrounding US remakes of Asian horror movies. Most of the profits look certain to come from foreign and ancillary markets. [Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert 15]

Nights In Rodanthe: Richard Gere and Diane Lane team up again for this adaptation of the novel by Nicholas Sparks about a doctor stops at an inn in North Carolina and has a ‘life-changing romance’ with an unhappily married woman. Heavily marketed to appeal to the female viewers who lapped up previous Sparks adaptations like The Notebook and Message in a Bottle, this could surpass expectations at the box office despite some poor US reviews. [Nationwide / Cert PG]



Gomorrah: Unqustionably the best film of the week – if not the year so far – is this stunning adaptation of Roberto Saviano’s best-selling book about the criminal organisation in southern Italy known as the Comorrah. Directed by Matteo Garrone, it interweaves fives stories (based on true life tales) of people affected by the crime, corruption and poverty around Naples. Shot in a docu-drama style there isn’t a false note in the film and it forms a welcome counterblast to the glamorous depictions of the mafia on the big screen. It has got rave reviews since it premiered at Cannes earlier this year and Optimum will be hoping for solid art-house business around the country. [Barbican, Curzon Soho, Odeon Covent Gdn, Renoir & Nationwide / Cert 15]

* Listen to our interview with director Matteo Garrone about Gomorrah *

Bigga Than Ben: Low budget tale of two self-confessed ‘pieces of Moscow scum’ who come to London to rip it off.  [Apollo West End, Tricycle Kilburn, Dublin, Edinburgh & Manchester / Cert 15]

Gunnin For That #1 Spot: Documentary by founding Beastie Boy Adam Yauch about eight of the U.S.’s top high school basketball players competing in the first “Elite 24” tournament at Rucker Park. [Diffusion Pictures [The Ritzy / Cert 12A]

Mutant Chronicles: A sci-fi action movie about 23rd century soldier Major Mitch Hunter (Thomas Jane) leads a fight against an army of underworld NecroMutants. [Nationwide/ Cert 18]

Tu£sday: British film about 3 groups of people who decide to rob the same bank on the same day. [Vue Shepherds Bush & Bury only / Cert 15]


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)
Check our latest DVD picks and the other releases this week (From Monday 6th October 2008)