Friday 28 August 2015

5 for Friday (August 28): Trailers, new releases and box office

Gangsta rap, a woman frozen in ice for 50 years and Taiwanese zombies - yep, it's a funny old week...

1. Straight Outta Compton
What is it? Biopic of NWA (Niggaz With Attitude), the confrontational Los Angeles rap group that shook up the '80s US hip-hop scene with ditties such as Fuck Tha Police and A Bitch Iz A Bitch. Unsurprisingly their take-no-shit attitude on and off stage brought the group - which included Dr Dre and Ice Cube - into conflict with the cops and FBI. 
Critical consensus? It currently boasts a very healthy 90 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Where can I see it in the UK? The film is getting a wide release so most cinemas should have it.
My take: If Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions were the thinkers and intellectuals of '80s hip-hop, then NWA were its hooligans; nihilist shock troops partially responsible for kickstarting gangsta rap. They were misogynist, homophobic arseholes but hearing their debut album Straight Outta Compton for the first time was like being in the middle of a riot - chaotic, scary and oddly thrilling. NWA were - briefly - quite brilliant and if this movie captures even half of the music's excitement and electricity it will be worth seeing.

2. 45 Years 
What is it? Sir Tom Courtenay (Billy Liar, Doctor Zhivago) and Charlotte Rampling (The Verdict, Farewell, My Lovely) star as the Mercers, an elderly married couple a week away from celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary with a big party. But when the body of Courtenay's first love is found perfectly preserved in ice in the Swiss Alps after 50 years, ghosts of the past threaten to derail their relationship.
Critical consensus? A perfect 100 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes suggests great things.
Where can I see it in the UK? Perhaps hoping to attract the Exotic Marigold Hotel crowd, this is getting a wide cinema release and will also be available on Curzon Home Cinema's View on Demand service.
My take: Courtenay spoke very eloquently about 45 Years on last week's Kermode and Mayo's Film Review radio show, going into some detail about how the discovery of the young girl's body after so long impacts the film's central relationship. Apparently many of the scenes in Andrew Haigh's film feature just the two leads - fantastic actors both - which should make for some powerful, compelling drama. 

3. L'Eclisse (The Eclipse)
What is it? Influential Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni's strange and moody drama from 1963 makes a welcome return to the big screen. On the surface, it's about a beautiful young woman (Monica Vitti) ending her marriage to an older man (Francisco Rabal) before quickly falling into another relationship with an ambitious stockbroker (Alain Delon). Beyond that, though, Antonioni uses the film's setting - Rome - to talk about alienation, colonialism, the meaningless of modern living and the difficulty of forming true connections. Paul Blart: Mall Cop, it most certainly isn't.
Critical consensus? A perky 91 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Where can I see it in the UK? Key cities only, although L'Eclisse is released on Blu-ray on September 28.
My take: Being a pretentious arse, I enjoy a bit of 'difficult' foreign-language cinema so will be all over this like a seal on fish.

4. We Are Your Friends
What is it? Zac Efron is a Los Angeles DJ (of the Calvin Harris rather than Nick Grimshaw variety) trying to hit the big time in the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) scene. But his road to musical stardom is thrown into jeopardy when he falls for a fellow DJ's young girlfriend. The wannabe's life and future starts to unravel as he faces some BIG CHOICES...
Critical consensus? Only 41 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes isn't very friendly.
Where can I see it in the UK? The presence of Efron's cheeky smile and glistening abs ensures you'll be able to see this everywhere.
My take: Efron was mildly amusing as a frat-house douchebag in Bad Neighbours but the only thing that might persuade me to see this would be the, ahem, bangin' soundtrack.

5. Zombie Fight Club
What is it? An action-packed Taiwanese zombie movie featuring a variety of criminals, loners, prostitutes and soldiers going toe-to-toe with the undead. A sequel to 2012's Zombie 108, it's billed as "The Raid meets Dawn of the Dead".
Critical consensus? Nothing on Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic but it is averaging 4 out of 10 from users on IMDB. Probably not great, then.
Where can I see it in the UK? It's being shown tonight in London as part of the annual FrightFest horror film festival and is released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday (August 31).
My take: The first rule of Zombie Fight Club? Arrrggg, ugghhh, braaainnnnsss. One can only hope the makers plan more undead takes on David Fincher titles. I'm particularly looking forward to Zombie Gone Girl and Zombie The Social Network.

Also in cinemas this week...
Addicted To Sheep
Barely Lethal
Billy Fury - The Sound Of Fury
Building Jerusalem (from Tuesday)
En Equilibre (from tomorrow)
Hitman: Agent 47
Hitting The Apex + Live Q&A
Thani Oruvan

UK box office
1. Paper Towns
2. Inside Out
3. Sinister 2
4. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
5. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
6. Pixels
7. Vacation
8. The Bad Education Movie
9. Trainwreck
10. Minions

US box office
1. Straight Outta Compton
2. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
3. Sinister 2
4. Hitman: Agent 47
5. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
6. American Ultra
7. The Gift
8. Ant-Man
9. Minions
10. Fantastic Four

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