Saturday, 21 January 2012

Who Watches the Watchman (Out this week - 20/01/12)

Things are hotting up in British cinemas this weekend, as we try to push through all the awards bait pictures before the BAFTA deadline, so this weekend there's FBI agents vs. Roman Generals vs. headline grabbing Royals. In terms of my most anticipated of these I will confess the poor reviews for Clint Eastwood's biopic have not significantly dampened my enthusiasm so film of the week is J. Edgar.

In terms of box office Haywire has the most screens this side of the pond, but I suspect that franchise familiarity may just help Kate Beckinsale and her lycanthropic frenemies will take the top spot.

J. Edgar

A couple of weeks ago the Margaret Thatcher biopic managed to squeak it's way to the top of my highly anticipated pile, even though it appeared to whitewash history, and suddenly here we are again with exactly the same thing only centred around the FBI's most notorious and mendacious head of. Still the performances by Leo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer (as his almost lover Clyde Tolson) sound like they could elevate the movie.

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Big screen Shakespeare is often a hit and miss affair, especially when bringing his work into modern dress (in spite of the tremendous success of modern design on stage), so there has been a noticeable trepidation from purists about Ralph Fiennes' update of the lesser known piece. That said the Chechnya like setting appears to work exceptionally well with Vanessa Redgrave and Jessica Chastain both receiving high praise in supporting roles.

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Steven Soderbergh exercises his action itch allowing MMA fighter Gina Carano her moment in the sun as nearly super-heroic Mallory Kane figuring out who double crossed her whilst fighting Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender and Michael Douglas.

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Nine Muses

I wasn't sure about including this as it's more documentary than narrative, indeed it started as a exhibit at the BFI. John Akomfrah's experimental film juxtaposes a retelling of Homer's Odyssey - using the UK immigrant experience in the 1960's - with images of an Alaskan winter. Beguiling trailer.

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Red Light Revolution

Billed as China's first and only sex shop comedy (unsurprising given the limited scope of the sub-genre) the trailer links together the kind of jokes you'd expect from any sexual aid romp regardless of it's national origin, including some stunts I'm sure we'd all do if we were locked into Anne Summers overnight!

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Did you think, whilst watching last years terrific King's Speech that what the world really needed was a sympathetic look at Wallace and Edward in the months leading towards the UK's only abdication. (I actually thought last year's movie was fairly even-handed about Wallace, highlighting the snobbery from certain corners of the Family). Apparently Madonna wanted more so we get more in the shape of this hagiography of the central relationship and endless shots of gaudy jewels.

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If Jonah Hill picks up and Oscar nod next week for his supporting turn in Moneyball it'll be dreck like this unoriginal comedy from David Gordon Green that prevents him from winning the prize. Certainly avoidable.

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Underworld: Awakening

It's not a critically lauded franchise, however the series has always produced decent returns and with Kate Beckinsale returning from her third movie hiatus this should clean up in the multiplexes. Stephen Rea sits on the didelines of the eternal battle between werewolves and vampires.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●●○○○○○○○

X: Night of Vengeance

Oz-sploitation thriller about two hookers caught up in a very unlikely mystery. Just listened to a review online that plainly stated most plot moving conversations co-incidently take place in bra and panties or even less. I'm sure it's fine if you like that sort of thing.

Runs like a Gay Excitometer: ●●○○○○○○○○

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