Friday 18 September 2015

5 for Friday (September 18): Trailers, new releases and box office

This week's five most intriguing new cinema releases, including Everest (pictured above)...

1. A Syrian Love Story
What is it? Sean McAllister's powerful, heartbreaking documentary, shot over five years, focuses on Amer and Raghda - comrades and lovers who met in a Syrian prison cell 15 years ago. The film deftly but unflinchingly explores the horrors of the Assad regime, the couple's bid for political freedom with their three children and, ultimately, the breakdown of their relationship.
Where in the UK can I see it? It's only getting a limited cinema release but will be available on BFI Player.
Critical consensus? Only four reviews on Rotten Tomatoes so far but they are all very positive.
My take: With the Syrian refugee crisis showing no signs of abating and the British government still pressing for air strikes, this is a documentary whose release couldn't be more timely or pertinent. 

2. Bill
What is it? The Horrible Histories gang do Shakespeare (the Bard is somehow caught up in a plot to assassinate Elizabeth I). Delayed from its original March release for reasons unknown, I suspect it may contain more irreverence and tomfoolery than you can shake a stick at. 
Where in the UK can I see it? Hey nonny nonny, it's everywhere!
Critical consensus? It's 100 per cent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes - the same as Citizen Kane!
My take: Horrible Histories on the big screen? Here's my wallet, take my money. 

3. Everest 
What is it? Disaster flick set amongst the titular mountain's treacherous snowy peaks and based on a true story. Baltasar Kormákur's film boasts an all-star cast including Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, and Jake Gyllenhaal (although he only appears briefly).
Where in the UK can I see it? Like The Great British Bake Off and Jeremy Corbyn, it's everywhere.
Critical consensus? Standing tall on a not-quite mountainous 75 per cent fresh over at Rotten Tomatoes.
My take: First San Andreas, now this, is it just me or is the disaster movie making a bit of a comeback? The effects are said to be genuinely stunning although I'm still not sure I'll be splashing out on a 3D ticket.

4. Tangerines
What is it? Oscar-nominated pacifist drama set during the 1992-93 Abkhazia conflict between Estonia and Georgia, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Ivo and Margus - farmers who have remained behind in their otherwise-deserted rural village to harvest a crop of tangerines - are caught in the crossfire when two bands of warring soldiers clash. The pair take in two of the wounded men - one from each side - and hope they can be nursed back to health and persuaded not to kill each other.
Where in the UK can I see it? Key cities only but it is also available on Curzon Home Cinema's VOD service from today.
Critical consensus? A tangy 84 per cent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
My take: This is the last of the 2015 Best Foreign Language Oscar nominees to reach UK cinemas (Ida and Leviathan came out here last year, Wild Tales and Timbuktu earlier this) and looks well worth the wait.  

5. The D Train
What is it? Bromance comedy starring Jack Black as an average schlub trying to persuade James Marsden - a celebrity starring in a high-profile TV ad - to attend their high school reunion. Sounds formulaic? Apparently, there's a rather big twist early on that shakes things up somewhat.
Where in the UK can I see it? Key cities only which seems a little odd for a film starring minor Hollywood royalty like Black and Marsden.
Critical consensus? Only 46 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes but there are some very positive reviews in amongst the brickbats.
My take: Because of High Fidelity and School Of Rock, I'll always have a soft spot for Black... even if most of his movies since those two high points have underwhelmed. I'm genuinely intrigued by the premise too.

Also in cinemas from today
Dartmoor Killing
A Girl At My Door
Horse Money
Katti Batti
The Messenger
The Priest's Children
Steamboat Bill Jr. and The Playhouse (reissue)
Trisha Illana Nayanthara
A Walk In The Woods

UK box office top 10
1. Legend
2. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trails
3. The Visit
4. Straight Outta Compton
5. Inside Out
6. Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation
7. Pixels
8. No Escape
9. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (Secret Cinema 2015)
10. Irrational Man 

US box office top 10
1. The Perfect Guy
2. The Visit
3. War Room
4. A Walk in the Woods
5. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
6. Straight Outta Compton
7. No Escape
8. The Transporter Refueled
9. 90 Minutes in Heaven
10. Un gallo con muchos huevos

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