Friday 7 August 2015

5 for Friday (August 7): Trailers, new releases and box office

Two films I'm really interested in are out this week (Hard to be a God, and The Diary of a Teenage Girl), so forgive me for prattling on more than I usually would. Elsewhere, Fantastic Four is getting the critical kicking many suspected it would, while the equally reviled Pixels is in cinemas from Wednesday. Glutton for punishment that I am, I'll almost certainly see them both...

1. Hard To Be A God 
Director Aleksei German died in 2013 and the finishing touches to this – his final film, 15 years in the making – were provided by the Russian's wife and son. An adaptation of the 1964 sci-fi novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, it sees Earth scientists travelling to a planet where society has not developed beyond the Middle Ages. The visitors are ordered not to interfere in the remote world's development but find that imperative increasingly difficult to stick to as its rulers become ever more oppressive. German was a revered auteur in his homeland but is not nearly so well known here. Hopefully, Hard to be a God will change that, although, at nearly three hours in length and brimming with ugliness and brutality, his swansong certainly isn't an easy watch.

2. The Diary Of A Teenage Girl
There's already been controversy whirling around this sexual coming-of-age drama after the BBFC slapped it with an 18 certificate, much to the consternation of the film's producers. They had hoped for a 15 - the same received by similarly-themed movies such as Fishtank and Kidulthood - as it "explores female sexuality with boldness and honesty in an unexploitative manner". Written and directed by Marielle Heller, it tells the story of 15-year-old Minnie (Brit actress Bel Powley) who starts a sexual relationship with her mother’s 35-year-old boyfriend (True Blood's Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd).

3. Marshland 
Enjoy HBO's True Detective TV show? If you answered 'yes', there's a good chance this Spanish police thriller might just be right up your street. Set in 1980, amidst the visually alluring marshlands of Andalucia, it sees two mismatched homicide detectives - Juan and Pedro - on the trail of a serial killer who has, for years, terrorised the local community.

4. 52 Tuesdays 
Intriguing, unconventional coming-of-age tale from Australia centred on the relationship between precocious 16-year-old Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) and her mother, James (Del Herbert-Jane), who is undergoing gender transition. Billie goes off to live with her dad, but agrees to meet with James every Tuesday afternoon come what may. Over the course of a year, Sophie Hyde's film follows the ups and downs of their lives.  

5. The Gift
The old 'stranger danger' thriller trope is dusted off and pushed, blinking, out into the sunlight for this, Joel Edgerton's directorial debut. The Aussie actor (Zero Dark Thirty, Exodus: Gods and Kings) is the stranger in question - Gordo - who turns up to first befriend, then terrorise, married couple Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall). Turns out Simon has done something unspeakable to Gordo in the dim and distant past and now must pay dearly for it.  

Also in cinemas this week
Death Of A Gentleman
Fantastic Four
Pixels (from Wednesday)
The Rape Of Lucretia - Glyndebourne 2015 (Event Cinema)
Unity (from Wednesday)
War Book

UK box office
1. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
2. Inside Out
3. Southpaw
4. Ant-Man
5. Minions
6. Jurassic World
7. Hot Pursuit
8. The Empire Strikes Back (Secret Cinema)
9. Ted 2
10. Bajrangi Bhaijaan

US box office
1. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
2. Vacation
3. Ant-Man
4. Minions
5. Pixels
6. Trainwreck
7. Southpaw
8. Paper Towns
9. Inside Out
10. Jurassic World 

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