Saturday, 7 July 2012

More films for your buck (Out this week - 06/07/12)

Portmanteau fans are salivating at their screens this week as not just one but two examples of short film collections hit screens, although frankly if you're not in London your options are less open. The anthology format used to be the preserve of certain kinds of horror movie with Peter Cushing coaxing terrified guests in his haunted mansion to spill their ghosts stories before revealing himself to be the demon about to devour their souls - or something like that. I definitely remember Bernard Cribbins and a man-eating bush in one of Hammer's earlier incarnations. However, in the noughties a trend for serious directors to put together themed shorts - notably 11'09'01 and Paris, Je t'aime - with the aim to experiment in style and promote the short film form. Perhaps I may be backing the wrong horse, the reviews for both have been decidedly mixed, but I'm plumping for relentless infidelity over a sojourn to Cuba so the Runs Like a Gay film of the week is Players.

The UK's box office champion last weekend wasn't included in my run-down of new releases seven days ago. This is because it hasn't actually opened yet. Why, then, is it the top of the chart I hear you ask... Because it has opened. Ice Age: Continental Drift isn't just an unwanted sequel to a fairly forgettable animated franchise, it's also the Schrodinger's Cat of cinema. It is both in cinemas and not in cinemas - and I suppose the animal cast are therefore both alive and not alive at the same time, which may well be a boom to the career of John Leguizamo. Last weekend saw it's release in the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland where the schools have already broken up for their summer holidays. In England and Wales (including the RLAG headquarters in Manchester) it has shown in previews but won't be formerly out until July 13th - which basically means we can see it weekends but not week days. This whole extended opening is a fraudulent way of boosting opening weekend figures if you ask me, but then that's probably a discussion best left for another time. So in effect the scottish pre-teens have propelled Scrat and co to the top of the charts with no help from the rest of us, good for them eh? Setting the fossil-record challenged critters
to one side the biggest new entry was Friends with Kids, so at least I got that right. Meanwhile MIB3 slipped back below Prometheus, the weeks best holdover. No plaudits for guessing this weekend biggest challenger, my spidey sense is telling me the all-new Peter Parker, the amazing Andrew Garfield will swing into the lead, covering the opposition of layers of sticky clue to feast on later. Undoubtedly the people will choose The Amazing Spider-Man.


I've yet to see The Artist (I know, I know) but even so the extraordinary success of a black and white silent French movie is the guiding force that propels me towards this comedy about affairs that sees the direct and star reunite. Based on an idea by Oscar winning actor Jean Dujardin - although to be fair the gallic film is based on the comedic value of sex outside of marriage - the contributions come from Michel Hazanavicius and Frad Cavaye (Pour Elle) among others.

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

Read on for arachnid transformations, tasmanian tigers and an illicit trip to the Caribbean as well as all of this weeks releases and trailers.

Too much cutting in a subtitled film can be a dangerous thing, and yet I'm still intrigued. Will have to wait for DVD though - I am not travelling to London for it.

The Amazing Spider-Man

The first trailer was a bit underwhelming, hence the surprisingly low score here, although I confess the marketing got better later on. Of course the real question is not whether it is necessary to reboot a successful series of films less than 10 years after the first run started, but whether this is indicative of Hollywood's laziness and the constant plundering of comic books. Although when original sci-fi properties are as creatively bankrupt as Battleship and John Carter you con't really blame the studios. Andrew Garfield is the eponymous web-slinger, Rhys Ifans his scaly nemesis, Emma Stone provides the love interest and Martin Sheen/Sally Field up the acting quotient in the first of this proposed spider trilogy.

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

God Bless America

Comedian and Police Academy alumni Bobcat Goldthwaite continues his run of subversive satires that play with the notions of Americana and the cult of anti-hero's with Joel Murray (brother to Bill) driven to homicidal fury by society's failings, defending his central belief of kindness by gunning down reality TV contestants, talk-show DJs and in-cinema texters. I expect viewers from all sides of the political spectrum will react with outrage and smug satisfaction as the carnage reigns.

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

The Hunter

Willem Dafoe spend the majority of this movie's running time stalking the last remaining Tasmanian Tiger, who may even be extinct. Not that you'd know that from the trailer which seems to play up the thriller aspects of the plot. Dafoe's performance, where he stalks through the undergrowth and uncovers all sorts of conspiracies whilst considering the empty recesses of his soul, and the delicious Australia geography virtually worshipped by Robert Humphreys' cinematography should bring in a significant art-house crowd.

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

7 Days in Havana

Our second portmanteau is, in many ways, the more curious of the two options with Gasper Noe and - in his directorial debut - Benicio Del Toro amongst the contributers. But the structure of an American student (Josh Hutcherson) smuggling himself to Cuba and absorbing the culture seems slightly contrived - although looking at the trailer I wonder if my plot information is even vaguely correct.

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

The Women on the 6th Floor

It's taken a long-time for this French hit comedy (it took $19m in France last February, just outgrossing Thor) to reach the UK. It looks jolly, focussing on the effect of Spanish maids on a stuffy middle class Parisien and his redemption. Carmen Maura is probably the best known of the ensemble.

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

Bol Bachchan

There's no doubting the sincerity of this Bollywood comedy, or the title which gets constantly repeated during the trailer. That said there aren't many laughs to be found so I'm not expecting very impressive box office returns.

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

Diamond Necklace

The soundtrack to the trailer's more shopping channel than Malayalam action flick so maybe this quietly released Dubai set flick with it's cautionary tale of monetary excess and true love might be worth seeking out.

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

Exit Humanity

Sneaking out into cinemas for one day before getting a DVD release is this civil war era zombie film, obviously influenced by the idea, if not the execution, of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. That said I have no idea how they managed to rope Brian Cox in to narrate.

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

Strawberry Fields

British Indie which I suspect deserves more than I've given it here but I can't in all honestly get enthused by the trailer and premise of two sisters running away from their past, but not quite escaping from each other.

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

And finally, as if dragged in from another dimension, it's

Ice Age: Continental Drift

Being confused about whether to put it in last week or next week I'm splitting the difference. Not that it makes much difference there's no way this animated cash-cow would get my film of the week endorsement. The gang's all here from the last film - literally even side character and minor addition comes back for a line or too for the pay-cheque (hello Simon Pegg) and we also get a love interest for Denis Leary's Diego in the form of sexy sabre-tooth Jennifer Lopez. Not that we should expect too much subtly in this oddly popular franchise, just colourful characters and well crafted back-drops. Ray Romano, John Lequizamo and Queen Latifah also star.

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

No comments: