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UK Cinema Releases: Friday 20th November 2009

New Moon / A Serious Man / The Informant!

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NATIONAL RELEASES

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (E1 Entertainment): The second instalment of the Twilight saga based on the mega selling books by Stephenie Meyer sees vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) leave for Italy in order to protect Bella (Kristen Stewart) who is consoled by her friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) who turns out to have secrets of his own.

If you have no idea what any of this means then you probably aren’t a teenage girl. But female fans (of whom there are many) are going to make this one of the biggest films of the year and swell the coffers of UK distributor E1 Entertainment. (Read my full thoughts on the film here). [Vue West End & Nationwide / 12A]

A Serious Man (Universal): The Coen Brothers explore the late 60s Minnesota of their childhood with this tale of a Jewish maths professor named Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg). It explores his struggles with a hectoring wife (Sari Lennick), her annoying widower lover (Fred Melamed); a leeching brother (Richard Kind); a pothead son (Aaron Wolff ); dithering academic colleagues and a succession of perpetually useless rabbis.

After the Oscar success of No Country For Old Men, they have made one of their most personal films, a rich and superbly crafted tale with stunning technical contributions across the board. Easily one of the best films to come out this year it also ranks alongside Fargo and No Country as one of the Coens’ very best. How it does at the box office is another matter but it fully deserves Oscar and BAFTA recognition. (Read my full thoughts on the film here.) [C’World Haymarket, Curzon Soho, Odeon Covent Gdn. & Nationwide / 15]

The Informant! (Warner Bros.): Based on the so-bizarre-it-has-to-be-true story of Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon), a corporate whistle blower in the 1990s who helped expose a price fixing scam despite being a compulsive liar.

Stylishly directed by Steven Soderbergh, it is smart, funny and evocative of the 1990s. Matt Damon is superb in the lead role and look out for some fine supporting performances from the likes of Melanie Lynskey and Scott Bakula. [Nationwide / 15]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

Glorious 39 (Momentum Pictures): A mysterious tale set around a traditional British family on the eve of World War Two, starring Romola Garia, Bill Nighy, Julie Christie and directed by Steven Poliakoff.  [Odeon West End & Key Cities from November 27th / 12A)

The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life (Metrodome): A sprawling French drama centered around five keys days in a family’s life directed by R√©mi Bezan√ßon. [Apollo Piccadilly¬†Circus, Genesis Mile End & Key Cities / 15]

Machan (Yume Pictures): Hindi film about a love story with a terrorist angle starring Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Vivek Oberoi. [Empire Leicester Square / 15]

The Sea Wall (Axiom): A drama about a teenage girl who has an affair with a worldly older man in 1920s French Indo-China based on a Marguerite Duras novel. Isabelle Huppert stars. [Apollo Picc Circus, Cine Lumiere, Curzon Renoir & Key Cities]

Southern Softies (Northern Pics/Chick Ken): A travelogue by John Shuttleworth, in which he visits the Channel Islands. [Gate Notting Hill, Greenwich Picturehouse, Ritzy & Key Cities]

Examined Life (ICA Films): A documentary examining life with the help of modern thinkers. [ICA Cinema & selected Key Cities]

Ulysses (Contemporary Films): A re-issue for director Joseph Strick’s bold attempt to film James Joyce’s famously ‘unfilmable’ novel. [Barbican / 15]

> UK cinema releases for November 2009
> Get local showtimes via Google Movies UK
> UK DVD & Blu-ray picks for this week including Fanny and Alexander, Star Trek, Moon, For All Mankind and North By Northwest (W/C Monday 16th November 2009)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 13th November 2009

2012 / Taking Woodstock / Harry Brown

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NATIONAL RELEASES

2012 (Sony): The latest CGI disaster-porn blockbuster from director Roland Emmerich is based on the idea that the world will end in 2012 due to an ancient Mayan prophecy.

A large group of people have to deal with the apocalypse: alarmed scientists (Chiwetel Ojiofor and Jimi Mistry) discover the disaster; an everyday guy (John Cusack) struggles to protect his family amidst the chaos; the US president (Danny Glover) tries to be stoic; the chief of staff (Oliver Platt) enacts a secret plan for survivors and lots of people die. Although it is a ludicrous, overblown roller coaster of a film, Sony can expect a huge box office haul for what is essentially a delayed Summer blockbuster. Read my more considered thoughts on the film here. [Nationwide / 12]

Taking Woodstock (Universal): A comedy-drama based on the memoir Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life by Elliot Tiber, it explores a story related to the famous music festival in 1969.

Directed by Ang Lee from a script by James Schamus, it stars Demetri Martin, Imelda Staunton, Henry Goodman, Liev Schreiber, Emile Hirsch and Paul Dano. Despite premiering at the Cannes film festival earlier this year a combination of moderate reviews and tepid word of mouth means it probably won’t make too much of an impact here. [Apollo Picc Circus, Curzon Soho, Empire, Odeon Covent Gdn. & Nationwide / 15]

Harry Brown (Lionsgate UK): An elderly ex-serviceman and widower (Michael Caine) looks to avenge his best friend’s murder by doling out his own form of justice on a contemporary South London estate.

Although Caine has been doing the rounds promoting this film, it could struggle against the juggernaut of 2012, its restrictive 18 certificate and the fact that it looks like a poor man’s Gran Torino. [Nationwide / 18]

Amelia (20th Century Fox): A look at the life of legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart (Hilary Swank) who disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 in an attempt to make a flight around the world.

Although once touted as a possible Oscar contender, some brutal US reviews and distinct lack of buzz mean this will be a short flight at cinemas for this biopic directed by Mira Nair. [Nationwide / PG]

IN LIMITED RELEASE

The White Ribbon poster

The White Ribbon (Artificial Eye): Director Michael Haneke returns with this sparse and chilling tale of strange goings on in a German village during 1913-14.

When one of the villagers begins to suspect that the blonde, blue-eyed children may have something to do with dark atmosphere engulfing the community, the film becomes a meditation on how their generation would embrace the Nazis and Hitler.

It premi√®red to huge acclaim at this year’s Cannes film festival, winning the Palme D’Or and is also a refreshing change of pace for Haneke after the US remake of Funny Games.

Shot in stark black and white without any score (reminiscent of Peter Brook’s film version of King Lear), it is a disturbing and unsettling experience, which will linger with audiences prepared to give their full attention. A brilliant portrait of the subtle roots of social evil and one that should do healthy arthouse business. [BFI Southbank, Curzons Mayfair, Richmond & Nationwide / 15] * Find out where it is showing here *

Cold Souls (The Works): A quirky indie film with Paul Giamatti playing a man in search of his soul.

The lack of buzz would suggest a Charlie Kaufman-style experiment gone wrong and a minor dent in the UK box office this week. [Curzon Soho & Key Cities / 12A]

We Live in Public (Dogwoof Pictures): A documentary focusing on the life of dot-com entrepreneur Josh Harris, and his exploits over the last decade.

Something of a hit at Sundance earlier this year, it will get a limited release at UK cinemas but positive online buzz will perhaps lead to greater success on DVD. [Greenwich Picturehouse, Odeon Panton St., Ritzy & Key Cities / 15]

The Magic Hour (104 Films): The story of a hustler who gets in trouble with a gang boss in the port town of Sukago agrees to make good with the don by putting him in contact with a mysterious hitman. [Curzon Soho & selected Key Cities / 15]

Tulpan (New Wave Films): Set in Kazakhstan, the film follows the journey of a recently discharged Russian sailor who visits his sister along with her older husband and their three children. [New Wave Films / 12A]

> UK cinema releases for November 2009
> Get local showtimes via Google Movies UK
> DVD & Blu-ray picks for this week including Bruno, Gone With The Wind, Heat and Snow White & The Seven Dwarves (W/C Monday 9th November 2009)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 6th November 2009

UK Cinema Releases 06-11-09

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NATIONAL RELEASES

A Christmas Carol (Walt Disney): An animated retelling of the Charles Dickens novel about a Victorian-era miser (Jim Carrey) taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions. Written and directed by Robert Zemeckis, it stars Carrey in a variety of roles, including Ebenezer Scrooge and the three ghosts who haunt him.

It was filmed using the performance capture techniques Zemeckis previously used in The Polar Express (2004) and Beowulf (2007). Disney will be expecting healthy box office after a big marketing push and audience familiarity with the story. [BFI IMAX, Empire Leicester Sq., Trocadero Picc Circus & Nationwide / PG]

The Men Who Stare At Goats (Momentum Pictures): Loosely adapted from Jon Ronson‚Äôs non-fiction book about a secret Army unit founded in 1979 called the ‚ÄėFirst Earth Battalion‚Äô who conducted paranormal experiments, which included staring at goats in order to kill them.

The film uses a fictional framing narrative of an Ann Arbor journalist (Ewan McGregor) who hears about these strange practices when he covers the Iraq war in 2003 and encounters a former member of the unit (George Clooney).

An excellent supporting cast includes Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey and Stephen Lang. Although director Grant Heslov doesn’t always get the mix right between comedy and drama, there are enough funny set pieces here to chew on. Read my full thoughts on the film here.

Momentum will be hoping the starry cast will boost ticket sales but the oddness of the story and heavy competition might dent its grosses. [Coronet Notting Hill, Screen On The Green, Vue West End & Nationwide / 12A]

Bright Star (Warner Bros./Pathe): Director Jane Campion returns with this lush period drama based on the three-year romance between 19th century poet John Keats (Ben Wishaw) and Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish), which was cut short by Keats’ untimely death at age 25.

It has screened to some acclaim on the festival circuit since premièring at Cannes back in May and many are tipping it for Oscar recognition. Critical buzz and word of mouth amongst discerning audiences could help it achieve decent art house business, with multiplex crossover in some areas. [Nationwide / PG]

Jennifer’s Body (20th Century Fox): A comedy horror about a newly possessed cheerleader (Megan Fox) who turns into a killer who specializes in offing her male classmates, much to the dismay of her best friend (Amanda Seyfried).

A massive creative misfire all-round, despite the talents of screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno) and director Karyn Kusama (Girlfight). Fox will be hoping to snare gullible teens but audiences will be disappointed when they see what a bad film it is. [Nationwide / 15]

The Fourth Kind (Entertainment): ‘Fact’ based thriller involving an ongoing unsolved mystery in Alaska, where one town has seen an extraordinary number of unexplained disappearances during the past 40 years and there are accusations of a federal cover up [Nationwide / 18]

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ALSO OUT

UK Cinema Limited Releases 06-11-09

Paper Heart (Anchor Bay UK): Charlyne Yi embarks on a quest across America to make a documentary about love.

Directed by Nicholas Jasenovec, it is a drama/documentary hybrid starring Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera as themselves. Sort of. [Odeon Panton Street & Key Cities / PG]

1 Day (Vertigo Films): The first ever British hip hop musical about a hustler named Flash set amongst young rappers in Birmingham. It should be noted that it is directed by Penny Woolcock who has made two of the worst films of all time (The Principles of Lust and Mischief Night). [Nationwide / 15]

Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno (Park Circus): A part documentary and part reconstruction of the 1964 film Henri-Georges Clouzot never made. [Cine Lumiere, ICA Cinema & Key Cities / 15]

Welcome (Cinefile): Drama about a Kurdish boy from Iraq who sets off on a journey across Europe. [Curzon Renoir & selected Key Cities/ 15]

> UK cinema releases for November 2009
> DVD & Blu-ray picks for this week including Wallace and Gromit: The Complete Collection, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Proposition and The Wizard of Oz (W/C Monday 2nd November 2009)

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: November 2009

UK Cinema Releases November 2009

FRIDAY 6th NOVEMBER

1 Day (15) / Vertigo Films
Bright Star (PG) / Warner Bros/Pathe
A Christmas Carol (PG) (3D & Imax) / Walt Disney
Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno (15) / Park Circus
Taking Woodstock (15) / Universal
Welcome (15) / Cinefile

FRIDAY 13th NOVEMBER

2012 (12A) / Sony Pictures
Amelia (PG) / 20th Century Fox
Cold Souls (12A) / The Works
Lala Pipo / Third Window Films
The Magic Hour / 104 Films
Paper Heart (PG) / Anchor Bay / UK Key Cities
The White Ribbon (15) / Artificial Eye
We Live In Public (15) / Dogwoof

FRIDAY 20th NOVEMBER

A Serious Man (15) / Universal
The Girlfriend Experience () / Revolver Entertainment
Glorious 39 (12A) / Momentum Pictures
The First Day of the Rest of Your Life (15) / Metrodome
The Informant! (15) / Warner Bros.
The Sea Wall / Axiom Films
The Twilight Saga: New Moon / E1 Entertainment

FRIDAY 27th NOVEMBER

Bunny And The Bull (15)/ Optimum Releasing
Paranormal Activity (15) / Icon
Seraphine (PG) / Metrodome
Nativity (U) / E1
Law Abiding Citizen (18) / Momentum Pictures

Keep a look out every Friday for a breakdown of the weekly releases 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.

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

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UK Cinema Releases: Friday 30th October 2009

UK Cinema Releases 30-10-09

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NATIONAL RELEASES

An Education (E1 Entertainment): A coming-of-age story based on Lynn Barber’s memoir about a teenage girl in 1960s suburban London, and how her life changes with the arrival of a playboy nearly twice her age.

Superbly made and acted it is a likely contender for BAFTAs and Oscars. Read my more considered thoughts on the film here. [Curzon Mayfair, Odeon West End & Nationwide / 12A]

9 (Universal): An animated fantasy about a mechanical humanoid rag doll (9) which explains how humanity, in its blind pursuit of science and technology, went to his doom.

Directed by Shane Acker from his own short film, it features the voices of Elijah Wood, Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, and John.C Reilly. [Prince Charles Cinema & Nationwide / 12A] (Opened on Weds 28th)

Michael Jackson’s This Is It (Sony Pictures): The film of the 02 concerts that never were from the late popstar, culled from rehearsal footage.

Directed by Kenny Ortega and featuring Michael Jackson. [Nationwide / PG] (Opened Weds 28th)

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

An American Werewolf In London (Universal): A Halloween re-issue for the 1981 horror film directed by John Landis about two American tourists (David Naughton and Griffin Dunne) who get attacked by a werewolf. [Vue West End & Nationwide]

Citizen Kane (bfi Distribution): A re-issue for the 1941 masterpiece about a media mogul (Orson Welles) and the attempts to explain his dying words. [BFI Southbank & Key Cities / U]

Love Exposure (Third Window Films): Running almost four hours, the new film from cult Japanese director Sion Sono is a tour through any number of genres, styles, plot turns, perversions and emotional states. [ICA Cinema]

Philip Pullman’s The Butterfly Tattoo (Philm Company): A project based on Philip Pullman’s novel of the same name (originally published as The White Mercedes) directed by Phil Hawkins. It used a novel method of financing its production, by selling shares to members of the public. [Selected Key Cities / 12A]

Starsuckers (S2S Distribution): A British documentary exposing the “shams and deceit involved in creating a pernicious celebrity culture”. Directed by Chris Atkins, who made Taking Liberties, it shows the production team planting a variety of celebrity-related stories in the UK media, which some papers reprinted without verification. [Curzon Soho & Key Cities / 12A]

Tales From The Golden Age (Trinity Filmed Ent) : A film composed of 5 unconventional short stories, each one dealing with the late communist period in Romania, told through its urban myths from the perspective of ordinary people. The title refers to the alluded “Golden Age” of the last 15 years of CeauŇüescu’s regime. [Apollo Picc Circus, Barbican, Curzon Renoir, Rio Dalston & Key Cities / 12A]

Dead Man Running (Revolver): Another crime film with Tamer Hassan and Danny Dyer with a guest appearance from Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson. [Nationwide / 15]

The Horseman (Kaleidoscope Entertainment): A drama about a grieving father and a troubled teenage girl as they drive northbound along the outback roads of Australia. [C’World Shaftesbury Ave., Odeon Panton St., S’Case Newham & Key Cities / 18]

Aladin (Eros): A bollywood version of Aladin, which seems to be spelt differently. [C’Worlds Feltham, Ilford, Shaftesbury Ave., Vue Acton & Key Cities]

> UK cinema releases for October 2009
> DVD & Blu-ray picks for this week including Drag Me to Hell and True Blood Season 1 (W/C Monday 26th October 2009)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 23rd October 2009

UK Cinema Releases 23-10-09

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NATIONAL RELEASES

Fantastic Mr Fox (Fox): Director¬†Wes Anderson‘s¬†adaptation of¬†Roald Dahl’s much loved children’s book captures the charms of the source material and is likely to be his biggest box office hit.¬†The premise of ¬†involves – believe it or not – a fox (George Clooney) living underground with his wife (Meryl Streep) and family (which includes Jason Schwartzman).

However, he can’t let go of his wild instincts and regularly raids the chicken coops of the irate local farmers (Michael Gambon, Adrien Brody and Brian Cox) who declare war on him.¬†In some ways the film is a curious hybrid: a recognizable Anderson film with his usual kooks and quirks; an adaptation of a beloved book and a mainstream animated release from a major studio (appropriately enough, Fox).

Anderson’s films over the last decade have been the Hollywood equivalent of gourmet food – undeniably tasty but a bit too refined for mainstream tastes and sometimes too rich for even his admirers.¬†His best work remains his earlier films: Bottle Rocket (1996) and Rushmore (1998) as they combined his style, wit and taste with a tangible pang of emotion.

Fantastic Mr Fox - UK Poster

Since The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) his films have become too trapped within their own stylistic tics: British invasion soundtracks, privileged characters with parental issues, distinctive clothing, Kubrick-style fonts and so on.

Films like The Life Aquatic (2004) and The Darjeeling Limited (2007) have certainly above the Hollywood standard – and in places quite brilliant – but the sense of Anderson not quite taking his work to another level has been hard to shake off.

What makes Fantastic Mr Fox refreshing is that although it bears some of his stylistic trademarks, the switch to animation has given him a new lease of life.

Clocking in at just 89 minutes it moves briskly and has a nice, breezy attitude, embodied by the central character who remains coolly charming even in the most perilous situations.¬†There is a charm and simplicity to the central characters and – unlike some of Anderson’s recent creations – they feel more rounded and less like stylistic puppets, which is ironic given that they literally are puppets.

Schwartzmann’s voice over work is especially noteworthy, hitting a precise tone of innocence and weariness as a young fox trying to find himself in the world.¬†The original book was accompanied by the distinctive artwork of Quentin Blake and Anderson – and his creative team – have opted for their own bold approach, using stop motion animation instead of CGI.

Instead of the smooth textures of Pixar and Dreamworks, the visuals here bear a resemblance to Coraline, Corpse Bride or the work of Nick Park and Aardman animation. The low-fi aesthetic reaps considerable dividends as it gives the characters and their surrounding world a distinctive visual flavour. The foxes especially look especially great in close up with their hair moving a bit like King Kong in the 1933 version.

