Saturday, 25 August 2012

Not everything it seems (Out this week - 24/08/12)

As you probably have noticed I don't normally mention documentaries, for one to get a namecheck is is quite rare. For the record it's not that I'm anti-documentary, I regularly watch them at home on TV, I just don't get why you'd trek to the cinema for one. However every now and then a doc that's so celebrated, so significant comes along and I simply cannot ignore it, Senna and Exit through the Gift Shop being two recent examples. This week Burt Layton award winning doc about the Frederic Bourdin case is getting a significant UK opening, and in a weak week it's easily the best reviewed release and I felt I could relax my self-imposed rules and name the runs like a gay film of the week The Imposter.

Brave hit the bullseye this weekend, unsurprisingly beating back the latest Bourne and Sly and his mates. If the total gross, including 4 days of previews, wasn't on par with previous Pixar releases that is in part explained away by coming after the critical flop Cars 2 and by the unfortunate box office drop that is often seen when there's a female lead. This week was going to be a fight between two underperforming US comedies - but one of them chickened out - yes, I'm looking at you Ben Stiller - not because the Three Stooges is likely to crush all competition. Instead the completely non-reviewed Keith Lemon: The Film with it's TV character familiarity is likely to find itself with the lion's share of receipts.

The Imposter

It's one of the most unusual missing person cases in the 20th century, a 13 year old Texan boy who disappears on the way home from a Basketball game. Three years later he turns up in a Spanish orphanage, his eyes and hair having changed colour. In retrospect it's easy to mock the family for believing Bourdain, the French-Algerian impersonating the boy, but the documentary brings up the concept of wanting to believe the lies and the subjectivity of truth.

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Read on for an insight into the Troubles, experimenting students, lessons in slapstick and all of this week's trailers and releases.

Cut almost like a thriller, you can see why this doc has really box office potential.

Shadow Dancer

Tom Bradby, the ITN News politics correspondent, here adapts his first novel with James "Man on Wire" Marsh taking directing duties. It's a gritty spy story set in the mid 1990's with Andrea Riseborough's low-level IRA member getting coerced into working for MI5's Clive Owen in an attempt to second guess the high command as they enter into the Peace talks. It's the type of high-brow intelligent cinema that calls to mind last years Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and should find an audience.

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Whilst set in Iran, and directed by Iranian film-maker Maryam Keshavarz, it's filmed in Lebanon and it's central conceit of teenage rebellion, even against the liberal families portrayed would probably raise eyebrows. That said reviews indicate this is a loving portrait of the left-leaning middle classes living under the regime.

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Continuing the semi-season of Iranian cinema, albeit with just couple of showings in London, is this 2010 homegrown movie about three working men crossing the Country in search of better things only to find low salaries and high living costs force them to make their home in a disused pipeline.

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Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi

Hindi comedy about a middle age romance, and that I picked up from the poster, unlikely to crack the top ten like last weekends Ek Tha Tiger.

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Tango with Me

One of the few Nigerian films to make a significant UK release, even if I would have a 300 mile round trip to the nearest showing, it's a relationship drama with strong moral messages. Possibly a little ripe in the telling, but this could be marking the beginning of a new wave of central African film-making.

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Tanner Hall

Odd little release for this American independent, obvious meant to capitalise on the growing fame of it's star Rooney Mara (note it was made 3 years ago, before either of her collaborations with David Fincher). Following four teenage girls as they experience the highs and lows of growing up in their elite but fading boarding school.

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The Three Stooges

Whilst the reviews have been mixed, I do quite like the concept of the Farelly brothers' latest cinematic foray. After all well done slapstick will always raise a snort, no matter how much we pretend to be above it, and the supporting cast that includes Jane Lynch, Jennifer Hudson and Larry David as Nuns sounds brilliant.

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Keith Lemon: The Film

I don't particularly understand why people find Leigh Francis' character funny, but lots of people do hence his transfer to the big screen. Coming out in a similar slot to The Inbetweeners last year this is probably aiming for a similar crowd, of course it won't do anything like that sort of business, but should still do reasonable business.

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