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New Releases Monday 18 August 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

(image: Sony Pictures)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Early Digital Release)

Andrew Garfield is back for a second round as Marvel’s beloved web-slinger. And as with most superhero sequels, he’s dealing with multiple enemies now. Not only does he have to stop a villain made of pure electricity (an OTT Jamie Foxx), but he’s also got to worry about his childhood friend Harry Osborne. If you’ve seen any of the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies, you’ll know what Harry’s deal is.

As with before, Garfield is great as Peter Parker and his chemistry with leading lady Emma Stone is palpable. There’s a bit of a baddie over-load here and the story sags towards the end, but that doesn’t stop this sequel from being perfect comfort food for blockbuster fans.

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

(image: Marvel)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (New to Rent)

Following on from The Avengers, this Marvel sequel sees the America’s greatest hero trying to adjust to life in the 21st Century. But before he can catch up on 70 years of TV box sets and Beach Boys albums, he’ll have to uncover a nefarious conspiracy that threatens both SHIELD and global security. On top of that, he also has to deal with a mysterious assassin who might be connected with Cap’s past in some way.

Joining Chris Evans as Captain America is a great cast. Marvel regulars Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson have significantly beefed up parts. Plus, as a little treat for the older ladies, there’s Robert Redford in his first foray into comic book movies.

This might be a more mature film than Marvel’s Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not also a lot of fun!

Liev Shrieber in Last Days on Mars

(image: Universal)

Last Days on Mars (New to Rent)

Set in the not-so-distant future, a group of scientist are just completing their 6-month mission on Mars. But just before they pack their space-bags, they decide to take one last trip to collect samples. What they discover on that trip is something ancient that’s been laying dormant under the surface of the planet…

Okay, we’ll spoil this a bit for you: this is basically a terrifying zombie movie set on Mars. But before you discount it, consider its quality cast of actors including Liev Schrieber, Olivia Williams, and Atonement‘s Romola Garai.

 

Killing Season with Robert De Niro and John Travolta

(image: Lionsgate)

 Killing Season (New to Rent)

AKA: the one with John Travolta’s weird beard.

Robert De Niro plays a retired NATO Colonel who heads into a remote woods on a hunting trip. Once there, he bumps into a European tourist (Travolta) and the pair of them become fast friends. That is, until Travolta reveals that he’s a former Serbian paramilitary, looking to take revenge on De Niro. With the help of his mesmerising beard, he throws the Colonel into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, set in the forbidding Appalachian mountains.

 

Jared Harris and Olivia Cooke in The Quiet Ones

(image: Lionsgate)

The Quiet Ones (New to Rent)

The recently revived Hammer Horror label hasbeen doing a decent job making good ol’ fashioned ghost stories over the past few years. Small film like The Woman in Black and The Awakening have shown that you don’t need a wealth of blood and gore to make a really good horror movie.

The latest of their films stars Mad Men’s Jared Harris as an Oxford professor in the 70s, seeking to debunk the idea of ghosts and demonic possession. This scientific pursuit take him a group of students to an isolated house, where they run experiments on a young woman (Olivia Cooke)  who’s believed to be possessed.

Like all good ghost stories, The Quiet Ones is a creepy and unsettling slow-burner. Dim the lights and press play, if you dare.

A New York Winter's Tale with Colin Farrell

(image: Warner Bros.)

A New York Winter’s Tale (New to Rent)

This modern-day fairy tale really befuddled critics and audiences when it dropped in cinemas earlier this year. It has all the elements to be a epic love story, but it all ends up being very silly indeed.

Colin Farrell plays Peter, a roguish thief in New York at the turn of the previous century. Having broken in to the house of a wealthy family, he encounters Downton Abbey‘s Lady Sybil, who also plays a naive heiress in this movie. And in classic Lady Sybil fashion, she falls in love with this working class rascal.

So far, so good. But we have yet to tell you about Russell Crowe’s character, who is a mystical baddie working for Lucifer (played here by a ridiculous Will Smith). There’s a whole load of magical hoodoo involved in this movie that sees Crowe chase Ferrell down over the centuries, in hopes of denying him a ‘miracle’.

This is a movie best watched in the company of friends, with whom you can share this bizarre and baffling experience.

 

Mia Wasikowska in Tracks

(image: eOne)

 Tracks

Alice in Wonderland’s Mia Wasikowska stars in this true-life story of a woman who decides to travel 1,700 miles across the Australian desert on a camel. Her nine month journey proves to be bumpy but along the way, she encounters a National Geographic photographer (played by Girls’ Adam Driver) who becomes fascinated with her story.

This is a beautifully shot film with another stellar performance from Wasikowska, who is easily one of the finest young actresses working today.

 

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