There is the odd Anderson-style indulgence (watch out for a scene with a wolf) but these can be forgiven as the film works it’s magic and charm on a visual and emotional level.¬†Listen out too for some nicely off the wall musical choices which include: The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Burl Ives, Jarvis Cocker (who has a cameo) and some Ennio Morricone style musings.

It will be interesting to see how this plays with family audiences, as although it is based on a famous source, there are gags and references that may fly over the heads of younger audiences. Despite that, it contains enough visual delights for audiences of all ages and may catch fire at the box office, especially in Britain where Roald Dahl is still very popular with a huge amount of readers.

It won’t do the same numbers as Up or Ice Age 3 but there is definitely potential here for some decent global box office.¬†Intriguingly, Anderson directed most of the film remotely from Paris whilst it was shot at Three Mills Studios in London, which perhaps demonstrates how technology is affecting what happens off screen as well as what we see on it.¬†[Vue West End & Nationwide / PG]

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Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (Universal): The ongoing cultural trend for vampires continues unabated with this adaptation of the first of three books of the series The Saga of Darren Shan by author Darren Shan (I’m guessing he didn’t really become a vampire).

The story involves a young boy named Darren who meets a mysterious man at a freak show and after a series of events Darren must leave his normal life and go on the road with the Cirque Du Freak and become a Vampire.

Although vampires have often meant often meant big box office (Twilight) or ratings (HBO’s True Blood) this must face the lack of widespread awareness about the film and the slew of negative US reviews. However, it could work as counter-programming for older, teen audiences not up for Fantastic Mr Fox. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / 12A]

Saw VI (Lionsgate): The sixth instalment in the never-ending horror franchise will no doubt involve: a fiendish trap; torture; the villain Jigsaw (even though he died in Saw 3) and that annoying puppet.

Directed by Kevin Greutert, who has been the editor on all the past Saw films to date, it stars Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Shawnee Smith and Tanedra Howard. No doubt box office will be healthy as it always is when Saw films are released around Halloween. [Nationwide / 18]

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ALSO OUT

The Cove (Vertigo Films): An acclaimed documentary about the annual killing of about 2,300 dolphins in a National Park at Taiji, Wakayama in Japan.

It follows a group of activists, led by renown dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry, who infiltrate a cove near the Taijii national park to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health. [Barbican, Curzon Soho, Ritzy, Vue Islington & Key Cities / 12A]

Colin (Kaleidoscope Entertainment): A low budget Uk horror movie about a zombie who wanders through suburbia during the throes of a cadaverous apocalypse. Apparently made for £45, it has attracted a considerable degree of publicity which may say something about the gullibility of the British press and/or the UK film industry. [London & Key Cities / 18]

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (Warner Bros/Pathe): A US comedy about a used-car liquidator Don Ready (Jeremy Piven) who is hired by a failing auto dealership to turn their Fourth of July sale into a majorly profitable event. A critical pasting in the US and distinct lack of buzz mean it probably won’t make too much of an impact over here. [Nationwide / 15]

Johnny Mad Dog (Momentum Pictures): A cast of unknown performers are used in this drama about child soldiers fighting a war in an unnamed African country. [Curzon Renoir / 15]

Made In Jamaica (Network Releasing): A music documentary about Jamaican reggae and dancehall culture filmed on Kingston streets and Jamaican beaches. [ICA Cinema / 15] (Previews Bristol Watershed 22 Oct]

Coffin Rock (High Fliers Films): A thriller about a woman unable to conceive a child with her husband, despite years of trying, who makes the drunken mistake of sleeping with a young stranger. The stranger then goes to ‘terrifying lengths’ to prove his paternity. Is this one of those films that gets a one week show in London just before the DVD release? [Apollo Piccadilly Circus / 15]

> UK cinema releases for October 2009
> DVD & Blu-ray picks for this week including Frozen River, The Essential Michael Haneke and The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Boxset (W/C Monday 19th Ocotber 2009)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 16th October 2009

UK Cinema Releases 16-10-09

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NATIONAL RELEASES

Couples Retreat (Universal): A comedy centered around four couples (including Vince Vaughn, Mailn Akerman, Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman, Kristin Davies and Kristen Bell) who go to a tropical-island resort on holiday. One of the couples is there to work on the marriage, whilst the others don’t realize that participation in the resort’s therapy sessions is not optional.

Directed by Peter Billingsley, it has got brutal reviews in the US despite the fact that Universal flew out a load of journalists to Bora Bora for the US press junket. Result? Decent opening weekend box office. It will do decent business here too, especially as Universal opened it early on Wednesday hoping to ensnare gullible couples over the weekend. [Vue West End & Nationwide / 15]

The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus (Lionsgate UK): The latest film from Terry Gilliam is the fantastical story, set in the present day, of a traveling theatre troupe including a sleight of hand expert, Anton (Andrew Garfield), and a dwarf, Percy (Verne Troyer) that offers audience members a chance to go beyond reality through a magical mirror.

Best known for being Heath Ledger’s last film (he died during the production in January 2008) his role has been filled out by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. Mixed reviews might temper the interest and ultimate box office. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / 12A]

Triangle (Icon): A horror film which revolves around a group of passengers on a yachting trip in the Atlantic Ocean who, when struck by mysterious weather conditions, jump to another ship only to experience greater havoc on the open seas.

Directed by Christopher Smith, it stars Melissa George, Rachael Carpani, Emma Lung, Liam Hemsworth. [Nationwide / 15]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

Thirst (Metrodome): Drama about a failed medical experiment turns a man of faith into a vampire. Directed by Chan-wook Park, who made Old Boy in 2004. [Curzon Soho, Gate, Ritzy, Screen On The Green & Selected Key Cities / 18]

Pontypool (Kaleidoscope Entertainment): A psychological thriller in which a deadly virus infects a small Ontario town. Directed by Bruce McDonald. [Key Cities / 15]

Ong-Bak: The Beginning (Revolver Entertainment): A prequel to the original which explores how a young Thai boxer learns the skills and inner meaning of martial arts. [Nationwide / 15]

W.M.D. (Independent Digital): A political thriller focused on the falsification of evidence in the build-up to the Iraq War, which is being released ‘digitally’ (i.e. in not many cinemas). [Shortwave Cinema SE1]

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> UK cinema releases for October 2009
> DVD & Blu-ray picks for this week including Coraline, Looking For Eric and Synecdoche, New York (W/C Monday 12th Ocotber 2009)

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 9th October 2009

UK Cinema Releases 09-10-09

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NATIONAL RELEASES

Up (Disney): The 10th film from Pixar is the tale of an old man named Carl (Ed Asner) who decides to go off on an adventure by using balloons to fly his house down to the South American jungle. Along the way he discovers a young stowaway Wilderness Explorer (Jordan Nagai), a collection of talking dogs and a mysterious explorer (Christopher Plummer) living in the jungle.

As you might expect from Pixar, the animation and storytelling are first rate, although the first half of the film is a touch more satisfying than the second, due in part to a dazzling sequence early on which is amongst the best they have ever done. Director Pete Docter deserves a lot of praise for cleverly mixing deep emotions with breezy action and it bears some similarities in tone to his previous feature-length film, Monsters, Inc.

This is the first all new Pixar film to have the 3D treatment (seemingly standard for major studio animation these days) and on the big screen I saw it on it looked crisp and clean, making clever use of the spaces in certain scenes. One of the more pleasing aspects of the film is the attention paid to character, especially Carl, which has long been a hallmark of Pixar’s best work but for some reason resonates very strongly with this film.

Disney will be expecting a half-term box office bonanza from family audiences along the lines of ¬£20 million but I can’t help feeling they missed out on a higher potential gross by not releasing it in the summer given the lack of a major football tournament and a general dearth of decent films, let alone family themed ones. Never the less, the number 1 slot is assured. [Cert U / Nationwide]

Zombieland: (Sony Pictures): Think Adventureland meets Shaun of the Dead and you’ll get some idea of this fast-paced and highly enjoyable zombie comedy. It stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin as survivors of a zombie apocalypse who have to team up in order to survive.

Directed by first timer Ruben Fleischer from a script by Paul Wernick and
Rhett Reese it manages to reference the zombie genre and satirise it at the same time. Part of the key here is the tone, which is wise but never too serious and the pacing which is admirably brisk. Another key plus point are the performances which are excellent with Eisenberg doing a sterling job in the lead, a character who is something of a nerdy, likeable everyman.

The irony about this film is that it comes after a wave of Shaun of the Dead rip-offs which have flooded the market over the last couple of years (memo to young British directors: stop trying to be Edgar Wright), but it does actually feel fresh and funny. This is more because of the execution rather than the ideas, but never the less it works.

Word of mouth and critical buzz from the US is very good and Sony will be hoping for a solid showing amongst the 16-34 year old demographic, with this being perfect fodder for couples on a Saturday night. Up is going to pull in the big numbers this weekend but Zombieland could do very good business given that everyone is probably still bummed out how average The Invention of Lying was. [Cert 15 / Nationwide]

Love Happens (E1 Entertainment): A romantic drama about a widower (Aaron Eckhart) and author of a best selling book on loss selling guru, who falls for a woman (Jennifer Aniston) who attends one of his seminars.

The bad reviews and poor buzz are likely to put off female audiences, but that still doesn’t explain why the poster is almost identical to the one for Revolutionary Road. [Cert 12A / Nationwide]

Halloween II (Entertainment): The Rob Zombie directed sequel to his own naff 2007 remake bombed in the US (where some were repulsed by the hacky directing and sadism) and is likely to do the same here.

Profits on DVD is probably where this one is going to make its real money.

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

Goodbye Solo (Axiom Films): An indie drama written and directed by Ramin Bahrani about a Senegalese taxi driver (Souléymane Sy Savané) who forms an unlikely connection with an older passenger (Red West).

Critical acclaim after a successfull festival circuit run could translate into decent art house business.

Katalin Varga (Artficial Eye): The feature film debut of British director Peter Strickland filmed and set entirely in the rural wilds of Romania about the journey taken by the title character and her son, Orban, after Katalin’s husband banishes them from their home following a scandalous discovery.

Will need significant critical support to make waves on the arthouse circuit but well be a slow burner on DVD, especially if Strickland’s career progresses.

Vanishing of the Bees (Dogwoof): A documentary about the disturbing decline in the UK honeybee population last winter, which is potentially serious given they pollinate a third of our food.

Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee (Warp/Verve Pictures): A low budget, experimental mockumentary about an Arctic Monkeys roadie (Paddy Considine) from director Shane Meadows.

Shot in only five days on a micro-budget of £48,000, it will have a brief run in certain cinemas followed by a quickie DVD release.

Died Young Stayed Pretty (ICA Films): A documentary that examines the underground poster culture in North America directed by Eileen Yaghoobian. [ICA Cinema]

> UK cinema releases for October 2009
> DVD & Blu-ray picks for this week including Katyn, Beaufort and Time Bandits (W/C Monday 5th Ocotber 2009)

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: October 2009

UK Cinema Releases - October 2009

FRIDAY 2nd OCTOBER

  • Army Of Crime (15) / Optimum Releasing
  • The Beaches Of Agnes (18) / Artificial Eye
  • Beyond A Reasonable Doubt / Entertainment
  • District 13: Ultimatum (15) / Momentum Pictures
  • I P Man (15) / Showbox Entertainment / ICA Cinema & Key Cities
  • The Invention Of Lying (12A) / Universal
  • Driving Aphrodite (aka My Life In Ruins) (12A) / Warner Bros.
  • Pandorum (15) / Icon
  • Toy Story In 3D (PG) / Walt Disney
  • Vinyan (18) / Revolver Entertainment

WEDNESDAY 7th OCTOBER

  • Zombieland (15) / Sony

FRIDAY 9th OCTOBER

  • Up (in 3D) (U) / Walt Disney
  • Creek / (Entertainment)
  • Died Young Stayed Pretty / ICA Films / ICA Cinema & selected Key Cities (from 23 Oct)
  • Goodbye Solo (15) / Axiom Films Apollo Piccadilly Circus, Curzon Renoir & Key Cities
  • Halloween II (18) / Entertainment
  • Katalin Varga (15) / Artificial Eye
  • Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee (15) / Verve Pictures
  • Love Happens (12A) / E1 Entertainment
  • The Vanishing Of The Bees / Dogwoof

WEDNESDAY 14th OCTOBER

  • Couples Retreat / Universal

FRIDAY 16th OCTOBER

  • The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus (12A) / Lionsgate UK
  • Ong Bak: The Beginning (15) / Revolver Entertainment
  • Pontypool (TBC) / Kaleidoscope Entertainment / Key Cities
  • Thirst (18) / Metrodome
  • Triangle (15) / Icon

FRIDAY 23rd OCTOBER

  • A Thousand Words / Paramount
  • Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant / Universal
  • Coffin Rock / (High Fliers Films)
  • Colin (18) / Kaleidoscope Entertainment / London & Key Cities
  • The Cove (12A) / Vertigo Films
  • Fantastic Mr Fox (PG)/ 20th Century Fox
  • Freestyle / Revolver Entertainment
  • Johnny Mad Dog (15) / Momentum Pictures
  • Made in Jamaica (15) / Network Releasing
  • The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (15) / Warner Bros./Pathe

WEDNESDAY 28th OCTOBER

  • 9 (12A) / Universal
  • Michael Jackson’s This is It (TBC) / Sony Pictures

FRIDAY 30th OCTOBER

  • An Education / E1 Entertainment
  • Animal House (R/I) / Universal
  • Citizen Kane (U) / bfi Distribution / BFI Southbank & Key Cities
  • Dead Man Running / Revolver Entertainment
  • Love Exposure / Third Window Films
  • Tales From The Golden Age (12A) / Trinity Filmed Ent

Keep a look out every Friday for a breakdown of the weekly releases 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.

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

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 2nd October 2009

UK Cinema Releases 02-10-09

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NATIONAL RELEASES

The Invention Of Lying (Universal): A comedy set in an alternate universe where everyone tells the truth and is unable to lie, until a forty-something loser (Ricky Gervais) somehow discovers how to do it. After lying to his dying mother about what happens to humans when we die, he quickly becomes a prophet and celebrity, although this still doesn’t help him in his attempts to woo the girl of his dreams (Jennifer Garner).

As Gervais has acknowledged, the project has the hallmarks of early Woody Allen (e.g. Sleeper), Monty Python’s The Life of Brian and Tom Shadyac’s Liar Liar. Although the first act sets up things nicely, the film never really takes off with most of the laughs coming from sharply observed individual gags rather than the overall mixture of character, theme and plot.

Directed by Matthew Robinson and Gervais, it features an incredible supporting cast, which includes Tina Fey, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Tambor, Jason Bateman, Jonah Hill, Christopher Guest and Louis C.K. but it is little more than a novelty as they are often just one note cameos. Although there some solid laughs, the interesting subtext of religion as a lie is ultimately squandered with a conventional narrative about getting the girl and falling in love.

The film was funded by Media Rights Capital (funders of Bruno – another comedy movie featuring an Eleven O’Clock Show almunus) and Universal have UK distribution rights, with Warner Bros releasing it in the US. I suspect it might have a good opening weekend but critical and audience word of mouth is going to be mixed, so it won’t be the home run they were perhaps hoping for given how popular Gervais is within the Hollywood community and fans of The Office (still one of the greatest TV shows of the past decade). [Vue West End & Nationwide / 12A]

Toy Story In 3D (Walt Disney): A 3D re-release for Pixar’s classic 1995 film about a cowboy toy (Tom Hanks) who is threatened and jealous when a fancy spaceman toy (Tim Allen) supplants him as top toy in a boy’s room.

Directed by John Lasseter, this was the film that put Pixar on the mainstream map and the 3D re-release (followed by Toy Story 2) is in anticipation of the third film, which is out next summer. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / PG]

Pandorum (Icon) (Vue West End & Nationwide / 15): A sci-fi actioner about a pair of crew members (Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster) aboard a spaceship wake up with no knowledge of their mission or their identities.

Directed by Christian Alvart, it was shot in Berlin and largely funded by Constantin Film with UK distribution coming from Icon whilst Overture are releasing it in the US. Given the reviews, it won’t be a huge hit at cinemas but looks likely to turn a profit in ancillary markets. [Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert 15]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

Vinyan (Revolver Entertainment): A couple are looking for their child who was lost in the tsunami – their search takes them to the dangerous Thai-Burmese waters, and then into the jungle, where they face unknown but horrifying dangers. Directed by Fabrice Du Welz and starring Emmanuelle Beart and Rufus Sewell. [Key Cities / Cert 18]

Driving Aphrodite (formerly My Life in Ruins) (Warner Bros.): This film was originally entitled ‘My Life in Ruins’, which begs the question as to why studios change the titles of films in the IMDb era. It is a romantic comedy set amongst the ruins of ancient Greece, about a tour guide whose life takes a personal detour, while her group gets entangled in comic situations among the ruins. Directed by Donald Petrie, it stars Nia Vardolos, Richard Dreyfuss and Alistair McGowan. US reviews do not suggest a masterpiece. ¬†[Nationwide / Cert 12A]

District 13: Ultimatum (Momentum Pictures): Set in the ghettos of Paris in 2010, an undercover cop and ex-thug try to infiltrate a gang in order to defuse a neutron bomb. Directed by Patrick Alessandrin, it stars Cyril Raffaelli, David Belle and Tond D’Amario. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus / Cert 15]

The Spell (Carey Films): The story of Jenny, a young girl who finds herself unwanted by either of her separated parents and then get a live-in boyfriend Rick’s who is involved with witchcraft and black magic which leads to ‘the most horrific experience of her young life’. Directed by Owen Carey, it stars Rebecca Pitkin, Julia Curle and Pietro Herrera. [Prince Charles Cinema & Key Cities / Cert 15]

The Beaches Of Agnes (Artificial Eye): An autobiographical documentary about the life of director Agnes Varda. [Barbican, Cine Lumiere, Curzon Renoir & Key Cities / Cert 18]

Army Of Crime (Optimum Releasing): A drama about immigrant guerrilla fighters in Paris during the Nazi occupation. Directed by Robert Guediguian, it stars Virginie Ledoyen and Simon Abkarian. [Curzon Soho & selected Key Cities / Cert 15]

I P Man (Showbox Entertainment): A 2008 semi-biographical martial arts film. It is based on the life of Ip Man, the celebrated martial arts master of Bruce Lee, and the first to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun openly. Directed by Wilson Yip, it stars Donnie Yen and Simon Yam. [ICA Cinema & Key Cities / 15]

Ghost in the Shell 2.0 (Manga Entertainment): A reproduced version of the original 1995 anime film directed by Mamoru Oshii. [ICA Cinema & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Surviving Evil (Kaleidoscope Entertainment): A TV documentary crew arrive on a remote island in the Philippines to film a survival special. Their back-to-the-wild adventure proves to be more terrifying than they ever could have imagined. [Showcase Manchester / 15]

> UK cinema releases for October 2009
> DVD & Blu-ray picks for this week including The New World, Ran, The Deer Hunter, Belle Du Jour, An American Werewolf in London and The Prisoner (W/C Monday 28th September 2009)

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 25th September 2009

UK Cinema Releases 25-09-09

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NATIONAL RELEASES

The Soloist (Universal): An LA Times journalist (Robert Downey Jnr) comes across a schizophrenic, homeless musician (Jamie Foxx) in Los Angeles and as he writes about him in his column, they gradually affect each other in different ways. Although the studio brass at DreamWorks must have been salivating about possible Oscars when this film went into production last year, trouble was afoot when its Autumn release date was postponed in favour of a spring release.

