Saturday, 17 March 2012

My family and Other Animals (Out this week - 16/03/12)

Here in the UK there are sometimes some really odd release clashes which come as a huge shock to those of us who pay attention to global box office strategies. This week there’s a real conundrum for the multiplex crowd with three US chart toppers set to battle for the top spot (admittedly one of them hasn’t opened yet, but it seems like a no brainer this weekend), and bizarrely none of them will have the screen count of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel or John Carter. Of course I won’t be recommending any of those films as my top choice, lets face it the general public have proven time and time again that they’ll watch any old dross. I won’t be going with the two very highly praised foreign language offerings either. Instead I’m nailing my middle of the road colours to the mast and choosing a family drama about Matt Damon reconnecting to his kids with the help of a tiger and Scarlett Johansson. RLAG Film of the week: We Bought a Zoo.

Unsurprisingly John Carter of Barsoom just about took the top spot in last weeks charts, but be not fooled the £2m gross was pathetic by blockbuster standards and given the critical drubbing and poor word of mouth I can’t see it maintaining any defence against this weeks new releases. Tellingly the number of showings for Andrew Stanton’s overpriced misfire has – in my local cinema at least – reduced to less that the aforementioned Judi Dench does Jaipur dramedy. But what’s going to take the top slot? It’ll certainly be close but I reckon 21 Jump Street with it’s promise of big action, big laughs and big Channing Tatum will sneak ahead of the rest of the pack, sure there’s no awareness of the antecedents this side of the pond, but the reviews are very positive and it will probably appeal across the spectrum.

We Bought a Zoo

Based on the memoir of Benjamin Mee, the British journalist who lost his wife to cancer and set about reinvigorating Dartmoor Zoo (although it could have been the other way round in real like) Cameron Crowe’s first film since 2006 looks like a sweet option. Matt Damon is the everyman father figure helping his kids through the grief whilst impulsively buying a Southern Californian animal sanctuary. Aided by Scarlett Johannson (Oh you know where that storyline is going) and Thomas Haden Church he must find a way to open the zoo and save the animals. Yeh!

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

You'll find the trailer for WBAZ, as well as the trailers and synopsis from all of this weeks releases after the jump, including undercover cops, counterfeit cash and an apple caught in a stream.

Luckily this is not the type of film that has much to spoil so it doesn't matter the entire plot is in the trailer.

In Darkness

Based on the true story of Leopold Soha this Oscar nominated Polish movie exposes an untold story of survival during the Nazi occupation. Soha, initially motivated purely by profit, gave a disparate group of Jewish refugees a chance of survival by housing them in the sewers and delivering their supplies. Reviews indicate this is not an easy film to sit through, and perhaps the situation (excluding the locataion) feels a bit overdone but the characterisations of Soha and the refugees are excellent.

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

Once upon a Time in Anatolia

If you see just one Turkish film this year then make it Anatolia, on one level it’s a simple police procedural, following an uninspiring collection of coppers investigate the dumping of a body over one very long night, but on the other it’s a philosophical discussion of the nature of criminality, of the place of Turkey in 21st century politics and the repetitiveness of life. It ain’t a Cannes Grand Prix winner for nothing.

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

21 Jump Street

Since last years atrocious Dilemma I’ve been looking forward to seeing Channing Tatum’s next foray into comedy, he seems to be a uniquely safe aware Hollywood hunk and is prepared to work his genetic advantages in ways that undercut the machismo of other chisel-jawed beauties. Here he stars with Jonah Hill, straight off his Oscar nod, as a pair of mismatched cops (is there any other kind) returning to high school to bring down a drug ring. Only to find it’s very different from when they left. I don’t know the original TV series affectionately parodied however it’s most recognisable alumni, Johnny Depp – don’t know if you’ve heard of him, gets a career boosting cameo.

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


“Marky Mark” Wahlberg wears two hats in Hollywood, as an actor witness his searing performances in The Fighter and The Departed or as a Producer he created the fantastic and virtually cult making series Entourage. Unfortunately when he does both he chooses a derivative remake of Euro thrillers like this smugger with family movie, directed by the star of the Icelandic original. Did get to number 1 in the States. Surprised everyone at the time.

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

Kac Wara

Do you remember when Sex and Zen in 3D opened last year we thought we’d seen the lowest point where producers would go to try and burst titties out of the screen? We were wrong. This Polish film looks like the smuttier, less plot driven, comedy version of that. Amazingly it has a IMDb average vote score of 1 so clearly it’s not a film that needs to be seen on the big screen.

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

Devil Inside

If you’d asked me three weeks ago which film was likely to capture the public imagination this weekend I’d have plumped for this dreadful looking exorcism, found footage dreck. Obviously it’s not for the quality – I’ve seen one Guardian blogger call it the worst film ever made – but for the early publicity campaign which took the watch audience members scream route to selling the movie which worked so well on Woman in Black and added a twist by showing it IN A CHURCH. However the ads have virtually disappear now and 21 Jump Street looks really funny.

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

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