Friday 9 October 2015

5 for Friday (October 9): Trailers, new releases and box office

This week's five most intriguing cinema releases...

1. Sicario 
What is it? Denis Villeneuve's visceral thriller stars Emily Blunt as an idealistic FBI agent battling brutal drugs cartels on the US/Mexican border. Benicio Del Toro is the mysterious hitman brought in by Josh Brolin to fight fire with fire. 
Where in the UK can I see it? Everywhere.
Critical consensus? An addictive 93 per cent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
My take: Sicario has crossed the Atlantic with the kind of buzz only the likes of Whiplash and Birdman have been able to match this year. Roger Deakins' sumptuous cinematography and Blunt's gripping performance have been particularly singled out for praise. To say I'm looking forward to seeing it would be an understatement.

2. Red Army
What is it? The story of the Soviet Union's all-conquering Red Army ice hockey team as told by its players, particularly captain Slava Fetisov, who went from national hero to despised enemy when he left the USSR to play in America's NHL. Imagine the Cold War on ice and you're most of the way there.
Where in the UK can I see it? It's getting a limited cinema release in key cities only but is also available from today on VOD.
Critical consensus? A stick-busting 96 per cent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
My take: Fetisov is a fascinating character and has lived an extraordinary life. I'm happy to put aside my lack of interest in ice hockey to give this a go.

3. Suffragette
What is it? Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne-Marie Duff are working class women battling a hostile state for the right to vote in early 20th century Britain - valiant foot soldiers in Emmeline Pankhurst's Suffrage movement. Blowing up mailboxes and putting bricks through windows, they play a cat and mouse game with the authorities whose response becomes more brutal and uncompromising. Meryl Streep lends a bit of Hollywood glitz to proceedings as Pankhurst.
Where in the UK can I see it? Everywhere from Monday.
Critical consensus? A vote-winning 80 per cent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
My take: Before now there has always been a certain middle class, 'BBC1 on a Sunday evening' cosiness about Suffragette dramas. Sarah Gavron's film looks set to blow such notions out of the water and about time, too.

4. The Nightmare
What is it? Part-documentary, part-horror story, Rodney Ascher's film explores a disturbing medical condition called sleep paralysis. Victims - and there are thousands of them - are unable to move and subject to terrifying hallucinations involving 'shadow men' and other nasties. Some sufferers even believe their condition isn't psychological but paranormal. Ascher recreates the experiences of eight sufferers using actors, probably guaranteeing himself the director's job on a proper horror movie in the not-too-distant future.
Where in the UK can I see it? In just a few London cinemas.
Critical consensus? A dreamy 72 per cent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
My take: One of the things Ascher - himself a sufferer - points out is that a lot of the imagery from these hallucinations and night terrors have, over time, seeped into art and literature, informing movies such as A Nightmare On Elm Street. As a horror fan, that's reason enough for me to see it right there.

5. The Walk 
What is it? Robert Zemeckis (Cast Away) directs the story of Frenchman Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who, in 1974, strung a high-wire from one of the World Trade Center towers to the other, then walked across it. If this real-life story sounds familiar it's because it formed the basis of the excellent 2008 documentary Man On Wire.
Where in the UK can I see it? It should be pretty much everywhere now after getting an IMAX-only release last week.
Critical consensus? A perfectly-balanced 87 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.
My take: Unfortunately, Gordon-Levitt's Clouseau-esque accent has been getting more attention than the film's extraordinary, vertigo-inducing CGI. As someone who gets a nosebleed from going upstairs on a double-decker bus, I definitely won't be seeing this in 3D.

Also on release this week
Addicted To Fresno
A Haunting In Cawdor
I Believe In Miracles (from Tuesday)
Leading Lady
Madimak: Carina'nin Gunlugu
Monty Python And The Holy Grail (reissue – from Wednesday)
Rudhramadevi (3D)
Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story

UK box-office top 10
1. The Martian
2. Legend
3. Everest
4. The Intern
5. Macbeth
6. The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials
7. Miss You Already
8. Singh Is Bling
9. Inside Out 
10. Dragonball Z: Resurrection Of F

US box-office top 10
1. The Martian
2. Hotel Transylvania 2
3. Sicario
4. The Intern
5. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
6. Black Mass
7. Everest
8. The Visit
9. War Room
10. The Perfect Guy 

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