Although the performances are fine (if a little too mannered in places) the film suffers from being a little too earnest and preachy – especially in its depiction of the homeless – and the central relationship never really catch fire. There are some striking moments and tasteful lensing by Seamus McGarvey but director Joe Wright doesn’t really bring the story to life.¬†Universal are releasing the film in the UK and will be expecting so-so box office given the lack of buzz after its relatively quiet Stateside release back in April. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / Cert 12A]

Surrogates (Walt Disney): A sci-fi action drama set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, sees a cop (Bruce Willis) forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others’ surrogates.

It is the first film Jonathan Mostow has directed since Terminator 3 and Elizabeth Banks is a producer (who originated the project with Max Handelman), but whether or not Bruce Willis has the box office mojo he once had is debatable. Credit to Disney though, as the trailer for this film has been omnipresent at multiplexes for the last two months (along with that annoying Martin Freeman piracy spot) and it could do decent business if audience word of mouth is good. [C’worlds Fulham Rd., Hammersmith, Odeon Leicester Sq. & Nationwide / Cert 12A]

Creation (Icon): ¬†A¬†period drama which explores the life and discoveries of¬†Charles Darwin (Paul Bettany) and the relationship with his wife, Emma (Jennifer Connelly).¬†Directed by¬†Jon Amiel, it is was adapted for the screen by¬†John Collee, based on¬†Randal Keynes‘s biography of Darwin,¬†Annie’s Box.

It was the opening film at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, although the tepid critical reaction is probably the reason it didn’t provoke a bidding war rather than the fact that Darwin is a taboo figure in the US, as producer Jeremy Thomas seemed to suggest in a recent interview.¬†Icon will be hoping costume drama lovers or the curious will be up for this but they face an uphill task given the lack of buzz.¬†¬†[Cineworld Haymarket, Curzon Mayfair & Nationwide / PG]

The Crimson Wing (Walt Disney): Another documentary to be released by Walt Disney under the Disneynature label explores the birth, life and death of a million crimson-winged flamingos in northern Tanzania. Directed by Matthew Aeberhard and Leander Ward. [Cineworlds Haymarket, Shaftesbury Ave. & Nationwide / Cert PG]

Fame (Entertainment): A loose remake of the 1980 film for the HSM generation, this follows a group of dancers, singers, actors, and artists over four years at the New York City High School of Performing Arts – today known as Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Directed by Kevin Tancharoen, it stars Asher Book, Paul McGill, Naturi Naughton and Paul Iacono. Entertainment will be hoping young tweens and teenagers will be getting excited for this, although it seems likely that it will find a better audience on DVD. [Nationwide / PG]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

The Godfather reissue

The Godfather (Park Circus): A re-release for Francis Ford Coppola’s classic 1972 crime drama which has been digitally restored frame by frame, resulting in a sparkling version. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus, BFI Southbank, Odeon Covent Gdn. & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Heart Of Fire (Metrodome): The true story of a young female soldier who comes of age during the Eritrean civil war. Directed by Luigi Falorni, it stars Letekidan Micael, Solomie Micael, Seble Tilahun and Daniel Seyoum. [ICA Cinema]

Management (Metrodome): A comedy about a traveling art saleswoman (Jennifer Aniston) who tries to shake off a flaky motel manager (Steve Zahn) who falls for her and won’t leave her alone. Originally released at the 2008 Toronto film festival, this looks like it will be forgotten soon. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus / Cert 15]

Born In 68 (Peccadillo Pictures): A French drama about two young lovers who change their lives drastically after the 1968 revolt. Starring Laetitia Casta and Yannick Renier, it was directed by Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau. [Renoir & selected Key Cities / Previews 24 Sep / Cert 15]

White Lightnin (Momentum Pictures): An ‘imaginary biopic’ based on the true story of hard-living, Appalachian tap dance legend Jesco White. Directed by Dominic Murphy. [ICA Cinema, Rich Mix & selected Key Cities / Cert 18]

Jack Said (Optimum Releasing): A British crime drama starring Danny Dyer which is getting a quick release in London before coming out on DVD in a couple of weeks. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus / Cert 18]

> UK cinema releases for September 2009
> DVD & Blu-ray picks for this week including Five Minutes of Heaven, In This World and Sunrise (W/C Monday 21st September 2009)

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 18th September 2009

UK Cinema Releases 18-09-09

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NATIONAL RELEASES

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 3D (Sony Pictures): An animated film about a young scientist who invents a a weather machine that turns water into food, which results in food falling on to his town. Based on the children’s book of the same name by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett, it features the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan and Mr. T.

Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, it is an engaging tale filled with some surreal sequences in which it rains hamburgers, hot dogs and all manner of sugar laden food.

The story is kind of a prequel to the book and although it doesn’t arrive on a wave of buzz, it could find a grateful family audience as it is accessible and charming, with some delightful animation which makes good use of the 3-D.

Sometimes animated films outside of the Pixar and DreamWorks stables can be underestimated at the box office (just look at the massive grosses of Ice Age 3) and Sony might be pleasantly surprised at how well this one does both in the US and UK box office. [Nationwide / Cert U]

Gamer (Entertainment): A sci-fi action thriller set in a future-world where humans can control each other in mass-scale, multi-player online gaming environments, it sees a star player (Gerard Butler) from a game called “Slayers” looks to regain his independence while taking down the game’s mastermind.

Directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, it looks set to be another piece of genre pulp from Lionsgate who will be expecting males to turn out on force, especially those who love violent action mixed up with some computer game references. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / Cert 18]

Away We Go (E1 Entertainment): A comedy-drama about a couple (John Krazinski and Maya Rudolph) expecting their first child who end up travelling around the U.S. in order to find a perfect place to start their new family.

Directed by Sam Mendes from a script by the husband-and-wife team of Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, it marks a change of pace it received mixed reviews in the US and doesn’t look set to be a big grosser there or here.

E1 Films will be hoping that art-house and indie-orientated audiences will be up for this, although it could struggle to make an impact despite the pedigree of the director, for whom this makes an interesting change of pace. [Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert 15]

The Firm (Warner Bros.): A remake of the Alan Clarke film, directed by Nick Love which sees football hooligans (who would’ve thought it eh?) organising themselves into firms that represent their favorite team.¬†Like most of Love’s films it is more likely to find an audience on DVD.¬†[C’World Shaftesbury Ave., Vues Finchley Road, West End & Nationwide / Cert 18]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

Birdwatchers (Artificial Eye): An Italian drama about a tribe of indigenous Guarani Indians who attempt to re-inhabit their ancestral land, which lies on the border of a wealthy landowner’s fields, causing tensions to escalate. [Curzon Soho & Key Cities / Previews Sept 17th / Cert 15)

Blind Dating (The Works): A 2006 comedy (yes, it is three years old)starring a pre-Star Trek Chris Pine, as a handsome young man who also happens to be blind. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus / Cert 15]

Chevolution (ICA Films): A documentary on the iconography of Che Guevara, as chronicled by filmmaker and Guggenheim scholar Trisha Ziff. [ICA Cinema & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Je Veux Voir (Soda Pictures): A cinematic visualisation of the horrific toll being paid for the recent war in Southern Lebanon. [Cine Lumiere, Renoir & Key Cities]

31 North 62 East (DFTEnterprises): A psychological thriller about how an elite SAS unit’s position is revealed by the British Prime Minister to ensure an arms deal goes ahead and to secure his re-election. [Empire Leicester Square & Key Cities]

The Agent (Pinter And Martin): An adaptation of Martin Wagner’s stage play. [BFI Southbank / Edinburgh F’House / Glasgow Film Theatre / Sept 27th]

> UK cinema releases for September 2009
> DVD & Blu-ray picks for this week including Beyond the Clouds, Is Anybody There? and Leon (W/C Monday 14th September 2009)

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 11th September 2009

UK Cinema Releases / Friday 11th September 2009 [ad]

NATIONAL RELEASES

Julie & Julia (Sony Pictures): Nora Ephron‘s comedy-drama juxtaposes the lives of US chef Julia Child (Meryl Streep), as she falls in love with French cooking during the 1950s, and Julie Powell (Amy Adams), a blogger who attempts to cook all 524 recipes from Child’s cookbook many years later.

Although the tone is relatively light throughout, the film is an enjoyable confection with Streep on especially fine form as a middle aged woman who finds her true calling in life whilst abroad. Adams, understandably, lacks the gravitas of her co-star but she still manages to make her character engaging as she struggles to find her way in life (and the kitchen).

The production design by Mark Ricker and costumes by Ann Roth capture the different time periods with aplomb and watching this digitally projected was at times a mouthwatering experience. It never reaches the food porn levels of something like Babette’s Feast but is still likely to have foodies drooling due to it featuring a lot of cooking and discussion about what we eat.

Sony will be hoping that female audiences will be turning out in force for this one, especially after Meryl Streep has become an unlikely box office draw in the wake of Mamma Mia! and it is likely to do good business despite being a very crowded week at UK cinemas. [Nationwide / Cert 12A / Previews from Sept 9th]

Dorian Gray (Momentum Pictures): An adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, this version is directed by Oliver Parker and stars Ben Barnes in the title role, with Colin Firth as Lord Henry Wotton and Rebecca Hall as Emily Wotton.

Momentum will be hoping fans of the book will be up for this but it may struggle to find a decent sized audience in such a crowded week. [Odeon Leicester Square & Nationwide / Cert 15 / Opened on Weds 9th]

Sorority Row (E1 Entertainment): Teen-themed horror about a group of sorority sisters try to cover up the death of their house-sister after a prank gone wrong, only to find themselves stalked by a serial killer.

Directed by Stewart Hendler, it fatures a cast of unknowns such as Briana Evigan, Leah Pipes, Rumer Willis, Jamie Chung, Margo Harshman and Audrina Patridge.¬†Horror can still be profitable but I feel¬†this may struggle to do big box office mainly because UK audiences have no idea what the word “sorority” means. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / Cert15 / Opened on Weds 9th]

Adventureland (Walt Disney): A comedy set in the summer of 1987 which revolves around a recent college graduate (Jesse Eisenberg) who takes a job at his local amusement park, only to find it’s the perfect course to get him prepared for the real world.

Directed by Greg Mottola (who made Superbad in 2007), it co-stars Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. Despite getting very positive reviews in the US it didn’t make a huge impact at the box office. It could do OK here, but I suspect it will find more appreciation and love on DVD. [Cineworld Shaftesbury Ave., & Nationwide / Cert 15]

Whiteout (Optimum Releasing): Based on the 1998 comic book of the same name, the plot involves a U.S. deputy marshal (Kate Beckinsale) assigned to Antarctica, where she must solve a murder three days before the antarctic winter begins.

Directed by Dominic Sena, it was produced by Joel Silver but appears to be dead-on-arrival with zero buzz and expectation. [C’World Shaftesbury Ave., Vue West End & Nationwide / 12A]

Miss March: Generation Penetration (Fox):¬†A comedy about a young man who awakens from a four-year coma to hear that his high-school sweetheart has since become a centerfold in one of the world’s most famous men’s magazines.

He and his sex-crazed best friend decide to take a cross-country road trip in order to crash a party at the magazine’s legendary mansion headquarters and win back the girl. Another film lacking in buzz that would appear to be straight to DVD fodder were it not actually being shown in cinemas. The pitiful score of 7 (yes, seven) on Metacritic would suggest that it all is not well with this film. [Nationwide / Cert 15]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

UK Limited Releases 11-09-09

Fish Tank (Artificial Eye): The latest film from director Andrea Arnold is the tale of a young teenager (Katie Jarvis) who’s life begins to change when her mother brings home a new boyfriend (Michael Fassbender).

It won the Jury prize at Cannes back in May and Artificial Eye will be hoping for decent arthouse business after the mostly positive critical buzz it has got since then.¬†The bleak setting may put off more mainstream audiences but this looks likely to find an audience and cement Arnold’s reputation futher.¬†[Chelsea Cinema, Curzon Soho, Renoir, Richmond P’House & Nationwide / Cert 15]

The September Issue (Momentum Pictures): A documentary chronicling Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour’s preparations for the 2008 fall-fashion issue. Momentum might be surprised at how well this does given the amount of press it has got, so look out for a good per-screen-average and a decent chunk of business on DVD. [Curzon Mayfair & Key Cities / Cert 12A]

Morning Light (Walt Disney): A documentary about fifteen young sailors. [Odeon Southampton / Cert PG / Selected Key Cities from Sept 18th) Reckoning Day (Revolver Entertainment) [Key Cities / Cert 18]

Shank (Parasol Pictures): Low budget drama about a romance between a self-hating hoodie (Wayne Virgo) and a flighty French student Olivier (Marc Laurent) which explores such issues as class and criminal violence. [Greenwich P’House & selected Key Cities (Previews Bristol 18 July)

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> UK cinema releases for September 2009
> DVD & Blu-ray picks for this week including This is Spinal Tap, Fifty Dead Men Walking and Gladiator (W/C Monday 7th September 2009)

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: September 2009

UK Cinema Releases September 2009

WEDNESDAY 2nd SEPTEMBER

  • 500 Days of Summer (12A) / 20th Century Fox / Odeon West End & Nationwide

FRIDAY 4th SEPTEMBER

  • Big River Man (TBC) / Revolver Entertainment / London & Key Cities
  • Bustin‚Äô Down The Door (15) / Metrodome / BFI Imax London
  • Coffin Rock (15) / High Fliers Films / Apollo Piccadilly Circus (Previews Empire Leicester Sq. 30 Aug)
  • District 9 (15) / Sony Pictures / London & Nationwide
  • Passchendaele (15) / High Fliers Films / Odeon Panton Street
  • Red Baron (12A) / Showbox Entertainment / Apollo Piccadilly Circus
  • Tricks (12A) / New Wave Films / Key Cities

WEDNESDAY 9th SEPTEMBER

  • Sorority Row (15) / E1 Entertainment
  • Dorian Gray (15) / Momentum Pictures

FRIDAY 11th SEPTEMBER

  • Adventureland (15) / Walt Disney
  • Fish Tank (15) / Artificial Eye
  • Julie & Julia (12A) / Sony Pictures
  • Miss March (15) / 20th Century Fox
  • Morning Light (Walt Disney)
  • The September Issue (12A) / Momentum Pictures
  • Shank (TBC) / Parasol Pictures / P‚ÄôHouse & selected Key Cities (Previews Bristol 18 July)
  • Whiteout (15) / Optimum Releasing

WEDNESDAY 16th SEPTEMBER

  • Gamer (18) / Entertainment / Nationwide

FRIDAY 18th SEPTEMBER

  • The Agent (TBC) / Pinter And Martin / BFI Southbank, Edinburgh F‚ÄôHouse (Glasgow Film Theatre 27 Sept)
  • Away We Go (15) E1 Entertainment
  • Birdwatchers (15) (D) Artificial Eye / Key Cities
  • Blind Dating (15) / The Works
  • Chevolution / ICA Films / ICA Cinema & Key Cities
  • Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (PG) / Sony Pictures
  • The Firm (15) / Warner Bros.
  • Je Veux Voir (TBC) / Soda Pictures / Cine Lumiere, Renoir & Key Cities
  • The Spell (15) / Carey Films London & Key Cities (fm 07 October)
  • The Thing (18) / Universal (From Tuesday 15th September)
  • Three Miles North Of Molkom (15) / Metrodome London & selected Key Cities

FRIDAY 25th SEPTEMBER

  • Born In 68 (TBC) / Peccadillo Pictures
  • Case 39 (15) / Paramount
  • Creation / Icon
  • The Crimson Wing (PG) / Walt Disney
  • Fame (TBC) / Entertainment
  • The Godfather (15) / Park Circus Apollo Picc Circus, BFI Southbank, Odeon Covent Gdn. & Key Cities
  • Heart Of Fire (TBC) / Metrodome
  • The Soloist (12A) / Universal
  • Surrogates (TBC) / Walt Disney
  • White Lightnin (18) / Momentum Pictures

Keep a look out every Friday for a breakdown of the weekly releases 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.

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

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 4th September 2009

UK Cinema Releases 04-09-2009

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NATIONAL RELEASES

District 9 (Sony Pictures): One of the surprise films of the summer is this sci-fi action film directed by Neil Blomkamp and produced by Peter Jackson. The premise is Independence Day in Johannesburg with a twist – here the government and military are¬†oppressing¬†visiting aliens (dubbed ‘prawns’) who are herded into refugee camps.

Based on a short film Blomkamp had previously made, it starts as a mock-documentary following a government supervisor (Sharlto Copley) as he tries to move the aliens out of their camps but soon turns into something else after things take an unexpected turn.

A clever and engaging premise is helped by a convincing central performance by Copley and some marvellous visual effects by WETA which really bring the aliens to life, especially in the daytime sequences. Although the transition between the faux-documentary approach and shoot-em-up actioner isn’t always successful there is enough energy and thought here to make this one of the best films of its type in the last couple of years.

Made a comparatively modest for $30 million, the project came about after Jackson’s plans for Halo film with Blomkamp fell through and they chose to expand his¬†2005 short film Alive in Joburg and film it in South Africa.¬†QED International fully financed the production, underwriting the negative cost, and Sony acquired the distribution rights (under the TriStar Pictures banner) for the US, UK and other key territories.

After screening at Comic-Con, the buzz began to build in earnest and a savvy marketing campaign (along with a certain ‘ooh, what’s this?’ factor) meant that the film hit the top spot at the US box office. Sony can expect similar box office returns here and it would be a shock if it didn’t get to number 1 this week.¬†[London & Nationwide / Cert 15]

(500) Days of Summer (Fox): An indie romantic comedy directed by Marc Webb about a woman (Zooey Deschanel) who doesn’t believe true love exists and a young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who falls for her.

The narrative is presented out of sequence, with each scene being introduced by which of the 500 days it is. The film got mostly positive reviews when it opened in the US back in July and although more naturally sour UK critics will be less embracing it could do decent business amongst audiences not fancying District 9.

Fox Searchlight did a decent job releasing it Stateside (where it grossed $25 million on a production budget of $7.5m) and Fox here can expect decent returns despite the lack of major star power. [Odeon West End & Nationwide / Cert 12A]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

Big River Man (Revolver Entertainment): A documentary that follows the Slovenian ultra marathon swimmner¬†Martin Strel, as he attempts to cover 3,375 miles in what is being billed as the world’s longest swim. Strel previously completed record swims in the Danube, Mississippi and Yangzte rivers and holds several Guinness World Records.¬†[London & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Bustin’ Down The Door (Metrodome): Surfing documentary directed by Jeremy Gosch which chronicles the rise of professional surfing in the early 70s. [BFI Imax London / Cert 15]

Passchendaele (High Fliers Films): A Canadian war film written, directed by and starring Paul Gross which focuses on the experiences of his grandfather, Michael Dunne, a soldier who served in the 10th Battalion, CEF in the First World War at the Battle of Passchendaele (also known as the Third Battle of Ypres). [Odeon Panton Street / Cert 15]

Red Baron (Showbox Entertainment): A German biopic about the legendary World War I fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen (Matthias Schweigh√∂fer), directed by Nikolai M√ľllersch√∂n. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus / Cert 12A]

Tricks (New Wave Films): Poland’s entry for this year’s Oscar for Best Foreign Film is a drama about a family in a sleepy provincial town from director Andrzej Jakimowski. [Key Cities / Cert 12A]

Greek Pete (Peccadillo Pictures): A semi-improvised drama about a group of London rent boys, directed by Andrew Haigh. [Shortwave Cinema (SE1) & Key Cities / Cert 18]

> UK Cinema Releases for September 2009
> DVD & Blu-ray picks for this week including Encounters at the End of the World, Battle of Algiers and The Damned United (W/C Monday 31st August 2009)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 28th August 2009

Friday 28 August 2009
Broken Embraces (15) Warner Bros/Pathe Nationwide
Final Destination (15), The (also in 3D) Entertainment Vue West End & Nationwide
Funny People (15) Universal Vue West End & Nationwide
Hurt Locker, The Optimum Releasing C’world Shaftesbury Ave., Vues Finchley Rd., Islington & Nationwide
In The Realms Of The Senses (18) (R/I) bfi Distribution BFI Southbank & Key Cities
Jetsam (D) ICA Cinema ICA Cinema
Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One (15) Momentum Pictures Curzon Soho, Ritzy, Picturehouse Clapham & Key Cities

UK Cinema Releases 28-08-09

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NATIONAL RELEASES

Funny People (Universal): The latest film from director/producer Judd Apatow stars Adam Sandler as a comedian who starts to reassess his life after being informed he has a terminal illness. Co-starring regular Apatow collaborators Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann and Jonah Hill, it also features supporting turns from Eric Bana and Jason Schwartzmann.

It was a film that divided opinion in the US, with some praising its mix of drama and comedy whilst others were less keen, but after a strong opening weekend at the end of July, business dropped off quickly in subsequent weeks.

Universal will be hoping that UK cinemagoers will be pulled in by the star power of Adam Sandler and the promise of more Apatow-styled hilarity. Given the reasonable marketing campaign it is likely to do solid business but faces a good deal of competition from other national releases this Bank Holiday weekend. [Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert 15]

The Hurt Locker (Optimum Releasing): One of the most critically acclaimed films of recent years (an astounding 94 score on Metacritic) is this war drama about a US bomb disposal unit in Baghdad during the Iraq War in 2004. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, it was written by Mark Boal, based on his experiences as a embedded journalist in Iraq.

It stars Jeremy Renner as the team leader of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal(EOD) unit and Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty as the troops assigned to cover him whilst he defuses the bombs that litter the city. Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce and David Morse all feature in key supporting roles and the film was shot by cinematographer Barry Ackroyd, who also worked on United 93 and various Ken Loach films over the years.

After premièring at the Venice film festival last September the film wqas acquired by Summit in the US and after a deliberately slow roll out has grossed a respectable (for an indie) $11m.

Optimum are the UK distributor and are giving this a decent push at the multiplexes as well as the arthouses, hoping to surf the enormous wave of critical acclaim and buzz which is likely to see it nominated¬†at the Oscars next year. [C’world Shaftesbury Ave., Vues Finchley Rd., Islington & Nationwide / Cert 15]

* Listen to my interview with Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal *

Broken Embraces (Warner Bros/Pathe): The latest film from Spanish director Pedro Almod√≥var is a¬†‘romantic noir’ spanning over 16 years (set in 2008, with flashbacks to 1992 and 1994) that focuses on a film director (Lluis Homar) who’s lost the love of his life (Penelope Cruz) as well as his eyesight to a jealous lover.

Despite getting a relatively mixed reaction when it¬†premi√®red¬†at Cannes in May, the film does have its admirers and Pathe will be hoping that arthouse audiences will be keen to sample the latest film from one of Europe’s most famous and¬†acclaimed¬†directors. [Nationwide / Cert 15]

The Final Destination (Entertainment): The ‘final’ chapter of the Final Destination franchise starts with a NASCAR race gone horribly wrong and then sees each¬†teenage character who ‘cheated’ death get gruesomely killed off later.

Although a profitable money spinner for New Line (now under the larger control of Warner Bros.) this franchise now seems a little tired but studio chiefs will be eager to see how it does in 3-D. My guess is that it could do rather well (for this kind of film), so maybe we should prepare ourselves for more of its type in the future. [Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert 15]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One (Momentum Pictures): The second part of the diptych about French criminal Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassell) is set in the early 1970s, as the title character gets caught and becomes addicted to his own notoriety. [Curzon Soho, Ritzy, Picturehouse Clapham & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Jetsam (ICA Cinema): A low budget British thriller from first-time British director Simon Welsford about a woman washed up on to beach with no idea how she got there.

In The Realms Of The Senses (bfi Distribution): A re-release from the BFI for this controversial 1976 Franco-Japanese film directed by Nagisa Oshima, which is a fictionalised treatment of an incident in 1930s Japan involving Sada Abe (the woman who cut over her lover’s genitals and carried them around in her handbag). It garnered huge controversy during its release, not only for its subject matter but also for the fact that it contains scenes of unsimulated sexual activity between the lead actors (Tatsuya Fuji and Eiko Matsuda). [BFI Southbank & Key Cities / Cert 18]

> UK cinema releases for August 2009

> DVD & Blu-ray Picks for this week (including In the Loop and Shifty (W/C Monday 24th August)

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 21st August 2009

UK Cinema Releases 21-08-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

Inglourious Basterds (Universal): Quentin Tarantino‘s long awaited World War II film done in the style of a spaghetti western.¬†A fantasy of sorts (with significant chunks of history rewritten for effect) it involves a large ensemble cast of characters, who are slowly drawn into a tale of revenge.

There is a young Jewish woman (Melanie Laurent) who escapes the slaughter of her family by a ‘Jew hunting’ Nazi (Christoph Waltz); a group of Nazi-hunting commandos known as ‘The Basterds’ led by a Southern lieutenant (Brad Pitt); a British agent (Michael Fassbender) behind enemy lines; a Nazi war hero (Daniel Bruhl) who has become a film star; an German actress double agent (Diane Kruger) and the Nazi high command of Hitler (Martin Wuttke) and Goebbels (Sylvester Groth).

It will almost certainly divide audiences and critics, but this, for me, was a significant return to form for the writer and director. It may not be up to the standards of Pulp Fiction, but it does contain some of his best writing and is filled with numerous delights, notably the performances of Christoph Waltz and Melanie Laurent; Robert Richardson’s cinematography and some superbly worked sequences.

Universal and The Weinstein Company have marketed this as a Brad Pitt World War II movie which is misleading given that his character (although important) is just one slice in a much larger pie. That said it probably is the way to go after the mixed reception at Cannes and the importance of a strong opening weekend.

This movie will not please everyone, it will piss off some critics, it will cause heated debates and it may or may not even help save The Weinstein Company (who partnered with Universal on this $70 million production).

But in a summer that has given us soulless, mechanical junk like Wolverine,Terminator: Salvation, Transformers 2 and G.I. Joe, I am grateful that it exists and hopeful that it will be the platform for Tarantino to explore new creative territory. [Odeon Leicester Square & Nationwide (Previews 15 & 16 Aug) / Cert 18]

* Click here for longer thoughts on Inglourious Basterds *

Dance Flick (Paramount): Another spoof from the Wayans Brothers, although this time they are writing and producing with their nephew Damien Dante Wayans taking directing duties.

This time the target is the musical/dance genre and the plot involves the now familiar formula of a naive girl (Shoshana Bush) who uses dance to achieve her dreams, and the street smart guy (Damon Wayans Jnr) who helps her along the way. It was released in America back in May to decidedly mixed reviews although Paramount will be hoping younger audiences check it out. [Odeon West End & Nationwide / Cert 15]

I Love You Beth Cooper (20th Century Fox): A high¬†school¬†comedy set in a high school, based on the novel by Larry Doyle, about a graduating high school student (Paul Rust) who states to the entire gymnasium that he’s had a crush on cheerleader Beth Cooper (Hayden Panettiere) for six years.

Directed by Chris Columbus, the film has already met with disappointing US box office and some fairly excoriating reviews. Fox will be hoping younger males turn out but the box office prospects here look similar to the US. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / Cert 15]

Shorts (Warner Bros.): A kids film directed by Robert Rodriguez in the Spy Kids mould about a young boy (Jimmy Bennett) who discovers a wish-granting rock that causes chaos when everyone tries to get their hands on it.

The lack of buzz and middling reviews might see this slip quietly under the radar despite the fact that it is the summer holidays. [Vue Leicester Square & Nationwide (Previews 15/16 Aug) / Cert PG]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

Afterschool (Network Releasing): Avery different kind of high school movie directed by Antonio Campos that explores a YouTube-obsessed outcast (Ezra Miller) at a privileged US prep school.

Adopting the style of DIY online video, it explores the effect of technology on school life in the style of Michael Haneke and Gus Van Sant. Although it has a limited release it may well get decent arthouse buzz and a longer shelf life on DVD. [Odeon Panton Street & Key Cities / Cert 18]

Chiko (Vertigo Films): A German gangster drama about a young drug dealer (Denis Moschitto) coping on the mean streets of Hamburg is the debut film from Turkish-German director √Ėzg√ľr Yildirim.¬†[Odeon Panton Street & Key Cities / Cert 18]

Shooting Robert King (Quadrant Films): A documentary about the American photojournalist Robert King, a veteran of Sarajevo and Grozny, that was shot over a decade. [ICA Cinema (Previews Renoir – 16 Aug) / Cert 18]

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> UK cinema releases for August 2009
> DVD & Blu-ray Picks for this week (including Angel Heart, La Haine and Near Dark (W/C Monday 17th August)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 14th August 2009

UK Cinema Releases 14-08-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

Aliens In The Attic (20th Century Fox): A adventure family film set in Maine, about a group of kids must protect their vacation home from invading aliens. Starring Carter Jenkins, Ashley Tisdale, Robert Hoffman, Henri Young, Regan Young and Austin Butler, it was directed by John Schultz.

Timed for the summer holidays, Fox will be hoping tweens and younger cinema goers (plus their parents of course) will make this a bigger hit than it was in the US, where mixed reviews meant it never really took off. [Vue West End & Nationwide / PG / Previews from Wednesday 12th]

Bandslam (E1 Entertainment): An American musical-romantic comedy film that revolves around different teenagers, who all love music. Previously titled Will and Rock On, it was directed by Todd Graff and stars Gaelan Connell, Aly Michalka, Vanessa Hudgens (of HSM fame) and Lisa Kudrow.

Produced by Walden Media and Summit Entertainment, it is getting a simultaneous UK and US release and the soundtrack features the likes of David Bowie, Nick Drake and The Velvet Underground. It has generally earned positive reviews so far, so E1 films may have their fingers crossed on it doing respectable business. [Vue West End & Nationwide / PG / Previews from Wednesday 12th]

Imagine That (Paramount): A comedy-drama set in Denver about a workaholic father (Eddie Murphy) and his daughter (Yara Shahidi) whose imaginary world becomes the solution to her father’s success.

Directed by Karey Kirkpatrick, it co-stars Thomas Haden Church, Martin Sheen and Ronny Cox (who last starred with Eddie Murphy in the Beverly Hills Cop films). It was a major commercial failure in the US and is arriving here on a distinct lack of buzz so Paramount probably won’t be expecting it to make huge waves here. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / PG]

The Time Traveler’s Wife (Entertainment): An adaptation of the best-selling novel by Audrey Niffenegger, the story is about a Chicago librarian (Eric Bana) has a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel when he is stressed, which obviously wreaks havoc with his relationship with an artist (Rachel McAdams).

Although it isn’t likely to get great reviews the combination of the book’s success and Entertainment’s usual bus poster strategy might see this ensnare the female audience for this weekend. [Vue West End & Nationwide / 12A]

A Perfect Getaway (Momentum Pictures): A thriller written and directed by David Twohy about a Hawaiian honeymoon which turns dangerous for two lovers (Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich) when they discover they are being stalked by a pair of killers (Timothy Olyphant and Kiele Sanchez).

It didn’t exactly set alight the US box office a week ago and, given the lack of buzz and star power, Momentum will be expecting only middling returns over here in a busy week. [C’Wlds Fulham Rd/Haymarket, Vues Finchley Rd/G’wich & N’wide / 15 / Previews from Wednesday 12th]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

Sin Nombre / Mid-August Lunch

Sin Nombre (Revolver Entertainment): An acclaimed drama about immigrants trying to reach the US (the title is Spanish for ‚Äúwithout name‚ÄĚ) directed by Cary Fukunaga. The story explores a young Honduran woman (Paulina Gaitan) who wants to start a new life with her father and uncle in New Jersey and a Mexican gang member (Edgar Flores) and his desire to escape his violent past.

The executive producers were Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna and the film is set, and was shot in, Torreón and Coahuila, Mexico. It premiered at Sundance earlier this year where Cary Fukunaga won the Dramatic Directing Award and Adriano Goldman won the Excellence in Cinematography Award and when it opened in the US in March it garnered rave reviews. Revolver will be hoping the critical buzz translates into respectable art house box office. [Nationwide / 15]

Mid-August Lunch (Artificial Eye): An unlikely change of pace for the creative team behind Gomorrah, which is comedy about caring for the elderly. Written and directed by Gianni Di Gregorio, who also stars in the lead role as a dissolute bachelor whose sole occupation is caring for his widowed mother (Valeria De Franciscis).

Due to financial circumstances he has to look after two other octogenarians and it soon becomes a comic struggle he has to cope with. Positive reviews and good word of mouth could see this do decent art-house business, especially on DVD. [Curzons Mayfair, Renoir, Richmond Filmhouse & Key Cities / Artificial Eye]

Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (bfi Distribution): A BFI re-issue for this 1967 musical directed by Jacques Demy, which stars Catherine Deneuve, her sister Françoise Dorléac (who was killed in a car accident shortly after filming), Jacques Perrin, Michel Piccoli, Danielle Darrieux, George Chakiris, Grover Dale and Gene Kelly. The choreography was by Norman Maen. [BFI Southbank & Key Cities / PG]

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> UK cinema releases for August 2009
> DVD Picks for this week including Two Lovers and Californication Season 2 (W/C Monday 10th August)

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: August 2009

UK Cinema Releases August 2009

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FRIDAY 7th AUGUST 2009

  • Adam (12A) / 20th Century Fox / C’World Haymarket, Curzon Mayfair, Odeon Covent Gdn. & Nationwide
  • Beautiful Losers / Revolver Entertainment / Key Cities
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra (12A) / Paramount / Odeon Leicester Square & Nationwide
  • Home (15) / Soda Pictures / London & Key Cities
  • Meerkats (PG) / Momentum Pictures / Vues Greenwich, Finchley Road, Fulham & Key Cities
  • Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus (15) / Metrodome Apollo Piccadilly Circus
  • Mesrine: Killer Instinct (15) / Momentum Pictures / C’Worlds Fulham Rd, Haymarket, Curzon Soho & Key Cities
  • Orphan (15) / Optimum Releasing / Odeon Covent Gdn., Vue West End & Nationwide
  • The Ugly Truth (15) / Sony Pictures / Vue West End & Nationwide (Previews 5 August)
  • The Yes Men Fix The World (12A) / Dogwoof / Screen-On-The-Green, Gate Notting Hill, Greenwich Picturehouse, Ritzy

WEDNESDAY 12th AUGUST 2009

  • Aliens In The Attic (PG) / 20th Century Fox / Vue West End & Nationwide
  • Bandslam (PG) / E1 Entertainment / Vue West End & Nationwide

FRIDAY 14th AUGUST 2009

  • A Perfect Getaway (15) / Momentum Pictures / C’Wlds Fulham Rd/Haymarket, Vues Finchley Rd/G’wich & N’wide (Pvws 12 Aug)
  • Imagine That (PG) / Paramount / Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide
  • Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (PG) / (R/I) bfi Distribution / BFI Southbank & Key Cities
  • Mid-August Lunch (U) / Artificial Eye Curzons Mayfair, Renoir, Richmond Filmhouse & Key Cities
  • Sin Nombre (15) Revolver Entertainment / Nationwide
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife (12A) Entertainment / Vue West End & Nationwide

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WEDNESDAY 19th AUGUST 2009

  • Inglourious Basterds (18) / Universal / Odeon Leicester Square & Nationwide (Previews 15 & 16 Aug)

FRIDAY 21st AUGUST 2009

  • Afterschool (18) / Network Releasing / Odeon Panton Street & Key Cities
  • Chiko (18) / Vertigo Films / Odeon Panton Street & Key Cities
  • Dance Flick (15) / Paramount / Odeon West End & Nationwide
  • I Love You Beth Cooper (15) / 20th Century Fox / Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide
  • Shorts (PG) / Warner Bros. / Vue Leicester Square & Nationwide (Previews 15/16 Aug)

SUNDAY 23rd AUGUST 2009

  • Scarface (18) (R/I) (D) Universal Cineworld Shaftesbury Ave. & Nationwide

FRIDAY 28th AUGUST 2009

  • Broken Embraces (15) Warner Bros/Pathe Nationwide
  • The Final Destination (also in 3D) / Entertainment / Vue West End & Nationwide
  • Funny People (15) / Universal / Vue West End & Nationwide
  • The Hurt Locker (15) / Optimum Releasing / C’world Shaftesbury Ave., Vues Finchley Rd., Islington & Nationwide
  • In The Realms Of The Senses (18) / (R/I) bfi Distribution / BFI Southbank & Key Cities
  • Jetsam / ICA Cinema ICA Cinema
  • Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One (15) / Momentum Pictures / Curzon Soho, Ritzy, Picturehouse Clapham & Key Cities

Keep a look out every Friday for a breakdown of the weekly releases 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.

