Thursday, 12 February 2015

THIS WEEK'S NEW CINEMA RELEASES

A couple of movies to put on your list - although none of them are outstanding.

TOP PICK TO SEE


Top of the bunch this week is SELMA. It's a chronicle of Martin Luther King's campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. Here's what I thought of it:

The word 'chronicle' in the IMDB description is apt for this overlong drama. While I learned a lot about the incidents surrounding the Selma campaign, it was a mostly dry telling of the story. It is as though we are somewhat distanced from the events with rare moments of emotional engagement.  It doesn't seem "raw" enough or tense enough. Apparently the real people of Selma had to struggle with rain, mud and hardship during the marches. None of this is portrayed in the movie. The narrative unfolds chronologically and "objectively". Not enough is really explored about King's relationship with his wife, although there are tantalising hints. But it's all a bit too simple. David Oyelowo does an excellent job of reincarnating King with a few inspiring oratory moments - he is probably the best reason for seeing the movie. Overall, it's a pretty average retelling of a very significant story. The most disturbing thing is how recent this history is and how far there is to go in furthering the ideals King promoted. ***1/2

OTHERS TO SEE


WHAT WE DID ON OUR HOLIDAYS is a surprising little gem. It's a comedy drama with top billing going to Rosamund Pike, David Tennant and Billy Connolly that explores the meaning of life and suggests how best to live and love. I will review it shortly.

MAYBE/MAYBE NOT


The infamous THE INTERVIEW opens this week. Dave Skylark and producer Aaron Rapoport run the celebrity tabloid show "Skylark Tonight." When they land an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, they are recruited by the CIA to turn their trip to Pyongyang into an assassination mission. Here's what I thought of it:

At the heart of this movie there is the potential for clever satire. The problem is that the script writers can't resist wrapping it in excessively crude humour (which is not funny). It's a shame, because a better writer could have done something with Seth Rogen's story idea. I suppose we shouldn't expect much from Rogen as all his movies seem to be pretty much the same style. There are a few funny moments but, overall, the movie doesn't live up to the hype it has received as a result of the media attention following the cyber-hack on Sony. Give it a miss unless you really must see what everyone is talking about. It is available on a number of video on demand services and is being released in various cinemas. **1/2

MOVIE TO AVOID


One movie to avoid this week - the long-awaited FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. For those of you who have read the books, you'll know what it is about. For those of you you haven't, literature student Anastasia Steele's life changes forever when she meets handsome, yet tormented, billionaire Christian Grey. On average, it is rating very poorly. General public are giving it around *1/2 and critics **1/2.  indieWIRE's Eric Kohn is representative: Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson from Kelly Marcel's screenplay, the considerable talent behind the camera and a modicum of considerable performances yield a few undeniable guilty pleasures, but most viewers will be seeking a safe word to escape this two-hour-plus mess of half-baked excess. I'll be seeing it on Sunday (I review movies, after all!) and will let you know what I think.

That's it for this week. See you at the movies!

*NOTE* Movie summaries are adaptations of movie summary on IMDB. Opinions are mine unless credited.

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