Look – this is Britain’s biggest box-office hit ever. It’s perhaps the strongest entry in one of the most beloved film franchises, directed by Oscar-winner Sam Mendes and filmed by Roger Deakins — perhaps the most sought after cinematographer in the world. Add to that Daniel Craig’s muscular take on Agent 007 and Javier Bardem’s creepy cyber-villain and you’ve got yourself a blockbuster picture you simply cannot avoid. The film’s few critics have accused it of not being faithful to the tradition of Bond, aping the Bourne franchise instead. But if your concept of a proper Bond film is invisible cars, ridiculous villains and space lasers, then you can always re-watch Die Another Day.
The residents of a dilapidated London tower block are trapped inside their building when a mysterious sniper starts picking them all off. Inhabitants Sheridan Smith, Russell Tovey and Jack O’Connell are going to have to use their wits and get along if they’re going to survive the onslaught. It’s a simple set-up that is reminiscent of siege films like Attack on Precinct 13, but also there are also certain shades of The Raid in the dimly-lit corridors and a lot of Attack the Block with its combination of action and social commentary.
Hit & Run
As low budget action-comedies go, this film from writer/star/co-director Dax Shepard certainly has a killer cast — comprised of his girlfriend Kristen Bell and what is presumably their Hollywood pals. Shepard plays a former getaway driver whose time in witness protection is brought to an abrupt end when his gang mates catch up with him. Fearing for their lives, he and Bell have to go on the run from an assortment of characters played by Bradley Cooper, Tom Arnold, Beau Bridges and Smallville’s Michael Rosenbaum. Sporting an oily wig and gaudy shirts, Cooper shows the sort of acting range that led to his Oscar nomination. As he has proven, he can play both handsome men and not-entirely-handsome men!
Fall of the Essex Boys
In 1995, two high-level drug barons and their driver were gunned down in their Range Rover outside Chelmsford. This movie is the fourth British gangster flick to be made about this incident, with Essex Boys, Rise of the Footsoldier and Bonded by Blood having come before it. It investigates how gangsters Patrick Tate and Tony Tucker rose to power (answer: selling drugs) and what ultimately led to their downfall (answer: selling drugs). In short, kids, don’t sell drugs.
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning
If you didn’t get enough of kooky European musclemen Dolph Lundgren and Jean Claude Van Damme in last year’s Expendables 2, here’s your chance to get a second helping. Reprising their roles from the original Universal Soldier movie, they play a pair of government super soldiers who have gone rogue and killed the wife of British martial artist Scott Adkins (in the movie, not in real life). If you think that modern action films don’t have enough kickboxing for your taste, Day of Reckoning could very well be your joint.
Scooby-Doo and The Mask of the Blue Falcon
Another entry in the always-reliable Scooby-Doo straight-to-video series sees the Gang follow a mystery that involves the Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, a crime-fighting duo that actually had their own cartoon show back in the 70s. Kids will love it and parents will get a hit of nostalgia from the fact that Shaggy still wears bell bottoms decades after they went out of fashion. Fun fact: Matthew Lilliard from Scream starred in the live action Scooby-Doo as Shaggy, a role he continues to voice in this movie!
American High School Teen Party
Don’t be fooled by the combination of words in the title: this is not the new film from the American Pie franchise. It’s obviously trying to cash in on the name by casting Tara Reid in a supporting role but that deception doesn’t mean it can’t also be a lot of sexy fun. The set-up is pretty simple: a high school senior breaks into his principal’s house in the middle of the day and uses it as the venue for the biggest party of the year! There’s a surprisingly strong cast that includes Norm Macdonald, Back to the Future’s Lea Thompson and director Ron Howard…‘s brother, Clint. Plus, there are a lot of pretty young girls in swimsuits liberally sprinkled throughout the film. If you enjoy looking at cleavage – go no further!
A Liar’s Autobiography
Based on Graham Chapman’s comical memoir, this animated film is a Monty Python reunion of sorts — not that there’s ever been a shortage of Python reunions. Co-directed by Terry Jones’ son Bill, it sees the surviving gang (minus Eric Idle) voice a number of characters alongside Chapman’s own reading of the audio book. This factually incorrect memoir might shed little light on the man himself but it is an entertaining reminder that one of our country’s brightest comic talents was lost to us too early.
A couple of weeks ago we had Cupid Dog, about an adorable pooch that helps humans find love! This week we have Angel Dog who is not actually a ghost, but a mutt who instinctively knows how to rally round people in times of grief! When human man Jake is bereaved by the loss of his wife in a terrible car crash, he begins to forge a relationship with Cooper, a hobo dog who helps him to cope with the obvious sadness. This family movie deals with some serious issues but don’t worry, there’s a lot of cute animal action in it as well!
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