> 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 7th August 2009

UK Cinema Releases 07-08-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra (Paramount): Following in the footsteps of Transformers (another 1980s toy saga to hit the big screen), this one is an origin story about an elite US military unit (G.I. Joe) and focuses on the characters Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) as they join the team.

Directed by Stephen Sommers, who’s last film was the high profile train wreck Van Helsing (2004), the plot focuses on the team’s efforts to stop an evil organization led by a notorious arms dealer.¬†The cast also includes¬†Rachel Nichols,¬†Ray Park,¬†Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje,¬†Christopher Eccleston,¬†Sienna Miller,¬†Joseph Gordon-Levitt,¬†Dennis Quaid and¬†Jonathan Pryce.

Paramount will be hoping that the bad early buzz on this film (which meant they didn’t screen it for US critics) will not deter the young male audience from going to see it.

Given the success of the Transformers (also produced by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura) the studio may have their fingers crossed for a decent opening that could turn it in to a franchise.

The main problem it faces is not really critical derision (or the dodgy CGI from the trailer) but whether its core audience thinks it is a lame action film and whether non-US audiences get the concept. [Odeon Leicester Square & Nationwide / Cert 12A]

The Ugly Truth (Sony Pictures): A romantic ‘battle of the sexes’ comedy about a TV producer (Katherine Heigl) who is reluctantly embroiled in a series of outrageous tests by her chauvinistic correspondent (Gerard Butler) to prove his theories on relationships and help her find love.

Directed by Robert Luketic, it was presumably designed to be the female equivalent of a Judd Apatow comedy, that capitalises on the emerging star power of it’s two leads.

The poor reviews in the US, along with the less than expected box office there means that Sony won’t be expecting huge things from it here. But that said, it was a smart move to open against G.I. Joe and thus ensnare female viewers not up for explosions and hi-tech weaponry.¬†[Vue West End & Nationwide – Previews 5 August / Cert 15]

Adam (20th Century Fox): An increasingly rare thing in mainstream cinema is the plucky indie-drama acquired at Sundance by a specialty division.

This drama about a New Yorker with Asberger Syndrome (Hugh Dancy) and his relationship with his neighbour (Rose Byrne) is just such a film – it premiered at Park City back in January and was bought by Fox Searchlight.

Directed by Max Meyer, it is an agreeably handled affair with two decent lead performances in roles which could have easily gone astray. Dancy in particular gets a role he can sink his teeth into and manages to avoid the traps of playing a character with a disability.

The chemistry of the central love story is good – even if at times it sugarcoats the realities of what would happen in such a situation – and it is well put together overall.¬†The main flaw with the film is a weak subplot involving Byrne’s father (played by Peter Gallagher) which wouldn’t be out of place on daytime TV.

That said though, it is a film that deserves credit for attempting to craft a drama about a difficult subject matter. Fox will only be expecting semi-decent box office from more enquiring audiences.¬†[C’World Haymarket, Curzon Mayfair, Odeon Covent Gdn. & Nationwide / Cert 12A]

Orphan (Optimum Releasing): Another horror film is unleashed at cinemas and this one is about a husband (Peter Sarsgaard) and wife (Vera Farmiga) who adopt a 9-year-old girl after losing their baby.

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, it was produced by Joel Silver and Leonardo DiCaprio but opened recently in the US to mixed reviews and tepid box office.

Optimum will be expecting horror fans to turn out for this but DVD seems where it is likely to see success. [Odeon Covent Gdn., Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert 15]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

The Meerkats (Momentum Pictures): A docu-drama about meerkats featuring the voice of the late Paul Newman.  [Vues Greenwich, Finchley Road, Fulham & Key Cities / Cert PG]

Mesrine: Killer Instinct (Momentum Pictures): Crime drama starring Vincent Cassell as French criminal Jacques Mesrine. [C’Worlds Fulham Rd, Haymarket, Curzon Soho & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Home (Soda Pictures): A documentary directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand with aerial footage from 54 countries depicting how the Earth’s problems are all interlinked. [London & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus (Metrodome): A quick show in cinemas for this very-soon-to-be-on-DVD potboiler which is adequately descibed by its title. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus / Cert 15]

The Yes Men Fix The World (Dogwoof): Another film about film about the exploits of The Yes Men. [Screen-On-The-Green, Gate Notting Hill, Greenwich Picturehouse, Ritzy / Cert 12A]

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> UK cinema releases for August 2009
> DVD Picks for this week including Let The Right One In and Winstanley (W/C Monday 3rd August)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 31st July 2009

UK Cinema Releases 31-07-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3 (Sony Pictures): This remake of the 1974 thriller sees Denzel Washington take on the role of a MTA dispatcher who has to deal with the head of a criminal gang (John Travolta) who have hijacked a train in New York.

Directed by Tony Scott and scripted by Brian Helgeland, it largely came about because Sony had bought MGM and had the rights to remake certain titles in their library.

Although the original film is so distinctive and of its time, this version manages to be something more than just a rehash, mainly due to the fact that Helgeland went back to the original novel and changed some key plot points.

It features solid work all round from the two leads down to a fine supporting cast, which includes John Tuturro, James Gandolfini and Luis Guzman.

Scott directs in his usual frenetic, multi-camera setup style but there is something pleasingly straightforward about the way in which it is all delivered.

It disappointed at the US box office and got a mixed critical response but deserves to do better over here. However, Sony face a challenge in getting audiences out to see this in a busy summer season dominated by family fare. [Nationwide / Cert 15] (Previews from 29th July)

Land Of The Lost (Universal): This Will Ferrell comedy vehicle based on the 1970s TV show of the same name, was a major flop for Universal earlier this summer.

The story is about a has-been scientist (Ferrell) who is sucked back in time to an alternate universe full of dinosaurs and fantastic creatures. Accompanying him are a research assistant (Anna Friel) and a redneck survivalist (Danny McBride).

Directed by Brad Silberling, it is become the most infamous US box office failure this summer, capping a miserable year so far for Universal.

Given that most UK audiences haven’t heard of, let alone seen, the show it isn’t likely to do great business here either, although the Ferrell factor may attract some of his fans.¬†[Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert 12A]

G Force (Walt Disney): An animated tale about guinea pigs doesn’t sound like the material that would suit producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

However, he has always had a keen nose for what’s making money at the box office and given the huge success of animated franchises with cute animals (see¬†Ice Age 3) this is merely another film in that mould.

The plot revolves around around a special FBI organization of trained secret agent animals, which consists of guinea pigs Darwin (Sam Rockwell), Juarez (Penelope Cruz), Blaster (Tracy Morgan), a mole Speckles (Nicolas Cage) and a fly called Mooch.

The starry voice cast may alert you to the fact that these films can attract some serious A-list talent, who presumably enjoy the lack of physical acting and abundance of zeroes on their pay slip.

Given that this also knocked Harry Potter off the top of the US box office last week, Disney can expect it to do similar business over here. [Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert PG]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

UK Cinema Releases Limited 31-07-09

Coco Before Chanel (Optimum Releasing): Audrey Tautou plays ‘Coco’ Chanel in a biopic exploration of her early life before she rose to worldwide fame as a fashion designer.

Starting with her early years as an illegitimate daughter of a travelling salesman, it explores her life as a cabaret singer where she is nicknamed ‘Coco’ and where she meets the high society gentlemen who would ignite her passion and become instrumental in the development of her career.

Directed by Anne Fontaine (Nathalie), it co-stars Beno√ģt Poelvoorde and Alessandro Nivola. Optimum can expect solid business amongst the arthouse crowd, especially those who loved La Vie En Rose.¬†[C’World Wandsworth, Curzon Mayfair, Odeon Covent Gdn. & Nationwide / Cert 12A]

Crossing Over (Entertainment): On paper this drama about illegal immigrants in Los Angeles sounds like a Traffic-style awards season contender.

Directed by Wayne Kramer (who made The Cooler in 2004), it has an excellent cast including Harrison Ford (in a rare underpaying role), Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Jim Sturgess, Alice Eve and Cliff Curtis.

But scratch beneath the surface and you will discover some dire US reviews, a controversial sub-plot that was cut out, Sean Penn reportedly demanding that his role be removed (which it was) and a sense that this was something of a train wreck for The Weinstein Company and all concerned with it.

The UK distributor Entertainment will hope discerning audiences may turn up out of sheer curiosity but the lack of buzz makes it seem dead-on-arrival as a box office prospect. [Cert 18]

Mad, Sad & Bad (Soda Pictures): A comedy about a dysfunctional family and group of friends whose personal lives are continuously messed up by their own selfish needs and neuroses. Directed by Avie Luthra, it stars Meera Syal. [Empire Leicester Square & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Rumba (Network Releasing): Comedy about teachers in a rural school who share a passion for Latin Dancing, who see their lives changed by a car accident. [ICA Cinema, Odeon Panton Street & selected Key Cities / Cert PG]

Love Aaj Kal (Eros): A Bollywood film starring Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone, directed by Imtiaz Ali and is said to be a Hindi remake of Taiwanese film ‘Three Times’. [C’Worlds Feltham, Ilford, S’bury Ave, Odeon G’wich & N’wide (Previews from 30th July)

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> UK cinema releases for July 2009
> DVD Picks for this week including Il Divo and Watchmen (W/C Monday 27th July)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 24th July 2009

The Proposal poster

NATIONAL RELEASES

The Proposal (Walt Disney): A romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds is the only big nationwide UK release this week.

Bullock plays a high-powered book editor threatened with deportation to her native Canada, who manages to force her weary assistant (Reynolds) to pretend that they are engaged to be married so she can stay in the US.

Directed by Anne Fletcher and written by Pete Chiarelli, it did solid business in the US last month despite the mixed reviews.

Although the latest Harry Potter is still casting a spell over audiences, given the lack of direct competition this weekend, this comedy vehicle looks odds on to appeal to undemanding female cinema goers. [Odeon Leicester Square & Nationwide / Cert 12A/ Opened on Weds 22nd]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

Antichrist poster

Antichrist (Artificial Eye): The latest film from Danish director Lars Von Trier arrives in the UK on a tidal wave of controversy after causing a big stink at Cannes back in May.

The setup is quite simple – a married couple (Willem Defoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) retreat to a cabin in the woods after the death of their child.

What happens afterwards is rather more extreme as things spiral out of control and audiences are treated to scenes that range from graphic sequences of sexual mutilation to one with a talking fox.

Although many critics at Cannes were appalled at the film, Artificial Eye bought UK distribution rights and have cleverly positioned it as a film the chattering classes must see due to ‘outrage’ over the graphic violence and alleged misogny.

The fact that Brian Appleyard of The Sunday Times seemingly lost his mind after seeing it and Christopher Hart of The Daily Mail did likewise despite not seeing it, was not only funny but deeply ironic – publicity like this is usually very expensive.

Art-house business is likely to be brisk over the weekend and the film is likely to turn a decent profit worldwide – especially on DVD – due to its already infamous reputation.¬†[Chelsea Cinema. C’World Haymarket, Curzon Soho, Renoir & Key Cities / Cert 18]

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Just Another Love Story (Revolver Entertainment): Another Danish film (two in one week is rare), although this one is about less contentious subject matter. A crime photographer is involved in a car crash with a stranger and things take an unexpected turn when she wakes up with amnesia. Directed by Ole Bornedal. [Key Cities / Cert 18]

Skin (ICA Films): Based on the true story of a black girl who was born to two white Afrikaner parents in South Africa during the apartheid era, this drama stars Sophie Okonedo and Sam Neill and was directed by Anthony Fabian. [ICA Cinema & Key Cities]

Charles Dicken’s England (Guerilla Films): A documentary presented by Sir Derek Jacobi about the famous Victorian writer which is getting a brief theatrical run before being broadcast on the Sky Arts TV channel in two parts.¬†[Sheffield, Malton, Bradford, Rochester & Key Cities / Cert U /¬†BFI Southbank from 21st July]

The Blues Brothers (Universal): A re-issue for the 1980 comedy would appear to be a strange move for Universal but given its cult status and the fact that younger audiences might not have seen it, makes sense. Directed by John Landis, it stars John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as two brothers ‘on a mission from God’ as they try to save their orphanage. Featuring many R&B and soul legends like James Brown, Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles, it still has an energetic charm which hasn’t faded after nearly 30 years. Watch out for the cameo by Steven Spielberg. [Cineworld Haymarket & Nationwide / Cert 15]

Once Upon A Time In The West (bfi Distribution): Sergio Leone‘s classic 1969 spaghetti Western stars Henry Fonda in a rare villainous role, whilst¬†Charles Bronson plays his nemesis. Jason Robards and Claudia Cardinale also have key roles and the widescreen cinematography by Tonino Delli Colli and music by Ennio Morricone are superb. Definitely worth catching on a big screen if you can.¬†[BFI Southbank, Curzon Mayfair & Key Cities]

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> UK cinema releases for July 2009
> DVD Picks for this week including John From Cincinnati, Cadillac Records and Man of Iron (W/C Monday 20th July)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 17th July 2009

UK Cinema Releases 17-07-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince (Warner Bros): The sixth film in the Harry Potter series is again directed by David Yates and adapted by Steve Kloves. The regular cast (Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, Rupert Grint as Ron, Emma Watson as Hermione and Michael Gambon as Dumbledore) all return and the plot sees the apprentice wizard go back to Hogwarts to find out more about the early years of Lord Voldemort.

Dark clouds are beginning gather over the wizard and regular worlds and Dumbledore enlists the aid of an old professor (Jim Broadbent) to help Harry, who has also found a new book of spells which was once owned by the mysterious ‘Half-Blood Prince’.

Although the first two Potter films were full of back-story and maybe a little sluggish for the more discerning viewer, they have improved since Alfonso Cuaron helped to creatively jump start the franchise in 2004 with the Prisoner of Azkaban.

David Yates did a solid job with the last film and here he moves proceedings along with considerable pace and verve, so much so that you don’t really notice the 153 minute running time.¬†Visually it is the most advanced of the Potter series, with a crisp, clean look and CGI which is expertly woven in with the costumes and production design.

Anticipating the huge interest for what is likely to be the biggest film of the year, Warner Bros released it early on Wednesday and it is set for a massive opening weekend worldwide. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / Cert 12A / Opened on Weds 15th July]

Moon (Sony Pictures): It isn’t often that you get an intelligent low-budget sci-fi film opening at UK cinemas but this first-time effort by director Duncan Jones is highly impressive. Set in the near future, Sam Rockwell stars as an astronaught who works on the moon harvesting helium-3 for a company who have helped reverse the planet’s energy crisis.

To say too much more about the plot would give away too much as it takes off in interesting and unexpected directions. The script by Jones and Nathan Parker taps into the vein of more cerebral sci-fi classics like Solaris (both versions), 2001 and Silent Running.

Given the budgetary limitations, it looks terrific with clever use of sets amd special effects, However, the biggest highlight of all is Rockwell who gives a remarkable performance in what is largely a one man show. Kevin Spacey also provides nice support as the voice of the base computer GERTY.

Sony Classics acquired this after it screened at Sundance back in January and to their credit Sony Pictures UK are giving it a decent national release here. [Nationwide / Cert 15]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

UK Limited Releases 17-07-09

Frozen River (Axiom Films): An acclaimed American indie drama about a desperate single mother (Melissa Leo) living in upstate New York who resorts to smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States as a means of making ends meet. Written and directed by first-timer Courtney Hunt, it co-stars Misty Upham and Charlie McDermott. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Dramatic Feature at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, it is well worth seeking out, especially for Leo’s performance which won her an Oscar nomination earlier this year. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus, Odeon Panton Street & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Kisses (Optimum Releasing): A low budget Irish film about two young children named Kylie (Kelly O’Neill) and Dylan (Shane Curry) who run away together to Dublin for one night. Directed by Lance Daly, it screened at various festivals last year to considerable acclaim. [Odeon Covent Garden, Tricycle Theatre & Key Cities / Cert 15]

* Listen to our interview with Lance Daly about Kisses *

The Informers (Entertainment): An ensemble drama written by Bret Easton Ellis and Nicholas Jarecki and directed by Gregor Jordan. Based on Ellis’ 1994 collection of short stories of the same name, it stars Billy Bob Thornton, Winona Ryder, Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke, the late Brad Renfro and Amber Heard. The abysmal US reviews and distinct lack of buzz may see this slip quietly from cinemas sooner rather than later. [Apollo Piccadilly, Cineworld Shaftesbury Avenue & Odeon Panton Street / Cert 15]

Burma VJ (Dogwoof): A documentary directed by Anders √ėstergaard which follows the September 2007 uprisings against the military regime in Burma. Filmed entirely on hand-held cameras (due to government restrictions), the footage was later smuggled out of the country. [Renoir, ICA, Ritzy & Nationwide / Cert 12A]

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> UK cinema releases for July 2009
> DVD Picks for this week including Religulous, Mad Men Season 2, The Young Victoria and Genova (W/C Monday 13th July)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 10th July 2009

UK Cinema Releases 10-07-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

Br√ľno (Universal): The latest of Sacha Baron Cohen’s comic creations to make it to the big screen is his flamboyant Austrian fashion journalist, Br√ľno. The film version sees him disgraced after causing chaos at a Milan fashion show and chronicles his attempts to make it big in the US with his assistant Lutz (Gustaf Hammarsten).

Once there he tries to get a pilot together with the help of an agent and interviews all manner of people including Paula Abdul, Harrison Ford and Ron Paul. For good measure he also goes to the Middle East where he upsets orthodox Jews and Palestinian terrorists; adopts an African baby; tries to ‘become straight’ with the help of religion, martial arts and the US military; and almost causes a riot at a cage wrestling match in Arkansas.

Directed by Larry Charles, it utilizes the same techniques used in Borat and Religulous in which various people were contacted and slyly duped into signing release forms before being interviewed. This all leads to another daring and frequently hilarious comedy with Baron Cohen demonstrating his gifts for physical and improvised comedy as well as considerable nerve in some unlikely situations.

Given that the subject matter is frequently more extreme than Borat, it has earned an 18 certificate which is almost certainly going to take the edge of its earnings. That said, Universal’s marketing campaign for this film has been nothing short of brilliant with acres of coverage¬†including that stunt with Eminem at the MTV awards, various premieres in character around the globe and some clever social media marketing (including specially branded pages on¬†MeinSpace,¬†Tvitter and¬†Facebuch).

