Hello one and all and welcome #AtTheFlix, Birmingham Favourites’ weekly fix of all that’s out at cinemas this week.
The big budget thrills this week come courtesy of director Neill Blomkamp, who continues to bring his oppressed, violent and near futuristic worlds to the big screen with Chappie. Crime is controlled by a mechanised police force. Chappie is a police droid, who is stolen and given new programming – becoming a robot with the ability to think for himself. Despite his child-like behaviours, Chappie is seen as a threat and the powers that be set out to stop him, no matter what.
Blomkamp is an interesting director – his style and themes becoming increasingly recognisable film by film, this given the nods and references that will be at play and apparent throughout. With an impressive cast including Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel and Signourney Weaver, the big question then is whether the storyline and characters are multi-dimensional enough and the concepts not just retreads but something the audience can sink its teeth into.
Reviews stateside have been mixed.
Still Alice (12A)
An academy-Award winning performance from Julianne Moore lies at the centre of this film, a delicate performance and portrayal of the progress of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease and its impact from the point of view of the patient and the impact that this has on family and friends.
As is typical of any Julianne Moore performance, the honesty, openness and candour of her portrayal is what will draw an audience in – in many ways, life affirming – dealing with loss yet also celebrating good times both past, present and to come!
With an impressive cast including the likes of Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart as members of her family, this is an cinematic space through which an audience will not only feel understanding but also complete empathy, and probably a tear or three.
Kill The Messenger (15)
Jeremy Renner starts in the true story thriller of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb, who uncovers a story regarding those who started the crack epidemic on the nation’s streets, whilst implicating the CIA who were not only aware of cocaine smuggling into the U.S., but used the profits to arm rebels fighting in Nicaragua. The story follows Webb as he uncovers the conspiracy, bringing movie-style attention and threat to him and his family!
Playing as docudrama, Michael Cuesta’s directorial style is channelling a style akin to Sidney Lumet, unpretentious, tense and involving, a haven for conspiracy theorists everywhere and a tribute of the power of investigate journalism. Critics stateside have been largely positive, praising Renner’s dogged and passionate performance, even if the conspiracy loop isn’t completely closed by the end.
Unfinished Business (15)
Never has a film title seemed more ironic! In the case of Vince Vaughan and his pursuit of finding a good comedy script, Unfinished Business seems appropriate.
The plot for what it is worth follows Vaughan, a small business owner and his two associates (Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco) to Europe to close a deal. Of course, routines go out of the window and things go very wrong leading to all sorts of supposed comic situations.
It should be said that I think Vaughan is an often likeable lead – he just too often gets unlikeable and unconvincing material. Even backed up by acting talent like Wilkinson and Franco, you can’t help but think he needs to find some finished, rather than unfinished business!!
That’s it from me! If you have any queries or quibbles, you can find me on twitter @timmy666.
See you next week for more #AtTheFlix!