We really were spoiled for choice last week. Three or four major releases of varying quality hit the multiplexes with 21 Jump Street the clear success story and The Devil Inside the proverbial turd in the punchbowl.

Unfortunately it’s another week of slim pickings this time out as the one major release of the week has ensured that rival studios haven’t dared put anything up against it. Hence you may notice the predominance of The  Hunger Games in this week’s article.

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.

 

 

The Hunger Games *Pick of the Week*

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It’s this week’s big release and, let’s face it, you might as well go and see it sooner or later. Prepare for a media blitz in the coming weeks as every blog, website and magazine gears up for extensive Hunger Games coverage. It’s going to be the hot new franchise and judging from the early positive reviews, there’s going to be sequels afoot and this particular film-based-on-a-novel craze that isn’t going away any time soon. You might as well get on board at the ground floor.

Plot-wise, the general gist it thus: In the near future,  crippled by drought, famine and war, America as we know it is no more. In America’s place rises the country of Panem which is divided between 12 districts and the state Capitol. Every year, two young representatives from each district are selected at random to participate in the brutal Hunger Games. This is a vicious Battle Royale style fight to the death designed for the citizens of Panem to watch and enjoy. Our heroine Katniss volunteers to take her younger sister’s place when she is selected to represent their district.  Katniss must then fight the various other ‘tributes’ in order to emerge victorious.

Paris Davis says:

I am literally counting down the days until The Hunger Games is released. After reading all three books in one week I think it’s fair to say I’m in love with the whole story and only hope that the film is created in a way that does the book justice!

Charlie Derry says:

I’m hugely looking forward to seeing The Hunger Games after reading the book last month. Also looking forward to people being able to put their comparisons to rest. Too many people have been comparing it to Twilight, which it isn’t like at all except for in the writing style a little, and of course Battle Royale as well. I think the film will work brilliant because it is directed at a completely different audience to these other franchises, and for that reason I think it will pull in a bigger crowd. From what I’ve heard already it is a great adaptation, so I’m looking forward to hearing more people’s positive reviews rather than picking at faults beforehand.

Asim Burney says:

I have read the books, and although i didn’t love them (I still need to finish the 3rd one as it gets sooo tedious) the great buzz and the casting of Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson has really gotten me excited. I do understand the comparisons with “Battle Royale” and even Arnold’s 80’s classic “Running Man” although yes it does seem to WANT to cater to the Twilight audience but I’m assuming that is what the studio and marketing department wants and not the filmmakers or even the writers intent.

You can read Ben Mortimer’s review here.

 

Act of Valour

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Aka Team America 2 :  Less Puppets more Patriots. The plot synopsis says it all really, an elite team of Navy SEALS embark on a dangerous and covert mission to rescue a captured CIA agent. So far, so generic action movie right? Well, the twist is that the lead parts are all played by real-life serving SEALS rather than Hollywood actors. The military maneuvers will thus look extra authentic but will their acting chops be up to scratch? It’s an interesting artistic choice to make and it remains to be seen whether it pays off. It’s pure adrenalin pumping action and for fans of the genre it should deliver as expected.

Dave Sztypuljak says:

I really want to see this movie! I’ve seen the trailer about 10 times in the cinema and it really reminds me of Black Hawk Down which i loved too. I’m a sucker for these military stories and this one looks fab (and I heard from Adam Lowes that it is!). Thank goodness Momentum added the ‘U’ back in Valour too!

You can read Adam Lowe’s review here.

 

 

Wild Bill

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The directorial debut of Lock Stock and Band of Brothers actor Dexter Fletcher hits UK screen this week and thus far it’s had pretty favourable reviews. The film follows Bill Hayward, a prisoner who is being paroled after 8 years behind bars. He returns home to find his two sons, aged 15 and 11, living alone with their mother nowhere to be found. When Social Services threaten to put the boys into care, Bill is forced to stick around and look after the boys and make up for the years he’s been absent. Trouble brews however when his younger son gets mixed up with some shady characters and the only way Bill can save his son is to violate his parole conditions.

As the official synopsis says:

To sort it out would breach the terms of his license and risk sending him back to Jail. Bill’s next steps will show what sort of a Dad he wants to be. A good one or a free one.

You can read our interviews with Wild Bill director Dexter Fletcher here and and read Craig’s review here.

Agent Vinod

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This Indian spy movie sees the titular Agent Vinod embarking on a globetrotting mission as he tries to hunt down the people responsible for his colleagues’ murder.

You can read Asim Burney’s thoughts on the bone-crunching trailer here.

Asim adds:

It’s always been interesting when other countries take over the James Bond- SuperSpy template be it the Bourne Trilogy in the US, OSS 117 in France or even Mandrill in Chile and now it’s Bollywood’s turn. Agent Vinod is predicted to have a massive opening as B-town has been on an action trip lately and the casting of real life couple Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor will probably add a bit more glamour to the movie. It’s a movie long in the making and mired by delays but Sriram Raghavan is an ace director and everything we’ve seen in the promos look amazeballs.

 

The Kid With a Bike

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A touching French drama about an 11 year old boy who after being abandoned by his father is looked after at weekends by the town’s hairdresser.  The film shared the Grand Prix prize at the Cannes Film festival so fans of world cinema may well be wise to seek this one out.

According to the official website:

Cyril, almost 12, has only one plan: to find the father who left him temporarily in a children’s home. By chance he meets Samantha, who runs a hairdressing salon and agrees to let him stay with her at weekends. Cyril doesn’t recognize the love Samantha feels for him, a love he desperately needs to calm his rage.

You can read Craig Skinner’s review here.