Stephen Frears’ latest offering fared rather terribly though as despite a pretty widespread release it took only £117,000 in its first week. To put that into perspective, that leaves it trailing behind low-budget horror’s like Chernobyl Diaries and animated abominations likes Top Cat.
There’s not been a large-scale summer blockbuster released for a few weeks now so one of this week’s mid-carders will no doubt be hoping to capitalise. Out of the gaggle of movies out this week, relationship comedy Friends With Kids seems the obvious choice for Box Office success. It’s the directorial debut of Jennifer Westfeldt, who also writes and produces. Her partner Jon Hamm stars, along with fellow Bridesmaids alumni Kritsen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd. It’s had some decent enough reviews but may find that a lot of its target audience still opt for The Five Year Engagement when they are choosing their amusing romantic comedy for the week.
Also out this week are Brit Sci-Fi horror Storage 24, comedy-drama thriller Killer Joe and indie comedy Your Sister’s Sister. I can’t see any of these bad boys troubling the very top of the box office charts and it could mean a return to the top for Prometheus or mean that MIB3 steps up and gains the top spot. I can’t see Abraham Lincoln having much longevity as I imagine it has a fairly limited appeal and most of the people who were wanting to see it will have already gone in its opening week.
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.
Killer Joe *Pick of the Week*
The career rehabilitation of Matthew McConaughey continues with the dark crime thriller Killer Joe. After a series of Romantic Comedies ranging from the mundane to the abysmal, the former Dazed and Confused star has taken on a few more serious roles of late with the well received Lincoln Lawyer out last year, and now this “Totally twisted deep fried Texas redneck trailer park murder story” (to quote the poster). MM stars as the titular Joe, a quietly spoken hired killer who is hired by Chris (Emile Hirsch) who has gotten himself into debt with some unsavory characters. Chris sees his only option as being to kill his evil mother and collect on the life insurance policy. He struggles to come up with Joe’s retainer fee, but luckily Joe takes an interest in Chris’ sister and things take a turn for the sinister when he is offered her virginity as down payment. It looks like a grim and grisly crime story with a darkly comic tone running through it. It’s directed incidentally by no other than William Friedkin, he of The Exorcist and The French Connection fame. Reviews have been very positive and McCounaghey has been praised for his cold and calculating central performance.
Dave Sztypuljak says:
Killer Joe was nothing like i would thought it would be. A real hard watch in places and although it’s very dark, it’s very funny too and i think will surprise people who will pass it onto their friends.
Friends with Kids
Friends With Kids looks at a close-knit circle of friends and the impact that the arrival of children has on their lives. After witnessing the problems befalling two of the couples in the group, the two singletons decide there must be a better way and decide to have a child together whilst leaving their relationship platonic (what could possibly go wrong?). Director Jennifer Westfeldt has put together an impressive cast for this ensemble comedy of whom Bridesmaids alumnus Wiig, Rudolph, O’Dowd and Hamm’s abilities are well documented and Parks and Rec star Adam Scott has proven himself to be an oft underrated comic performer. A cast of this quality alone should really elevate this to above average status but luckily early reviews have all been fairly positive anyway. By all accounts it isn’t breaking any new ground, and does lapse into a standard Rom-Com stlye after a while, but it’s an enjoyable outing from a promising young writer/director.
An intriguing low-budget British Sci-Fi horror movie which has received fairly mixed reviews so far. The plot sees a military cargo plane crash near a London based storage facility scattering its classified contents across the city and inadvertently releasing a mysterious entity from its storage unit. At the same storage facility, Charlie (Noel Clarke) and Shelley (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) along with their two friends, are dividing up their possessions after a recent break up. Suddenly they get trapped inside the dark corridors of the facility and begin getting picked off by a ferocious predator. It looks like the kind of film which will appeal to some horror aficionados but may prove a touch generic for some. Notable horror expert Kim Newman has said it’s a superior British horror pic, which is a pretty decent yardstick to go by! Don’t expect anything too new and exciting, but if you fancy a few decent scares, you could do worse than seeking this one out.
Dave Sztypuljak says:
Storage 24 is also pretty good. The creature design on the alien is fab and the choice to use practical effects rather than only CG is so nice to see. The story is pretty basic but has some strong performances. Again. this will probably surprise a few people and do quite well on the big screen.
You can read Dave’s interview with star Noel Clarke here.
