There’s a buddy-cop action comedy, a high-octane crime thriller, a chilling exorcism based horror and a film about someone buying a Zoo. The latter is the current front-runner for the much coveted “least imaginative film title of the year” award by the way.
Last week’s big releases John Carter and The Raven both opened to fairly mixed reviews, arguably slightly more weighted towards the negative in both cases. Will this week’s offerings fare any better?
Here’s what we think.
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.
21 Jump Street *Pick of the Week*
Two under achieving cops are sent back to High School on an undercover mission to bust a drug ring. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are the central double act, Hill now slimmed down and svelte, Tatum as stacked and brooding as ever. By all accounts they bounce off each other brilliantly with Tatum demonstrating some unexpected comedy chops. The reviews for 21 Jump Street have been almost unanimously positive and it is an early contender for comedy of the year!
Tracy Ladd says:
I have to say that I’m really looking forward to 21 Jump Street. I didn’t want to feel the need to see it, but I do. I’m happy they decided to create something new and not rehash the original television series. I think that taking the comedic road was a stroke of brilliance and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it turns out.
Jon Lyus adds:
I feel the need to jump in here on 21 Jump Street. The twitter buzz and positive reviews appear to point to the unexpected success of this updating of an 80s TV show and the fallout of this film will have one of two possible outcomes. The first is that studios see that with a decent script, fond affection for but happy to play with the property it is remaking, and when the right cast is found these remakings/updatings can appeal to fans of the original and find a whole new audience. The second is that, if the film does well, studios will see the huge box office haul and plunder eBay for copies of TV Guide from July 1984 and grab a red marker pen. You know which one is the more likely right? Go ready for Grange Hill High and Automan: Rebirth next summer.
You can read Adam Lowes’s Review here.
We Bought A Zoo
Matt Damon stars in this comedy-drama directed and co-written by the erstwhile Cameron Crowe. Damon plays a recently widowed dad who relocates his family to a new house which happens to have a zoo attached to it. Along with head keeper Kelly (Scarlett Johansson) the family set about fixing the zoo up and race against time to get it ready for the grand opening. It would appear to be a feel-good family affair!
Big softy Dave Sztypuljak says:
The one I’m actually looking forward to seeing most is Cameron Crowe’s ‘We Bought a Zoo’. I’m a complete sucker for anything with animals in it and I can guarantee you now, I will cry at least once through it. In fact since this is not only about animals in potential danger but the epic tail of a families triumph in the face of difficult times (and in the process saving an entire zoo), I will no doubt cry through most of it!
Yes, I can say that I am indeed a complete wimp but how can you go wrong with Matt Damon, Elle Fanning AND Scarlett Johansson?!
A former smuggler who has left his criminal past behind is lured back into one last job (shock, horror) in order to protect his wife’s wayward brother. Mark Wahlberg stars in the lead role with support coming from Kate Beckinsale and Giovanni Ribisi. Contraband is actually a remake of the Icelandic movie Reykjavik-Rotterdam, the star of which, Baltasar Kormákur, actually directs this time around. The trailer for this movie seems to have played before everything I’ve seen at the cinema in the past month or so and truth be told it does look a little generic to me. It could well be a tense action-thriller but the plot synopsis coupled with the trailer strongly hints at it being nothing we haven’t already seen before. Prove me wrong though Wahlberg, prove me wrong.
You can read Adam Lowes’s review here.
The Devil Inside
One for any horror aficionados out there. The Devil Inside is a found-footage supernatural horror movie which sees a woman become embroiled in several exorcisms as she tries to get to the bottom of what happened to her own mother who herself murdered three people whilst possessed by a demon. The initial reviews haven’t been favourable, some bordering on just plain hatred. Maybe it’s an acquired taste though, it has been known for critics to get it wrong!
Paris Davis says:
A friend an I have already set a date to go and see The Devil Inside! I’m not one to scare easy at all so am secretly hoping that this film will be the one to change that. And from the trailers and people’s reactions during the viewing it looks like I won’t be disappointed!
Jon Lyus adds :
Looking forward to The Devil Inside, but it is entering a packed arena of exorcist movies which have failed to register even a blip on the Brown Trouser Meter. Eyes, ears and minds open of course.
Dave Sztypuljak meanwhile reaffirms his big softy status :
The Devil Inside is one that i absolutely will not be going to see. I am completely scared to death of these ‘real life’ movies and not for any other reason that I am a wimp (see above), I will not be going to see this movie!
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
This Turkish drama was the co-winner of the Grand Prix prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. It’s received plenty of accolades upon its release from the likes of Sight and Sound, Time Out and The Guardian so it could well be worth seeking out. According to the official site, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is:
An epic and rigorous tale of a night and day in a murder investigation. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is a beautifully photographed crime drama about police and prosecutors grimly locating a buried body through one long night in the Anatolian steppes. As the corpse is exhumed, many long-buried thoughts and fears are disinterred in the minds of the hard-bitten lawmen.
This is a Polish film which is based on the true story of Leopold Socha. In Nazi occupied Poland during the Second World War, Socha was a sewage worker who used his knowledge of the sewer systems to shelter a group of Jews from the Nazis. The horrors of the holocaust is always a harrowing topic to cover but it can also generate extremely powerful and moving cinema.
Bill Cunningham, New York
An interesting addition to this week’s releases, Bill Cunningham, New York is a documentary chronicling the life and times of legendary New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham. It looks an intriguing doc all round but for anybody with even a passing interest in photography, fashion or stylish New York society it’s a definite must-see.
According to the official blurb:
“We all get dressed for Bill,” says Vogue editrix Anna Wintour. The “Bill” in question is 80+ New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham. For decades, this Schwinnriding cultural anthropologist has been obsessively and inventively chronicling fashion trends and high society charity soirées for the Times Style section in his columns “On the Street” and “Evening Hours.” Documenting uptown fixtures (Wintour, Tom Wolfe, Brooke Astor, David Rockefeller—who all appear in the film out of their love for Bill), downtown eccentrics and everyone in between, Cunningham’s enormous body of work is more reliable than any catwalk as an expression of time, place and individual flair. In turn, Bill Cunningham New York is a delicate, funny and often poignant portrait of a dedicated artist whose only wealth is his own humanity and unassuming grace.