So to this week’s movies, and while there’s nothing out which will challenge the big hitters for the Box Office crown, Timur Bekmambetov’s fantasy horror mash-up Abraham Lincoln Vampire Killer should do a fair bit of business. Based on the novel by the same name, it looks set to be every bit as bonkers as it sounds and with Tim Burton co-producing, expect plenty of gothic quirkiness thrown into the mix. It looks set to be either an entertaining and suitably silly action romp, or a bit of a schlocky mess, depending on your outlook.
Also out this week is wedding related Apatow comedy The Five Year Engagement, grisly American horror Chernobyl Diaries and Vegas comedy caper Lay the Favourite.
If you want to check to see if any of these films are playing near you, you can visit Find Any Film and they’ll be able to help.
The Five Year Engagement *Pick of the Week*
Another offering from the Apatow stable, The Five Year Engagement is directed and co-wrote by Nic Stoller, director of Get Him to the Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall and co-writer of the brilliant The Muppets. Stoller’s fellow Muppets writer Jason Segal stars (and co-writes here as well) with Emily Blunt the other half of a couple whose relationship becomes increasingly strained as their engagement gets continually stretched out. It’s a solid cast and Stoller and Segal have proven already that they can deliver the gold script-wise. I doubt it will break any new boundaries but fans of the director’s previous works and other films of that ilk should be in for a treat here.
You can read Lisa Giles-Keddie’s review here.
Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter
The latest outing from Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov, the director behind Russian supernatural thrillers Night Watch and Day Watch as well as assassin related actioner Wanted, returns with another particularly obscure looking offering in the shape of Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter. The premise is thus, legendary American President Abraham Lincoln finds out that vampires are setting out to take over the United States and he takes it upon himself to thwart their evil plans. The director’s history with vampiric sorts in his Night Watch/Day Watch outings, plus the presence of Tim Burton as co-producer and the original source novel’s author on screenwriting duties means that there’s plenty of neo-gothic and horror expertise on hand. The trailers have all looked suitably ridiculous and there’s certainly a degree if curious appeal in such a strange mash-up of a movie.
It was always going to be a challenge to combine the twin genres of historical epic and monster movie and unfortunately the majority of early reviews suggest that ALVH doesn’t quite pull it off with many suggesting it’s a lot of style over little substance. A film with Tim Burton involved that’s style over substance, imagine that.
Nevertheless, it may just be that it isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. The concept is certainly a unique one and there’s every chance it could be a harmless piece of popcorn movie fun and an enjoyably silly thriller. I’ve read several pretty positive reviews of it too, so maybe it’s just down to a matter of taste.
Tracy Ladd says:
I’m very intrigued by Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I like the idea of putting a spin on a beloved historical figure, and while the premise seems a bit over the top, I’ve heard the book was rather good. That’s the one I’ll probably check out this weekend for sure.
You can read Ezequiel Gutierrez’s review here.
Chernobyl Diaries is a horror film which sees a group of young Americans travelling across Eastern Europe who decide to take an extreme tour of the abandoned city of Pripyat, a ghost town which was once home to the workers of the ill-fated Chernobyl Nuclear plant. When their tour guide’s van breaks down, the group are stranded at the site for the night and begin to suspect…dern dern dernnnnnnnn….they are not alone. It’s a semi-interesting premise, though one which understandably hasn’t sat too well with groups supporting victims of the real life disaster, but does sound essentially like a typical haunted-house style horror movie. Attractive young Americans get stranded in spooky place and run into nasty things. It has been done many times before. What can make such as film still be worth seeing is if it is well executed and can still be a tense movie with some genuine scares. Early reviews have not been overly kind, but for horror fans it could still be well worth checking out.
Lay the Favourite
Stephen Frears’ latest movie seems to have arrived out of nowhere. There’s been very little coverage of the film in the run up to its release, which does unfortunately usually set alarm bells ringing. Frears’ last outing Tamara Drewe failed to ignite at the Box Office and it would appear he may have delivered another painfully average dramedy here too. Rebecca Hall stars as free-spirited Beth who winds up in Vegas and gets caught up in a book-making scam run by a sordid cast of characters including Bruce Willis’ gambling expert Dink, his shady cohort Rosie (Vince Vaughan) and his jealous wife Tulip (Catherine Zeta Jones). Beth also finds time to fall for a handsome young journalist called Jeremy (Joshua Jackson). Everything about it, from the boring plot synopsis, the generic trailer and the complete lack of media coverage, suggests we are in instantly forgettable movie territory here. Perhaps one to wait for on DVD.
You can read Lisa Giles-Keddie’s review here.
The Last Projectionist
There’s a lot of talk among certain cine-buffs about the demise of film itself in this digital age. Soon the role of the protectionist will be a thing of the past as movies will no longer be on a bulky strip of film which needs feeding through a projector, it will simply be a digital file uploaded onto a computer. Is this progress or the tragic end of a soon to be lost art? This intriguing looking documentary makes no bones about where it’s opinion lies. According to its official site:
The Last Projectionist charts the amazing history of UK independent cinema, taking a tour of some of the most magical picture houses in the world. The story centres on The Electric in Birmingham, the oldest working cinema in Britain. From its silent beginnings in 1909; to a news and cartoon cinema during WWII; a porn cinema in the 70s & 80s; then saved from demolition and restored to its art deco glory in 2004.
This fascinating, and as yet untold story, is brought to life by former staff, industry experts and customers, one of whom recounts her first visit in 1917. Accompanied by unseen archive and beautifully shot in HD,the film goes on to explore the rapid advance of digital cinema and the likely demise of 35mm film.
Where Do We Go Now
This is the new comedy drama from critically acclaimed young director Nadine Labaki whose first movie Caramel was extremely well received back in 2007. Once again she focuses on the lives of ordinary Lebanese women, this time looking at how they try to keep the peace in their village between the Muslim and Christian men. It’s done very well on the festival circuit and looks like another strong outing from this talented young filmmaker. Well worth seeking out if it’s showing near you.
Think Like a Man
With What to Expect When You’re Expecting out the other week, it would appear movies based on self-help books are becoming a new trend. Think Like A Man sees four women reading Steve Harvey’s book ‘Act Like A Man, Think Like A Man’ in an attempt to better understand and outfox their respective men. It looks to be on fairly standard rom-com grounds but has been released to moderate reviews and could be a decent rainy-day kind of movie. Nothing too strenuous but then again nothing too out of the ordinary either.
Also out this week:
With Every Heartbeat: An intense Swedish drama revolving around the burgeoning relationship between two thirtysomething women.
Silent Souls: A Russian drama focusing on a road trip between two friends as they journey to scatter one of their wives’ ashes in accordance with an ancient tribal custom.
Planet of Snail: A Korean documentary movie chronicling the troubles facing a formerly reclusive deaf man as he seeks to interact in the real word.
The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan: A Brit crime flick revolving around a football hooligan turned credit card fraudster.