As expected, American Pie: Reunion had a solid first week at the box office but didn’t trouble the all-conquering Avengers at the top of the cinematic pile.

Truth be told I don’t see anything getting near the Marvel epic for another week or so yet either. It smashed the opening weekend box office record set by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in the States and unsurprisingly a sequel has been confirmed this week by the studio.

This week’s big release though should do a pretty bit of business at the box office as well with Tim Burton’s latest quirky baroque offering Dark Shadows making its arrival on the big screen.

Burton has amassed some serious box office bank with his recent offerings such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factor and Alice in Wonderland and can now pretty much do whatever he pleases in the eyes of his employers. Dark Shadows is a pet project of his and a movie based on a kitsch Gothic Soap Opera is undoubtedly right up his kitsch Gothic street. Early reviews haven’t been so kind however with some even suggesting it could be his biggest flop since Planet of the Apes. Time will tell on that one of course.

Also out this week is mumble-core comedy Jeff Who Lives at Home, Mel Gibson’s latest comeback attempt How I Spent My Summer Vacation and the suitably bonkers looking Piranha 3DD.

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

Dark Shadows

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I like a fair few of Tim Burton’s movies. His two Batmans, Beetlejuice, Mars Attacks, even Sleepy Hollow and Edward Scissorhands aren’t without their charms. Recently though, and I know I’m not the only one saying this, he has got incredibly stale and predictable.

Here’s his latest Depp-starring quirk fest and, naturally, it has plenty of gothic undertones. Shock horror.  Now I know that’s just his style and there’s plenty of fans out there who love this kind of stuff, but for me, I’ve just lost interest. For those of you who aren’t as grouchy and curmudgeonly as me though, Dark Shadows is Burton’s interpretation of a little known campy 70’s sitcom. The premise revolves around one Barnabas Collins, a young, rich and powerful playboy in the American town of Collinsport. He is kind of a big deal in his home town….people know him. However one day he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of a witch who curses him, turns him into a vampire and buries him alive. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, as they say. Anyway, Barnabas is inadvertently awoken two centuries later in the midst of the 1970s and much fish-out-of-water hilarity ensues.  Reviews have ranged from the average to the poor with many praising its style and acting but criticizing it’s storyline. A Tim Burton film that looks good but lacks any real story….imagine that.

Jon Lyus says:

Great premise runs out of steam fast, Depp engages quickly, other characters used & abused, luxuriant design on scant plot. Better that you remember Ed Wood and the glorious Burton/Depp union of old than the indulgence on display here. Eva Green does the best Jessica Rabbit impression ever though.

You can read Jon Lyus’ full  review here.


Jeff Who Lives at Home *Pick of the Week*

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An indie comedy courtesy of writer/director brothers Jay and Mark Duplass. Incidentally, Mark Duplass is the star of an awesome American Comedy series called The League which I urge you to seek out immediately, but….. back to the movie in hand. ‘Jeff’ stars Jason Segal in the titular role and Ed Helms as his brother. The former is a 30 year old slacker still living in his mother’s basement, the latter is trapped in a failing marriage.  While out running errands for his put-upon mother, Jeff seeks to finally find his own destiny but gets distracted by helping his brother spy on his cheating wife. It’s received some really positive reviews and it looks like a really entertaining and charming comedy drama.

Adam Lowes says:

Jeff, Who Lives At Home this is another endearing, well-acted (partially) improvised comedy drama from the Duplass Brothers, but while Jonah Hill’s uncomfortable closeness towards mum Marisa Tomei in Cyrus gave that film a darker and sometimes uncomfortable quality, ‘Jeff’ is a gentler, more whimsical piece of work.

You can read Adam’s full review here.

You can read what director Mark Duplass made of Adam’s review here.


How I spent my Summer Vacation

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Oh Mel. What happened to you? Martin Riggs, William Wallace, that dad from Ransom, you were a charismatic leading man and proving yourself fairly adept at the old directing game as well. Then you had to go and be a sexist, racist buffoon didn’t you? You just couldn’t help yourself could you? I don’t know why I’m addressing this at him directly, I’m fairly sure he’s not reading this. Anyway, Mel’s career has nose-dived considerably of late and after the poor showing of his first comeback attempt, The Beaver, this time he’s back in familiar action hero mode.

