Saturday, 7 April 2012

Rock on Seany (Out this week - 06/04/12)

There's a giant boat shaped elephant in the multiplexes this weekend which, being a re-issue, does not fit within the usual rules surrounding this post. That's right I'm going to try and completely ignore it. That's relatively easy to do in this first section devoted as it is to mulling over the relative qualities of our new feature releases, indeed whilst I thoroughly enjoy the nautical tragedy I don't have any issue with recommending the French cartoon or the Scandinavian darkly comic thriller over Cameron's weepie largely because I feel it's important to try new things, back in 1997 it's possible it would have been the top film (I went to see it twice at cinemas but then I was a newly out student), and sometimes we should choose the art-house over the multiplex. So this week I feel no qualms in selecting the Sean Penn as a Nazi-hunting washed-out rock star in the RLAG film of the week This Must be the Place.

Last week I fluffed on the box office predictions, as The Hunger Games clung on to the top spot and Wrath of the Titans somehow sneaked ahead of Pirates to become the highest new entry. I confess to being quite shocked by this double loss of judgement however I pick myself up and cheerfully ignore that iceberg (it's got a very good chance of stealing my thunder although I suspect it will just lose out). Instead I'm going to go out on a limb and predict, thanks to the aid of several days of preview and the kids being off school, that Julia Roberts will lead the first Snow White adapt of 2012 Mirror Mirror into the top spot.

This Must be the Place

On paper the combination of a Robert Smith alike goth rocker and a plot involving the investigation and capture of Nazi criminals doesn't seem at all enticing. But when revered Italian director Paolo Sorrentino is making his English Language debut and using a cast that includes Sean Penn (as the washed out star), Frances McDormand (as his eminently sensible wife) and Judd Hirsch (as a pragmatic Nazi hunter) it begins to appear to be something more. Ignore the mixed reviews from Cannes last year and focus on the incredible soundtrack and you know you're getting drawn in.

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

Read on for twisted fairy tales, a briefcase with big secrets inside and a small scale Iraq war indie as well as all of this weeks releases and trailers.

It's got a Coen-verse vibe (partly attributable to the appearance of Frances but also to the weird characters inhabiting the story) which makes it hard to resist.

Cat in Paris

This French animation was a surprise nominee in the 2012 Best Animated Feature Oscar race, and the crude animation style may certainly put off a lot of kids but as a branch they are usually quite discerning so I suspect this may be worth the extra mile for the more adventurous parents this Easter weekend.

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


Already the subject of a major studio bidding war for the remake rights and boasting Mark Wahlberg as a major fan this Norweigan thriller, based on the international bestseller by Jo Nesbo sees an art thief, masquerading as an estate agent, suddenly out of his depth after stealing from the "wrong people". Expect black comedy as well as the usual spills and chills in this potential art-house breakout.

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

Le Harve

There's another Cannes alumni hitting screens this week and it's slightly disappointing to note Aki Kaurismäki's movie has had such little critical attention. It's also bringing dead-pan comedy to a serious subject - European attitudes on immigration in a time of fiscal austerity - and maybe that odd mix of tone and content will put people off.

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

Mirror Mirror

Now I believe that one day musical video supremo Tarsem will create a masterpiece, always visually inspirational he just needs someone to write him a good script to use. Note this is not it - although it does look more compelling to me than the other Snow White adaptation coming this year. Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer get to ham it up as the Evil queen and Prince Charming whilst Lily - daughter of Phil - looks pretty as our heroine. Expect kids to love it at least. Mare Winningham and Michael Lerner pop up in tiny supporting roles.

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

North Sea Texas

You'd be forgiven for thinking NST is just another American Indie, indeed at first I made that assumption, but watch the trailer and you'll find a sweet coming out story about a teenage boy in Belgium coming to terms with his sexuality and how that affects his teenage years. Almost a flemish Beautiful Thing so should be worth a look.

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

Cold Light of Day

We haven't had too many chances to see future Superman Henry Cavill in action - sure he was Theseus in last years Immortals but who honestly watched him as an actor rather than just as a piece of well oiled meat - so this CIA double cross thriller with Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver might just introduce him to audiences. Shame it hasn't been shown to critics and looks horribly unoriginal. Does make you worry about the box office potential for the man in tights.

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

Housefull 2

The biggest Bollywood release in some time might just sneak into this weeks box office top ten thanks to the 52 screens and the 2010 success of it's predecessor also starring Akshay Kumar. That said there aren't many Bollywood sequels and the slight whiff of mysogny - all the women seem interchangeable - might put more enlightened viewers off. We'll see.

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

Mirza - The Untold Story

There are two South Asian releases this weekend which don't yet have corresponding IMDb pages - which as you probably know irritates the hell out of me. The first is this action-romance about a girl forced to choose between her gangster brother and her sweetheart saving her from an arranged marriage. I wonder...

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


On the other end of the spectrum is this comedic mystery set entirely on a bus journey to a remote mountainous village. It sounds like an interesting set-up.

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


Fans of In Contention (at Hitflix) will have read Guy Lodge's raves about this final Cannes release, a small scale picture starring Linda Cardellini doing career defining work as an Iraq war veteran re-adjusting to life in her small industrial town. Deftly handling themes of alienation and PTSD and with a cast that includes Michael Shannon and John Slattery it's a real pity that only two cinemas (in London and Hull) are showing this.

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

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