The word of mouth is likely to be very strong and box office could be stellar although it will be interesting to see how it fares with mainstream audiences. [Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert 18]

Fired Up (Sony Pictures): A US comedy about two high school football players (Nicholas D’Agosto and Eric Christian Olsen)¬†who decide to become cheerleaders.¬†Directed by Will Gluck, it earned poor reviews when it opened in the US back in February and is unlikely to do serious business over here.¬†¬†[London & Nationwide / Cert 12A]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

UK Limited Releases 10-07-09

The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee (Icon): A drama about a 50-year-old woman (Robin Wright Penn) who begins to re-examine her life when her older husband (Alan Arkin) moves into a retirement home. Directed by Rebecca Miller, it features an impressive cast for a US indie drama with supporting turns from Keanu Reeves, Alan Arkin, Monica Bellucci, Julianne Moore, Maria Bello and Winona Ryder. [London & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Soul Power (Eureka Entertainment): A documentary about the famous R&B concert in Kinshasa, Zaire that took place ahead of the famous Rumble in the Jungle fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in 1974. Organised by Hugh Masekela and Stewart Levine, it featured ¬†a host of musical luminaries such as James Brown, BB King, Bill Withers, Celia Cruz and Miriam Makeba. Directed by Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, it is a verit√© film, entirely composed of footage shot at the legendary music festival dubbed Zaire ‚Äô74.¬†[Odeons G’Wich, Panton St., Surrey Quays & N’wide (P’views Glastonbury 2009) / Cert 12A]

35 Shots Of Rum (New Wave Films): A French family drama directed by Claire Denis about the relationship between a father and daughter which gets complicated by the arrival of a handsome young man. [Apollo Picc Circus, Cine Lumiere, Curzon Soho, Renoir & Key Cities / Cert 12A]

Cloud 9 (Soda Pictures): German drama about a happily-married woman in her mid-sixties who’s world is turned upside down when she meets an older man she finds herself drawn to. Directed by Andreas Dresen and starring Ursula Werner, Horst Rehberg and Horst Westphal.¬†[BFI Southbank, Renoir & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Echoes Of Home (ICA Films): Documentary about the Swiss tradition of yodelling relayed by old traditionalists and young innovators, directed by Stefan Schwietert. [ICA Cinema from today & Key Cities from 24 July]

Ichi (Manga Entertainment): A female take on the Zatoichi tales about a blind singer named Ichi who possesses lethal fighting skills. Directed by Fumihiko Sori. [ICA Cinema & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters (ICA Cinema/Screenwriters Festival): Director Paul Schrader‘s own cut of his 1985 film about Japanese novelist and playwright Yukio Mishima whose literary career ended in ritual suicide.¬†[ICA¬†Cinema & selected Key Cities / Cert 15]

> UK cinema releases for July 2009
> DVD Picks for this week including Doubt, The Red Shoes and Three Monkeys (W/C Monday 5th July)

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 3rd July 2009

UK Cinema Releases 03-06-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

Public Enemies (Universal): Michael Mann’s adaptation of Bryan Burrough‚Äôs non-fiction book ‚ÄėPublic Enemies: America‚Äôs Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933‚Äď34′, explores the FBI‚Äôs attempts to capture gangster John Dillinger during the Great Depression.¬†It features a heavy weight cast with Johnny Depp as Dillinger, Christian Bale as his FBI nemesis Melvin Purvis and Marion Cottilard as his girlfriend Billie Frechette.

For various reasons it never catches fire: Dillinger remains a remote protagonist, the hi-def visuals don’t look right and the narrative lurches from one shootout to the next without conveying the importance of the story. Universal will be expecting a solid opening weekend given the star power of Johnny Depp but negative word of mouth is likely to affect its long term box office in a busy summer season. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / Cert 15] (Opened on Weds 1st July)

Ice Age 3 (20th Century Fox): The biggest animated franchise for Fox returns for a third installment and this one sees more prehistoric animals voiced by the likes of Quuen Latifah, Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo and Simon Pegg. Like the first two films it is likely to to stellar business amongst the target family audience. [Cineworld Shaftesbury Ave., Vue West End & Nationwide/ Cert U) (Opened on Weds 1st July)

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

Strawberry And Chocolate (Contemporary Films): A re-issue for this 1994 film about a gay artist (Jorge Perugorría) who falls in love with a straight communist (Vladimir Cruz) full of prejudices and doctrinary ideas. Directed by Tomás Gutiérrez and Alea Juan Carlos Tabío. [Barbican and selected Key Cities / Cert 18]

Am I Black Enough For You (Verve Pictures): A documentary about 1970s Philly soul music artist Billy Paul, the city of Philadelphia and the lifelong companionship between Billy and his wife Blanche. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus, Ritzy & Key Cities / Cert 12A)

Kambakkht Ishq (Eros): A romantic comedy about an Indian stuntman who takes Hollywood by storm but cannot find true love. [C’Worlds Feltham, Ilford, S’Bury Ave, Vue Harrow & N’wide] (Previews 2 July)

Red Mist (Revolver Entertainment): A horror film about a group of medical students who accidentally put the hospital’s creepy caretaker into a deep coma and then have to deal with the inevitable revenge. Directed by Paddy Breathnach (Shrooms) and starring Arielle Kebbel, Sarah Carter, Andrew Lee Potts and Martin Compston. [London & Key Cities / Cert 18]

Embodiment Of Evil (Anchor Bay UK): A 2008 Brazilian horror film by director José Mojica Marins that is the third installment of his Coffin Joe trilogy. [ICA Cinema & Key Cities / Cert 18]

> UK cinema releases for July 2009
> DVD Picks for this week including Che (Part One and Two) and Gran Torino (W/C Monday 29th June)

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: July 2009

UK Cinema Releases July 2009

WEDNESDAY 1st JULY 2009

  • Ice Age 3 (U) / 20th Century Fox
  • Public Enemies (15) / Universal / Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide

FRIDAY 3rd JULY 2009

  • Am I Black Enough For You (12A) / Verve Pictures
  • Kambakkht Ishq / Eros
  • Red Mist (18) / Revolver Entertainment
  • Strawberry And Chocolate (18) / Contemporary Films
  • Embodiment Of Evil (18) / Anchor Bay UK

FRIDAY 10th JULY 2009

  • 35 Shots Of Rum (12A) / New Wave Films
  • Bruno (18) / Universal
  • Cloud 9 (15) / Soda Pictures
  • Echoes Of Home / ICA Films
  • Fired Up (12A) / Sony Pictures
  • Ichi (15) / Manga Entertainment
  • Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters (15) / ICA Cinema/Screenwriters Festival)
  • The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee (15) / Icon
  • Soul Power (12A) / Eureka Entertainment (Previews Glastonbury 2009)

WEDNESDAY 15th JULY 2009

  • Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince (12A) / Warner Bros.

FRIDAY 17th JULY 2009

  • Burma VJ (12A) / Dogwoof
  • Frozen River (15) / Axiom Films
  • The Informers (TBC) / Entertainment
  • Kisses (15) / Optimum Releasing
  • Moon (15) / Sony Pictures

WEDNESDAY22nd JULY 2009

  • The Proposal (12A) / Walt Disney

FRIDAY 24th JULY 2009

  • Antichrist (18) / Artificial Eye
  • The Blues Brothers (R/I) (15) / Universal
  • Charles Dickens’ England / Guerilla Films (BFI Southbank fm 21 July)
  • Just Another Love Story / Revolver Entertainment
  • Once Upon A Time In The West (R/I) / bfi Distribution
  • Skin / ICA Films

FRIDAY 31 JULY 2009

  • Coco Before Chanel (12A) / Optimum Releasing
  • Crossing Over (TBC) / Entertainment
  • G Force (3D) / Walt Disney
  • The Heavy / Kaleidoscope Entertainment
  • Land Of The Lost (TBC) / Universal
  • Love Aaj Kal / Eros (Previews 30 July)
  • Mad, Sad & Bad / Soda Pictures
  • The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3 (15) / Sony Pictures

Keep a look out every Friday for a breakdown of the weekly releases 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.

> 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 26th June 2009

UK Cinema Releases 26-06-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

Year One (Sony Pictures): The latest comedy from the Judd Apatow stable is set in pre-historic times and sees Jack Black and Michael Cera play two lazy hunter-gatherers who set off on an epic journey through the ancient world. Directed by Harold Ramis, it has so far attracted awful reviews in the US and is likely to disappear soon after bad buzz sets in and people go to see The Hangover instead. [Nationwide / Cert 12A]

Sunshine Cleaning (Delanic/Anchor Bay): A US indie that has been sitting on the shelf for a while after premiering at Sundance back in 2008, it pairs Amy Adams and Emily Blunt as sisters who start their own¬†crime scene clean-up service. Despite containing many superficial similarities to Little Miss Sunshine (the setting of Albuquerque, Alan Arkin in a supporting role, producer Marc Turtletaub and a quirky sensibility), director Christine Jeffs deserves credit for crafting an engaging tale, which has a more mainstream appeal than audiences might think.¬†[C’World Haymarket, Curzon Soho, Odeon Cov Gdn, Vue West End & N’wide / Cert¬†15]

My Sister’s Keeper (Entertainment): Based on the 2004 novel by Jodi Picoult, Cameron Diaz plays a¬†former attorney who returns to the courtroom after a young teen (Abigail Breslin) learns the truth behind her conception, and seeks to be emancipated from her parents. Directed by Nick Cassavetes, it could very well appeal to female audiences and those wanting to avoid Transformers and Year One, despite having one of the worst posters in recent memory.¬†[Odeon West End & Nationwide / Cert¬†12A]

Blood: The Last Vampire (Warner Bros/Pathe): A live action adaptation of the 2000 anime about a vampire named Saya, who is part of covert government agency that hunts and destroys demons in a post-WWII Japan. Directed by Chris Nahon, it stars Gianna Jun, Masiela Lusha, Allison Miller and Liam Cunningham. [Nationwide / Cert 18]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

Blue Tower, The (D) ICA Cinema ICA Cinema (Previews 23 June)
Dummy (D) Shoreline Entertainment ICA Cinema (Previews 24 June)
Lake Tahoe (D) Yume Pictures Renoir
Last Thakur, The (15) (D) Artificial Eye Cine Lumiere, Genesis Mile End & Key Cities (Previews 21 June – Renoir)
My Sister’s Keeper (12A) Entertainment Odeon West End & Nationwide
Rudo & Cursi (15) Optimum Releasing C’Words Fulham & Haymarket, Curzon Soho & Nationwide
Shirin (PG) (D) bfi Distribution Barbican, BFI Southbank & Key Cities
Sunshine Cleaning (15) Delanic/Anchor Bay C’World Haymarket, Curzon Soho, Odeon Cov Gdn, Vue West End & N’wide
Tenderness (15) Lionsgate UK Apollo Piccadilly Circus
Year One (12A) (D) Sony Pictures Nationwide

UK Cinema Releases Limited 26-06-09

Rudo & Cursi (Optimum Releasing):¬†Gael Garc√≠a Bernal and Diego Luna play two brothers ¬†in Mexico who end up fueding as they try to carve out a career in professional football. Directed by Carlos Cuaron (who co-wrote 2001’s Y Tu Mama Tambien, which was directed by his brother Alfonso) it was¬†produced by Cha Cha Cha Producciones, the company created by Alfonso Cuar√≥n, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Gonz√°lez I√Ī√°rritu).¬†[C’Words Fulham & Haymarket, Curzon Soho & Nationwide / Cert 15]

Shirin (bfi Distribution): An experimental film in which Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami films the faces of 114 Iranian women in a cinema audience as they watch an unseen adaptation of a Persian folk tale. [Barbican, BFI Southbank & Key Cities / Cert PG]

Tenderness (Lionsgate UK): A thriller in which a policeman (Russell Crowe) works to figure out whether a violent teen (Jon Foster) murdered his family. Directed by by John Polson, it co-stars Michael Ahl, Vincent Bagnall and Tayna Clarke. Despite the presence of a major star, it will get a limited release by Lionsgate. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus / Cert 15]

Lake Tahoe (Yume Pictures): A Mexican film directed by Fernando Eimbcke about a teenager and the strange events that take place in his small town. [Renoir]

The Blue Tower (ICA Cinema): A micro-budget contemporary B-movie about an illicit romance which leads to betrayal and crime. Directed by Smita Bhide, it stars Paul Chowdhry and Sonnell Dadral. [ICA Cinema]

The Last Thakur (Artificial Eye): Sadik Ahmed directs this intense contemporary Western, which takes place in a remote town in the marshlands of Bangladesh. [Cine Lumiere, Genesis Mile End & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Dummy (Shoreline Entertainment): A coming-of-age drama¬†about an 18-year-old and his younger brother who are given permission to look after themselves by their social worker after their mother’s sudden death. Directed by Matthew Thompson, it stars Emma Catherwood, Thomas Grant and Aaron Johnson.¬†[ICA Cinema]

> UK cinema releases for June 2009
> DVD Picks for this week including Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Hardware and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (W/C Monday 22nd June)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 19th June 2009

Transformers 2 poster

NATIONAL RELEASE

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Paramount): When it comes to new national UK releases this week, there is only one game in town and it involves alien robots. Unusually, we are getting it a full week ahead of our US counterparts and if the predictions are correct it is likely to have a massive opening. A sequel to the 2007 blockbuster, it sees Shia LaBeouf reprise his role as a human caught in the war between Autobots and Decepticons.

Director Michael Bay has also returned and has constructed this film as a more frenetic exercise than the original. Given that the first film was marked by Bay’s usual penchant for whiplash editing, massive explosions and fetish for military helicopters, you can probably expect who this film is going to appeal to.

Despite the hatred many film purists have for Bay and the fact that a major Hollywood film is based on toys from the 1980s, the first film was quite enjoyable. LeBeouf was an engaging lead and in a summer riddled with sequels (or threequels to be precise) it made a change to see something different, even if it descended into a big fight in which you couldn’t really tell who was who.

The problem second time around is that the worldwide success of the original appears to have gone to the filmmakers’ heads. All the negative qualities (mindless action, tacky concessions to teenage fanboys and incoherent sound editing) have risen to the surface while the positive attributes (human interaction, a sense of wonder at the robots) have been drowned out.

The opening hour of the film manages to entertain in the same way, but after that comes a series of impossibly drawn out sequences involving Transformers hitting each other, LeBeouf and his friends going a bit crazy and shouting a lot, widespread destruction and yet more Transformers hitting each other.

The long, drawn out climax is exhausting in all the wrong ways. Not only is it difficult to make out what the evil Decepticons are actually saying, but the widespread carnage has little real tension despite the presence of key characters, the military and the Pyramids.

However, in light of the film’s many flaws it is worth singling out ILM for their outstanding CGI work on the robots. It has got so good that you actually accept the sight of giant alien robots transforming into vehicles without blinking. Quite how they lost out on an Oscar last time around to The Golden Compass is a mystery and the work here is a slam dunk for awards recognition come awards season.

But this is basically a summer tentpole film, designed to get young moviegoers into cinemas and it will certainly do that. It is almost a dead cert to make DreamWorks and Paramount an obscene amount of money. Tracking and awareness is reportedly through the roof and at this point the studios’ only concern might be that expectations are a little too high. If the projected opening weekend gross narrowly fails to meet the dizzy numbers some expect then there will be a (minor) sense of gloom that it didn’t break opening records.

However, a third film is almost certainly in the works as we speak – let’s just hope that next time they do something interesting with the story and characters, instead of more alien robots beating each other up …again and again and again. [Cert 12A / Odeon Leicester Square & Nationwide]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

UK Cinema Releases 19-06-09

Telstar (Aspiration/Miracle): A new British film about the 60’s record producer Joe Meek (Con O’Neill) who wrote and produced such hits as Just Like Eddie and Telstar before enduring numerous personal and financial problems that saw him meet an untimely end in 1967. Directed by Nick Moran from the 2005 play, it co-stars Kevin Spacey, James Corden, Ralf Little and Carl Barat. Although it feels a little stagey due to much of the action being confined to one location, it is an undeniably interesting story even if the final stages might be a bit too bleak for some.¬†[Cert¬†15 /¬†West End, Ritzy, Vues Islington, Shepherds Bush & Key Cities]

Gigantic (The Works): A US indie film starring Paul Dano and Zooey Deschanel about a mattress salesman who decides to adopt a baby from China but is distracted by a quirky woman he meets at his store. Directed by Matt Aselton, it struggled in limited release at the US box office and looks like it will have similar problems here. [Key Cities / Cert 15]

Katyn (Artificial Eye): A drama about the Soviet slaughter of thousands of Polish officers and citizens in the Katyn forest in 1940, directed by Andrzej Wajda. [Barbican, Cine Lumiere, Curzon Mayfair, Renoir & Key Cities / Cert 15]

North By Northwest (bfi Distribution): A re-issue of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1959 tale of mistaken identity starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason.¬†[BFI Southbank, Curzon Mayfair & Key Cities / Cert PG]

The Disappeared (ICA Cinema): A limited release for this low budget London-set horror with Harry Treadaway as a teenager haunted by the disappearance of his young brother. [ICA Cinema]

> UK cinema releases for June 2009
> DVD Picks for this week including The Class, Bolt and Anvil (W/C Monday 15th June)

The Disappeared (ICA Cinema) ICA Cinema
Gigantic (15) The Works Key Cities
Katyn (15) (D) Artificial Eye Barbican, Cine Lumiere, Curzon Mayfair, Renoir & Key Cities
North By Northwest (R/I) bfi Distribution BFI Southbank, Curzon Mayfair & Key Cities
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UK Cinema Releases: Friday 12th June 2009

UK Cinema Releases 12-06-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

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 2¬Ĺ 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]

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

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)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 5th June 2009

UK Cinema Picks 05-06-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

Terminator Salvation (Sony Pictures): The fourth Terminator film tries to reboot the franchise with a story set in the apocalyptic future only glimpsed at in the first three films. Christian Bale stars as future Resistance leader John Connor, Sam Worthington plays a mysterious man named Marcus Wright and Anton Yelchin is a young Kyle Reese, the protagonist from the original 1984 film.

Set in 2018, it focuses on the war between humanity and¬†Skynet and although the action sequences are mostly well done, all the stuff inbetween is pretty ropey (although to be fair Worthington’s role is better than you might think). Hiring¬†McG as a director was a big mistake, as the basic premise of this new Terminator franchise could have been quite tasty in the hands of a skilled director (like James Cameron) but instead it is pretty formulaic stuff.

Sony have distribution rights for the UK and can expect a big opening weekend but bad word of mouth might affect the box office in the next week or two. The now infamous Christian Bale rant that surfaced earlier this year has probably been one of the most effective (if unintentional) viral ads ever. [London & Nationwide / Cert 12A]

Last Chance Harvey (Momentum Pictures): A romantic film starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson as two people who meet and fall in love in London. Written and directed by Joel Hopkins, it also stars Kathy Baker, James Brolin, Liane Balaban and Richard Schiff.

