The major release this week is Lucasfilm production Red Tails which tells the story of the first African-American airmen to serve in the American army during World War 2. It’s a project George Lucas has had gestating for some time now but he has wisely handed over directorial duties to Anthony Hemingway, an experienced TV director making his first foray into feature films. I can’t see Red Tails challenging the big hitters at the top of the Box Office pile, but it should do some reasonable business despite largely unfavourable reviews.
Also out this week is the Simon Pegg starring comedy A Fantastic Fear of Everything, Plan B’s urban musical Ill Manors and Will Ferrell’s latest comedy Casa De Mi Padre.
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.
A fictionalised account of the Tuskegee Airmen, who were members of the African American United States Army Air Force during World War 2. After facing racism and discrimination throughout the recruitment process, the young Airmen are finally given a combat mission but soon realise they are given only the very mundane tasks and aren’t initially trusted to fight the enemy in fighter-to-fighter combat. There are inevitable tensions within the group as young pilots with wildly different personalities begin to clash. Major Emanuel Stance (Cuba Gooding Jnr) and Colonel A.J. Bullard (Terence Howard) attempt to keep them all together in the face of a repressive white bureaucracy. Can the Airmen earn the army’s respect and prove their worth? I think it’s fair to assume they may well do just that.
It’s Lucasfilms’ first non Indy or Star Wars related movie since 1994’s Radioland Murders and has been a pet project of Executive Producer George Lucas for many years. He started developing the project way back in 1988 and so its fair to say that what we see up on the screen today is the result of a long hard slog. Despite noble intentions though, showing as it does a heroic group of men who deserve to be immortalised in film, critics haven’t been too kind. It’s apparently very simplistic plot-wise and is riddled with assorted war film clichés and corny dialogue. That being said, the aerial dogfights are meant to be fairly impressive and it could well be a decent option for any families visiting the cinema.
I hope this doesn’t mean George will go back to tinkering with his classics now.
Asim Burney says:
I am interested in Red Tails as it could be innocent, kiddie airborne dog fights, plus the story line of a black fighter pilot unit just appeals to me.
You can read Stefan Pape’s review here.
Ben Draw, aka pop star Plan B, has already dabbled in the world of acting and has his first starring role on the horizon alongside Ray Winstone in the forthcoming remake of The Sweeney. Here though he tries his hands at directing and has aimed to create a gritty urban drama with a dash of musical thrown into the mix. The film follows the lives of eight different lead characters all struggling to survive in the Forest Gate area of London. As the stories begin to interweave, the violent and destructive nature of life on the streets begins to rear its ugly head.
Drew is a well-known critic of David Cameron’s government and the outspoken singer clearly has a lot to say on he subject of Broken Britain. Expect Ill Manors to be hard-hitting and uncompromising. Review have been mixed thus far and it could well prove to be a Marmite type of film.
You can read Will Jones’ review here.
A Fantastic Fear of Everything
Based on a novella by Withnail and I writer and director Bruce Robinson, A Fantastic Fear sees Simon Pegg taking the lead role and former Kulashaker frontman Crispin Mills on co-directing duties with Chris Hopewell. The story sees Pegg’s children’s author, Jack, dabbling in crime novels and thanks to his in-depth research on Victorian serial killers, he has become a nervous wreck. When a Hollywood executive surprisingly takes an interest in a script of his, Jack’s paranoia begins to get the better of him and his fear of being murdered, as well as his many other phobias, come to the fore. Pegg is known for his loveable everyman persona which is often so well suited to this time of quirky comedy movie. Early reviews have not been kind however. Critics suggest the film’s roots as a short movie are clear and it may perhaps not have the legs to warrant a full feature.
Dave Sztypuljak says:
Was hopeful for A Fantastic Fear of Everything but after I saw the trailer, I really don’t think it’s for me.
