Greetings one and all and welcome to this week’s #AtTheFlix, a weekly smorgasbord of all things cinematic hitting Birmingham this weekend.
It’s a busy week ahead so let’s have a ganders!
American Ultra (15)
American Ultra is an action comedy about a guy called Mike (played by Jesse Eisenberg), a stoner with a small-town life and a live-in girlfriend, Phoebe (Stewart). In a Bourne-esque about-turn, Mike is recalled to be a sleeper agent and his secret past comes back to haunt him and put him at the centre of attention.
To mention Bourne is no coincidence. I think this film could have been something that the likes of Doug Liman would lap up when in his lighter frame of mind.
The film looks like a lot of fun with a sleek if somewhat unoriginal story and with two leads with enough big star cred and indie sensibility to see it through.
Critics have been divided Stateside but it looks diverting in certain respects and will be a hit.
No Escape (15)
John Erick’s dark action thriller is a determined take on stereotype which recalls those 70s and 80s films which had a. slightly xenophobic slant on parts of the world which are portrayed as less than safe places to be.
Owen Wilson, who occasionally likes to move away from his comedic roles, stars as Jack Dwyer, an engineer for a multinational company who finds himself in a tight spot along with his daughter.
These countries are dangerous, coups happen and then suddenly there are folks wielding giant machetes out to get you, especially westerners..
This is a film all about instinct and survival. Throw in some some added badass Brosnan, whom continues to shed the smooth Bond bravado in favour of a beard and scars. This gives the film a nostalgia kick and shows up the film’s ‘want’ for action as an attempted cure to any misgivings one might have for story or setup.
File under silly.
Transporter Refuelled, The (15)
Talking of filing a film under silly, if you thought The Transporter franchise was done, think again! Even more bizarrely, this is a Transporter film without The Stathe. Enter instead, the young actor. Ed Skrein, who definitely looks the part.
Besson had a sure fire hit when The Stathe was on board because there was always a charm that went with the very knowing B-movie sensibility. With that gone, the film is immediately going to be compared.
By the looks of it, the film is not too dissimilar to its predecessors in terms of what it wants to achieve. The question is whether or not there’s much substance beneath the Besson gloss..
Basically, we know it’s bad, but will we able to call it enjoyably bad? With Statham, it would have been.
Ricki And The Flash (12A)
This is a film that, were it released in the Fall, would be prime Oscar bait, with Meryl Streep in a Diablo Cody scripted film about a runaway rocker mother who attempts to reconnect with her family.
This sounds like a very corny premise despite the Cody script.
The most reassuring thing though is Jonathan Demme being at the helm. This might just about be enough to see the film through its premise and setup. The rest is undoubtedly around the quality of the performances.
Following its success at the Sundance Film Festival, Dope has been garnering critical acclaim. The film centres around Malcolm (played by Shameik Moore) who lives in a tough LA neighborhood juggling college applications, academic interviews, and the SAT. He finds himself invited to an underground party thats leads him from being a geek, to being dope, to being himself.
Dope looks like smart, insightful entertainment, noted for its crowd pleasing pop sensibility and a fresh energy. One to check out this week.
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl (12A)
The second film this week getting a worldwide release off the back of acclaim at Sundance, Me & Earl & the Dying Girl is a coming-of-age movie, the story of Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann), an awkward high school senior whose is forced to spend time with Rachel – a girl in his class (Olivia Cooke) with whom he hasn’t spoken to since kindergarten – who was just diagnosed with cancer.
The film has been noted more for its knowing use of laughs as much as its moving tenderness. A film that could have been slight, is praised in large part due to the work of its leads. What could be a sombre film is in fact an uplifting experience.
45 Years (15)
Finally, don’t miss out on 45 Years, an acting tour de force from Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as a married couple about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary. When a letter arrives announcing that the body of the husband’s first love has been discovered, long-surpressed secrets come out and a long marriage is tested to its limits.
That’s it from me this week. As always, any queries or quibbles can be directed to me on twitter @timmy666. Have a great week at the cinema!