Momentum will be hoping to attract the older audience who aren’t going to see Terminator and given the OK reviews it got stateside, it might do respectable business.¬†[Chelsea Cinema, Curzon Mayfair, Odeon West End & Nationwide / Cert¬†12A]

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IN SELECTED CINEMAS

Sugar / Anything for Her 05-06-09

Sugar (Axiom Films): The second film from¬†Anna Boden and¬†Ryan Fleck is¬†the story of Miguel Santos¬†(Algenis Perez Soto)¬†nicknamed¬†‘Sugar’, a¬†Dominican pitcher from¬†San Pedro de Macor√≠s, who tries to make it to the big leagues of US baseball. After their brilliant debut in 2006 with Half Nelson, the filmmakers here deserve a lot of credit for sticking to their artistic guns and not making a formulaic indie movie.

It wisely eschews the cliches of US sports movies and provides a rare and fascinating glimpse into the business of US sport, as well as being an absorbing immigrant story. Like Half Nelson it is well observed and free of any cheap sentiment. It premiered at Sundance in 2008 and although it did the festival circuit to some critical acclaim struggled to make an impact at the box office. Axiom will be hoping it does OK arthouse business on the back of very good reviews, which it deserves as it is the kind of US film that you rarely get to see these days. [Curzon Soho & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Anything For Her (Metrodome): A French thriller¬†about a married couple (Diane Kruger and Vincent Lindon) whose life takes a turn for the worse whenone of them is arrested on murder charges. Metrodome will be hoping the same audiences who turned out for Tell No One in 2007 will be up for this. A US remake is already in the works and I’m guessing more people will revisit this film when that vversion is finally released.¬†[Barbican, Cine Lumiere, C’World Haymarket, Curzon Soho & Key Cities/ Cert¬†15]

The Hide (ICA Cinema): A low budget film about two men who form a close bond after news of a police manhunt sets them both on edge. Directed by Marek Losey, it stars Alex MacQueen and Phil Campbell. [ICA Cinema]

Max Manus Man Of War (Revolver Entertainment): A Norwegian biopic about¬†resistance fighter¬†Max Manus, directed by¬†Joachim R√łnning and¬†Espen Sandberg, it stars¬†Aksel Hennie and¬†Nicolai Cleve Broch. [Genesis Cinema Mile End / Cert¬†15]

Shadows In The Sun (Artificial Eye): Set in the late 1960s, this is the story of how a mysterious loner changes the lives of one family and helps them re-discover their deep affection for one another. Directed by David Rocksavage, it stars Jean Simmons, Jamie Dornan, Clemency Burton-Hill and James Wilby. [Curzon Mayfair, Renoir & selected Key Cities / Cert 12A]

Accident (bfi Distribution): A BFI re-issue for this 1967 film, directed by Joseph Losey and written by Harold Pinter, based on the novel by Nicholas Mosley. The story is about the complex relationships between an Oxford professor (Dirk Bogarde), one of his students and the young woman who captivates both of them. It was the second of three collaborations between Pinter and Losey, preceded by The Servant and followed by The Go-Between. [London & Key Cities / Cert 12A]

This Sporting Life (Park Circus): Another re-issue of a 1960s film based on a novel of the same name by David Storey about a rugby league player (Richard Harris) in Wakefield, Yorkshire whose romantic life is not as successful as his sporting life. Co-starring Rachel Roberts and Alan Badel, it was directed by Lindsay Anderson and was one of the last major films of the British New Wave. [ICA Cinema & selected Key Cities / Cert 12A]

> UK cinema releases for June 2009
> DVD Picks for this week including Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler and Battlestar Galactica: The Final Season (W/C Monday 1st June)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: June 2009

UK Cinema Releases June 2009

FRIDAY 5th JUNE 2009

  • Terminator: Salvation (12A) /¬†Sony Pictures (Previews June 3rd)
  • Last Chance Harvey (12A) / Momentum Pictures
  • Sugar (15) / Axiom
  • Anything For Her (15) / Metrodome
  • Accident (12A) /¬†bfi Distribution
  • The Hide (TBC) /¬†ICA Cinema
  • Last Chance Harvey (12A) /¬†Momentum Pictures
  • Max Manus Man Of War (15) / Revolver Entertainment
  • Shadows In The Sun (12A) /¬†Artificial Eye
  • This Sporting Life (12A) / Park Circus

FRIDAY 12th JUNE 2009

  • The Hangover (15) / Warner Bros.
  • The Last House On The Left (18) / Universal
  • Looking For Eric (15) /¬†Icon
  • Blood: The Last Vampire (TBC)¬†Pathe
  • Crimson Wing (TBC) /¬†Walt Disney
  • Just Another Love Story (TBC)¬†Revolver Entertainment
  • Doghouse (TBC) / Vertigo Films
  • The End Of The Line (TBC) / Dogwoof
  • New Town Killers (15) / High Fliers Films
  • Red Cliff (15) / Entertainment
  • Soi Cowboy (TBC) /¬†Network Releasing

FRIDAY 19th JUNE 2009

  • Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen (TBC) Paramount
  • 44 Inch Chest (TBC)¬†/ Momentum Pictures
  • Miss March (15) /¬†20th Century Fox
  • The Haunting In Connecticut (TBC) / Entertainment
  • Beyond The Fire (15) / Met Film Distribution
  • The Disappeared (TBC) / ICA Cinema
  • Gigantic (15) The Works Key Cities
  • Katyn (15) /¬†Artificial Eye
  • North By Northwest (PG) /¬†bfi Distribution
  • Telstar (15) /¬†Aspiration/Miracle

FRIDAY 26th JUNE 2009

  • Year One (TBC) / Sony Pictures
  • Tenderness (15) / Lionsgate
  • Blood: The Last Vampire (18) /¬†Warner Bros & Pathe
  • The Blue Tower (TBC) /¬†ICA Cinema
  • Dummy (TBC) /¬†Shoreline Entertainment
  • The Last Thakur (TBC) / Artificial Eye
  • My Sister’s Keeper (12A) / Entertainment
  • Rudo & Cursi (15) / Optimum Releasing
  • Shirin (PG) /¬†bfi Distribution
  • Sunshine Cleaning (15) / Delanic & Anchor Bay

Keep a look out every Friday for a breakdown of the weekly releases 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.

> 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 29th May 2009

UK Cinema Releases 29-05-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

12 Rounds (20th Century Fox): A thriller about a New Orleans detective Danny Baxter (John Cena) discovers his girlfriend (Ashley Scott) has been kidnapped by a ex-con (Aidan Gillen) tied to Baxter’s past, who then forces him to complete 12 challenges in order to secure her safe release. Directed by Renny Harlin (whose career has been on autopilot for the best part of a decade) and scripted by Shane Black under the¬†pseudonym¬†Daniel Kunka, it has got negative reviews in the US and generally looks like a cross between Die Hard with a Vengeance and Speed …with a wrestler in the lead role. Fox will be hoping for reasonable box office in a week without any major blockbuster rivals, but the lack of star power could hamper it.¬†[Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert¬†12A]

Drag Me To Hell (Lionsgate UK): A horror movie involving an unsuspecting young woman (Alison Lohman) becomes the recipient of a supernatural curse cast upon her by an older Eastern European woman (Lorna Raver). It marks a return to the horror genre for director Sam Raimi and early buzz and reviews have been very good indeed. Lionsgate (distributing in the UK whilst Universal have US rights) have done a good job marketing the film and word of mouth may see this score a better than expected opening weekend. [Odeon West End & Nationwide / Cert 15]

Obsessed (Sony Pictures): A modern day take on Fatal Attraction, which sees a successful professional man (Idris Elba) with a beautiful wife (Beyoncé Knowles) threatened by a temp in his office (Ali Larter) who turns out to be a stalker. Last month the film topped the US box office despite some horrendous reviews and may do OK business here amongst undemanding audiences. N.B. Fans of The Wire (currently airing on BBC2) might note that Elba played Stringer Bell in the critically acclaimed HBO show. [London & Nationwide / Cert 12A]

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IN SELECTED RELEASE

Fermat’s Room (Revolver Entertainment): A¬†2007 Spanish horror film about four mathematicians who are invited to a house, where they are trapped in a room and must solve puzzles given by the host in order to survive.¬†[Odeon Covent Garden & Key Cities]

Fireflies In The Garden (The Works):¬†A semi-autobiographical story which centres on the complexities of love and commitment in a family torn apart when faced by an unexpected tragedy. Directed by¬†Dennis Lee, it features an unusually starry cast which includes¬†Willem Dafoe, Julia Roberts,¬†Ryan Reynolds,¬†Hayden Panettiere,¬†Emily Watson and¬†Carrie-Anne Moss.¬†Despite the people in it, the lack of a major distributor points to a film that is just going to come and go.¬†[C’World Haymarket, Odeon Covent Gdn., P’House Chelsea & Key Cities / Cert¬†15]

Fugitive Pieces (Soda Pictures): An¬†adaptation of the¬†novel of the same name by¬†Anne Michaels, which is the story of Jakob Beer, a boy orphaned¬†in¬†Poland during¬†World War II who is saved by a Greek¬†archeologist. Directed by¬†by¬†Jeremy Podeswa, it stars¬†Stephen Dillane,¬†Rade ҆erbedŇĺija and¬†Rosamund Pike, but the fact that it is only getting a UK release two years after premiering at the ¬†Toronto Film Festival suggests the audience is limited.¬†[London & Key Cities / Cert¬†15]

Jonas Brothers: The 3DConcert Experience (Walt Disney): A 3-D concert film starring the Jonas Brothers trio. [Cineworld Haymarket & Nationwide / Cert U]

Sleep Furiously (New Wave Films): A documentary directed by Gideon Koppel, explores Trefeurig, the Welsh farming community in Ceredigion where he grew up, and where his parents found refuge from Nazi Germany during the Second World War. [Curzon Soho, Apollo Piccadilly Circus & Key Cities / Cert U]

> UK cinema releases for May 2009
> DVD Picks for this week including The Reader and 30 Rock: Season 2 (W/C Monday 25th May)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 22nd May 2009

UK Cinema Releases 22-05-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

Night At The Museum 2 (20th Century Fox): The sequel to the 2006 hit comedy sees the museum pieces from the first film (which come to life) attacked by an evil Pharaoh.

Security guard Larry (Ben Stiller) then has to break into the Smithsonian Institution to save the old exhibits from New York (like Theodore Roosevelt) from new exhibits (like General Custer, Napoleon Bonaparte, Al Capone and even Darth Vader).

Fox are looking to capitalise on the runaway success of the first film (which dominated the 2006 Christmas box office) and turn this into a summer family tent pole movie. Although it has a lot of competition, expect this to get to the top spot. [Nationwide / Cert PG] 

Tormented (Warner Bros/Pathe): A British horror film about a bullied asthmatic who is driven to suicide and returns from the dead to get revenge on his teenage tormentors. Starring Alex Pettyfer, April Pearson and directed by Jon Wright.

Partly funded by BBC Films, this will be looking to lure gullible teens in but might struggle to get them in the current crowded marketplace. [Nationwide / Cert 15]

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IN SELECTED RELEASE

Alice Neel (Revolver Entertainment): A look at the life of portraitist Alice Neel, whose paintings were embraced in the 1970s, some 50 years after she began to work. [ICA Cinema]

Awaydays (Optimum Releasing): Based on the book of the same name by Kevin Sampson, this explores a bunch of thrill seeking young men looking to escape their 9 to 5 lives in the 1970s.

Blind Loves (ICA Films): The film debut by¬†writer/director¬†Juraj Lehotsky¬†of Slovakia who cast¬†real blind people to play themselves in this blend between fiction and documentary¬†about the¬†everyday lives of four blind lovers.¬†[C’Worlds Fulham, Wandsworth & Nationwide / Cert¬†18][ICA Cinema & Key Cities From June / Cert¬†18]

Everlasting Moments (Icon): A Swedish drama starring Maria Heiskanen, Mikael Persbrandt and Jesper Christensen. Directed by Jan Troell it is based on the true story of Maria Larsson, a Swedish working class woman in the early 1900s, who wins a camera in a lottery and goes on to become a photographer. [Curzon Soho & Key Cities / Cert 15]

The Girl Cut In Two (Artificial Eye): ¬†Veteran French director Claude Chabrol returns with this tale about¬†two men (Beno√ģt Magimel¬†&¬†Fran√ßois Berl√©and) who vie for a single young woman (Ludivine Sagnier).¬†

Louise Bourgeois (Revolver Entertainment): A documentary about artist and sculptor Louise Bourgeois, directed by Marion Cajori and Amei Wallach. [ICA Cinema]

Mark Of An Angel (Metrodome): A French thriller about two unusual mothers who both claim kinship over the young girl. [Curzons Mayfair & Renoir, Gate, Screen On The Green & Key Cities / Cert 12A]

Objectified (Plexifilm): A documentary by director¬†Gary Hustwit which explores the elusive world of industrial design and the interaction of people with the objects they’ve brought into their lives.¬†[Barbican]

Painters Painting (Revolver Entertainment): A 1972 documentary directed by Emile de Antonio which covers American art movements from abstract expressionism to pop art through conversations with artists in their studios. Artists appearing in the film include Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Kenneth Noland. [ICA Cinema]

Pierrot Le Fou (bfi Distribution): A re-issue of the 1965 film by Jean-Luc Godard, starring Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo. It is based on Obsession, the novel by Lionel White. [London & Key Cities / Cert 15]

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> UK cinema releases for May 2009
> UK DVD Picks for this week including Frost/Nixon and Defiance (W/C Monday 18th May)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 15th May 2009

UK Cinema Releases 15-05-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

Angels and Demons (Sony Pictures): The sequel to The Da Vinci Code sees Tom Hanks return as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon and he has to solve a plot by the Illuminati, who are threatening to destroy Vatican City with stolen antimatter during a papal conclave. Directed by Ron Howard, it is only slightly less dull than the first film and the supporting cast (featuring Ayelet Zurer, Ewan McGregor and Stellan Skarsgård) do their best with wafer thin characters. 

An expensive waste of a talented cast and crew, servicing the Hollywood machine with a film that will almost certainly be amongst the top 5 grossers of the year.¬†Perhaps Dan Brown’s next book could be about a conspiracy involving why so many people lap up these turgid books and films. However, despite the bad reviews this film is going to get, Sony can expect to make almost as much money as the Vatican this month, which is really saying something.¬†[Nationwide / Cert¬†12A]

Fighting (Universal): An action film directed by Dito Montiel, about a young ticket scalper introduced to the world of underground street fighting. It stars Channing Tatum, Terrence Howard, Luis Guzmán, Brian J. White, Flaco Navaja and Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Cung Le. 

Universal might be bracing themselves for everyone else to go and see Angels and Demons but a question that most UK audiences with be asking this weekend is who the hell is Channing Tatum? [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / Cert 12A / Previews 13 & 14 May]

Synecdoche, New York (Revolver Entertainment): The directorial debut of Charlie Kaufman (who wrote Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) centres around a theatre director named Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who starts to re-evaluate life after both his health and marriage break down. He then devises an enormous theatre project inside a life size replica of New York city that reflects and imitates his own life. 

What follows is a strange and often baffling movie, complete with the kind of motifs that are peppered throughout Kaufman’s scripts. But despite the oddities and the Chinese-box narrative, this is a film overflowing with invention and ideas. It explores the big issues of life and death but also examines the nature of art and performance Рa lot of the film, once it goes inside the warehouse, is a mind-boggling meditation on our lives as a performance. 

Imagine¬†The Truman Show¬†rewritten by¬†Samuel Beckett¬†and directed by¬†Luis Bu√Īuel¬†and you‚Äôll get some idea of what Kaufman is aiming for here.¬†Much of the film hinges on Seymour Hoffman‚Äôs outstanding central performance in which he conveys the vulnerability and determination of a man obsessed with doing something worthwhile before he dies.¬†The makeup for the characters supervised by¬†Mike Marino¬†is also first rate, creating a believable ageing process whilst the sets are also excellent, even if some of the CGI isn‚Äôt always 100% convincing.¬†

The supporting cast was also impressive: Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton, Emily Watson, Hope Davis, Tom Noonan and Dianne Weist all contribute fine performances and fit nicely into the overall tone of the piece. Although the world Kaufman creates will alienate some viewers, it slowly becomes a haunting meditation on how humans age and die. 

As the film moves towards resolution it becomes surprisingly moving with some of the deeper themes slowly, but powerfully, rising to the surface. This means that although it will have it’s admirers (of which I certainly include myself) it is likely to prove too esoteric for mass consumption as it has a downbeat tone despite the comic touches.  [Curzon Soho, Odeon Covent Gdn., Barbican & Key Cities / Cert 15]

N.B. The¬†first word of the title is pronounced ‚ÄúSyn-ECK-duh-kee‚ÄĚ.

