There are many things is this world which deep down, I still don’t really understand. Things like, how do planes stay in the air? How does electricity actually work? And just how has June Sarpong forged a career? Few things are as puzzling to me though as the longevity of Adam Sandler’s movie career. He had some decent comedies early on, Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer spring to mind, and Punch-Drunk Love isn’t without its appeal, but since around 2004, he has a seemingly unparalleled run of misfiring duds. 50 First Dates, Spanglish, The Longest Yard, Click, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry , Funny People, Grown Ups, Just Go With It and Jack and Jill. I know somebody must find these movies funny, else they wouldn’t all make a decent return on investment and thus keep getting made, but personally, I just don’t get it.

That being said, for all I know That’s My Boy could be a sparkling and fresh comedy filled with grade-A gags which will have my sides split asunder. That COULD , in theory, happen.

Last week’s big releases shot straight to the stop of the pile with Total Recall and The Watch taking first and second spot respectively. Both had fairly healthy opening weeks but these were skewed slightly by extensive preview showings. I can see both staying in the top ten for a while though, but doubt either will be in top spot come next week. One movie which is plummeting out of the top ten, as predicted by all and sundry,  is Keith Lemon: The Film, which experienced a massive 69% drop in takings from its first week on release.The Imposter meanwhile continues to impress and has had a second strong week given its fairly meagre budget and art house credentials and is still riding high at 12th spot.

Aside from Adam Sandler’s latest chucklefest, there’s some big hitters hitting screens this week. Prohibition gangster drama Lawless looks like an intriguing prospect, Dredd looks set to be a strong attempt to erase the memories of the Sly Stallone debacle and Anna Karenina brings a interesting touch of Tolstoy to proceedings. All three should fair pretty well this weekend and will be expecting healthy showings at the box office.

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.

Dredd 3D *Pick of the Week*

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For those not already in the know, Dredd is based on the extremely popular Judge Dredd strip which appeared in the British 2000 AD comics. The eponymous Judge Dredd acts as judge Judy and executioner in a post-apocalyptic dystopian metropolis. There has of course been a previous attempt to translate the series to the big screen in the guise of the much-maligned 1995 Sylvester Stallone star vehicle. That outing changed a whole host of elements from the source material and not only drew the ire of the comic’s fanboys, but also made for a pretty dull watch in general. The time out, director Peter Travis was wary of the mistakes of the past and was sure to embrace the elements of the comic book which made it so popular, namely its grungy aesthetic and brutal violence.

Karl Urban is in the lead role and while you may only see his chin for the duration of he film, word it’s some of the best chin acting you’ll have seen in quite some time. Early reviews have drawn comparisons with recent actioner The Raid given the film’s plot that sees the heroes forced to fight their way out of a villain-controlled tower block, but they have also been quick to commended the film on its own terms. It’s been praised for being faithful to the comics and also for presenting a particularly grim and visceral vision of the future.

You can read Ben Mortimer’s review here. 

Curent Rotten Tomatoes Score : 100%

Lawless

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There was a lot of early buzz surrounding John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Matt Bondurant’s 2008 novel ‘The Wettest County In The World’. The director has carved out a solid reputation as a creator of striking yet downbeat movies including the incredible neo-western The Proposition and the unrelentingly bleak The Road, and a cast which includes Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce and Tom Hardy is certainly going to grab plenty of attention. The story itself is also an appealing one, combining some classic cinema elements including prohibition era bootlegging and the band of brothers entering into the criminal underworld. Shia LeBeouf and Jason Clarke are Hardy’s siblings and the three of them enter into the bootlegging business only to face threats from both sides of the law.

Despite the early buzz and its seemingly winning formula, reviews have thus far been remarkably average rather than overwhelmingly positive. There’s a general consensus that it doesn’t quite live up to the expectation and while visually stunning and with solid performances all round, it is slightly uneven in terms of its message and not quite as gripping as it could easily have been. That being said, I for one am definitely looking forward to giving to a go and given his pervious works,  I’m excited to see what Hillcoat has put together.

Curent Rotten Tomatoes Score : 65%

Anna Karenina

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Director Joe Wright teams up for a third time with Keira Knightly in this bold new adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic love story Anna Karenina. The story, set in late 19th Century Russia, sees aristocratic Anna enter into an affair with a handsome Count as she begins to examine what love really means and what will ultimately make her happy.

