It was a fairly comedy-centric offering last week at the multiplexes but this coming week is a wholly more eclectic affair. This weeks’ releases are set in such diverse locals as gritty English council estates, Parisian high society, the sweltering heat of India and, well, Mars. Are any of them worth your hard-earned cash at the cinema’s though? There looks to be something for just about everybody so make your selection wisely. Little update from last week’s offerings too, Wanderlust was pretty enjoyable and worth a watch if you like Apatow comedies. Project X  however was truly terrible. I recommend you all avoid it like the plague.

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.

John Carter

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Undoubtedly the tent pole release this week is Disney’s Sci-Fi blockbuster John Carter. Based on the hero from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ pulp Barsoom novels from nearly a century ago, John Carter sees the titular former Confederate army captain mysteriously transported to Mars where he becomes embroiled in an escalating conflict between the red planet’s different nations.

Our own Tim Legg has this to say:

Despite never having read the books, Disney’s woeful attempt at marketing the film, and reports suggesting that it might end up as one of the biggest cinematic flops of all time, I can’t wait to see John Carter over the weekend. Director Andrew Stanton has already proved that he knows how to tell a decent tale with Finding Nemo and Wall•E, and I’m fascinated by how he’ll make the transition to a live-action movie, particularly after fellow Pixar alumni Brad Bird did such a decent job with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Not only that, but it’ll be fascinating to see how Stanton’s decision not to cast any major stars pans out; Taylor Kitsch is hardly a household name, and how he carries the weight of such a large production on his admittedly broad shoulders will no doubt play a defining role in the direction his career takes in the years ahead.

Regardless of what happens at the box office, though, it’ll certainly be interesting to see how a story that has influenced so many other science-fiction films over the years translates to the big screen after so many attempts to adapt it have failed. And whether it’s an immense success or a glorious failure, I can’t help but think that John Carter is going to be one of those films we’ll be talking about for a long time to come.

Dave Sztypuljak adds:

I’m desperate for this to be good but I’m very worried that it is going to be a complete flop. Disney have released a 10 minute clip of the movie which shows they are extremely worried about the word of mouth the movie is carrying. Without John Carter, there would be no Star Wars so we have a lot to thank it for but whether the movie will be the epic that we’re all hoping for, time will tell. My guess is it wont be and that is very sad.

You can read Ben Mortimer’s review here.

 

The Raven

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A dark crime thriller set in the final few days of author Edgar Allen Poe’s life. Poe (John Cusack) teams up with A young Baltimore detective to investigate a brutal serial killer who is seemingly using Poe’s own works as a basis for his attacks.

Asim Burney says:

The Raven sounded ridiculous when I first heard about it , then completely forgot that they were making it until the first trailer popped up and it looked even more ridiculous than I had thought it could look. It looks like director James McTeigue (who in my mind never delivered on the promise after V for Vendetta) drank too much of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes Kool Aid.

Jon Lyus adds:

It’s hard to imagine a more flaccid script for this by-the-numbers serial killer film, and despite John Cusack doing some good work this is a succession of missed opportunity and turgid gory set pieces. Without subtlety and wit, The Raven does so much as soar as limp from start to finish. Read some Poe instead.

You can read Jon’s full review here.

 

Bel Ami

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A suave and attractive young man climbs to the top of the Parisian social ladder by currying favour with various older women. Robert Pattinson is in the lead role and is ably supported by Kristen Scott Thomas, Uma Thurman and Christina Ricci.It’s clearly going to appeal to R-Patz’s legions of fans given that he spends most of the picture seducing and then romancing the ladies (*swoon*) but if it has a broader appeal remains to be seen.

Dave Sztypuljak adds:

It’s RPatz sleeping with lots of stars. The Twihards will love it, will anyone else is the question?! I was pleasantly surprised at Water for Elephants and loved it but I’m not sure this one will go down quite so well.

You can read Jamie Neish’s review here.

Payback Season

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The much-maligned Goal trilogy didn’t exactly set the benchmark high for films based on Premier League footballers, so could this gritty brit-flick buck the trend? In all honesty, the synopsis doesn’t really raise too much hope upon first read. A newly minted top flight footballer has the world at his feet but he can’t escape his rough council estate upbringing as he is pulled back into the gangland rivalries he thought he’d left behind.  Of course one must never judge a book by its cover and so it remains to be seen whether this is the new Layer Cake, or just another Pimp!

You can read Adam Lowes review here.

The Decoy Bride

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Written by Smack the Pony Comedienne Sally Phillips, this British romantic comedy sounds like it will be one of those marmite movies you’ll either love or hate. Lara is a famous actress trying to wed her fiance James (played by David Tennant)  on a remote Scottish Island which soon gets besieged by Paparazzi. Lara’s’ management team decide to hold a fake wedding to throw the media off the scent and recruit a local Scottish girl  to play Lara’s part. Here’s the kicker though folks…..James begins to grow unsure whether he really loves Lara at all. Well fancy that!

 

Trishna

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The film’s official synopsis says:

Basedon Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Tess of the D’Ubervilles, TRISHNA is a beautifully shot, classic tale of love and tragedy set across modern day rural Rajasthan and the thriving metropolis of Mumbai. Trishna (Freida Pinto) meets a wealthy young British businessman, Jay Singh (Riz Ahmed), who has come to India to work in his father’s hotel business. After an accident destroys her father’s Jeep, Trishna goes to work for Jay, and they fall in love. But despite their feelings for each other, their relationship must remain a secret due to the conflicting pressures of a rural society which is changing rapidly through industrialisation, urbanisation and, above all, education.
Their problems seem to be solved when Jay takes Trishna to an exciting new world of dance, vibrant life and possibilities – Mumbai. But Trishna harbours a dark secret that threatens the very heart of their love affair, and inequalities remain at the centre of their relationship that will lead her to question Jay’s intentions towards her.

Asim Burney adds:

I’m quite interested in Trishna as in my mind we don’t get to see enough of Riz Ahmed on screen and I do love what Freida Pinto is trying to do to her career. Every few years filmmakers “discover the mysteries of India” and although Trishna sounds like a studio pitch: “It’s Tess D’ubervilles mixed with SlumDog Millionaire” the reviews have steadily been on the positive side.

You can read Jamie Neish’s review here.

Cleanskin

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Sean Bean stars as Ewan in this independently made terrorist thriller. Ewan is a Secret Service Agent who is trying to hunt down terrorist cell leader Ash. Meanwhile Ash himself wrestles with his conscience as we see via flashback how he ultimately resorted to extremism.

You can read our on set chat with Sean Bean here.

You can also watch the first five minutes of Cleanskin here.