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IN LIMITED RELEASE

French Film (Vertigo Films): A comedy about how French and English cultures differ in their attitudes on relationships. It is directed by Jackie Oudney and stars Hugh Bonneville, Anne-Marie Duff and Eric Cantona. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Viva (Nouveaux Pictures):¬†Two suburban couples experiment with sex, drugs and bohemia in early 1970’s Los Angeles. Directed by and starring¬†Anna Biller.¬†[ICA Cinema]

> UK cinema releases for May 2009
> UK DVD releases for this week (W/C Monday 11th May)

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UK Cinema Releases: Friday 8th May 2009

Star Trek, Coraline, Cheri

NATIONAL RELEASES

Star Trek (Paramount): The rebooting of the Star Trek franchise takes place in the early years of Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto), during their training at Starfleet Academy and their first mission together. Directed by J. J. Abrams it is a smart and highly engaging sci-fi adventure which should please Trek fans and a wider audience. It looks set to dominate the global box office this week and Paramount can expect to crack markets that have traditionally been resistant to their most profitable franchise. An extensive publicity campaign, great reviews and good audience word of mouth should ensure a huge gross and the prospect of sequels. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / Cert 12A] (Previews 7 May)

Coraline¬†(Universal): An animated¬†stop-motion¬†3-D¬†fantasy film¬†based on¬†Neil Gaiman‘s 2002 novella¬†about a young girl (Dakota Fanning) who finds a portal to an alternate world, which is more sinister than it initially seems. Directed by Henry Selick, who made¬†The Nightmare Before Christmas, it features the voices of¬†Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher¬†and¬†Keith David¬†and is a compelling and imaginitavely realised tale.¬†[Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert¬†PG] (Previews 2 – 4 May)

* Listen to our interview with Henry Selick about Coraline *

Cheri (Warner Bros/Pathe): A romantic drama set in 1920s Paris, where the son of a courtesan (Rupert Friend) retreats into a fantasy world after being forced to end his relationship with the older woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) who educated him in the ways of love. Directed by Stephen Frears, it is adapted from an adaptation of the novel by French author Colette. [London & Key Cities / Cert 15]

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IN SELECTED RELEASE

Blue Eyelids (Axiom Films): The debut feature from director Ernesto Contreras is the story of an introverted woman (Cecilia Suárez) who wins a holiday trip for two and Рlonging for company Рinvites a stranger (Enrique Arreola). [NFT, Apollo Piccadilly Circus & Key Cities]

Delta (ICA Films): The tale of disturbing family relationships in a wild Hungarian delta, directed by Kornél Mundruczó. [ICA Cinema, Renoir & Key Cities / Cert 18]

Little Ashes (Kaleidoscope Ent):¬†The young life and loves of artist Salvador Dal√≠, filmmaker Luis Bu√Īuel and writer Federico Garc√≠a Lorca is explored is this film directed by¬†Paul Morrison¬†and starring¬†Robert Pattinson,¬†Javier Beltr√°n¬†and¬†Matthew McNulty. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus & Key Cities / Cert¬†15]

Momma’s Man (Diffusion Pictures): The story of a¬†man who has avoided his wife and child at home and has a change of heart after an imposed stay in his own parents’ loft, directed by¬†Azazel Jacobs.¬†[London & Key Cities]

O’Horten (Artificial Eye):¬†A drama focused on a life-changing moment in 67-year-old train engineer Odd Horten’s existence: the evening of his retirement.¬†[Curzon Soho, Ritzy, Screen On The Green & selected Key Cities / Cert¬†12A]

Sounds Like Teen Spirit (Warner Music Ent.): Documentary about the junior version of the annual Eurovision song festival, directed by Jamie Jay Johnson. [Curzon Soho, Ritzy, Screen On The Green & Key Cities / Cert 12A]

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> UK cinema releases for May 2009
> UK DVD releases for this week (W/C Monday 4th May)

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UK Cinema Releases: May 2009

UK Cinema Releases May 2009

FRIDAY 1st MAY 2009

  • X Men Origins: Wolverine (12A) / 20th Century Fox / Vue West End & Nationwide (Previews Thurs 29th)
  • Hannah Montana The Movie (U) / Walt Disney / Vue West End & Nationwide
  • Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past (12A) / Entertainment / Vue West End & Nationwide
  • Is Anybody There?¬†(12A) / Optimum Releasing / Clapham P’House, Curzon Mayfair, Screen on Baker Street & Nationwide
  • Helen (PG) / New Wave Films / Apollo Piccadilly Circus, Curzon Soho & Key Cities
  • The End (15) / Kaleidoscope Entertainment / London & Key Cities
  • Funuke: Show Some Love, You Losers! (15) / Third Window Films / ICA Cinema
  • Kal Kisne Dekha / Adlabs Films / C’Worlds Feltham, Ilford, Wandsworth, Wood Green & selected Key Cities

FRIDAY 8th MAY 2009

  • Cheri (15) (D) Warner Bros/Pathe / London & Key Cities
  • Coraline (PG) / Universal / Vue West End & Nationwide (Previews 2 – 4 May)
  • Blue Eyelids / Axiom Films / NFT & Key Cities
  • Delta (18) / ICA Films / ICA Cinema, Renoir & Key Cities
  • Little Ashes (15) / Kaleidoscope Ent / Apollo Piccadilly Circus & Key Cities
  • Momma’s Man / Diffusion Pictures / London & Key Cities
  • O’Horten (12A) / Artificial Eye / Curzon Soho, Ritzy, Screen On The Green & selected Key Cities
  • Sounds Like Teen Spirit (12A) / Warner Music Ent. Curzon Soho, Ritzy, Screen On The Green & Key Cities
  • Star Trek (12A) / Paramount Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide (Previews 7 May)

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FRIDAY 15th MAY 2009

  • Angels and Demons (12A) / Sony Pictures / Nationwide (Previews Thurs 14th May)
  • Fighting (15) / Universal / Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide (Previews 13 & 14 May)
  • French Film (15) / Vertigo Films / Apollo West End & Key Cities
  • Synecdoche, New York (15) / Revolver Entertainment / Curzon Soho, Odeon Covent Gdn., Barbican & Key Cities
  • Viva / Nouveaux Pictures / ICA Cinema

FRIDAY 22nd MAY 2009

  • Night At The Museum 2 / 20th Century Fox / Nationwide (Previews¬†Wednesday 20 May 2009)
  • Awaydays (18) Optimum Releasing / C’Worlds Fulham, Wandsworth & Nationwide
  • Blind Loves / ICA Films / ICA Cinema & Key Cities (From June)
  • Everlasting Moments / Icon / Curzon Soho & Key Cities
  • The Girl Cut In Two / Artificial Eye
  • Mark Of An Angel (12A) / Metrodome
  • Pierrot Le Fou (15) (R/I) / bfi Distribution / London & Key Cities
  • Tormented (15) / Warner Bros/Pathe / Nationwide

WEDNESDAY 27th MAY 2009

  • 12 Rounds (12A) 20th Century Fox
  • Drag Me To Hell / Lionsgate UK

FRIDAY 29th MAY 2009

  • Fermat’s Room / Revolver Entertainment
  • Fireflies In The Garden / The Works
  • Fugitive Pieces / Soda Pictures / London & Key Cities
  • Jonas Bros – The 3D Concert Experience / Walt Disney
  • Kambakt Ishq / Eros
  • Management (15) / Metrodome
  • Obsessed / Sony Pictures
  • Sleep Furiously (U) / New Wave Films / Curzon Soho, Apollo Lower Regent Street & Key Cities

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Keep a look out every Friday for a breakdown of the weekly releases 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.

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

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 1st May 2009

UK Cinema Releases 01-05-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (20th Century Fox): A¬†prequel to the¬†X-Men films¬†which traces the back story to Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and his involvement in the Weapon X program. Directed by Gavin Hood (who made Tsotsi and Rendition) it co-stars¬†Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston¬†and Lynn Collins, but for various reasons is something of a mess. Despite the film’s problems, Fox will expect a huge worldwide opening although it may tail off when bad word of mouth spreads and Star Trek opens next week.¬†[Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert¬†12A]

Hannah Montana The Movie (Walt Disney): The¬†film adaptation¬†of the teen sitcom¬†Hannah Montana¬†stars¬†Miley Cyrus¬†as¬†Miley Stewart¬†(and her¬†alter-ego¬†Hannah Montana)¬†who’s¬†life is becoming out of control,¬†to the point where¬†her dad,¬†Robby Stewart¬†(Billy Ray Cyrus) takes her¬†back home to Tennessee.¬†Disney can expect the tweens to lap this up although questions may be asked if counter-programming it against Wolverine was the right move.¬†[Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert¬†U]

Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past (Entertainment): A romantic comedy¬†that offers a new take on¬†Charles Dickens‘¬†A Christmas Carol¬†which sees¬†Matthew McConaughey¬†play a womaniser haunted by past girlfriends. Directed by¬†Mark Waters, it stars¬†Emma Stone¬†and¬†Jennifer Garner. More counter-programming against Wolverine, Entertainment can expect female audiences to be interested but the lack of awareness for this film seems ominous for its long-term box office. [Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert 12A]

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IN SELECTED RELEASE

Is Anybody There? (Optimum Releasing): A British drama about a young boy¬†(Bill Milner) who lives at an old people’s home run by his parents (David Morrissey¬†and¬†Anne-Marie Duff), who strikes up a friendship with an elderly magician (Michael Caine).¬†[Clapham P’House, Curzon Mayfair, Screen on¬†Baker Street & Nationwide / Cert¬†12A]

Funuke: Show Some Love, You Losers! (Third Window Films): Japanese film about the relationship between three siblings after their patents die in a road accident. [ICA Cinema / Cert 15]

Helen (New Wave Films): The story of a young woman poised on the brink of adult life directed by Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus, Curzon Soho & Key Cities / Cert PG]

The End (Kaleidoscope Entertainment): A documentary by Nicola Collins about East End gangsters. [London & Key Cities]

Kal Kisne Dekha (Adlabs Films): A Bollywood film directed by¬†Vivek Sharma¬†and starring¬†newcomers¬†Jackky Bhagnani¬†and¬†Vaishali Desai. [C’Worlds Feltham, Ilford, Wandsworth, Wood Green & selected¬†Key Cities]

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> Our latest DVD picks (W/C Monday 27th April)

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Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 24th April 2009

UK Cinema Releases 24-04-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

State Of Play (Universal): Based on the BBC mini-series of the same title, the action has been relocated to Washington DC, where two investigative reporters (Russell Crowe and Rachel McAdams) in Washington uncover murky goings on when a congressman (Ben Affleck) becomes involved in a scandal involving infidelity and murder. Although there are a few problems in compressing the excellence of the original series into a 2 hour film, director Kevin McDonald does largely deliver the goods and has crafted a highly watchable thriller with a fine (if underused) supporting cast including Helen Mirren, Jason Bateman, Robin Wright Penn and Jeff Daniels [Empire Leicester Sq. & Nationwide / Cert 12A]

Observe And Report (Warner Bros): A dark comedy vehicle for Seth Rogen which sees him play a¬†mall security guard who has to deal with a mysterious flasher who has started to ruin every one’s shopping experience. Directed by¬†Jody Hill, who made The Foot Fist Way, it deserves credit for trying to do something different but ends up as a strange, unfunny mess. The set-pieces never catch fire and the whole thing is riddled with a cheap hatred for its¬†one- dimesional caricatures. A decent supporting cast including¬†Anna Faris,¬†Ray Liotta¬†and¬†Michael Pe√Īa¬†is largely wasted, with the exception of¬†Danny McBride¬†as a ‘Caucasian Crackhead’.¬†[Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert 15]

Outlander (Momentum Pictures): A period sci-fi film (how about that for a hybrid genre?) set during the reign of the Vikings which sees a man from a far-off world (Jim Caviezel) crash land on Earth with an alien predator known as the Moorwen. Directed by Howard McCain, it co-stars Sophia Myles, Jack Huston, Ron Perlman and John Hurt. [Odeons Greenwich, Whiteleys, Vues Islington, West End & Nationwide / Cert 15]

The Uninvited (Paramount): Yet another US remake of an Asian horror film, the story is about a woman (Emily Browning) who returns home to her sister after a spell in a mental hospital, though her recovery is jeopardized thanks to her cruel stepmother, aloof father and the presence of a ghost in their home. Directed by Charles Guard and Thomas Guard, it also stars Emily Browning, Arielle Kebbel, Elizabeth Banks and David Strathairn. [Nationwide / Cert 15]

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IN SELECTED RELEASE

UK Selected Releases 24-04-09

Encounters At The End Of The World (Revolver Entertainment): The latest film from Werner Herzog is a remarkable documentary which sees the German director and cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger go to Antarctica to meet people who live and work there. It is almost an antidote to March of the Penguins, with some marvellous observations and meditations set alongside some fascinating footage of the continent at the bottom of the world. [Odeon Covent Gdn, Phoenix, Renoir & Key Cities / Cert 15]

Shifty (Metrodome): A new British film about a young drug dealer (Riz Ahmed) in a town just outside London who sees his life spiral out of control when his best friend (Daniel Mays) returns home. Directed by Eran Creevy and co-starring Jason Flemyng and Francesca Annis, it was funded by Film London’s Microwave scheme and shot in just 18 days. [Cineworld Haymarket, Curzon Soho & Nationwide / Cert 15]

* Listen to my interview with Eran Creevy and Daniel Mays *

FAQ About Time Travel (Lionsgate UK): A new British comedy about three men trying¬†to navigate a time-travel conundrum. Directed by Gareth Carrivick from a script by Jamie Mathieson, it stars¬†Anna Faris,¬†Chris O’Dowd,¬†Marc Wootton¬†and¬†Dean Lennox Kelly.¬†[Vue West End & Key Cities / Cert 15]

From Russia With Love (Park Circus): The second James Bond with Sean Connery as the 007, gets a re-release by Park Circus. Directed by Terence Young it is based on the 1957 novel by Ian Fleming and sees Bond sent to assist in the defection of Corporal Tatiana Romanova in Turkey, where SPECTRE plans to avenge the killing of Dr. No. [BFI Southbank & Nationwide / Cert PG]

The Grocer’s Son (ICA Films): A French film about a young man returning to his home village, only to come into conflict with¬†his brother and father. Directed by¬†Eric Guirado¬†and starring¬†Nicolas Cazal√©¬†and¬†Clotilde Hesme. [ICA Cinema, Odeon Panton St., & Key Cities / Cert¬†12A]

City Rats (Revolver Entertainment): Another British film with Danny Dyer    (shall I stop now?) which explores different characters in London, Tamer Hassan and Susan Lynch. [Apollo Piccadilly / Cert 18]

> Check out the UK cinema releases for April 2009
> Our latest DVD picks (W/C Monday 20th April)

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 17th April 2009

UK Cinema Releases 17-04-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

I Love You Man (Paramount): Comedy about a newly engaged man (Paul Rudd) who realises he has no male friends¬†and sets out to find a best man for his wedding. Although he didn’t work on it, this bears all the hallmarks of a Judd Apatow comedy as it stars two of his regular actors (Rudd and Jason Segel) and is directed by John Hamburg who worked on Undeclared. Some of it is a little predictable (e.g. pop culture references, geeky men getting in touch with their emotions) but the chemistry from the two leads works nicely and the laughs are fairly consistent throughout.¬†[London & Nationwide /¬†Cert 15]

Crank: High Voltage (Lionsgate): The sequel to the 2006 action film Crank sees Jason Statham reprise his role as Chev Chelios, a British hitman in LA who is forced to keep his adrenaline going after being poisoned. This one picks up straight after and Chelios has his heart stolen (!) by a gang of rougue Chinese medics and must keep shocking himself with regular jolts of electricity to keep himself alive. Written and directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, it is as mindlessly enjoyable as the first one and a cut above the Transporter films. [Nationwide / Cert 15]

In The Loop (Optimum Releasing): A spin off from the BBC TV series The Thick of It, this political satire sees the US president and Prime Minister want to declare another war and follows the people behind the scenes who have to spin the message to the public. It stars Tom Hollander, James Gandolfini, Chris Addison, Peter Capaldi, Gina McKee, Steve Coogan and was written and directed by Armando Iannucci. [Odeons Camden & Kensington, Vue Shepherds Bush & Nationwide / Cert 15]

Not Easily Broken (Sony Pictures): The story of couple¬†(Morris Chestnut¬†and Taraji P. Henson) whose marriage is tested after one of them is hurt in a car crash. Directed by¬†Bill Duke¬†from¬†T.D. Jakes‘s¬†novel¬†Not Easily Broken.¬†[London & Nationwide / Cert PG]

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IN SELECTED RELEASE

Good (Lionsgate): A film adaptation of the play by C. P. Taylor, which is the story of John Halder (Viggo Mortensen), a German literature professor in the 1930s, who slowly accepts the ideas of the Nazi Party. It co-stars  Jason Isaacs and Jodie Whittaker and was directed by Vicente Amorim. [Curzon Mayfair & Key Cities / Cert 15]

In Search Of Beethoven (Seventh Art Productions): The first truly comprehensive feature length cinema documentary ever made about Beethoven, with over 60 live performances. Directed by Phil Grabsky. [All Saints Arts Ctre, Barbican, Phoenix & Key Cities / Cert U] 

Before I Forget (Peccadillo Pictures): A 2007 French film directed by Jacques Nolot about a 58-year-old man battling his inner demons on the search for self-discovery. [ICA Cinema & Key Cities]

> Check out the UK cinema releases for April 2009
> Our latest DVD picks (W/C Monday 13th April) 

Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 10th April 2009

UK Cinema Releases 10-04-09

NATIONAL RELEASES

Fast and Furious (Universal): The fourth film in The Fast and the Furious film series which is set between the second and third films, five years after the events of the first film. The plot connects with the original film from which Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster reprise their roles. It has already taken a ton of money in America after dominating the box office there last weekend and could very well claim the top spot here.  

17 Again (Entertainment): A body swap film which stars Matthew Perry as a thirtysomething man who gets the chance to be his 17 year old self (Zac Efron). Directed by Burr Steers (who previously directed Igby Goes Down and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, as well as being the guy on the couch in Pulp Fiction  who gets shot by Samuel L Jackson), it is likely to play well to the High School Musical fanbase, but might suffer in what is a crowded week for family films with the Easter holidays. 

Race To Witch Mountain (Disney): A¬†re-imagining¬†(i.e. loose remake) of the 1975 film¬†Escape to Witch Mountain. Both versions of the film are based on the 1968 novel¬†Escape to Witch Mountain¬†by author¬†Alexander Key. This one stars¬†Dwayne ‘Formerly Known as The Rock’ Johnson,¬†Anna Sophia Robb,¬†Alexander Ludwig¬†and¬†Carla Gugino. The iffy reviews probably won’t stop curious family audiences from checking it out, even if it doesn’t have any major stars in it.

Dragonball Evolution (Fox): A live-action film adaptation of the Dragon Ball media franchise (so one to get the art-house crowd excited), the plot revolves around the adventures of the lead character Goku (Justin Chatwin) and his nemesis Lord Piccolo (James Marsters). It is directed by James Wong and produced by Stephen Chow.

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IN SELECTED RELEASE

UK Selected Cinema Releases 10-04-09

Fifty Dead Men Walking (Metrodome): An¬†adaptation of¬†Martin McGartland‘s 1997 autobiography of the same name, about his time as¬†an¬†informant¬†within the¬†Provisional IRA¬†from 1988 til 1991.¬†It stars¬†Jim Sturgess¬†as McGartland,¬†Ben Kingsley¬†as his British¬†handler¬†and was directed by Kari Scogland.

Let The Right One In (Momentum): Set during the 1980s, this Swedish vampire film tells the story of a bullied 12-year-old boy named Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) who develops a relationship with a vampire (Lina Leandersson). Directed by Tomas Alfredson, it is based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist and has garnered widespread critical acclaim, won awards and become something of a cult hit over the last few months.

* Listen to our interview with Tomas Alfredson about Let the Right One In *

Tony Manero (Network Releasing): A¬†Chilean¬†film directed by¬†Pablo Larra√≠n¬†about a man obsessed with¬†John Travolta‘s character in¬†Saturday Night Fever. It was¬†Chile’s submission to the¬†81st Academy Awards¬†for the¬†Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The 400 Blows (BFI): A BFI reissue for this classic 1959 film directed by François Truffaut, which was a key part of the French New Wave. The story is about an ordinary adolescent in Paris, who is thought by his parents and teachers to be a trouble maker.

Tera Mera Ki Rishta (Eros): A bollywood movie starring Jimmy Shergill and Kulraj Randhawa.

> Check out the UK cinema releases for April 2009
> Listen to our interview with Tomas Alfredson on Let the Right One In
> Check out our latest DVD picks (W/C Monday 6th April)