Ron Livingstone and Lily Taylor are the parents of five daughters who move into their new home, only to witness things they cannot explain: strange noises, stopping clocks and — oh, yeah… the appearance of a malevolent spirit. Based on real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played here by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), The Conjuring relates their terrifying attempts to exorcise the house before it’s too late. If this all sounds very familiar, its only because their story was the inspiration for The Amityville Horror. Director James Wan (Insidious, Saw) creates a palpably chilling atmosphere while his quality cast work fastidiously to ground the terror in some semblance of reality. So turn down the lights… and prepare yourself for a nerve-shredding experience.
Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich are back in this sequel to the 2011 geriatric actioner. When they’re targeted by an evil branch of the CIA for their connection with a cold war weapons project, the Retired and Extremely Dangerous ex-operatives hit the road and head for high adventure in Europe. It’s a solid action comedy with a fantastic cast: what more could you ask for?
Nicolas Cage provides the voice of Grug, the head of a prehistoric family whose abiding philosophy is to keep his family safe inside a cave. When their homestead is destroyed by the shifting continents, he’s forced to leave his comfort zone and head out into the wild world, much to the excitement of his young daughter (Emma Stone). A dysfunctional family film in the same vein as The Incredibles, this is an unexpectedly charming affair that will appeal to viewers of all ages. Seriously.
Sandra Bullock is having a great year with her Oscar-worthy performance in Gravity as well a great comedic turn in this buddy cop movie. She plays an uptight FBI agent who’s forced to partner-up with a crass Boston copy (Melissa McCarthy) in order to bring down a notorious drug ring. Unlike their characters, McCarthy and Bullock are a dream team, working well off each other in some of the loosest, rudest and funniest scenes you’ll see this year. Check it out.
Smurfs 2 (Early Digital Release)
In this animated/live action smurfquel, the evil Gargamel has created his own race of Bizzaro-Smurfs. These grey imps promptly kidnap Smurfette, taking her away to Paris (which doesn’t sound so bad) and it’s up to Papa, Grouchy and Vanity to rescue her! Featuring the voices of Katy Perry and Christina Ricci, this is definitely a great option for families with young kids!
Only God Forgives (Early Digital Release)
Ryan Gosling reunites with his Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn for this moody crime story set in the Bangkok underworld. When his brother is killed by Thai gangster, boxing promoter Gosling faces pressure from his overbearing mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) and reluctantly sets off for revenge. Unbelievably beautiful and achingly atmospheric, this trip into hell is a must-see for Gosling addicts.
Despicable Me 2 (New to Rent)
The year’s surprise family hit is now available to buy. Steve Carell returns to voice Gru, the retired super-villain with a heart of gold. When a mysterious bad guy arrives on the scene, he’s asked by the authorities to go undercover at a shopping mall to uncover this deadly new threat. As with the first film, it’s rather sweet and packed with loads of visual gags. And just as before, the hordes of tiny minions end up stealing the show from their big-name co-stars. Highly recommended for families and grown-ups alike!
The World’s End (New to Rent)
The final chapter in loose trilogy of films from Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright, this genre-bending comedy centres on a group of estranged, middle-aged friends who go back to their hometown to recreate a pub crawl from their youth. Most of them don’t want to be there, but have become at the behest of Gary King (Pegg), their former ringleader who seemingly hasn’t moved on from his misspent youth.
As with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, this is a satisfyingly funny movie with moments of inventive action but it’s also a film with something to say. From complaints about the ‘Starbucking’ of pubs to Gary’s desperation to relive the past, Pegg and Wright have made a pretty compelling film about the beauty and danger of nostalgia.
Ripe for multiple viewings, The World’s End is without a doubt one of the years’ finest comedies.
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