Your Sister’s Sister
This is the latest movie from Humpday writer/director Lynn Shelton and stars ‘mumblecore’ pioneer Mark Duplass. Duplass is best known for writing and directing Cyrus and Jeff, Who Lives at Home and is also the star of excellent comedy series The League (heartily recommended to one and all). The presence of these two names should tip you off as to the kind of film we are talking about here and sure enough semi-improvised comedy drama is very much the order of the day. The plot sees Duplass’ Jack struggling with the death of his brother. His friend Iris (Emily Blunt) packs him off to her father’s remote cabin to recuperate, only when Jack gets there, Iris’ sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) is already staying. Things get a little complicated after Jack and Hannah spend a drunken night together and then Iris arrives unexpectedly the next day with all three relationships getting a little strained. It’s received plenty of positive reviews with the three lead actors all singled out for particular praise. Another indie American comedy that’s well worth seeking out!
Adam Lowes adds:
I’ll be hoping to catch Your Sister’s Sister. I’m a fan of those semi-improvised character dramas, and I really loved Mark Duplass and director Lynn Shelton’s previous film together, Humpday.
You can read Jamie Neish’s review here.
This is the latest offering from Welcome to the Dollhouse and Palindromes director Todd Solondz so expect plenty of dark comedy and lashings of suburban satire. Dark Horse chronicles the blossoming romance between Abe (Jordan Gelber), a 30-something guy who lives with parents and is an avid toy collector and Miranda (Linda Blair) a depressed girl who has moved back home after a failed literary career. Miranda agrees to marry Abe out of sheer desperation which has troublesome consequences for both parties. The man-child stuck in arrested development has been covered plenty of times in American comedies, but it will be interesting to see what Solondz’s deeply, deeply dark vein of black humour can bring to the occasion. From the reviews I’ve read, which are all fairly positive, Abe is a typical Solondz character, whiny and infuriating and more often than not, very hard to like. Don’t expect a Seth Rogen type of performance from Gelber here.
King of Devil’s Island
A hard-hitting Norwegian drama which is based on a real-life uprising at a brutal Bastoy island prison for youths. The boys on the island are subject to physical and mental abuse by the guards and are routinely exploited for their cheap manual labour. Into this awful situation comes new boy Erling who sees to have his own agenda which includes escaping the remote island. After a tragic incident involving another inmate, Erling leads the other boys there in a violent uprising which then prompts the government to send soldiers to restore order. It looks to be an incredibly bleak movie and by no means a comfortable watch, but nevertheless a powerful and striking one which has received plenty of plaudits.
This is the new horror movie from the director of The Blair Witch Project (and for some reason, the poster wants us to know, the executive producer of The Lord of the Rings.. Which is good to know). Newlywed Molly moves back into her old family home but soon reminders from her troubled childhood begin to seep into her new life. An unseen force in the house seems determined to drag Molly down into eternal darkness, but are the forces real or all in Molly’s head? It’s seemingly part ghost story and part psychological thriller and has really divided critics with some praising it as a scary and tense chiller and other really not too impressed with it at all. It would appear to be the marmite-movie of the week so if it sounds up your street, go and check it out and see for yourself.
You can read Jamie Neish’s review here and Jon’s interview with director Eduardo Sánchez here.
Glastonbury: The Movie (In Flashback)
This is a re-release of the 1996 documentary which mixes plenty of live performances with footage of reveling festival goers. The footage shot is from the 1993 festival, so we are talking pre-security wall era here, and features bands such as The Orb, Spiritualized and The Lemonheads. The filmmakers have gone back and with the benefits of 21st Century technology, cleaned up the footage as well as the audio track and added in around 30 minutes of bonus material. If you’re a Glastonbury regular then it may be a welcome summer alternative in this fallow year. If you’re one of the uninitiated, it’s a brief taster of what the festival is all about.
A colourful and vibrant French comedy drama with plenty of quirky charm and old school physical comedy. The official blurb says:
Third feature from anarchic comedy trio Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy, The Fairy is a colourful burlesque comedy that succeeds in being both charming and hilarious.
Social misfit Dom works the night shift in a small hotel near the industrial sea port of Le Havre. One night, a woman called Fiona arrives with no luggage and no shoes and tells Dom she is a fairy, granting him three wishes. It is love at first sight. After making two of his wishes come true, Fiona mysteriously disappears. After searching for her high and low, heart-broken Dom eventually finds her in the psychiatric hospital where she has been committed.
You can read Lisa Giles-Keddie’s review here
Fire in the Blood: A documentary looking at how Western pharmaceutical companies and governments blocked access to low-cost AIDS drugs for poorer countries and how a band of people fought back.
Exit Humanity : A grimy horror which focuses on a zombie outbreak during he American Civil War.
Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie: A surrealist film from 1972 directed by the legendary Luis Bunuel which sees a group of upper-class people attempting to dine together and facing constant interruptions and irritations.
Joyful Noise: Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton. Small town choir. National Competition. Poor odds. Etc. Etc. Etc. Lisa’s review is here.