Game of Thrones Season 3 arrives at blinkbox today in HD, so I assume many of you are going to be binging on multiple episode tonight. But, on the off chance that you don’t care for fantasy or have seen season 3 already — check out these fantastic new releases!
Jack the Giant Slayer (Early Digital Release)
X-Men director Bryan Singer turns his hand to this eye-popping retelling of a tale as old as time. Skins’ Nicholas Hoult stars as a young farm boy who leads a quest to rescue a princess from a group of ugly giants who live up in the sky! Hoult is joined by a band of merry British character actors including Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner and Bill Nighy, all of whom are a lot of fun. It might sound like they’ve made a straightforward adaptation of the classic story but the elaborately epic action sequences are really something else!
Bridesmaids star Melissa McCarthy is on a bit of a run now and Identity Thief is one of two hits she’s scored in just the past six months! She plays a seemingly harmless woman who goes on a massive spending spree after stealing the identity of businessman Jason Bateman. Directed by Horrible Bosses’ Seth Gordon, this brand new road comedy boasts some great cameos and stars the two hottest comedic actors of the moment. Check it out!
Side Effects (Early Digital Release)
Having announced his retirement recently, Steven Soderbergh rounds off his final year as a features director with this deceptively entertaining thriller. Rooney Mara plays a young woman whose anxiety goes through the roof when her husband (Channing Tatum) is paroled after serving time for insider trading. With the help of psychiatrist Jude Law, she’s prescribed an experimental new drug that causes her to sleepwalk…. murderously! An absolute corker of a film, it’s our Pick of the Week!
Welcome to the Punch (Early Digital Release)
Retired criminal Mark Strong returns to London to uncover the truth about his son’s murder only to come against James McAvoy, a police detective who he injured in their last encounter years before. Directed by up-and-coming filmmaker Eran Creevy amidst the gleaming skyscrapers of London’s financial centres, this glossy thriller plays like a British version of Heat, dispensing with the usual grime of East End crime flicks. Strong continues to prove he’s an invaluable screen presence with one of his most charismatic performances to date.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Early Digital Release)
Funnyman Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi play a pair of ostentatious Las Vegas magicians (in the vein of Siegfried and Roy) who find themselves being pushed out of the limelight when an ‘extreme’ Criss Angel/David Blaine-style illusionist (Jim Carrey) rocks up on the scene. No one plays a super-confident buffoon quite like Carell does and in this film he’s surrounded by a top-drawer supporting cast that includes the late James Gandolfini as a tough-but-fair entertainment promoter.
Robot & Frank
Frank Langella is a retired burglar in the near future. Living alone in a wooded suburb, he fills his day by flirting with Susan Sarandon, a local librarian. To keep him company and help him around the house, the son (James Marsden) buys him a helper robot programmed to keep him engaged and healthy. Being a crabby old dude with no interest in gardening, he teaches the robot how to become the perfect accomplice for burgling the homes of his rich and snooty neighbours. It’s a smart, funny and heart-warming film that comes highly recommended!
In a Catholic academy, a popular girl and a school newspaper reporter try to uncover a mystery surrounding disappearing exam papers, only to uncover a much larger conspiracy! Released in America under the title Assassination of a High School President, the UK release seems hell-bent on making this look like a Bruce Willis action vehicle – which it’s not. He plays the school’s hilariously intense principal in a supporting role that has a lot of fun with Willis’ on-screen image. With hints of the excellent high school noir Brick, The Assassination is a quirky independent comedy that’s worth checking out.
Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
The magic of Cirque du Soleil comes home with you this week in this distinctly cinematic portrayal of Cirque du Soleil’s distinct blend of amazing physical feats and wonderful production design. Incorporating elements from a number of their hit stage shows, the set pieces are really something to behold (especially if you’ve never seen them live). There is kind of a storyline that involves a young woman falling in love with a performer in a travelling circus but the film wisely uses it sparingly, allowing the incredible acrobats to take centre stage
The Seasoning House
A young Balkan woman is forced to work in a grimy brothel that serves various military personnel. Treated like dirt and forced to witness horrific acts of cruelty, she plots revenge against a group of men who arrive one day – the same group of men responsible for murdering her family. A British film in which all the foreign characters speak in accented English, it stars Sean Pertwee and former child actor Rosie Day.
Duffy: The Talking Cat
**Crummy Direct-to-video Movie of the Week!**
Two families, each alike in dignity in fair Los Angeles are brought together by a magical talking cat. The catch is that the cat can only speak to people when they’re alone and he can talk to them JUST ONCE. This makes absolutely no sense until you see how terribly they animate the cat’s lips moving. I actually would not be surprised if the post-production was done with Microsoft Paint. Eric Roberts provides the voice of the cat for reasons not know to anyone up to and including Eric Roberts himself.
This is kind movie that is perfect for a Monday night where you and you friends want nothing more than to get tipsy and shout at the telly. In a review from the AV Club, critic Nathan Rabin sums it up perfectly: “It is unbelievably awful in an incredibly fun way. For lovers of utter, unredeemable trash, it is highly recommended.”