Friday 14 August 2015

5 for Friday (August 14): Trailers, new releases and box office

It's New York week here on As Human as the Rest of Us with no fewer than three of this week's five most essential film choices set in the Big Apple, although one shows a side of the city I'm guessing its citizens might want to forget. Elsewhere, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. brings the summer blockbuster season to a close and not a moment too soon. Mad Max: Fury Road and Inside Out apart, it's been a pretty lean year quality-wise, with even Jurassic World and Ant-Man coming up short (Ant-Man? Short? Oh, please yourself...)

1. Mistress America
The Noah Baumbach-Greta Gerwig collaboration Frances Ha – the story of a struggling apprentice dancer – was one of 2012's best comedies (in a year that also gave us That's My Boy and The Watch, I appreciate that's damning it with faint praise, but still...). The pair reunites here for more New York-centric mirth as lonely college fresher Tracy (Gone Girl's Lola Kirke) is taken in by Brooke (Gerwig), her eccentric but highly adventurous stepsister-to-be. Crazy shit featuring a former nemesis who stole Brooke's cats ensues...

2. Precinct Seven Five 
This year is shaping up to be a fine one for documentaries. I've already enjoyed the likes of Going Clear, Amy and The Look of Silence, and Tiller Russell's film about Michael Dowd, "the dirtiest cop in NYC history", looks like a winner too. In the 1980s, Dowd patrolled one of Brooklyn's toughest beats... he also headed up a ruthless criminal network that stole money and drugs, ultimately resulting in the city's biggest ever corruption scandal. As the man himself says here: "I considered myself both a cop and a gangster". (By the way, in the States this film was simply called The Seven Five but it has been retitled for the UK market, just in case us stupid Brits mistook it for a documentary about the number 75. Duh.).

3. Trainwreck
Amy Schumer's stand-up and her TV sketch show (Inside Amy Schumer) make me laugh like an idiot so I'm very much looking forward to director Judd Apatow's attempt at transferring her easy charm and gloriously filthy mind to the big screen. In Trainwreck, she's Amy Townsend, a New York-based magazine writer and boozy, promiscuous gal about town. But Amy's licentious, bed-hopping ways threaten to come to a halt after she spends the night with sports injury doctor Aaron (Bill Hader) and decides – horror of horrors – that she quite likes him. Apparently the film contains cameos from US sports stars no one here in the UK will give a fig about but we won't hold that against it.

4. Absolutely Anything 
To put it mildly, this British comedy has not been well received by critics. "The second word of the title should be 'appalling'," booms The Guardian, while The Times dubs it: "Certainly one of the worst movies yet made". Crikey, even Pixels received better notices than that. The Monty Python team - Terry Jones (who also directs), John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam - play aliens who imbue Simon Pegg with the power to bend reality to his every whim. Fancy being president of the US for a bit? Easy. Want your pet dog to talk? No problem. Unfortunately, there's a catch. The extra-terrestrials are considering destroying Earth and Pegg is being tested. If he uses his powers for good the planet will be spared. But, if he uses them for selfish reasons, it's goodnight Vienna. The trailer's funny and I like Pegg and the Pythons so, sod the critics, I'm in.

5. The Confessions Of Thomas Quick
Another crime documentary (perhaps more of a docu-drama, in truth), this time about an extraordinary Swedish case. In the 1990s, the titular Quick - real name Sture Bergwall, then in his forties - was sent to a psychiatric hospital after committing a series of crimes. Whilst receiving treatment, however, he confessed to the rape and murder of an 11-year-old boy - a long unsolved investigation. But it didn't end there. He also took the rap for all manner of other sadistic killings, 39 in all, suddenly making him the most notorious serial killer in Swedish history. But that isn't the end of the story either. All is not as it seems and, to remain completely unspoiled, you should probably only watch the first 50 seconds of the trailer below. It doesn't give away the big twist but strongly hints at it.

Also on release from today
Captain Webb 
Karachi To Lahore
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. 
Paper Towns 
Pleasure Island
Ramta Jogi
Vasuvum Saravananum Onna Padichavanga

UK box office top 10
1. Fantastic Four
2. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
3. Inside Out
4. Southpaw
5. The Gift
6. Ant-Man
7. Minions
8. Empire Strikes Back (Secret Cinema)
9. Jurassic World
10. Amy

US box office top 10
1. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
2. Fantastic Four
3. The Gift
4. Vacation
5. Ant-Man
6. Minions
7. Ricki and the Flash
8. Trainwreck
9. Pixels
10. Southpaw

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