Jon Lyus says:
It has some great ideas and Simon Pegg does great work in holding it together but unfortunately the story is stretched too thin and there’s not enough to keep you invested until the end. The design is great and Pegg is a highlight but a reliance on voiceover does cover the narrative shortfalls. Shame really as there are some very interesting elements at play, but the execution doesn’t match the potential.
You can read Jon Lyus’ review here.
Casa De Mi Padre
The latest Will Ferrell vehicle is a slight break from the norm for the actor as it’s actually a Spanish-Language comedy which dabbles in overly dramatic Mexican Westerns. Ferrell stars as Armando, a worker on his father’s struggling ranch. When Armando’s brother Raul returns to the ranch, now a succesful business man and with fiance in tow, the family’s problems appear to be over. However, when Armando falls for his brother’s fiance, and Raul’s business dealings appear to be less than legit, they encounter some serious problems with local drug kingpin Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal).
Fans of Ferrell will no doubt find much to enjoy here, though it is apparently absurd even by his considerable standards. Early reviews have been fairly mixed so it may be one for the dedicated fan only.
You can read Asim Burney’s review here.
Passport to Pimlico
A true classic from the Ealing Studios back catalogue, Passport to Pimlico is an entertaining snapshot of post-war Britain. After a wartime bomb detonates and reveals a wealth of treasures including an ancient piece of parchment, it is revealed that thanks to a quirk of historical law, Pimlico technically belongs to the Duke of Burgundy and is no long British soil. Free from the trappings of post-war rationing, the locals begin to revel in their new-found freedom. There then follows some light-hearted quarrels with the British government as the Burgundians seek to cement their rights and the government seeks to squeeze them into submission. It’s a film very much of its time, but it’s still a sharp and eccentric look at a bygone era. Well worth seeking out for any fans of British cinema.
You can read my review here.
The Harsh Light of Day
The first of a trio of horror movies out this week, The Harsh Light of Day focuses on an author, Daniel, who is an expert on matters of the occult . Upon returning from his book launch, Daniel’s house is broken into by thugs who beat his wife to death and leave him permanently paralysed. He becomes a reclusive agoraphobic cared for by an in-house nurse. When a mysterious stranger arrives and informs Daniel he can help him get revenge, thinks begin to spiral out of control and Daniel is led down an increasingly horrific path.
You can read Steven Neish’s review here.
The Innkeepers has been receiving some very positive reviews and would appear to be the pick of the bunch this week for horror fans. Two young employees are the only staff members working during the final few days of the Yankee Pedlar Inn, a once famous hotel which is shortly to close down. The hotel would appear to have a particularly active haunted past and as it nears its close, some of its old inhabitants return to pay a ghostly visit. Reviews suggest that while it is hardly breaking any new ground and perhaps relies on some tried and tested shock-jump tactics, it’s still a well done creepy horror movie.
Jon Lyus says:
Can’t wait to see The Innkeepers – love Ti West’s work and this looks to be another winner, a proper horror film instead of the post modern viscera fest.
The third horror outing this week is haunted-house chiller The Pact. The set up doesn’t sound too extraordinary, girl returns to childhood home and runs into some unsavoury unseen entities, but it has had some decent reviews and again may prove worth a watch for horror aficionados. It also stars Starship Trooper Casper Van Dien, and it’s good to know Johnny Rico is still getting work.
You can read Adam Lowes’ review here.
Woody Allen : A Documentary
A must-see for any Woody Allen fans out there, this intriguing doc takes a look at the maestro’s life and times, following him on movie sets and joining him as he returns to his childhood haunts. There’s an impressive array of talking heads present to talk about the great man and what makes him tick, ranging from Diane Keaton, Larry David and Martin Scorsese, to Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz and Owen Wilson. It’s a warm and affectionate look at Allen’s life, so don’t expect too many probing questions regarding his private life.
Asim Burney says:
The Woody Allen doc could be great ( am a huge fan of his movies that other people like less ie:/ Deconstructing Harry, Anything Else even Whatever Works) I just hope they don’t dwell too much on his romantic life as that could end up being icky.