Saturday, 23 June 2012

Keeping the old traditions Alive (Out this week - 22/06/12)

At the time of writing England are still clinging on in the Euros, although we'll see how they fare against Italy tomorrow evening. So therefore in this nation addicted to the Beautiful game it's natural for studios to release high volumes of uninspiring counter programming to entice the odd soccer-phobe. This week is no exception with romantic comedies and sub-standard horror vying for our attention. Personally I'm punting on a sports related medium sized release, however if I had to choose a film to recommend - and naturally I do - the film of the week is Russian art-house project Silent Souls.

Last week I was right to trust Prometheus would hang on as Box Office champion for another week and whilst Rock of Ages struggled to find a substantial it did have the highest take for a new release. This weekend my crystal ball is a more murky. With four wide releases you'd think one of them might stand a chance with Scott's terraforming blockbuster now in it's fourth week. However each of those four has big problems. I'm going to be brave though and guess the critically derided Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter will sneak into the lead thanks to it's genre trappings and mid week release strategy.

Silent Souls

You'd be forgiven for having missed the buzz on Aleksei Fedorchenko's third feature because there has hardly been any. It's only major festival showing was 2010's Venice where it was passed over for Sofia Coppola's Somewhere for the Golden Lion but won the FIPRESCI proze as a consolation. But that being awarded by international critics should have been a clue that this is more art than movie and critics have fallen in love with it everywhere else. Following a Merjan funeral on the border or Russia and Finland it looks like an elegant and emotive meditation on life, death and sex.

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Read on for much delayed weddings, spread betting and obscure history as well as all of this weeks releases and trailers.

There's some gorgeous cinematography in the Silent Souls trailer - but also some explicit shots too, so probably nsfw.

Five Year Engagement

Billed as the romantic comedy it's OK to love it's slightly surprising that the winning combination of Emily Blunt and Jason Segal didn't do better in the States than it did (sitting at a disappointing $29m). That said they do look like a lovely couple, even if you know from the title exactly how the plot will develop. Jacki Weaver and David Paymer are among the supporting cast (Emily's mother and Jason's father).

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Lay the Favourite

I've already seen Stephen Frears latest, and I'm in a charitable mood right now so all I'll say is the combination of the cast and director, based on the memoirs by Beth Rayner seemed like a good enough bet. I was wrong. Should have believed the reviews out of sundance. Well gloves of on Wednesday - come back for my smackdown.

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Think like a Man

It's unlikely that the tongue in cheek adaptation of Steve Harley's "Act like a Lady, Think like a Man" self help book will do as well over here as it did in the US, where it led the charts two weeks in a row, partly because the African American cast aren't household names (even rap star Chris Brown, Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson and likeable character actor Michael Ealy), but it's getting some the best reviews in it's irrelevant sub-genre.

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Where do we Go Now

Surprising everyone by winning the audience prize at Toronto last year this Lebanese musical from Nadine Labaki (Caramel) will probably suffer in comparison with the recent similar Source which also mixed song, desire and weighty themes. But where that looked at the rise of gender equality here the women aim to prevent the Muslim and Christian men of the village turning on each other.

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Jeremie Renier has been on the fringe of breaking out internationally for years(he himself is Belgian) in spite of a highly satisfying working relationship with the Dardennes. Hopefully this biopic of Claude Francois, the writer of cabaret standard "My Way", will illuminate a few more casual film goers of his talent.

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Grand Master

Extremely limited release - hello Birmingham - for this Mayamalan entry about a ruthless serial killer and the chess-obsessed detective out to stop him.

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Teri Meri Kahani

Hard to get hold of a synopsis for this Bollywood release but looking at the trailer it appears to be three loves stories set in 1910, 1960 and 2012 all starring the same two actors. Whether that's a comment on their being always in love and finding each other in every reincarnation (I hope so) or just an excuse to wear hsitorical costumes and fill the 2 hour running time is difficult to assess.

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With Every Heartbeat

Does the thought of a Swedish Lesbian drama instantly want to make you head to the local multiplex? If so, I'm truly sorry as this broken family feature - a newly engaged girl falls for her step-sister - has already skipped town having had a couple of brief showings in the week. Not to worry perverts, it's available to order here.

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

More likely to bore history fanatacists than enrage them this presidential mash-up seems to be committing the cardinals sin of plodding plot and unengaging CGI. That said I still feel it will do surprisingly well as audiences flock to see any derivative rubbish with the undead attached.

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Chernobyl Diaries

Suspiciously long trailer for this shaky cam holiday horror from Oren Peli - producer of Paranormal Activity. It failed to get the following of his earlier success in the States and I expect it's fate here will be similarly uninspiring. Still it should last longer than most of the disposable characters.

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Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan

The British fans heading to Ukraine for the football have acquitted themselves incredibly with the only violent outbursts seeming to come from the local extremists, however back in cinemas the lure of hard-nut supporters never wanes. There's a couple of I know you TV faces but in the main this tired story has the exposure it deserves.

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Look out for the poor sound quality in this Tamil trailer - for which I can only apologise and grovel it's not my fault - concerning a village boy caught up in politics when he moves to the big city.

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Coming so soon after Ill Manors seems like a poor release strategy for this more conventional gangsters from the estates, urban crime drama. Ashley Chin is the hero looking to go straight but can't kick the life of crime he's become addicted to.

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Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

I keep trying to understand the point and/or appeal of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Still trying.

Runs Like A Gay said...

About 800,000 people (the entire population of San Francisco or Guyana) bought tickets to see it in the US on Friday (according to the early estimates) which is astounding when you think about it.

Goes to prove we may see lots of films and have a reasonable idea of what quality is but we have no idea about what drives the masses.

Runs Like A Gay said...

Maybe it's the thought of Benjamin Walker brandishing his chopper.

(Sorry, couldn't help myself)

Colleen said...

It's funny that the main movie I planned to see this last weekend was "Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter." I mean it sounds so crazy I have to see it for myself. I actually saw three movies this weekend and that was not one of them. Go figure. I'm happy to say though that one was "Safety Not Guaranteed" which I loved.

Runs Like A Gay said...

Luckily there was one highlight, usually if I end up doing three in one weekend they all end up being rubbish!