Cloudy with a Change of Meatballs 2
In the first film, inventor Flint Lockwood created a machine that turns water into food. When the device almost destroys his home island with spaghetti tornadoes, he and his friends are forced to relocate. Returning home after almost half a year, they discover their home has been transformed into a Lost World of weird and wonderful foodimals (animals made of food). The gags fly thick and fast in this funny sequel: if you’re partial to food-based puns, you’re going to get a real kick out of this film. The superb voice cast includes SNL regulars Bill Hader and Will Forte as well as comic favourites Terry Crews and Anna Faris.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
Johnny Knoxville reprises a familiar character from his TV days in this haywire comedy that owes more to Borat than it does to Jackass. He plays Irving Zisman: a foul-mouth, hard drinking, degenerate octogenarian who hits the road with his 8 year-old grandson. Apart from a threadbare plot that involves taking the boy across the country to be with his dad, there isn’t much of a story here. In fact, the narrative is just a decent excuse to get Knoxville between dozen of hidden camera pranks.
With the little boy in tow, a lot the pranks involve getting the public to react to Irving’s inappropriate behaviour. And we’re not going to lie: a lot of it is very funny. One scene sees Knoxville try to mail the young boy cross-country. When a post-office employees discover the child inside a cardboard box, she simply asks the kid whether he wants a blanket for his trip. Really strange.
The pranks get a bit samey as the film goes on but a killer finale inspired by Little Miss Sunshine is more than worth the price of a rental. Check it out!
Based on the novel by Orson Scott Card, this young adult sci-fi picture was met with some pretty tepid reviews when it came out last year. Maybe it was the strange name or the generic poster but the public didn’t take to it for some reason. They may have been wrong.
Set during a future war, where mankind is engaged in eternal struggle with space insects, young Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is a games savant who has been drafted in by the military and fast-tracked for command. In this world, the entire military can be controlled like a video game, so who better to lead than a child?
Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley co-star as Ender’s mentors, bringing a suitable level of gravitas to what could have been a silly little adventure film. Add to that some well-staged action sequences and you have yourself a very solid action film that should rightfully rank alongside The Hunger Games, in our opinion.
The Fifth Estate (New to Rent)
Man-of-the-moment-Benedict Cumberbatch tackles one of toughest roles to date: playing Julian Assange, the infamous founder of Wikileaks. Tracking Assange’s relationship with techno-activist Daniel Schmitt (Daniel Brühl), the film chronicles their rise to prominence, leaking information such as BNP membership and Sarah Palin’s emails all the way up to the Bradley Manning leaks in 2010. As the film’s central character, Cumberbatch is incredibly interesting. He manages to perfect Assange’s clipped accent and peculiar vocal patterns in a way that’s rather disconcerting. We assure you, at no point during this film will you mistake his performance for Sherlock Holmes.
Machete Kills (Early Digital Release)
69 year-old Danny Trejo returns in Robert Rodriguez’s sequel about a knife-wielding badass, Machete. On the orders of the President of the United States (Charlie Sheen), he heads south of the border to recover a nuclear weapon from the evil clutches of a psychopath threatening to fire a nuclear missile at Washington. But in case you’re getting the impression this is supposed to be serious, it’s not. A loving, over-the-top homage to terrible 80s action films, Rodriguez’s film is packed from start to finish with inventively idiotic right sequences. The film’s many highlights include cameos from Mel Gibson and Lady Gaga while many viewers will have trouble forgetting Sofia Vergara’s fully-automatic bustier. If you want to know what that means, you’ll just have to watch Machete Kills.
On our Top Ten list from 2013, Woody Allen’s latest film came in at number one with a bullet. It didn’t have the flash of Gravity, nor the high tension of Captain Phillips but it did boast the year’s finest performance from Best Actress shoo-in Cate Blanchett. She plays Jasmine, a New York socialite who loses everything after her husband (Alec Baldwin) is arrested in a Bernie Madoff-style scandal. Spending her last penny flying first class to San Francisco, she shacks up with her working class sister (Sally Hawkins).
While Jasmine starts the film as a ridiculous caricature, Allen’s script slowly uncovers her layers of sadness, pride and delusion. She’s the Blanche DuBois of modern-day America and in playing her, Blanchett is utterly magnetic.
This also happens to be Woody Allen’s best film since the 80s: on par with classics like Hannah and Her Sisters. It’s that good.
Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall star in the legal thriller from writer/director Steven Knight (Eastern Promises). When London’s Borough Market is destroyed in an apparent terrorist attack, lawyers Bana and Hall are brought in to defend the surviving suspect. Seeing as how the terrorist’s first lawyer died in mysterious circumstances, these two legal brain-boxes should’ve figured out something was wrong to begin with. As they delve into the case, the pair of them begin to understand that they’re actually digging their own graves. Closed Circuit also stars Ciarán Hinds, Jim Broadbent Julia Stiles and Riz Ahmed.
Denmark has recently built itself a reputation for making dark adult dramas on television: shows like The Killing, Borgen and The Bridge. Now with Klown, a film based on a TV programme of the same name, it’s obvious that the Danes have also got quite a perverse sense of humour. Alternative comedians Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen play fictionalised versions of themselves who seemingly spend their days pursuing adolescent pleasure in and around Copenhagen. Frank’s girlfriend thinks (correctly) that he’s irresponsible and not ready for a family. To prove her wrong, he abducts his 12-year old nephew and takes him along on his filthy lads’ holiday.
Heavily influenced by Curb Your Enthusiasm, Klown is close to being one the dirtiest, most wrong-headed comedy ever. But it also happens to be the most hilariously laugh-out-loud film we’ve seen in years. No joke.
Boardwalk Empire Season 4
HBO’s Prohibition-era drama goes from strength to strength each year. Having fended off a crazed New York gangster at the end of season 3, Atlantic City honcho Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) is now looking to expand his bootlegging business to Florida. With his attention being spread increasingly thin across his operation, a new adversary enters the picture in the form of the mysterious Dr Valentin Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright).
It’s a landmark year for the character of Chalky White (Michael K Williams) who finally gets the screen time he deserves. Also back in force is fan favourite Richard Harrow (Jack Huston), the tragic sniper with half a face.
It was recently announced that Boardwalk Empire’s fifth season will also be its last, so make sure you’re up to date before that starts airing later this year.
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