It was a relatively poor few days in terms of cinema attendances this past weekend as the general public made the collective decision to make the most of  one last dose of sunshine before five months of jumpers, freezing mornings and flood warnings. In fact, the market was so bad this past weekend, takings were actually down nearly 30% on the same time last year. Thanks to this relatively low cinematic turnout, Dredd 3D, which became the first 18 certificate film to top the chart since Saw 3D back in October 2010, did so with only just over £1million grossed. This was the lowest total gross to clinch the top spot since Ice Age 4 limped its way to the top a few months back.

Last week’s other two big releases, Lawless and Anna Karenina, came in second and third respectively but also experienced relatively disappointing opening weekends. Given the lack of any major blockbusters coming out this week though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see all three have a solid second week and stay atop of the cinematic pile.

A lot of pre-existing releases experienced a fairly hefty drop-off in takings over the weekend, with Total Recall down 73% and The Watch a whopping 82% compared to the previous week.  Meanwhile, Keith Lemon: The Film continues its rapid slide out of the top ten, taking just £76,000 and now resting in 15th place while Adam Sandler’s latest ‘comedy’ That’s My Boy took a measly £254,000 and failed to break the top ten. A small shred of faith in humanity was thus restored.

There’s a number of mid-sized movies out this week which may not challenge the big blockbusters at the top of the box office pile but will be hoping to make a sizeable impact at the multiplex nonetheless. The updated all-swearing, all-geezering (it’s a word) The Sweeney has been pushed hard by its PR team but lacklustre reviews and a general lack of public interest may work to its disadvantage. Personally I think those awful Orange adverts that run before cinema viewings at the moment are a valid enough reason to not bother seeing it, but hey, what do I know, I’m just a lowly curmudgeon.

Also out this week is bike-courier thriller Premium Rush, Woody Allen’s latest film To Rome With Love and 3D stop-motion animated comedy horror Paranorman.

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.


Premium Rush *Pick of the Week*

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Jason Gordon-Levitt stars as Wilee, a New York City bicycle courier whose already fairly dangerous task of zipping across the city delivering packages amongst the heavy traffic and angry pedestrians, is made even harder thanks to a dirty cop. That dirty cop, played by Michael Shannon, is determined to obtain a package which Wilee is meant to be delivering and so begins a cat-and-mouse high-octane chase across New York’s busy streets. It’s a relatively simple premise but by all accounts, the plot is not the important thing here. Premium Rush has been receiving a fair amount of praise for its outstanding chase sequences and breakneck pace as Wilee hurtles around New York. Basically, what it lacks in subtle plot nuances, it more than makes up for in adrenalin pumping action.

Current Rotten Tomatoes rating: 76%


The Sweeney

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It’s the reboot nobody saw coming and in all fairness, nobody was clamoring for. 70’s TV staple The Sweeney made stars of John Thaw and Dennis Waterman and focused on the rough and tumble escapades of the Met Police’s ‘Flying Squad’ (rhyming slang=Sweeney Todd). Now, some 37 years later, Detective Inspector Jack Regan and Detective Sergeant George Carter are back, only this time, it’s grittier, meaner and generally more Ray Winstone-ier.  Winstone and rapper-turned actor Ben Drew make up the deadly duo who flagrantly bend the rules in order to get the job done and bring an old adversary to justice.

Reviews thus far seem fairly evenly divided. On the one hand are those who feel it’s a perfectly watchable if unremarkable crime thriller with plenty of testosterone fuelled action scenes thrown in to grab the attention. On the other hand, there are a fair few critics that have been less kind and suggest it’s a fairly dull, predictable and cliche-riddled bore. Winstone is, as one might expect, touted as the best thing about it, but let’s face, if there’s one man who can shout slaaaaaaaaaaag and beat up a criminal like a true crooked cockney copper (great aliteration there) it’s Ray.

You can read Lisa Giles-Keddie’s review here.

Current Rotten Tomatoes rating: 69%

Hope Springs

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Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones star as Kay and Arnold in this romantic comedy-drama about a middle-aged couple who, after thirty years of marriage, decide to see a relationship counsellor in order to reignite that old spark. Steve Carrell stars as the specialist seeking to help Kay and an at-first hesitant Arnold and all three actors have been receiving plaudits for their roles. It’s obviously not a film which will appeal to the younger crowd too much but critics seem fairly unanimous in their praise for the chemistry between the two leads. Nowhere near as weepy and far funnier than one might expect, it’s definitely one of the most appealing comedies for adults, (as opposed to adult comedies), in a fair while.

Current Rotten Tomatoes rating: 76%



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This is the latest offering from pioneering Laika animation studios who hit big a few years back with the wonderous Coraline. A stop-motion 3D comedy thriller sounds like quite the heady mix and the trailer certainly looks mighty striking. The plot sees a town beset by Zombies and all sorts of creepy ghouls and their only hope is a misunderstood young boy who so happens to be able to talk to the dead.

There’s some impressive voice talent along for the ride including Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Chris Mintz-Plasse and Kodi Smit-McPhee as the titular hero Norman. Most critics have loved ParaNorman and the general consensus is that it’s a good mix of family friendly comedy and impressive visuals. Some have gone as far as to call it the best animated movie of the year, while others have stopped short of such a bold claim but still seem to thoroughly recommend giving it a watch.

You can read Joe Cunningham’s review here.

Current Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 87%

When the Lights Went Out

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A British horror which focuses on the story of a family in Yorkshire in 1974 whose new home is haunted by the presence of a violent poltergeist.  The family turn to exorcism but unfortunately for them, this only seems to make matters work. This is apparently based on a true story and is made all the more scary by the fact that it all really happened. Apparently.  The ‘Black Monk of Pontefract’ really did haunt an unsuspecting family in Pontefract in the mid 70’s….. Allegedly.

Anyways, scepticism aside for now and instead focusing on the cinematic offering at hand, it’s fair to say that When The Lights Went Out hasn’t exactly been met with rave reviews thus far. Reviews suggest that the movies doesn’t really tread any new ground and while it is eerily authentic, it does struggle to offer any genuine sense of terror. Still might be worth a watch if you need a new horror fix.

Current Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 29%

To Rome With Love

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Woody is back again and the next stop on his European movie tour sees him taking in the sights and sounds of Rome. A multi-national cast including Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Greta Gerwig, Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg are all onboard as four separate vignettes see various individuals and couples getting up to various romantic adventures in the ancient city.

Critics seem divided once again, though one point they can all agree on is that this is by no stretch of the imagination a patch on Midnight In Paris. Many are suggesting that Midnight was perhaps the brilliant blip amidst a run of fairly below-par Allen movies in recent years. To Rome With Love is reportedly severely lacking in humour and possesses a fairly underdeveloped central conceit. There are a few who are slightly more positive and suggest that fans of Woody’s work will find something to enjoy here. Perhaps it’s fair to assume that this is one for committed Allen fans only.

You can watch an exclusive clip from To Rome With Love here.

Current Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 44%

Also out this week:

Keyhole :  A bizarre sounding thriller about a gangster who returns home and undertakes a personal odyssey through each haunted room.

Twenty8k: A small British thriller courtesy of award-winning Shameless, Cracker and State of Play screenwriter Paul Abbott.

The Snows of Kilamanjaro: A heart-warming yet provocative French drama about social justice amidst a poor shipyard community.

Anton Corbijn Inside Out: A documentary looking at the life and work of the renowned Dutch music video and film director.

About Elly: An internationally acclaimed Iranian drama looking at the strained relationships between three middle-class Iranian families.