Saturday, 3 March 2012

Not your average Monster (Out this week - 02/03/12)

There's a grim inevitability to this week, we've been leading up to it since the start of 2012, although you could in fact look back further, since September last year. We have now run out of films worth seeing. Oscar season is well and truly behind us, and the big summer tentpoles are a few months ahead so we're stuck in the doldrums of early spring. Over the past three years release schedules have proved remarkably stable with an average of 3 releases I've wanted to see in March and just 2 in April and this year looks even worse. At the moment there only one scheduled release in the next 6 weeks looks likely to excite me enough to visit the cinema. In the meantime there may be some unusual releases heading for the coveted film of the week accolade, movies that wouldn't stand a chance against the middle of the road dramas I tend to favour, and so it is with this week's top choice. Cold-hearted European art-house cinema rarely appeals to me, so this low-key Austrian effort following the day to day life of a loner insurance salesman/dangerous paedophile and the pre-pubescent boy he has locked in the cellar has chosen as extraordinary week for it's release date. Be prepared to be shocked by the theme (if not the content which is resolutely non exploitative) of the RLAG film of the week Michael.

Last week I predicted box office domination by The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and whilst it did extraordinarily well, taking £2.2m, it wasn't quite enough to topple Daniel Radcliffe and The Woman in Black off the top of the charts even in his third week. This week I'm torn, clearly the spy vs. spy high concept of This Means War, combined with solid marketing and a high screencount will ensure it's beats all rivals to become the biggest grossing new release, however the poor performance Stateside and general crappiness of the content seen so far suggests they won't be queuing round the block. With that in mind either WiB, or the oldie centric Exotic Marigold with it's traditionally low first weekend turnout could wind up in the lead, I'm going to predict a fourth week for the highest grossing British horror since reliable records began.


The biggest question about Marcus Schleinzer's dark look at the domestic arrangements of a child abuser is not what has influenced his deliberate, focussed style - an acolyte and collaborator with Michael Haneke the German master's style is clearly evoked in the trailer - but why choose to observe a banal demonstration of evil practice without painting him as a monster or even trying to condemn and explain his actions. No doubt viewers will be divided on how to punish or cure the perpetrator, but I suspect the mere passing of time, the inevitable aging of his victim is seen as the most significant pat of his downfall.

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

Read on after the jump for the full round up of this week's releases, complete with every trailer that matters. Look out for Bowie inspired schoolteachers, super-chilled hippies and misuse of Government funds.

The trailer for Michael manages to be capture the spirit of the film whilst delivering a strange chill even without knowing the content of the film.

This Means War

It's hard to imagine what persuaded rising stars Chris Pine and Tom Hardy to sign up to this clichéd action comedy, surely both of them have the career momentum and cinematic nous to successfully avoid the clutches of Charlie's Angels director McG. Yet here they are diverting CIA agents and equipment from real work by directing their considerable resources in winning the hand of serial dater Reese Witherspoon. Personally I'd have realised that any girl willing to double date behind your back isn't worth it, but that would have made for a very short film. Rosemary Harris and Angela Bassett are among the supporting cast.

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


I will have to check this but I'm sure there was talk back in 2010 that Pablo Trapero's Argentinian drama would get the remake treatment. He runs off and checks. Yes, Scott Cooper was set to direct with the translated title Vultures. We haven't heard anything about that in over a year so I guess this may be the only chance to see this highly recommended investigation into the seedy world of ambulance chasing litigators and doctors patching up the countless road traffic victims. Please note Argentina you may be threatening a boycott of UK imports over the Falklands but we're still going to let your critically acclaimed movies show here.

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

If Not Us, Who

The 1960's as witnessed by a couple of rebellious left-wing West German students. Covering the post-war period of denial and conformity segueing into the rise of psychedelica and pro-violence activism there must be a whole load of ground covered to make sense of the shifting European mindsets. Hopefully the central passionate, tumultuous love affair is enough to keep the audience grounded.

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


I really don't like Jennifer Aniston. It's not her screen persona which always seems to be a variation on a theme of Rachel; I really do understand the pressure and career necessity of typecasting. Nor is it the choices of films she makes, the back catalogue of largely inoffensive (rom)-coms generally passes me by - I've only seen Marley & Me, Rumor Has it, Rock Star and the Object of My Affection in cinemas, all of which I regretted. Mostly I am irritated by her contrived ditziness and faux intellectualism. I don't know if she can act well, but I do know she can't hold her own in a chat with Front Row's Mark Lawson. In this Jennifer and recently unemployed hubby Paul Rudd find themselves not fitting in at the hippy commune led by coasting Alan Alda.

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

Hunky Dory

Do you remember when Minnie Driver was about to be the next big thing? I honestly don't know where it went wrong for her as she's both stunning and a talented actress. I suppose a couple of cinematic missteps are all it takes far a star to wane. In this anti-"Glee" she plays a Welsh drama teacher coercing her students into a production of Shakespeare's The Tempest with 70's musical interludes. The talented younger cast all perform live but I can't help thinking it seems all a bit too nostalgic.

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

London Paris New York

Bollywood romantic comedy that does exactly what it says on the tin - a globetrotting adventure with two obviously mismatched twenty somethings finding common ground and a mutual desire over three nights in different cities.

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

Paan Singh Tomar

Our second Indian release is a biopic of Paan Singh Tomar, a record breaking steeplechase runner who dominated the sport in the 1950's before he was forced to abandon athletics in order to avenge the murder of his mother by a criminal gang. Star Irfan Khan has called it "the most physically and mentally demanding film of my career".

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

Project X

I think I'm getting old. Obviously in a strict literal sense we all are, but I think my age is beginning to affect my opinions about upcoming movies. After all there was a time when I would have flocked to see a film about a massive party going out of control, in fact I distinctly remember loving the third act of Weird Science in all it's anarchic glory. But since then I have been to parties, I have done the cleaning massively hungover, I have fixed furniture and discovered the best parties are rarely the biggest. That said there's only one found footage movie about wild excess this weekend so I suspect there'll be an audience.

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

No comments: