Oz: The Great and Powerful
A prequel to The Wizard of Oz, this family fantasy from Spider-Man director Sam Raimi tells the story of how a small-time magician became the man behind the screen in the Emerald City. James Franco plays Oscar, whose accidentally arrival in the Land of Oz causes the locals to believe that he is a great wizard sent to overthrow the wicked witch. Working with a wonderful cast that includes Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz, Raimi creates an eye-popping homage to one of Hollywood’s most iconic pictures.
The Guilt Trip
Seth Rogen’s latest film found its way to the cinemas this past weekend and now we’re getting a second serving of the likeable Canadian in this mother-son buddy movie that co-stars Barbra Streisand. He plays a struggling inventor whose road trip across America gets detoured when his mother comes aboard and starts to meddle. It’s good to see Streisand back in a starring role after the poorer, later Fockers movies and she has a believable chemistry with Rogen that’s a real treat for comedy fans.
Parker (Early Digital Release)
It’s the new Jason Statham film. If that sentence isn’t enough to make you want to watch this film, then I simply don’t want to know you. But if you need a little bit more convincing, we would probably mention that the sexy Jennifer Lopez is his co-star. The Stath plays the title character, a professional crook double-crossed by his crew after a big heist. Looking to get even, he enlists the help of Lopez to get back what he stole. Director Taylor Hackford, best known for Ray and The Devil’s Advocate, lays down a little more character work than you would expect from a Statham movie, making this stand out from your average action flick. Fans of TV cop shows will also be delighted to see The Shield’s Michael Chiklis and The Wire’s Wendell Pierce play the main antagonists!
Red Dawn (Early Digital Release)
A remake of the 80s cult classic, this film was originally shot with the Chinese Army staging a shock invasion of the continental United States. But at some point in post-production, some bright spark realised that the 1 billion-strong Chinese film market might not take kindly to this plot point. So, off they went and re-shot much of the movie with their new villains: the North Koreans. But in the time it took them to make these changes, the film’s star had become a pretty big deal, appearing in both Thor and The Avengers. If you really like Chris Hemsworth but would prefer it if he was young, less buff and had shorter hair, here is your perfect opportunity!
This is the most overtly graphic horror film of recent recollection. It stars Elijah Wood as a disturbed young man who works restores antique shop mannequins. We never find out who his customers are or from whence he gets his income but we do have a pretty good understanding of how he spends his evenings: he follows young women back to their homes and he mutilates them in the most appalling ways. This is an incredibly tough watch, even for seasoned horror-viewers but after the blood settles, you’ll come to realise that this is actually a very well made film.
Arbitrage (Early Digital Release)
Richard Gere proves that he’s still one of our most valuable film stars this week. He plays a cut-throat Wall Street shark whose business and personal lives begin to unravel on the eve of a monumental deal to sell his hedge fund. He’s been cooking his books for years, he’s covered up a lethal car accident and now, the detective from Lie to Me (Tim Roth) is on his trail. Gere puts in a career-best performance and the film manages to create the propulsive momentum of a genuine thriller. Don’t tell the other movies we said this, but Arbitrage is our film of the week.
This week in the world of bandwagon-hopping mockbusters we have Apocalypse Z, the film that bears no resemblance to a certain apocalyptic zombie flick starring Brad Pitt. Directed by Italians Luca Boni and Marco Ristori, it concerns a biological weapon accidentally discharged in a small town in Eastern Europe. The consequences? Zombiegeddon, of course. Fans of direct-to-video horror will know what to expect from movie of this type: low production value, terrible acting and cheap special effects. In short: it’s great fodder for a house party! As a knowing wink to fans of cruddy films, German director Uwe Boll has been cast as the US president, bringing with him the gold-dust that make In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale such an enduring piece of cinema.
For more of the latest movies, head over to our New Releases section