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New Releases 26 May 2014

(image: Paramount)

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (Early Digital Release)

When he’s not busy replacing William Shatner as Kirk on Star Trek, actor Chris Pine stars in the reboot of the popular Tom Clancy character.

When a shady Russian oligarch (director Kenneth Branagh, pulling double duty) hatches a plan to destroy America by crashing Wall Street, it’s up to junior CIA analyst Jack Ryan to uncover the plot and save the free world.

Pine acquits himself nicely in this well-made action thriller. He’s supported by a solid supporting cast – one that includes Kevin Costner as his CIA mentor and Keira Knightley as his (convincingly American) girlfriend.

(image: Universal)

(image: Universal)

Lone Survivor (Early Digital Release)

Mark Wahlberg stars in this thrilling action movie set during the war on terror.

Four US Navy Seals are sent into Afghanistan on a mission. Accidentally discovered by a group of goatherds, they are faced with a moral quandary: kill the innocent bystanders to stop them from alerting the Taliban, or let them live and compromise the mission.

Based on an absolutely true story, Lone Survivor plays out a bit like Bravo Two Zero, with the chest thumping you’d expect from a Hollywood blockbuster. But with Wahlberg in the lead, you know you’re in for a quality action movie. We only have one gripe: the title’s a bit of a spoiler, right?

that-awkward-moment

(image: eOne)

That Awkward Moment (Early Digital Release)

Zac Efron stars alongside Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan (both soon to be in the Fantastic Four reboot) as three best buds in New York City. When Jordan’s wife breaks up with him, his two other pals enter a pact to not seek romantic relationships until he’s back on his feet.

Matters get complicated, however, when they all start falling in love (not with each other).

Zac Efron has become something of an overnight comedy star. Right now, he’s in your local multiplex opposite Seth Rogen in Bad Neighbours. But if you’ve seen already, you should definitely check out That Awkward Moment. It pretends to be a laddish yuk-fest, but it ends up showing more heart than you’d expect.

out-of-the-furnace

(image: Lionsgate)

Out of the Furnace (Early Digital Release)

After packing on the pounds to star in American Hustle, Christian Bale has transformed himself once more for this backwoods thriller.

Bale plays Russell, a steel worker just released from prison. He goes back to his old job, only to find his brother (Casey Affleck) knee deep in debt to some dangerous petty crooks. When Affleck turns up missing, big brother is left with no choice but to deal with matter himself.


last-vegas

Last Vegas (Early Digital Release)

Last week we had Grudge Match, which was Rocky with old people. This week, we have this new comedy that’s effectively The Hangover with geriatrics!

Michael Douglas plays Billy, a successful businessman about to marry a woman half his age (as successful entrepreneurs are wont to). As a last hurrah, his childhood friends whisk him off to Las Vegas for a stag weekend. This being an all-star comedy, his mates are played by Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline.

As you might expect, their hedonistic shenanigans can only go so far before glaucoma and arthritis catches up with them!


Inside-Llewyn-Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis (New to Rent)

The Coen Brothers hit high form with this musical drama set in the pre-Dylan music scene of New York’s Greenwich Village. Oscar Isaac (Drive) is a revelation as a talented but arrogant folk singer. He spends one fateful week shambling from couch to couch, uncertain of his future as a recording artist after the death of his music partner.

Like all Cohen movies, the dialogue and characters are wonderful (Carey Milligan and Justin Timberlake are great). But with producer T-Bone Burnett collaborating with them once move, they’ve assembled a number of newly recorded folk tunes that could rival the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack.

Inside Llewyn Davis was unjustly snubbed at the Oscars this year. In our opinion, it’s easily one of the best movies from the past year.

Television

episodes

Episodes Series 3 (New Episode)

Matt LeBlanc returns as ‘Matt LeBlanc’ for the third series of this Anglo-American sitcom.

For those of you who haven’t seen any of this yet, it’s about a husband/wife team of comedy writers (Tamsin Grieg and Stephen Mangan) who move to Hollywood to remake their popular British show. Once in LA, they quickly realize the business of making telly in America is frought with troubles. Enter: ‘Matt LeBlanc’, the arrogant and oblivious TV star.

Created by some of the same people as Friends, this show is the perfect salve for those who still miss their weekly hangout at Central Perk.

(image: Warner Bros. TV)

(image: Warner Bros. TV)

Revolution Complete Series 2

What would you do without electricity? Well, that’s exactly the question faced by the characters in Revolution.

Set in a near future where all electrical devices have stopped working, the government has collapsed, sending America into chaos. Small militias have seized control of certain areas, hoarding supplies and whatnot.

The Matheson Family (led by Bella’s father from the Twilight movies) is looking to live alone in peace, but it seems that one particular militia doesn’t want to let them be.

Like half the shows on TV these days, Revolution is executive produced by J.J. Abrams – who has some experience building these sci-fi futures for television.

(image: Warner Bros. TV)

(image: Warner Bros. TV)

Arrow Complete Series 2

One of the big surprises last year was Arrow, a superhero TV show that looked like Smallville but turned out to be very good.

Based on a DC comic character, it follows an orphaned billionaire who spends his evening protecting the innocent and dispensing justice to the villains of Starling City. Does that sound familiar to anyone?

Joking aside, this show is actually really addictive. It balances some of the best action on TV with a sprawling backstory that the writers are taking care to deploy strategically.

Some might describe this show as a guilty pleasure, but after a few episodes, you’ll realise there’s nothing guilty about it at all!

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