Rise of the Guardians
When an ancient evil awakens, Father Christmas, The Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny and Jack Frost must band together to stop the world from being plunged into eternal darkness. It’s a film that’s actually a lot less goofy than it sounds: produced by fantasy maestro Guillermo del Toro, it’s not afraid to dip into darker territory every now and again. Like the classic family films of the 80s, it manages to blend action and humour with hints of peril. The all-star voice cast includes Alec Baldwin’s rumbling baritone as St Nick, Jude Law as the Boogeyman and Hugh Jackman as a certain egg-bearing rodent.
Normally, we’d say that we need another Dickens adaptation like a hole in the head – especially Great Expectations, which was turned into a BBC mini-series last year. But with director Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) calling the shots, Dickens has never looked as lush as in this new feature. Considering it’s such a familiar story, a lot of the pleasure comes from discovering who they’ve cast as various characters as the story unfolds. The list of actors involved is pretty eclectic: Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng and Sally Hawkins.
A couple of oddballs go on a caravan holiday: Tina (Alice Lowe) is in her mid-thirties and still lives with her controlling mother. Chris (Steve Oram) is a bearded weirdo with a dark past. As they plot their way across the map, staying at camp sites and visiting the dullest tourist attractions in the British Isles, they leave a wake of blood behind them. Sightseers is pitched as a black comedy but the emphasis is really on the black part of that equation. Working from a script written by Lowe and Oram, director Ben Wheatley displays a real talent for making interesting genre films with a distinctly British flavour. This is our film of the week.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last few years, it’s that no-one does creepy quite like the Scandinavians. As with Troll Hunter, it’s about a pair of Norweigians. They run a business that cleans up crimes scenes after messy deaths. They discover that the dark truth behind an old folklore. In this case, it’s the huldra – a beautiful nymph with a tail who, according to legend, will lure men in to the woods to have sex with them (before killing them, also).
Frankie Go Boom
Handsome acting man Charlie Hunnam plays against type as a loser whose life has spiralled out of control after an embarrassing video of him goes viral on YouTube. Returning from a self-imposed exile, he faces the possibility of another incriminating tape of him being posted online thanks to his self-obsessed, addict brother (Chris O’Dowd). It’s a shaggy comedy with its fair share of charm and a strange cameo from Hunnam’s Sons of Anarchy buddy Ron Perlman as the world’s most unconvincing transsexual.
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