Mel stars as a career criminal  arrested by the Mexican authorities and thrown into a tough Mexican prison. There he learns to survive with the help of a 9 year old boy. Few people do wise-cracking action hero like Mel, for years it was basically him and Bruce Willis dominating the genre, so he’s definitely on relatively safe ground here.  If you can put aside your opinions of Mel the man and sit back and enjoy the movie, it could be a decent action comedy.

Adam Lowes’ says:

With the controversy surrounding Mel Gibson’s personal life it’s easy to forget how good he can be with the right material. That volatile persona which served him so well in the early Lethal Weapon films is very much evident in How I Spent My Summer Vacation, and the film is all the better for it.

You can read Adam’s full review here.

Cafe de Flore

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A Canadian drama film which garnered a wide array of award nominations in its homeland. The film revolves around two seemingly unrelated time-lines, one in 1960’s Paris, the other in modern day Montreal. Both threads deal with themes of love and relationships and the movie slowly builds up to revealing what connects the two strands together. Director Jean-Marc Vallee was the writer/director behind the excellent C.R.A.Z.Y. which is definitely worth checking out in itself.  Cafe de Flore has been warmly received by critics and,while not likely to be to everybody’s taste, it could certainly be worth seeking out if you like a healthy dose of intense drama.

All in Good time

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The latest offering from East is East writer Ayub Khan-Din, this is a comedy drama which sees a newly-wed Indian couple struggling to consummate their marriage. The film is set in a northern immigrant community, Bolton to be precise,  and in this regard would certainly appear to tread similar comedy territory to East is East. A domineering matriarch and an interfering family put a strain on the newlyweds and don’t perhaps allow them to have the honeymoon they envisaged.

Charlie Casanova

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A hard-hitting UK crime thriller with lashings of social commentary. I’ve heard very little of this movie in the build up to its release but the official blurb below certainly sounds like an interesting piece of work. Whether it follows through on that promise remains to be seen.

What happens when a proud member of the controlling class knocks down a working class girl in a hit and run? Does he help her?
Does he call an ambulance? Or does he negate all responsibility and consult a deck of playing cards to determine his fate?
A Clockwork Orange meets American Psycho in an uncompromising look at our corrupted times, Charlie Casanova is the personification of that small seedy group of people who had it all, threw it all away, and decided to blame the working class.

At a weekend hotel conference, three comfortable couples, bonded by blood, marriage and friendship know each other so well they can offend without any offense taken and forgive without any forgiveness given. Their natural leader is the irrepressible Charlie, an erudite, apparently harmless, fast-talking egotist, whose smoke and mirror monologues conceal a prejudiced, over-educated sociopath who refuses to be bound by the restrictions of morality, law, or even reality.

Charlie has it all, the perfect wife, the property portfolio and the loyalty of his friends. The fact that Charlie needs Viagra to have sex with his wife, is losing his portfolio, and has seduced his best friend’s wife, means nothing to him, because, having killed that working class girl, Charlie is living on dangerously borrowed time; and, as lies become truth, and reality becomes fantasy, this sickeningly compelling anti-hero embroils the three couples in his sanctimonious excesses and Pied Piper prejudices. Dangerously subversive, provocatively dark, and satirically disturbing, you may have already met Walter Mitty and Billy Liar but now it’s time for you to meet the darkest member of that twisted trio; the man of our times, Charlie Casanova.

Piranha 3DD

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Let me share with you a story. One of my friends, upon seeing the advert for this movie on TV, turned to a group of a about 4 or 5 of us and asked “why is it called Piranha 3-Double-D?”. To which the group of us replied in unison….”Boobs”. Which I think speaks volumes of both the film and us as a group of people. Anyway, you know the drill from the first film, Piranha’s attack and this time it’s in a water-park and with the holy trinity of Christopher Lloyd, David Hasslehoff and Gary Busey. Expect plenty of blood, plenty of schlocky horror and plenty of buxom women in bikinis. Not one to suit everybody’s taste, but if you like this sort of thing….you can’t go far wrong.

You can watch Gary Busey’s outtakes and bloopers on the set of Piranha 3DD here. (It’s exactly as good as it sounds).


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A French romantic musical drama now. Maybe one for a double bill with Piranha 3DD?  Beloved stars Catherine Deneuve and real-life daughter Chiara Mastroianni as a mother and daughter pair and chronicles their various romantic adventures. Spanning three decades and several handsome men, expect plenty of whimsy and several musical numbers.

According to the offical blurb:

[Beloved is a ] lighthearted but ultimately  moving exploration of the changing nature of relationships, with music by Alex Beaupain (Love Songs). An elegy to femininity and passion with musical outbursts.