Wright’s unique take on the story may divide opinion as he eschews the epic scope one might expect from a sweeping literary classic such as Karenina and instead opts to reset proceedings under the guise of a theatre production. So events take place both within the theatre audience as well as backstage and in the wings.  It’s a brave decision to reimagine the classic story in this way and critics seem unsure as to whether Wright really pulls it off. Few have completely trashed the film, but most seem to suggest the finished article doesn’t entirely work and it may be something of a missed  opportunity. Knightly has received her fair share of plaudits however and visually the film is highly praised, but the general consensus is that the story itself lets the side down.

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

Curent Rotten Tomatoes Score : 65%

That’s My Boy

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As you may gather from my ever-so-amusing introduction, I’m not the biggest fan of Adam Sandler or his movies. I genuinely cannot understand who keeps going to see these films and who finds them so funny. They continue to be critically mauled and I’ve never met anybody who admits to actually liking them. Yet seemingly every 6 months or so, another cringe-inducing bad trailer comes out which just makes you think, “who the hell is going to pay to watch that?”. Now of course, you can never review a film you haven’t seen, and it’s entirely possible that That’s My Boy will be a comedy masterclass, but judging by the trailer, the wealth of scathing reviews and, well, the plot synopsis itself, I’m not holding out much hope.

Sandler plays Donny, a drunken slob who when aged 14, sleeps with his teacher and fathers a child. pedophilia and statutory rape, always a rich source or comedy gold. Now a fully grown adult and in some financial difficulties, Donny tries to reconnect with his son Todd (Andy Samberg) who is due to be married.  Critics have ranged from the downright savage to those who kindly suggest it’s not AS bad as some of Sandler’s recent efforts. Either way, it’s one to avoid.

Current Rotten Tomatoes Score; 22%

A Night in the Woods

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A couple and their friend go camping in a Dartmoor wood and various tensions and jealousies begin to rear their head as paranoia begins to get the better of the trio. It soon starts to look as if a powerful force is also at work and the three friends begin to fear that they won’t survive their night in the woods. Shaky-cam found footage horror has been done to death in recent years and the trip to the haunted woods ensures an inevitable comparison to The Blair Witch. Critics haven’t been blown away by A Night In The Woods, suggesting it’s fairly unoriginal and not nearly scary enough, but horror expert Kim Newman had some kind words for the cast and their improv skills and says it’s well worth a watch, so perhaps it’s one for horror aficionados only.

Current Rotten Tomatoes Score : 36%

Love

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This debut film from director William Eubank, produced and scored by rock band Angels and Airwaves, looks an intriguing Sci-Fi feature. The premise is thus, set in the near future, a lone astronaut travels to the long abandoned International Space Station to check on its readiness for use. While there, a disastrous event occurs back on earth and his contact with humanity is cut off leaving him alone adrift in orbit. He struggles to maintain his sanity before finding the journal of a Civil War soldier which chronicles the soldier’s own search for a certain object, a search with our astronaut soon relates to personally.

There’s been little press coverage of this movie so it’s something of an unknown quantity. It’s an interesting premise, and whether the director can pull off a sterling debut remains to be seen. Certainly one worth seeking out if you’re a fan of Sci-Fi.

Current Rotten Tomatoes Score: 58%

Shut up and Play the Hits

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A documentary looking at the last ever gig of influential LCD Soundsystem. According to the official blurb:

On April 2nd, 2011, LCD SOUNDSYSTEM played its final show at Madison Square Garden. LCD frontman James Murphy had made the conscious decision to disband one of the most celebrated and influential bands of its generation at the peak of its popularity, ensuring that the band would go out on top with the biggest and most ambitious concert of its career. The instantly sold out, near four-hour extravaganza did just that, moving the thousands in attendance to tears of joy and grief.

It’s been receiving plenty of critical plaudits, and while it goes without saying that it’s a must-see for fans of the band, anyone who enjoys concert movies may also find it worth seeking out.

Current Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

The Queen of Versailles

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A documentary which looks at the billionaire Siegal family who are first seen building a 90,000 sq. ft palatial home (based on the French palace at Versailles), but then after the economic crisis kicks in, they face escalating financial struggles. After the real-estate bubble bursts,  it forces some serious lifestyle changes upon the family. While the Siegals are shown to be fairly vain, greedy and sickeningly wealthy at the films outset, critics have praised the film’s ability to render their experiences surprisingly fascinating and some even suggest you feel a smidgen of sympathy for the couple by the film’s end. An interesting take on the excess of Western culture and the potentially odious nature of the American dream.

Current Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%